Tuesday, 19 June 2012
Griffith Electorate: Community Organisations
Community organisations are the lifeblood of Australian society. They cause us to remember that we are not just individuals, we are not just families; we are part of a wider social fabric upon whom we need to draw from time to time. Across my community on Brisbane's south-side, I have some 62 schools—including 38 primary schools, 20 high schools—all supported by very active P&Cs and P&Fs. There are also more than 450 community groups in my local community, including environmental groups; charities, including cancer support groups; chaplaincy programs; sporting clubs; and many others. Many schools and community organisations need to raise money throughout the year in order to provide updated facilities and services to their students and those who rely upon their services.
Wherever I can, as the local member, I seek to help our local schools and community groups with fundraising activities. One way in which I found to be particularly helpful over the years is through my bicycles for kids program, referred to locally as the Rudd bike program. Over the last 14 years, it has been my privilege and pleasure to have donated hundreds of bicycles to south-side schools and community groups to assist in their fundraising. I am advised that these bikes have helped raise more than $600,000 for schools and community organisations across Brisbane's south-side. The first ever bike was donated to the Gateway refugee support centre. This terrific organisation directly supports newly arrived migrants in our local area by providing food hampers, welcome packs, accommodation and opportunities to participate in local community life.
Back in 2005, I donated my 250th bicycle to Epilepsy Queensland. In 2008, the St James Primary School in Coorparoo received my 500th bicycle in the bicycles for kids program. Last year, Morningside State School was the recipient of the 750th bike and on Sunday, I was proud to donate my 800th bicycle to the St Thomas Primary School annual fete at Camp Hill. Some of the schools tell me that these bikes can raise up to $1,500 each for much-needed projects and resources through raffling et cetera, for the purchase of the things as basic as electronic whiteboards and air conditioning units for classrooms. But it is not just the financial difference that this program can make and has made to some of our local community groups, P&Cs and P&Fs. I recently heard about a young boy called Tom from St Josephs' Primary School at Kangaroo Point. He was the winner of Rudd bike No. 776. He won the bike, then thought for a moment before saying to his family, 'I do not need this bike. I have already got one.' So what did he do? Of his own volition, Tom had his bike delivered to the Romero Centre—a terrific local organisation that supports newly-arrived migrants—so that refugee kids could use the bike and have it as a gift. I am proud of this program.