The annual Pollie Pedal has succeeded in raising over $700,000 for Carers Australia. This is a great achievement and I am pleased to have been involved in the ride. Tony Abbott founded the Pollie Pedal in 1998 with a group of enthusiastic riders and since then the event has grown to be a significant charity fundraiser.
This year, due to the commitments of the office, the Prime Minister was only able to take part in some of the ride. It was an honour to have Prime Minister Tony Abbott in Moree for the launch of Pollie Pedal a week ago. I was also pleased to be able to ride out of Mudgee on the last section of the Pollie Pedal within the Parkes Electorate alongside the Prime Minister.
The ride began in Moree over a week ago and travelled over 1000 km, much of which was through the Parkes Electorate with stops at Gravesend, Bingara, Coonabarabran, Binnaway, Mendooran, Dubbo, Goolma, Gulgong and Mudgee.
Pollie Pedal has been a great event not only because it has raised funds for Carers Australia, but because it has helped senior Ministers of the Federal Government to connect with carer organisations that they might not otherwise have come into contact with. This year both Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews and Assistant Minister for Social Services Senator Mitch Fifield have been able to meet with aged care facilities, disability groups and carer organisations along the ride.
Carers play a pivotal role in our social system particularly in relation to the aged, disability, palliative and community care sectors. There are more than 2.7 million unpaid carers in Australia which is around 12% of our population. It is very important to recognise the contribution that carers make to our society.
Carers provide emotional, social or financial support for family or friends who need assistance in daily life. Carers Australia is the national peak body representing Australia’s carers and advocates on behalf of carers in the formation of policy and service delivery.
The Pollie Pedal has given senior Ministers of the Government a significant insight into the issues that are particular to regional Australia. It has been beneficial for Minister Andrews and Minister Fifield to hear about problems that carer organisations are facing and also to hear about local solutions which are working very well.
I would like to thank everyone who came out in support of the ride and in support of Carers Australia.
For more information about Carers Australia and the support they offer please visit www.carersaustralia.com.au.