House debates

Monday, 20 August 2018

Statements by Members

Grey Electorate: Clontarf Foundation

4:29 pm

Photo of Rowan RamseyRowan Ramsey (Grey, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I welcome the announcement by the South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, that South Australia is to establish four Clontarf academies in the state—three in my electorate. I became interested in the work being done with young Indigenous boys by Clontarf in 2013 when I first met Gerard Neesham, the inaugural coach of the Dockers, who established the program in 2002. I met Gerard through the former—and sadly deceased—member for Canning, Don Randall.

The program, which uses football as a reward and development tool, is not designed to cater for football excellence, even though that doesn't hurt. Its first requirement is that boys attend school and study hard; otherwise they miss out on the rewards program. This year, they have 7½ thousand boys attending throughout Australia. Boys get out of bed for 6:30 training and, by the time, they attend a full day of school and go home, they are ready for early bed. This is a virtuous cycle and, even better, Clontarf are now reporting that the alumni of some of the earlier intakes have matured and raised children and are now benefitting from living in a family that works and values education. These are the benefits of breaking the intergenerational cycle. The academies will be established in Whyalla, Port Lincoln and Port Augusta. The previous government hadn't been so keen on Clontarf because it didn't focus on girls. But as Gerard Neesham said, 'If you can get the boys at school, if you can get the boys working, a lot of the girls' problems will go away and they'll do exactly the same thing.' Well done, them.