Dr HAINES (Indi) (13:40): I rise in the House today to congratulate Axel Mero, from Mount Beauty, in my electorate of Indi.

Axel has been accepted into the Royal Ballet School in London and will jet off in just two weeks time. Through hard work, passion and perseverance Axel has secured this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity at just 15 years of age and from the tiny village of Mount Beauty. He has been dancing since he was two years old, starting classes in Mount Beauty, and, since he was 11, at the Projection Dance company in Wodonga. His mum Lena, dad Andy and sister Saskia have supported him in his dedication to dance. It’s an amazing feat to be offered a place in such a prestigious international dance school, but the work to get there is so much harder if you are a young man living in rural Australia. Outside of lockdown, Axel travels hours each way to attend his dance school four or five days a week, and now in lockdown he’s training all day under Zoom.

The Mount Beauty Lions Club and Mount Beauty District Community Bank have also contributed funds to help Axel on his journey. I was on the phone to him earlier today, and he is so excited. He is an extraordinary young man with talent and commitment. He has overcome all of the challenges that have come his way. Everyone in Indi wishes you all the best, Axel, and we cannot wait to see you performing on stage. Congratulations.

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