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Thursday, 11 October 2012
Page: 12132

Mr BRENDAN O'CONNOR (GortonMinister for Housing, Minister for Homelessness and Minister for Small Business) (09:33): Mr Deputy Speaker Georganas, I congratulate you on your elevation to high office. I am extremely pleased to inform the House that the electorate of Gorton has produced another round of exceptional young leaders who have received recognition under the annual Gorton Young Leaders Awards initiative. I established the awards, now in their third year, to recognise young people who have shown exceptional commitment to public service in their final years of secondary college, specifically through involvement in voluntary work, student leadership or community.

These young leaders follow in the traditions of previous recipients of Gorton Young Leaders Awards. Each individual was involved in a number of worthy endeavours during this challenging final year, demonstrating commendable levels of commitment to their communities and to greater public life. One prizewinner was involved in the Acts of Random Kindness group at her college, an outreach project that connects students with sick patients in partnership with Western Health. Another student spent a week sleeping on a tennis club floor so he could assist with the flood recovery efforts in Charlton. Other students excelled academically while juggling college leadership roles and student advocacy commitments.

Twelve former year 12 students from across six schools were awarded the Gorton Young Leaders Award based on their achievements during 2011. The winners were: from Keilor Downs Secondary College, Natalie Jayne Little and Julian Amici; from Taylors Lakes Secondary College, Ryan Lim and Elizabeth Hope Kalas; from Copperfield College, Jan Tuilagi and Aoun Rizvi; from Overnewton Anglican College, Joseph Pensa and Sharlene Amisha Prasad; from Victoria University Secondary College Deer Park Campus, Alex Mendez and Krista Anne Multanen; and, from CRC Catholic Regional College, Luke Barallon and Bonnie Seymour.

Earlier this year I also convened a morning tea in my electorate office in Keilor to formally recognise the achievements of the young leaders, who are now enrolled in courses at university, TAFE and other educational institutions. It was a great pleasure and privilege to meet and speak with the winners and indeed to speak to some of their parents and some of their teachers. The morning tea was a wonderful success and it also provided a great opportunity for the schools and indeed the families to witness them receive these prizes.

I am sure the House will join me in congratulating these young leaders on their efforts and wishing them every success going into the future. No doubt these exceptional young leaders will continue to excel in numerous areas of endeavour and achievement as they pursue each of their respective pathways.