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Girls Grammar Attends the Central Queensland Order of Australia Luncheon

Central Queensland Order of Australia Luncheon Highlights Importance of Recognition and Early Intervention in Reducing Youth Crime

Head Girls, Megan Clark and Hadasshah Akop

On Wednesday, 31 May, the Head Girls and I had the privilege of attending the annual Central Queensland Order of Australia Luncheon. The event shed light on the significance of the Order of Australia and emphasised the importance of recognising individuals who go above and beyond in serving their community, state, or country.

The luncheon commenced with an opening speech by Ronda Nix, the Queensland Chair of the Order of Australia Association. Mrs Nix highlighted that there is still limited awareness about the award and its purpose. She emphasised that the Order of Australia is the highest civilian honour an Australian can receive, and it is awarded to individuals who demonstrate exceptional dedication and service to humanity or their country. Nominees are evaluated based on their years of service, and receiving the Order of Australia is a national recognition of outstanding citizenship.

Mrs Nix referred to a speech by the Governor General earlier this year, in which he lamented the lack of nominations due to the limited knowledge about the award. She urged colleagues and community members to recognise the remarkable work being done by those around us and nominate them for the Order of Australia. Information about the nomination process can be found on the Governor General of the Commonwealth of Australia website at

The luncheon's guest speaker was E. Professor Ross Homel AO, the Foundation Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Griffith University in Brisbane. Professor Homel is renowned for his extensive research on crime prevention, violence reduction, and the promotion of positive development and well-being for children and young people in socially disadvantaged communities. He has received numerous awards, including the Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) in January 2008, for his significant contributions to education and criminology research.

Professor Homel's thought-provoking presentation focused on his research findings and outlined four key principles based on decades of research to reduce youth crime. The principles are as follows:

1. Community-controlled strategies and initiatives sustained through government funding.

2. Guidance from reliable community data on risk and protective factors, reported by young people themselves, to guide community priorities and initiatives.

3. Implementation of evidence-based and culturally appropriate programs that meet the needs of the community.

4. Collaboration among all community organisations to work together toward a common goal, rather than relying on a single organisation to effect change.

Professor Homel challenged the audience to rethink the role of early years teachers in reducing youth crime. He emphasised that teachers specialised in educating young students play a crucial frontline role. Sharing the results of his research, he highlighted the significant reduction in classroom behaviour issues throughout primary and secondary school years when children engaged in a two-year early years communication program targeting expressive and receptive language skills. This example underscores the importance of early intervention and demonstrates that improved classroom behaviour is an indicator of reduced youth crime and criminal behaviour.

While teachers have an essential role to play, Professor Homel emphasised that parents are critical, and their absence can be a risk factor for youth crime. He presented evidence-based practices and years of research that emphasised the proactive approaches communities can take to reduce crime, specifically through the 'Communities that Care' program. However, he emphasised that addressing the issue requires government funding.

The luncheon provided valuable insights into the significance of the Order of Australia and the potential for early intervention in reducing youth crime. It served as a reminder for us to recognise and nominate those around us who are making extraordinary contributions to our community. By implementing evidence-based strategies and collaborating as a community, we can work towards a safer and more harmonious society.

Kara Krehlik




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