2019 Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum

Thursday, 28 November 2019

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Assistant Defence Minister) (10:32): I want to join with the member for Cowan in endorsing our young people. It's a pleasure today to rise and speak with pride about the Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum. Established 18 years ago, the Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum is a 2½-day program for year 11 students focused on the three core values of integrity, service and courage. It's been my privilege to have been president of the forum since 2008 and to have hosted every private and public school year 11 at Vision Valley for two days since that time.

Last month, of course, from 17 to 20 October, together with our CEO Tristan Smith, we hosted 154 student leaders from 15 schools throughout the Mitchell electorate at Vision Valley. The participating schools include: Balkham Hills High, Castle Hill High, Crestwood High, Galston High, Hills Grammar, Kellyville High, Marian Catholic College, Model Farms High, Muirfield High, Northholm Grammar, Northmead High, Redeemer Baptist High, Redfield College, Tangara School for Girls and Norwest Christian College.

Thank you to these schools and the principals who've been the mainstay of the forum since its inception and have been on board for the entire 20 years. I extend my thanks to the principals and parents of today who continue their schools' involvement and support for this excellent forum. This year's students brought with them an immeasurable energy, enthusiasm and passion and growth throughout the 2½ days which was incredible. I look forward to following their success back at their schools and within our wider local community

I'd like to thank the dedicated volunteer team, consisting of over 70 leaders and committee members, who worked tirelessly throughout the year and over the 2½ days to support these students. The passion and commitment in developing the next generation of leaders is nothing short of admirable, and the Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum would not be possible without them. These leaders are exceptional examples for the students and display the forum's values of service, integrity and courage in their daily lives.

During the forum, students participated in team-building activities, small-group discussions, and community service projects at Aminya Aged Care and McCall Gardens residential accommodation for adult men with disability. During the community service projects, the students completed a range of activities with residents, including painting, washing residents' cars, gardening, musical performances and other important interactions. They interacted with residents, teaching them how to knit, dancing, playing snooker and lawn bowls, and assisting residents with their computers and their mobile phones.

The students also had the opportunity to listen to some inspiring and immensely important speakers that we hear from every year. We get a great line-up every year. This year was Matt Kershaw; Heather Hawkins; Ronni Khan, CEO of OzHarvest, notably; Chris Lee; and Barnaby Howarth. I want to thank those inspiring speakers and the leaders that share the personal stories and the inspiration they provide of service to our community and to our student leaders.

I'd like to thank and acknowledge our sponsors, including Nature's Sunshine Australia and Castle Towers, and all of our other local sponsors who provide for the forum. Thank you to Smiling Bakery, Castle Hill Growers Market, Allen Drew Funerals, Hills Lodge Hotel, Redeemer Baptist School, LSK Plastics and Swift Consulting for their community support for the forum.

I want to make special mention of our committee as well: Tristan Smith, our CEO; Steve Edwards; Jan Cox; Ged Lewis—all of the committee. Thank you.

A division having been called in the House of Representatives—

Sitting suspended from 10:35 to 10:52

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms Vamvakinou ): In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members' constituency statements has concluded.