House debates

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

Constituency Statements

Gorton Young Leaders Workshop

10:24 am

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I rise to speak about the Gorton Young Leaders Workshop, a new initiative I established to help develop the young people of Gorton into the leaders of the future. I want to help young people from Gorton reach their full potential because I want the leaders of the future to come from Gorton as well as anywhere else. Therefore I believe it's of vital importance to identify, encourage and support young people who demonstrate a commitment to active public leadership.

It's now been 10 years since I started the Gorton Young Leaders Awards: an annual event since 2009. Every year, I've been impressed by the contribution, the philanthropy, the volunteerism, the generosity and the leadership of the young people in receipt of those awards. However, this year, I wanted to not just acknowledge the achievements of young people but also play an active role in developing them. That is where the idea for the Gorton Young Leaders Workshop came from.

Earlier this month, a select group of six young people from Gorton aged between 15 and 21 took part in a daylong workshop that focused on leadership and policymaking. The participants were Nathan Guinan, who was instrumental in setting up this workshop after undertaking work experience in my office; Srishti Bali; Khalil El-Samad; Alex Wall; Yohanna Mequwanint; and Hala El-Samad. What impresses most about these young people is their commitment and drive to creating change to make our community a better place. I look forward to charting their progress in the years ahead and I'll be watching as they become local leaders of the future.

This was just the first of what I hope will be many Gorton Young Leaders Workshop as I work with a range of young people throughout our community to identify and encourage future participants. What I do know is that young people in Gorton sometimes face a whole host of serious challenges when trying to reach their full potential. Gorton is not an affluent area. Employment opportunities for young people are not always sufficient, and many young people come from families where English is not their first language. Sometimes they do have particular barriers to progress. Even just undertaking further education can be a challenge for Gorton residents, with some young people that I'm aware of spending more than four hours a day on a return trip to a university.

Despite these challenges, I see great potential in our young people. I want to ensure that they have all the opportunities that their counterparts elsewhere have and that they richly deserve. It is with immense pride that I'm helping the young people of Gorton today so they can be the country's leaders of tomorrow.