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Monday, 26 November 2012
Page: 13257

Mr MORRISON (Cook) (22:11): Five years ago the Cook Community Classic, which I am proud to serve as ongoing patron, was born. The combined surf carnival and community fair at Cronulla Beach and Park is not only a great family event but also it gives local partner charities a platform for fundraising and raising awareness in our community. Indeed, many local charities in the shire have come to rely on the classic as their primary fundraising vehicle and the success of the concept is revealed in the many new charities and community organisations that have signed on, including local parents and citizens groups from local schools.

Since its fledgling first steps at North Cronulla in 2008 the classic has become a firm fixture on the shire calendar. Thousands of families have enjoyed a great day out at the combined surf carnival and community fair. Together over the last five years, and with the strong support of our local Bate Bay surf clubs and the Cronulla Southern District Surf Life Saving Council, who are partners in this event, we have raised almost $300,000 net to support our local charities and local community organisations. This is a figure of which we are very proud. It is a great tribute to the community spirit of those who live in the shire and the shire community, where helping one's neighbour is not a slogan; it is a way of life.

The 2012 classic was another great success. Blessed with perfect weather last Sunday week, crowds flocked down to Cronulla Beach and Park to enjoy the family atmosphere of the community fair and beach events. This year's event began with the 2012 Cook Classic Pollie Paddle, which was held on the waters of beautiful Port Hacking, in September. In less than ideal conditions I was joined by the honourable member for Barton and the member for Hughes in battling the swell to raise around $20,000 in cash and donations for the Sylvanvale Foundation. I extend my gratitude particularly to the members for Barton and Hughes for their support.

This is just the second year of the beach soccer tournament. It attracted 15 teams from as far away as the South Coast, with Wollongong Beach Soccer Club taking out the $500 first prize. The one-kilometre and two-kilometre swims saw increased participation, with close to 200 swimmers taking part. The battle on the beach between our four Bate Bay surf life saving clubs in a series of board, running and swim relays was hard fought and ended with North Cronulla taking out the Bill Singleton Trophy, ahead of Cronulla. It was great to see that the clubs battled it out this year amongst their local nippers, rather than the senior clubs. It was great to have all the parents and families joining in what was a great day of competition.

It was my privilege to present the trophy to the North Cronulla team. I was also humbled by the presentation the Bate Bay clubs made to me to celebrate the classic's fifth anniversary. I particularly want to thank the club presidents—Anita Pryke, from Wanda; Rob Short, from Cronulla; Peter Carney, Elouera; and Brian Ferguson, representing North Cronulla, who is a former president of the club and has been with the Cook Community Classic since its foundation—for their great support. I also want to thank Julie Adams, who has worked incredibly hard with me and with everybody who has been involved in establishing the event and making sure that it is the success it is today. She has done a tremendous job.

Our Bate Bay surf clubs selflessly host the classic every year. It is a demonstration not only of the deep commitment they have in protecting us on our beaches every summer but also of the wider support they provide to the shire community. Our charity partners this year included Jacaranda Cottage, the Lioness Club of Sutherland Shire, the Parkinson's Support Group, the Endeavour Seniors Computer Club, the Australian Mitochondrial Disease Foundation, Solace and the St George & Sutherland Community College. They will all share in the significant benefits of the classic's fundraising vehicle to support their ongoing efforts to make the shire an even better place to live and raise a family.

The Cook classic has not only proved to be a great event to raise funds and awareness for the community organisations that support us all year round; it is also another great celebration of our great shire community. Thanks to everyone who came down this year to soak up the fantastic family atmosphere or who took part in the surf club carnival, the beach soccer or the community swims. I thank the supporters of the event, without whom it would not be possible, particularly IMB—it is known as the IMB Cook Community Classic—as well as the new sponsors, the Olsens Foundation and the St George & Sutherland Shire Leader. I also want to thank Qantas, who have been the mainstay of the raffle, for which in excess of 20,000 tickets are sold within the shire every single year.

We have come a long way in five years. With the continued support of our Bate Bay surf clubs, our generous sponsors and the backing of our shire community, the benefits of this wonderful community event will be felt for many years to come. In the spirit of this, we also look forward to the Cook Community Awards this Saturday, at which we will be honouring the selfless service of those heroes who form part of the many great community organisations in the shire.