I thank the member for Canning for his motion today to place on record the valuable contribution that the Australian Defence Force Cadets make to youth development in our communities and, of course, the contribution of those cadets who go on to serve in our Defence Forces—as did the members for Canning and Eden-Monaro, who are speaking on this debate today. ADF Cadets provide an important pillar of support to many communities across Australia. Not only do they offer a means for young Australians to get involved in the Defence Force and give back to local communities; they also teach our young people invaluable lessons of self-reliance, discipline, leadership and teamwork. This not only improves the lives of young Australians by developing their capacity to contribute to society but ultimately benefits the nation as a whole.
The cadets have a proud history stretching back to 1866, when Australian schools began offering cadet programs for their students. Since then, the cadets have grown from strength to strength, transforming from the youth wing of the defence forces to a program of social and personal development for young men and women who wish to push themselves to become better citizens and acquire important life skills. They pass on the ethos and values that the ADF espouses to its servicemen and servicewomen—loyalty, integrity, professionalism, courage, innovation and teamwork. The three organisations of ADF cadets—Army, Navy and Air Force—have 25,000 enrolled cadets across 520 ADF locations in Australia. Cadets offer young Australians the ability to build their personal skills to give themselves the best shot at life and to help out the community in different ways.
I've had the pleasure to see firsthand how the cadets help out at local community events in my electorate and across the south-west of Brisbane. You can see the cadets proudly raising and lowering the flags on Anzac Day ceremonies, marching in parades and providing volunteering services at many, many local events. They help out at these occasions, sometimes for hours, standing in the hot sun to make sure that we as a nation can reflect on the sacrifices and commemorate the service of our defence forces in the past. Without the assistance of these young men and women, these ceremonies would not run as smoothly and, in some cases, would not be possible at all.
I'm lucky to have a number of groups in my electorate who contribute to these events, including the Springfield-Flinders View Air Force Cadets and the Forest Lake Squadron of the Australian Air League. I've attended many events these groups have held, including various parades celebrating women in aviation and acknowledging the sacrifices of our servicemen and servicewomen. I see how these cadets display the values of the ADF and the cadet program. Most recently, I was proud to support the Forest Lake air squadron through the Stronger Communities Programme grants to establish an aviation drone flight training facility for their students. While drone technology is expanding, it is still somewhat cost prohibitive for families, especially with drones that require a higher level of training. The project has allowed the Forest Lake Squadron of the Australian Air League to provide drone experience and training to their cadets, all of whom come from our local community. This project can provide the opportunity for the cadets to learn the practical skills necessary to effectively employ this technology, and also provides them with additional skills to contribute to our national STEM capabilities.
The Forest Lake air squadron are passionate about celebrating women in aviation and do so every year on International Women's Day. Today in the Royal Australian Air Force there are almost 3,000 women serving our country in many different and varied roles. I'm sure that with the support of groups like the Forest Lake air squadron there will be many more to come.
It's important to recognise the cadet leaders and staff, who give up their personal time to run these groups and squadrons and who mentor and shape the future generations of Australians. They are another perfect example of Australians working tirelessly to make sure the Australia we leave to our children is better than the one we received.
I look forward to other events that these groups also organise and will continue to offer my support to make sure that they continue to assist our community and represent the ADF in our community. Any Australian who has seen the service cadets provide the help they give in the community knows the value of this organisation. I'd like to thank all those who've been through the programs and all those who are currently enrolled. Your service to the community is extremely valuable, and I know that the community in my electorate and across the whole south-west of Brisbane is very grateful for all you do. I know the parliament will concur when I say that the work the cadets do is vital, and we will always offer our full support to the ADF to continue this program for the benefit of the youth today and the Australia of tomorrow.