House debates

Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Constituency Statements

Calare Electorate: Education

11:25 am

Photo of Andrew GeeAndrew Gee (Calare, National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

The Clontarf Foundation and the Girls Academy are two wonderful initiatives that work to support young Indigenous men and women across Australia. In Orange, the academies work in collaboration with Canobolas Rural Technology High School, and I would like to recognise Principal Kate Wootten for facilitating the establishment of those academies at the school.

The Clontarf Foundation was launched in Australia in 2000, and now almost 6,000 boys from 96 schools across the nation are involved. The foundation focuses on education, leadership, employment, healthy lifestyles, life skills, self-esteem and sport. It also continues to support students after they leave school by helping them to find employment. The Clontarf Foundation was launched at Canobolas Rural Technology High School in 2016, and in a short time the academy has gone from strength to strength. I would like to recognise Regional Manager Ryan Woolfe; Canobolas Clontarf Academy Director James Grant, a former Wallaby; and also operations officers Ben Benton and Matthew Georgiou. I have seen their work firsthand. They go to extraordinary lengths to support the students at the academy. I attended the 2017 awards presentation night and I was witness to the great outcomes achieved by the students. At the end of 2017, 82 students were involved in the Orange academy, and this year the number has grown to 101.

The Girls Academy was established in 2004 through Olympic basketballer Ricky Grace and also Role Models and Leaders Australia. It is similar to the Clontarf Foundation and focuses on supporting young Indigenous girls. It does this through leadership training, mentoring, sport and a range of extracurricular activities. Last year, 2,000 young Indigenous people were involved in the academy in 32 schools across the country. I was honoured to attend the launch of the Canobolas Girls Academy in Orange in November last year. I would like to recognise the New South Wales Regional Manager, James Madigan, and Louise Lawler, as well as Canobolas Girls Academy Program Manager Nikita Mason and Development Officer Belinda Langlo. I met both Nikita and Belinda at the launch of the academy, and the work that they do is truly inspirational. They are passionate, caring and devoted and wonderful role models. Both Nikita and Belinda believe that their involvement in the academy is a chance for them to show the girls that they can do anything that they put their minds to, with the support network along the way. Despite the Canobolas Girls Academy launching only at the end of the 2017 school year, 55 students enrolled and 17 eager year 7 students have joined this year. I congratulate all involved in the Canobolas Clontarf Academy and also the Girls Academy.

I can't speak highly enough about these programs and the positive impact they are having on the lives of young people. They are part of the many innovative and exciting programs at Canobolas Rural Technology High School. I thank them for their work.