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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13354

Mr TEHAN (Wannon) (21:25): I rise tonight to talk about a wonderful event that I attended on the weekend in Maryborough. It is called the RACV Energy Breakthrough. It is a terrific event where we see thousands of students gather in Maryborough to test their skills and see whether they can design vehicles which will provide opportunities for us to use the innovation, the science and the technology to get energy breakthroughs. The students come from across the state to design these vehicles, and they are vehicles of different types, dependent on the category in which they are entering. The students participate in teams of eight. There can be teams of four girls and four boys or sometimes all male or sometimes predominantly female crews. There are also teachers that help with the design and the engineering.

The ultimate contest is a 24-hour race. The students go to all sorts of efforts to be competitive in these races. They will usually race in the vehicles for periods of an hour. They will then do a pit stop and another student will jump in the car, the first student will get out and have an ice bath, a massage and fluid intake and then make sure that they have the proper nutrition into them. As the member for Gippsland, who is in the chamber, would know, it is like running and preparing for a marathon—24 hours of absolute activity. At the end of it, the teams pick up their vehicles and parade down the straight. The joy on their faces from what they have achieved is there for all to see.

I had the privilege of being able to go behind the scenes and behind the pits. I talked to the local Terang College students about the preparation that they had made, how they had been up there for four days and how they had camped there. There was a sea of tents throughout Maryborough; the population doubles as a result of this event. It won Victoria's best tourism event two years in a row. It was going for a third time, a triple award-winning feat, but was, sadly, pipped by another wonderful tourism event—in my electorate, actually—Fun4Kids. RACV Energy Breakthrough ended up coming second this year. It is quite extraordinary.

I must congratulate the RACV for their sponsorship of this event and Country Education Project, CEP, who started this event 25 years ago, and the RACV have come on board. I also congratulate the Central Goldfields Shire—and I was lucky enough to be with the mayor on Saturday—for the way that they have ensured the success of the event. Most importantly, I want to pay tribute to the volunteers who make this such a wonderful event. The volunteers work tirelessly for four days to ensure its success. That helps the community, because obviously they are able to fundraise for the local community and for their local organisation but also through the joy that it brings to the children.

If we are to ensure that our children understand that, through engineering, through innovation and through science, they can have careers for the future, it is hands-on practical events like this which will demonstrate to them that there is a future in this type of endeavour. I know someone like yourself, Mr Speaker, a motoring enthusiast, would love to see the way the kids get in and tinker with their machines to get that last second of greater efficiency out of them, so that, over 24 hours, those seconds add up to minutes and help them in trying to win this race.

I have to say that it was uplifting to be there and it was uplifting to see thousands of students from across the state, across the nation and internationally participate in this event. It is a landmark event for Victoria of which we all should be proud.

The SPEAKER: It being 9.30 pm, the debate is interrupted.

House adjourned at 21:30