Legislative Council: Tuesday, September 26, 2023


Clontarf Foundation

The Hon. R.P. WORTLEY (14:53): My question is to the Minister for Aboriginal Affairs. Will the minister inform the council about his recent visit to a session of the Clontarf Foundation's academy?

The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Attorney-General, Minister for Industrial Relations and Public Sector) (14:53): I thank the honourable member for his question and his interest in this area. I am pleased to be able to say that I had the great pleasure of being invited to attend a recent session of the Clontarf Foundation's academy at Christies Beach High School during last week.

The Clontarf Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation that works with young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men at school in years 5 to 12. The foundation seeks to maximise the student's engagement with their education through participation in before and after school activities, in turn building life skills discipline and, in particular, furthering employment prospects.

The foundation was launched in 2000 as a pilot program in WA and since then has grown, with 148 academies now operating across Australia and some eleven and a half thousand students participating. Ten of these academies are located in South Australia, with over 450 students spread throughout. The Christies Beach academy launched earlier this year, with 47 students enrolled by the end of term 1.

As I said, I was honoured to join with these students in a before-school session last week and was put through my paces in a footy fitness training session in the morning and was not only impressed by the excellent skills on show but the teamwork, sportsmanship and enthusiasm that the young men showed.

After the training session, students Dion and Peter showed me around the dedicated facility for the Clontarf program at the Christies Beach High School and showed me the visual displays demonstrating the academy's value in action, their school attendance tracker and plans for the term ahead. It was great to hear about the other activities involved in the academy, including leadership camps, health and wellbeing checks, social outings, as well as projects to assist students in getting themselves workforce ready. It was clear all these students take great pride in their participation in the academy.

Before ending the morning with their usual post-training breakfast, I was quizzed in an interview by the students about my life and work and advice for students. They asked a lot of informative questions, and I was able to share my experiences with the students, including one left-field question at the end which asked what would I have if I had a superhero power. I was pleased to be able to answer the ability to kick straight after a recent performance at the Kilburn football club that people regarded as shockingly poor kicking.

I thank the Clontarf Foundation for inviting me to spend the morning with the students and I look forward to seeing the exceptional things that many of these students achieve in the future as the leaders they will grow into.