Thursday 13 July 2006



Mr FINCH (Statement)I have recently welcomed to my electorate of Resevears a very innovative facility to help young people reach their greater potential, especially young people with problems. It uses a technique similar to the team-building activities employed by some of Australia's biggest companies to train their senior executives. It also helps to train some potential members of the Australian Defence Force and contributes to the training of those who will take their specialist skills into one of our most vital industries. I already note that there is interest from some members of this House who would, perhaps, like such a facility in their own electorate. It is not to be because the Windeward Bound project is unique. I am sure you, Mr President, and members of this House have heard the name Windeward Bound but, like me until recently, did not know the full extent of the work that it does. It all began while the ship, a 24-metre brigantine based on an American design of the 1840s, was being built in Hobart 15 years ago. I will just quote from the Windeward Bound Trust's web site:
'we were horrified to discover that Hobart, along with the rest of Australia, had a growing problem with disadvantaged youths, young offenders and "youth at risk" who were not responding to the usual offerings designed to keep them out of trouble. At about the same time, we discovered an apparently successful youth group known as Project Hahn, loosely modeled on the famous Outward Bound movement. PH used wilderness adventure based therapy to create a level of self esteem and personal growth. Studies of UK, European and United states based sail training organizations, along with that of New Zealand, led us to the realization that this was a possible answer to assisting these young people who were otherwise falling through the cracks. Thus, the Windeward Bound Trust was formed and sail training for young people became our target. It was our belief that no young person should be denied the opportunity and it was resolved to specifically target the disadvantaged, whether disadvantaged by financial, social or other circumstances.'
That is from the Windeward Bound's web site. The concept itself has been an overwhelming success. Since the launch in 1996 it has covered more than 50 000 nautical miles, carrying young people and proving the value of sail training on a traditional vessel. With a professional crew of seven, including the master, Sarah Parry, the Windeward Bound has room for about 12 young people. The vessel usually does 10 day voyages, many of them in Tasmanian waters.
There are also crew training programs and also seamanship training for Royal Australian Navy cadets. The Windeward Bound is now mainly based at Inspection Head, on a pontoon built with the help and cooperation of the West Tamar Council. The Windeward Bound Trust receives no regular government funding but has a number of dedicated sponsors, including News Limited, the Royal Australian Navy and companies such as Leading Edge Computers. This is the tenth year of the Windeward Bound's operation and the trust is investigating ways to secure the ship's operational future, calling on all advice and assistance. I am sure it is a project which will receive plenty of Tasmanian backing for the next decade of its work.
The trust is constantly innovative. It is presently working to extend its time at sea and promote new projects, including one involving high schools groups from Tasmania. The Windeward Bound is now undergoing structural repairs at Launceston but should be back at Inspection Head in a few weeks. There is no better way to isolate a group of young people and meld them into a team than on a ship. There is no better way to let them prove to themselves that they can overcome the rigours of seasickness, the discomfort of being cold and wet and a fear of heights than on board a square-rigged sailing ship off the coast of Tasmania. It is just a little bit surprising that there are not more projects like the Windeward Bound. But I am very happy to have such an idea based in my electorate of Rosevears.