I rise today to discuss a wonderful initiative by Eden Marine High School, the same school I attended and graduated from. Local Aboriginal students have been building traditional canoes as part of a pilot program supported by Campbell Page, Katungul Aboriginal Corporation and Twofold Aboriginal Corporation, along with the help of local Anglicare chaplain Michael Palmer.
Over two weeks, six Indigenous students enthusiastically constructed traditional stitch-and-glue canoes from scratch. They celebrated their achievement by joining Aboriginal community members paddling local waterways, learning about historical middens and fish traps.
The project has provided a great opportunity for students to stay connected to Yuin Nation culture and tradition. Mataya, one of the students, said: 'It's been nice to have a break from the school environment but still be learning.'
The project has also been successful in gaining $242,000 from the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund. The organisers will work with a business consultant to develop a social enterprise so they can run the project sustainably into the future, expanding the project to encompass over 100 students.
The project has been fun, spiritual and cultural, and I look forward to its continued success. I give a shout-out to Eden High School student Euan Osten for undertaking work experience in my office and preparing this statement for me to read to the House today. Eden High, represent!