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Tuesday, 26 May 2009
Page: 4417

Ms PARKE (8:18 PM) —I am pleased to rise in support of the Tax Laws Amendment (2009 Measures No. 3) Bill 2009. Amongst other measures, this bill provides for the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation to be listed for deductible gift recipient status. The Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation’s ship, the Leeuwin, is a Fremantle icon, and the ship can regularly be seen sailing in and out of Fremantle port and along the beautiful Western Australian coastline. The mission of the foundation is to challenge and inspire young people to realise their personal potential and make a positive contribution to the wider community through the unique medium of a tall sailing ship. It is this dedication to providing a leadership and community building experience for young Western Australians that makes the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation such a worthy recipient of deductible gift recipient status.

The Leeuwin was launched in August 1986 and it is still sailing today. The ship has over 810 square metres of sail and is 55 metres long, which makes it the largest operating vessel of its kind in Australasian waters. Since being built, over 22,000 young people have benefited from participating in the Leeuwin’s sail training voyages. My brother Aaron is one such person who was a grateful participant and I remember well the joyful recounting of his 10-day challenging adventure on the Leeuwin, which included climbing up masts, setting sails and standing watch as part of a team of young people. The Leeuwin foundation provides a window into Fremantle’s vital port history by providing the opportunity for young Australians to sail on an 1850s style sailing ship.

The seed funding to make the Leeuwin foundation a reality came from the Commonwealth, the West Australian state government, businesses and community groups. What is more, many West Australians made personal donations towards its construction. I am pleased that people can now donate tax-free to the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation, which will encourage donations and help maintain the Leeuwin foundation’s donor base during the current global recession. This will be very helpful, for instance, with the Leeuwin foundation’s attempts to obtain funding for a talking compass, an instrument that repeats the compass course via a speaker so that a helmsman with visual limitations can con the ship as well as anyone.

Aside from the support represented by the granting of deductible gift recipient status, the Rudd government has also supported the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation through a volunteer grant in the latest round. The foundation received $20,000 to assist the large volunteer base who help keep the Leeuwin sailing. Specifically this grant will assist in reimbursing volunteers for some of the fuel costs which they incur as a result of their dedication to the Leeuwin.

The community engagement of the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation is evident in all the tasks they undertake. The ship does not just service the metropolitan area; it regularly travels as far south as Esperance and as far north as Darwin and stops along the way at Geraldton, Monkey Mia, Exmouth, Dampier, Port Hedland and Broome. When in these ports the local community are able to participate in voyages, making the Leeuwin an asset for all of Western Australia and even the Northern Territory. One example of how the Leeuwin voyages give back to the community is a voyage by the WA Navy cadets earlier this year, where the cadets stopped at Rottnest Island to participate in revegetation and clean-up projects that help preserve the fragile ecosystem of Rottnest Island.

The work of the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation is similar in spirit to that of other organisations listed in the tax act, including Ian Thorpe’s Fountain for Youth Ltd, the Clontarf Foundation and the Spirit of Australia Foundation. The Young Endeavour Youth Scheme, which does similar work to the Leeuwin foundation, has been listed for many years and I am pleased that the work of the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation and its crew has been similarly recognised. The Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation contributes greatly to the West Australian community through its programs for young Indigenous people from the north of Australia, its programs for school students and its voyages for young people with disabilities. The contribution of the Leeuwin foundation to the broader Australian community includes running programs with schools from other states and even the international community, as demonstrated by their work with the United World College in Singapore.

The Leeuwin youth explorer voyages are recognised by the West Australian Curriculum Council as an endorsed program for the WA certificate of education for students in years 10, 11 and 12. This recognises that students who participate in Leeuwin voyages gain valuable life skills in areas like self-esteem, goal setting, communication and teamwork and a sense of community.

I note the member for Curtin’s ongoing support for the Leeuwin foundation, and I am sure that she and her constituents will be pleased with the government’s support for this listing. I want to acknowledge the hard work of the Leeuwin Ocean Adventure Foundation in earning this listing. In particular I acknowledge the work of Carol Shannon, John Murray, Malcolm Hay, Terry Baker and the captain of the Leeuwin, Chris Blake. I especially want to thank the Assistant Treasurer, Chris Bowen, for his visit to Fremantle last year, where he acknowledged the important contribution the Leeuwin foundation makes to the lives of young Australians, many of whom are disadvantaged, and for his valuable contribution to the decision to grant the Leeuwin foundation deductible gift recipient status. I am pleased to be part of the Rudd Labor government, which has provided such support for this very deserving not-for-profit community foundation.