Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni has officially opened the new NRL Cowboys House Girls’ Campus in Townsville today, as the nation acknowledges International Women’s Day.
The girls’ campus opened its doors in January to 30 young women from remote Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
Mr de Brenni said it was fitting to officially open the girls’ campus on International Women’s Day – a day for all of us to think about how we can achieve a more equitable society.
“The Palaszczuk Government is making progress on a number of targets to close the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Queenslanders,” he said.
“The Girls’ Campus gives young women – whose communities offer less opportunities because of their remoteness – a real chance to achieve their full potential and we are committed to Closing the Gap to make their lives better.
“We know that we are making some inroads to improve educational outcomes for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children but we need to invest further to do better at Closing the Gap.
“Despite the Morrison Government refusing to fund a Girls House in Townsville, the Palaszczuk Government invested $12 million to ensure girls have the same education opportunities young men have enjoyed at the Boys Campus.”
Member for Mundingburra Coralee O’Rourke said the girls at NRL Cowboys House had access to specialised educational support and high-quality amenities to help them succeed in life.
“Their exciting journey has begun – they are enjoying a supportive place to live while having access to education and training while forming friendships and acquiring life skills,” Ms O’Rourke said.
“It’s expected to reach the full capacity of 50 students by the start of the 2020 school year.”
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said that while moving to Townsville was a significant change for the girls, she was pleased to hear students had made a great start to their year’s schooling.
“The students are so fortunate to have great support from Cowboys staff, Indigenous community leaders and health professionals during their time here,” she said.
Jeff Reibel from the Cowboys Community Foundation said he was delighted to see both campuses operating.
“We’re so excited to offer this opportunity for girls to access education and replicate what we achieved for the boys,” Mr Reibel said.
Mr Reibel explained that students residing at both campuses come from North Queensland’s most remote communities, including the Gulf of Carpentaria, Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands.
“It’s because of the trust families and their communities have placed in NRL Cowboys House to look after their sons and daughters that we’re able to achieve all that we have, with the support of the government,” he said.
“The House is a life-changing opportunity and is made possible through the support we receive from our partners and friends of the House, our patrons and supporters, partner schools, ambassadors, volunteers, service providers and our community.”
The Palaszczuk Government invested $12 million towards construction of the House, which supported more than 80 local jobs during its construction, and has also committed $2.5 million over four years to support its operation.
NRL Cowboys House Girls Campus embraces the principles set out in the Queensland Housing Strategy in that it provides pathways for young Queenslanders to secure better futures.