Mr SOUTHWICK (Caulfield) — I rise on the adjournment tonight to address a matter to the Minister for Youth Affairs concerning the Yeshivah Centre’s proposal to build a new camp site in Victoria. I request that the minister visit the centre and meet with Nechama Bendet, the general manager of the centre, and Rabbi Moshe Kahn, the director of Chabad Youth, to hear about the great work they have done in youth leadership and to discuss advancing their camp site proposal.
The Yeshivah Centre has been a part of Melbourne’s vibrant Jewish community for over 50 years, with a membership base in excess of 10 000 people, with 500 employees and with hundreds of dedicated volunteers. It provides a comprehensive range of programs for youth.
Apart from the great educational institutions, including the Yeshivah Beth Rivkah early learning centres and the Yeshivah Beth Rivkah colleges that it represents, it also does great work engaging young people through Chabad Youth. Some of the programs include winter and summer camps, seminars, weekend activities, after-school clubs and festival celebrations, to name a few. It is indeed a great pleasure to represent them in my electorate.
Yeshivah is proposing to invest $3 million to construct a safe and secure camp site which will accommodate 600 campers and staff. The camp site will also be made available to other schools and community groups on a not-for-profit basis. Some of the facilities proposed include commercial kitchens, bathrooms, assembly halls, swimming pools, rope courses, sports fields and facilities to accommodate performing and fine arts and music. I believe that the proposal would be of great benefit to Victoria as it would provide a new camp facility for our young people.
The economic benefits of the camp site include job opportunities during the construction and ongoing management of the site with hundreds of thousands of dollars being spent in the local area and broader community on bus services, catering and food supplies.
It would be a great investment in regional Victoria as it would be located a significant distance away from the inner suburbs of Melbourne. Yeshivah is the sort of spirited, positive organisation that government should be working with. It is an experienced leader in running camp sites and camp programs; it runs programs for thousands of young people annually. I repeat my call for the Minister for Youth Affairs to meet with representatives of the Yeshivah Centre to discuss ways in which the government could work with them to provide a new camp facility. While the minister is there it would be a great opportunity for him to experience firsthand some of the after-school programs that the centre provides, to get a firsthand run-down from the various members and volunteers, and also to see some of the after-school programs in which the kids are involved.
The centre is unique to this community, which has some pertinent security issues when it runs camps and needs the highest security. This is another important element of the proposal, and I urge the minister to visit the Yeshivah Centre.