Mr MATT KEAN (Hornsby—Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation) (19:39): Tonight I pay tributeto an organisation in Hornsby that hasstepped up to help our farmers in a big way. Berowra Apex has been responsible for organising a convoy of 14 cars and trailers to do a 16-hour round trip to deliver much-needed cash and supplies to farmers who are doing it really tough at the moment. What started with just five mates getting together and offering to drive donations up to the Country Women's Association of NSW organisations west of Cobar grew to 14 cars and trailers packed to the brim with donations and cash, which went straight to where it was needed most. Many of the donations also included notes of support from local families.
Berowra Apex, the organisation behind the wonderful Berowra Woodchop Festival, used the event to call on the community to make donations for the convoy. The community answered in a big way and each one of the 14 trailers overflowed with goods. They also raised more than $3,000 in cash donations at the festival. Berowra Apex was joined by the Sydney District 4WD Club and Ku-ring-gai Netball Association. Ros Roots from Ku-ring-gai Netball Association even put on a cow suit and collected $18,000 in cash donations, including a single donation of $6,000, as well as thousands of dollars in food and supplies.
The convoy was on the road for three days, and they always ensured that they stayed together along the way. They gave back to the small towns, staying in local accommodation, fuelling up in local towns and eating at the local pubs. They also purchased dog food and powdered milk for the lambs from the small towns they passed through. When the farmers are doing it tough so are the small towns, and these volunteers wanted to be able to help them out as well. Each member of the convoy had donated their own fuel, paid for their accommodation and food, and taken time off work. They are truly selfless volunteers. I take this opportunity to thank Nathan Gilbert and his team for their part in this convoy. I know this has made a big difference for those families who are doing it tough in the Central Western New South Wales region.
Berowra Apex became a fully fledged club in December 1977 and has been serving the community of Berowra and abroad ever since. The club first started by cleaning the seven barbeque areas on Berowra Waters Road. Members of the club would also assist elderly residents by doing odd jobs around the house and mowing their lawns. From these beginnings, giving back to the local community, Berowra Apex has grown to become a strong force in the local community. It is not a local event if Berowra Apex is not involved—its members put their hand up every time.
As I have mentioned, the Berowra Woodchop Festival is one of the biggest drawcards for those living in Berowra and in the surrounding suburbs. The day is packed with entertainment for the kids, market stalls from local businesses and delicious food. There are also woodchopping events throughout the day. Along with this event is the annual Movie Under The Stars, which is supported by Hornsby council. This event gives the community a chance to get together and enjoy a good movie and some dinner. Berowra Apex members are the kings of the barbecue. With their custom-built barbecue trailer, they answer the call for any community group wanting to run a barbecue. If local schools or charities need a barbecue they should remember that they can call Berowra Apex.
Berowra Apex is also involved with commemorative services for Anzac Day and Long Tan, along with the Red Shield Appeal and Daffodil Day.If one asks the kids of Berowra what is their favourite event though, they will say it is the Santa Run. Members of Berowra Apex go to collect Santa and they drive him through the streets of Berowra in a custom-built sleigh. This is a highlight for the local kids, who flood the streets for a glimpse of Santa. Also at Christmas time, Berowra Apex sells trees, makes hamper donations to the Salvation Army and attends the Asquith carols.
The Berowra Apex Club has also been responsible for some local infrastructure projects. It built the bike track in Berowra Anzac Park and the seating area at Warrina Street Oval. I know those watching the Berowra Wallabies thank the Apex club very much for the seating. Along with these community events, the group also supports Guide Dogs on the North Shore. An initiative that was started 70 years ago when Apex began, Berowra likes to continue this tradition through the local branch. It also helps to maintain The Shack in Perisher Valley, which gives families in need a snow adventure.
The drought relief convoy is not the first time that Berowra Apex has assisted in a national emergency. In 2009 it was on hand to support bushfire victims. Once people join Apex they are given their own nickname, but today I thank the men behind those nicknames for their dedication, hard work and unwavering support for our local community: Mark Giles, Ruard Gerritsen, Brad Waters, Keith Roscarel, Nathan Gilbert, Mick Smart, Gavin Street, Matthew Francis, Shane Foster, Shawn Fead, Barry Abrams, Jon Ward, Quan Chung, Mick Lynch, Charles Blaxland, Ron James,Richard Frewin, Geoffrey Harris, Stuart Montgomery, Greg Waters, David Cook, Terry Flippance and David Manning. Congratulations to each and every Berowra Apex member. They are truly local heroes and we salute them. I thank them sincerely not only on behalf of a very grateful community but also on behalf of those in the Central West, who have been the great beneficiaries of this wonderful generosity.
Mr ADAM MARSHALL (Northern Tablelands—Minister for Tourism and Major Events, and Assistant Minister for Skills) (19:44):I thank the Minister for Innovation and Better Regulation and member for Hornsby for bringing to the House such an erudite report of the activities of the Berowra Apex Club. I am glad that he highlighted the efforts of club members, particularly Nathan Gilbert in leading the convoy to assist farmers in the Central West near Cobar. Cobar is not in the electorate of Northern Tablelands but, on behalf of the farming families and communities in my region who are doing it tough—just like those in the Central West—I sincerely thank, through the member for Hornsby, the members of the Berowra Apex Club. That is a tremendous effort. Governments—both this Government, with more than $1 billion of assistance on the table, and the Federal Government—are doing their part, but it is wonderful to see communities from right across this State band together to support those in need, including members of the Berowra Apex Club. It is a tremendous effort to drive that far with a convey. It is a wonderful gesture and I am sure that it was very warmly welcomed.