Standing up for Canberra

Lions Youth Haven

Before I begin I would like to commend the member for Durack for her attempt at Hindi. I actually learned Hindi before I was posted to India. It is a challenging but wonderful language and you did a great job, so congratulations.

Last month I had the pleasure of touring the Lions Youth Haven, which is a 70-bed hostel in Kambah. Members will know about the great work Lions clubs do all around Australia, and I am pleased to tell you about an initiative in my electorate. The Lions Youth Haven has helped more than 500 students over the past four years, through practical, hands-on time on a farm.

Westwood Farm in the Tuggeranong Valley provides a haven for youth at risk in our community. It is a place where young people in situations of crisis can find refuge and support, where they can gain confidence and self-respect and where they can receive vocational training and hands-on experience in horticulture and agriculture. It is about giving youth the skills to work on the land, to understand sustainable agriculture and animal handling.

I applaud the organisation on its 'paddock to the plate' program, where students learn how the meat and veggies on their plate are produced. I am also pleased a new lodge has opened at the farm providing overnight accommodation for school, sporting and other community groups like the students who come to Canberra for the PEO program. The lodge aims to provide a taste of rural life for students visiting Canberra, but it also plays a much bigger role.

I take this opportunity to congratulate the Lions Club on this project, and I thank them for showing me around this fantastic facility.

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