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Wednesday, 14 September 2011
Page: 10154


Mr MELHAM (Banks) (19:46): I rise to commend the government for its ongoing support for the Vibe Alive Festival. Funding this year was provided from the Community Festivals for Education Engagement program for regional, rural and remote locations. The aim of community festivals is to promote a greater understanding of the value of education and to encourage students, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, to stay in school, to complete year 12 and to live healthy, positive lifestyles.

In 2011 Vibe Australia has produced a Vibe Alive two-day festival event in Moree for young Australians of all backgrounds to promote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to encourage tolerance and teamwork. Two more events were held in Port Augusta and Kalgoorlie. Vibe Alive incorporates music, sport, dance and art in a high-energy, youth-friendly setting. Participants also have the opportunity to meet inspiring role models, to learn about healthy living and career options and to boost English literacy and numeracy skills. All of Vibe's products promote a healthy lifestyle free from drug abuse and alcohol misuse. All Vibe events are smoke-free and all Vibe products encourage the completion of a full secondary education.

Vibe Australia is also committed to increasing training and employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and to encouraging all young Australians to reach their full potential. Vibe Alive gives our young people the opportunity to demonstrate what they are good at, whether it is singing, dancing, sport or to display another hidden talent hitherto undemonstrated.

In Moree over 30 schools registered for the event, and an estimated 1,500 people attended. The festival showcases major Indigenous talents and role models for the students. This year Australian singer-songwriter Nathan Foley cohosted the event, along with actor Luke Carroll. Mr Foley said that Vibe Alive is all about getting active. He said:

It’s about getting kids up and out of the house and away from the TV and video games.

It is about movement and getting the blood pumping through sports and other activities. It's also a great way to meet new mates.

This year saw Little Vibe, which is a special program to give young people in early primary school the full festival experience. It was hosted by performer and choreographer Gail Mabo, and Courtney Walter.

This year, Moree Vibe Alive included students from the Schools Spectacular Aboriginal Dance Ensemble, which fosters the development of talented Aboriginal students in dance and provides performance opportunities to encourage the pursuit of excellence in this art form. The ensemble operates in partnership with the Bangarra Dance Theatre, Australia's premier Indigenous performing arts company.

A student from Sir Joseph Banks High School in Revesby in my electorate, Chris Bond, was one of the participants in the ensemble this year. Chris is just 14 years old and I am advised that he is the youngest to participate in the ensemble. Selection to the ensemble is no mean feat, and Chris is remarkably talented to succeed in performing with them. This week he is dancing at the New South Wales State Dance Festival, and it is worth quoting from their website:

The culmination of hours and hours of technical training, stamina, creativity, confidence, cooperation and respect for one another, fostered by their dedicated and talented teachers …

…      …   …

Each performance unveils the determination of students and teachers to explore the art of choreography and to achieve performances of the highest quality.

Later in the year Chris will be performing in the Schools Spectacular. I sincerely congratulate Chris for his success to date and for his future. There is no doubt he is incredibly talented.

This is what we should be doing as a nation: encouraging these young people, particularly Indigenous people, and giving them every opportunity on the way through. It creates a positive environment for them, and they in turn become role models for successive young people as they come through. It is about working with Indigenous people. It is not a missionary approach; it is about letting them build on their talents and the creation of that opportunity. I commend the Vibe Alive Festival to the parliament. I think it has produced some good results, and it is worthy of ongoing support.