13 Nov | '2023
Today I want to talk about what it is that young people really need to thrive—in particular, what young men need to thrive—and to talk about an organisation in my electorate of Moncrieff on the Gold Coast, in the suburb of Southport. There is an organisation there called MOB Academy, Men of Business. It was originally founded by a man, who I’ll get to, who supported young men in a park with a physical fitness program. He had an idea of starting an academy that supports young men—wraps around them, helps them with their mental health challenges and concerns, listens to them and cares about them—and builds better men. In fact, this organisation has built over 450 better men. The way they do it is they have volunteers across their organisation, many of whom stand at the front door every morning, shake the hands of the young men entering their establishment, look them in the eye and ask them how they are. Many of the young men that attend MOB Academy in Southport are in fact homeless. This organisation helps them with life skills, helps them with a physical fitness program and helps them get their drivers licence. They have their own driving school at MOB Academy in Southport.
I’m very proud and pleased to tell this place that the man who founded it along with his partner, Jason Sessarago, has just been named Queensland Australian of the Year. Marco Renai is the rock in my community for young men. He’s teaching them how to create a sense of positivity. He’s giving them a sense of hope for their future. They are in their communities, in their families, being better men, and what that does is build a much safer and much happier community. The organisation is for at-risk young men, and it has been extraordinarily successful and what it’s done.
I have visited MOB Academy since it was built and I bought a brick myself in support of MOB Academy. I have taken the shadow minister for education and also the Leader of the Opposition to MOB Academy in Southport to show them the wonderful work that Marco Renai and his team at MOB Academy do for young Gold Coast boys. Building better men is what they do. Congratulations to the whole team at MOB Academy for making such a big difference in the lives of the Gold Coast’s young men.