Published: 19 May 2016

Friday 20 May, 2016 - 10.30am

I am excited to be launching this amazing event. By way of background - The Colourathon is part of the bigger Project O being piloted by BIGhART. The Colourathon is a fundraising event, in which young women create colourful pictures continually for 24 hours, with each drawing sponsored.

As you will see, over the next 24 hours, local media, politicians, celebrities and valued volunteers will join the Colourathon creating an ‘event’.

Completed drawings will then be animated and set to a song by a well known songwriter, inspired locally, to raise awareness and support a crowd funding campaign. I am sure the intent of the Colourathon - that being to trigger a positive media campaign run by young women, to help change their community - will be a real success. 

The whole Project O is an amazing project and wonderful opportunity for the young women involved. It will no doubt give them a range of important and exciting opportunities and give them lifelong skills and confidence to make a difference in this world.

In fact, I would have loved to have had such an opportunity myself all those years ago when I was at high school! Whilst we have made some progress over the years since I went to school in gender equality, we still have a way to go.

Projects such as this will go a long way to addressing this and I congratulate all involved.

This Colourathon is a really significant part of Project O and I am really looking forward to supporting and participating in this project.

This project is raising funds to support the fight against the scourge of family violence and I encourage you to really get involved. We know that men need to be change leaders in this area.

Empowering young women in this way WILL lead to change and help lift individuals, families and communities out of poverty and disadvantage that family violence traps them in.

I have also given a lot of thought to the short, medium and long term value to and benefits for these amazing young women is and will be significant. There is much evidence to show that if women are empowered within families and communities, those families and communities thrive and everyone benefits.

Such involvement has the capacity to change their lives, the lives of their families and this whole community.

If we can empower and skill young women in our community, our community will benefit.

I actually gave some thought to what I would wear today and what colour pencils I would use to colour my bit in this project.

I have chosen the colours of women and suffrage - Green, white and violet (or purple). GWV - Green White Violet - Give Women the Vote.

These are the colours Michelle Payne, the first female jockey to win the Melbourne Cup wore last year as she made history.

These are the colours of many women focused organisations including the Australian College of Midwives of which I am a member.

As a mother and a midwife who has been intimately involved in the births of many of the young people in this region, I take a great interest in the young people in this region.

As a woman I passionately believe we need to continue to strive for gender equality - ensuring all young people and particularly young women, are given every opportunity and support to achieve their dreams and reach their full potential.

There is enormous potential within this community, much of it has been untapped. Much of it is within young women such as those involved in this project.

Supporting, nurturing and promoting the work these young women are doing and the actions they take in the future will have a positive impact on our community for many years. They will be followed by other young women who I am sure will be inspired by those before us.

I have met these young women a number of times and have been excited to watch them grow during their involvement in this project.

I really look forward to other opportunities to engage with you all and provide any support I can to see you reach your potential as you keep your eyes up, your vision broad and your dreams big.

To me there is very little I can contemplate that is more satisfying and exciting as seeing young people, particularly young women, achieve their full potential and realise that they can achieve so much and positively impact on the community in which they live.

It is up to all of us to support them and encourage them to do just that.

I thank all those involved in the project, especially Elspeth Blunt and Scott Rankin as well as all the others involved.

I also encourage you all to get involved and support these young women, this project and this community, actively and proactively. If you are concerned about your colouring in skills there is plenty of assistance here - just ask - get involved and make a contribution to the great future this community can have.

I thank you for the invitation to officially launch this exciting project as part of the larger Project O and say let the colouring begin!

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