Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum and Vale: Linda Caterson

Thursday, 29 October 2020

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Minister for International Development and the Pacific and Assistant Defence Minister) (10:38): It's a pleasure to rise today and update the House about some of the events of note in my electorate of Mitchell in recent months. First of all, the 2020 Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum, in its 19th year, took place on Friday 16 October. Due to COVID, this was the first-ever virtual and online youth leadership forum that we've held in those 19 years. Usually a 2½-day residential program for year 11 students based on three values—integrity, service and courage—this alternative format ensured students were still given an opportunity and able to develop their leadership skills during a year that has needed strong leaders more than ever. We had 160 student leaders from across 13 of my local high schools participating in a virtual keynote leadership session, team-building activities and discussions that this year were held online. Thank you to the schools and all of the principals for your participation in what was a remarkable turnaround from our physical format into an online format. It was an incredibly flexible concept and plan for a virtual forum. I thank the volunteer leaders and the keynote speaker, Matt Kershaw, who did a great job in supporting all of these young people with this vision.

I want to take this opportunity to acknowledge and thank our ongoing major sponsor Nature's Sunshine Australia, the committee of young people who put this together every year and our CEO Tristan Smith for their continued commitment to the future of local leaders. The passion and commitment in developing the next generation of leaders is very admirable. These young people really lead the way on behalf of the Mitchell Youth Leadership Forum, and it would not be possible without them. So thank you to all of you.

I also want to take a moment to unusually acknowledge a former local junior sports star, on the issue of youth champions, from Kellyville, who made his debut at his first Rugby League Grand Final for the Melbourne Storm on Sunday night. Ryan Papenhuyzen is a Hills local and played rugby league for Hills rugby league clubs, and we are very proud of him and his upbringing in the Parramatta Juniors system. He had a cracker of a game. He got the Clive Churchill Medal on the night, and I want to highlight his stellar performance to every young person playing rugby league in my electorate, through all of the junior clubs. And, yes, it is annoying that Parramatta let him go—but that is another issue. I don't have enough time to talk about that today.

It is with sadness that I conclude my speech today by paying tribute to the late Linda May Caterson, who passed away at 99 on 13 October 2020. She was the wife of the late Fred Caterson, a former state member for the Hills and Baulkham Hills Shire councillor. Linda was a remarkable woman of incredible Christian faith who lived through both the Depression and the Second World War. She founded her beloved Hills District Historical Society and gave her passion to it, and my thoughts are with all of her friends in that great society. The Catersons were an iconic part of the Hills, and I note all of our deep sympathies and condolences to the family.