Mr ENTSCH: I would like to reach a speech written by a 17-year-old, Darcy Oates, a student from St Augustine’s College in Cairns, as part of the Raise Your Voice campaign. Darcy writes:
“The vastness of Australia is ingrained within the fabric of our national identity, romanticised in prose and heralded as the true epitome of the Australian condition; that no distance nor harsh landscape shall impede our nation from striving for greatness.
But far too long, rural and regional Australia, and their very community’s and concern’s, have been lost amidst the noise of our large nation.
I live in a land where a person my age is 10% less likely to complete grade 12; where I am statistically more likely to commit self-harm at higher rates than those from the cities.
It is so easy to feel that I’m not worthy of attention, that those in the halls of my school and every school across rural Australia aren’t seen as significant in the grand scheme of government.
Humbly, I beg you, those in this chamber, to open your ears, to listen to rural Australia, to have genuine concern.
Together, bonded in brotherly fraternity as Australians, these issues can be alleviated; to ensure that rural Australians aren’t simply another number on a spreadsheet.”
Thank you very much, Darcy for your outstanding contribution.