Scouts Australia is delighted to announce that our new Chief Commissioner, Philip (Phil) Harrison, was invested by His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd) Governor-General of the Commonwealth Of Australia and Chief Scout of Australia, at a ceremony at Government House on the 21st of May 2018.
Scout Alexis Ngai of Birralee Scout Group, and Venturer Scout Bronte Sheaves, the ACT Branch Venturer Council Chair, assisted in the ceremony as Phil reaffirmed his Promise, watched by youth members from the ACT and NSW.
Major General John Pearn AO RFD, President of the Scouts Australia National Council travelled from Queensland to attend the ceremony, along with Chair of the Asia Pacific Region Mr Paul Parkinson OAM. They joined Her Excellency, Lady Cosgrove who attended and hosted the occasion. During the ceremony the Chief Scout thanked and acknowledged the contribution of the immediate past Chief Commissioner Mr Chris Bates who also attended.
Six Branches were represented by the Chief Commissioners from the ACT, NSW, Queensland, Western Australia and Victoria and the President of the Northern Territory Branch. The National General Manager also attended.
The appointment of Phil as Chief Commissioner of Australia follows his 40-year membership with the organisation, starting as a Cub Scout in 1978 and progressing through to Scout, Venturer Scout and Rover Scout sections in the Scouts Australia (NSW) Branch.
Also on the day, and prior to the ceremony, Phil was awarded his 30 year Adult Leadership certificate by Mr Daryl Scott, Chief Commissioner of Queensland Branch.
“Scouting offers amazing opportunities to young people in almost every Australian community,” says Phil. “From challenging outdoor group activities through to arts and technology, our programs foster inclusiveness among our diverse population.
“Scouts has seen our numbers grow, particularly in the past 10 years in Australia, as we continue to provide opportunities that are fun, adventurous, challenging and open to all. Next year over 10,000 Scouts will gather in Adelaide for the Australian Jamboree, to camp and take part in a huge range of adventurous activities. For many of them it will be the longest they have been away from their families and promises to be a memorable experience developing skills that will carry them through life.
Our volunteer Leaders are the backbone of these ambitious programs. They know, as I do, that the future of Australia depends on helping young people become the best possible leaders they can be.
Phil is passionate about the life-long learning and support Scouts builds into communities. “The youth of today constantly inspire me as they work through tough challenges in our changing society. My involvement with Scouting is richly rewarded by supporting young people to come together, develop their personal potential, and participate in their communities.”
Phil thanked outgoing Chief Commissioner Chris Bates.. “Chris’ contribution to leadership in Scouts Australia is impressive. He introduced some broad changes that drove much of our new growth and engagement in communities across the country.
“During that time Chris oversaw the critical stages of the review of the youth program of Scouts Australia, ensuring Scouting remains relevant for future generations of Australians so the benefits of Scouting continues to be accessible to all young people.”
Phil brings extensive expertise in youth leadership and learning through his long career as a professional teacher in secondary school, outdoor and environmental education centres and TAFE.