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Thursday, 1 March 2018
Page: 2566


Mr IRONS (Swan) (11:39): After our time on the health committee together, I know the subject that I rise to speak on will interest you dearly, Mr Acting Deputy Speaker Georganas. We worked hard on the subject I speak about today. Last weekend I, along with hundreds of other people, attended the inaugural Outside the Locker Room Tackling Suicide Celebrity and Community Charity Match at Lathlain Park in my electorate of Swan. It was a fantastic afternoon for all involved. Players, fans, families and kids all got to enjoy a big family day out at the footy in support of a great cause. For just $10 for adults and a gold-coin donation for kids under 16, spectators were able to enjoy two quality football matches, kids' activities, a bouncy castle and food tents. All proceeds raised are going to fund the important mental health education programs for schools and sporting clubs in the Perth community provided by Outside the Locker Room and Lifeline WA.

I would like to share with the House a bit of information about Outside the Locker Room. It is a welfare and education program for sporting clubs, schools and corporates across Australia. It offers a non-judgemental and supportive process that players, students and staff can access to seek support for themselves, a friend or family member, utilising a range of different platforms, which, for instance, include a free downloadable app which gives support around the clock, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

That brings me to the Outside the Locker Room founder, Jake Edwards, who five years ago was facing a dark battle with depression and attempted to take his own life. Jake Edwards has now drawn on his own experiences to create Outside the Locker Room. Their logo is 'More than just a game'. Outside the Locker Room provides participants with strategies on ways to combat social and mental health issues in a productive way. I commend Jake for his strength and bravery and for dedicating his life to helping others, who are struggling with their own mental health, to realise that life is actually worth living. Jake's program has been developed in partnership with mental health and youth service experts to educate young people on the resources and organisations available for them to access. I understand the Outside the Locker Room programs now include information on suicide, depression and anxiety, gambling and domestic violence, drug and alcohol education, and LGBTIQ and inclusiveness. I commend Jake for the work he's done and continues to do. He's a shining example to Australia's young people. It was great to see him actually get out on the field as well in the celebrity game on Saturday.

Returning to the big day, it was great to see the community enjoying Lathlain Park. I must say, it's looking fantastic. In 2016, I secured $13 million of funding to go towards the Lathlain Park development, which, once completed, will include multi-use community recreation facilities, a community education centre and a specialist rehabilitation facility, and, of course, will be the brand-new home for the West Coast Eagles. It was good to see the two multi-use public ovals being put to great use with the games on Saturday. The players said it was an awesome ground to play on and the community feedback was overwhelmingly positive for the development.

Back to the game—at 3.30 pm the Youth Focus curtain-raiser kicked off with Perth Football Club and Peel Thunder going head to head. Being involved with the Demons, I was supporting the Demons, and it was disappointing to see Peel end up on top with a convincing win against the home team—but I must admit that Peel actually included 10 AFL-listed players from the Dockers in their side, so it was a bit of a top-heavy game! Alas, the main game was yet to come. At 5.30, it was bounce-down for the celebrity and community match, with Team Outside the Locker Room up against Team Lifeline WA. Amongst the list of celebrities to take the field were West Coast and Freo champions Andrew Embley, Daniel Kerr, David Wirrpanda, Drew Petrie, Paul Hasleby, Sam Butler, Ryan Crowley, Shaun McManus and Dale Kickett—all former players of either the West Coast or Fremantle. Also, Hockeyroo Ashleigh Nelson and ex-Kookaburra Simon Orchard teamed up with Paddy Sweeney and Nadia Mitsopoulos, local journalists, for the big game.

It was a brilliant afternoon. A lot of hard work and organising paid off. The atmosphere was electric and it was a great fundraising effort. I take my hat off to the president, Daryle Mann, and the committee at Perth Football Club for bringing attention to this issue in sporting communities and for the great work they did in putting this match together. I also thank Greg Valles and Kristi Annear for hosting me at the game. I thoroughly enjoyed it and look forward to next year's community and celebrity match supporting Outside the Locker Room.