17 October 2023

Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (13:40): Last week I caught up with local school chaplains Rebecca Hewett and Peter Goltz and SU Australia's field development manager for Ipswich and the Somerset region, Kylie Osudu, to chat about their wonderful work. 'Chappies' and student welfare officers do an outstanding job supporting students in our local schools. They're valued by the schools in my community.

Chaplains support young people in one of today's most high-pressure environments: the schoolyard. They provide a safe, positive influence for our children. Chaplains do things like run breakfast programs and help students deal with issues ranging from family breakdown, loneliness and friendships to mental health. I saw the benefits of chappies in the aftermath of the many floods that affected my community around Ipswich and the Somerset region.

In September I attended the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of School Chaplaincy group, which is co-chaired by my friend, the member for Bean. I commend him for the work he has done. In April the federal Minister for Education announced that school students across Australia would benefit from a boost in funding for mental health and wellbeing projects, and this support is being delivered under the government's Student Wellbeing Boost program. The states, of course, are managing this and doing it in consultation with us. This includes the engagement of chaplains and student welfare officers. Good mental health and wellbeing have a significant impact and are important for our young people as they engage with education. I support the chappies in my community.