SUICIDE PREVENTION

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS (15:43): It was a great privilege to speak at the conclusion of the moving Ski for Life Memorial Ceremony at Cadell Training Centre on Saturday 7 March this year. Soon after the ceremony, the 23 teams participating in the eighth annual event headed off to Cobdogla on the mighty River Murray. It was excellent to see the continuing support for Ski for Life from StandBy Support After Suicide and Silent Ripples, including the Premier's Council on Suicide Prevention members Janet Kuys and Tracey Wanganeen. Prior to the ceremony, a great breakfast was served by members of the Cadell Bowling Club and supporters from the local community.

Ski for Life exists with purpose and passion for social change when it comes to health, wellbeing and suicide prevention. It is a group of people committed to raising awareness and promoting these issues by hosting the annual Ski for Life waterski relay over the March long weekend in South Australia. The waterskiing teams share compassion and empathy for those impacted by suicide, mental health and overall wellbeing struggles, with most having a story of their own to tell.

Along with waterskiing 456 kilometres between Murray Bridge and Renmark in three days, the teams raise funds in order to facilitate a grant process to fund and support community initiatives and programs that raise awareness, provide support and have a focus on mental health, wellbeing and suicide prevention. The Ski for Life grants program is open all year round, with applications encouraged for programs and projects which align with the group's mission. To find out more about that, members can visit www.skiforlife.com.au for more information.

Day one, Friday 6 March, kicked off at Sturt Reserve, Murray Bridge, with the teams assembled for breakfast and the official opening of the event by the member for Hammond in another place, Mr Adrian Pederick. Great support was provided for that breakfast and opening event by the Rotary Club of Mobilong and the Murray Bridge suicide prevention network. The day saw 207 kilometres covered, ending at the Morgan Riverside Caravan Park after stops at Younghusband, Mannum and Swan Reach, where they were greeted by the member for Chaffey, the Hon. Tim Whetstone, and Tanya Malins and Karen McColl from my office.

After the ceremony at Cadell on the Saturday morning, which I referred to earlier, the teams skied on to Waikerie and finished up at the Cobdogla Club, where, I understand, significant celebrations of day two took place. On day three, Sunday 8 March, the group headed to Loxton, Martin’s Bend near Berri, and finished with a grand finale at Renmark. I would like to indicate a huge congratulations to all the teams and people involved, who raised around $80,000 during this year’s event. I would particularly like to pay tribute to Jane Kellock from Farrell Flat and her significant team of voluntary organisers of this fabulous event.

I first became involved with Ski for Life through the efforts of its founder, the late Bill Stockman. Bill was a great campaigner for mental health and suicide prevention, particularly among men and among farmers but right across the board. I indicate also that I am greatly thankful for the support from the Department for Correctional Services for making available river frontage at the Cadell Training Centre—it is not normally open to the public—for the ceremony that is held there every year. I think that reflects the very good work that comes out of the issues group on suicide, which gets all the agencies working in these efforts. Once again, I would just like to commend to the chamber all the people who contribute to Ski for Life as a wonderful community organisation.


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