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Tasmanian Government School students from Years 5 to 12 have taken part in the What Matters? Tasmania writing competition, and today I had the great pleasure of presenting the winners and runners up with their awards.

The competition presented by the Whitlam Institute (within the University of NSW) and the Tasmanian Department of Education encourages students to write about the issues that are important to them and how they can make a difference.

Prizes are awarded in four categories: Years 5/6, 7/8, 9/10 and 11/12, with winners in each category receiving a $350 cash prize and runners-up $200. All winning entries are published online on the Department’s website and in print.

Each category winner is invited to participate in a Young Writers’ Forum run by The Writing Workshop, and to attend the NSW and ACT competition Awards Ceremony in Sydney during September this year.

Students were asked to write an opinion about an issue or matter of significance to them in society today and why, including:

• What actions do they think should be taken to build a better society;

• What would they change if they could;

• What do they want other people to care about?


Competitions such as these encourage the development and strengthening of literacy and communication skills with the consolidation of creative and persuasive writing skills, all of which are greatly valued in work and life.


It is a fantastic way for our students to explore current issues, discuss them and make informed commentary on matters affecting them which they have done with great talent, energy and enthusiasm.


From personal accounts through to global issues, the writing celebrated at these awards offers great insight into what matters most to the next generation of Tasmanians.


I personally congratulate the Whitlam Institute and all Government schools for encouraging students to participate in this important writing competition.


What Matters? Tasmanian Awards 2017


Prize winners:


Year 5/6

Winner: Maya Harrington, Princes Street Primary School

Runner up: Anonymous, South Hobart Primary School


Year 7/8

Winner: Aasia Shigri, Ogilvie High School

Runner up: Kiya Beveridge, Reece High School


Year 9/10

Winner: Maryam Ali, Queechy High School

Runner up: Kerry Shilcock, Huonville High School


Year 11/12

Winner: Matti Schwarzi, Hobart College

Runner up: Zoe Wunder, Hellyer College