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Monday, 22 August 2011
Page: 8862


Mr VASTA (Bonner) (21:50): I rise tonight to inform the House of my office's idea to raise extra funds for the victims of the flood in Brisbane. As I have stated before, after the flood that so devastated the great city of Brisbane, my office and I wanted to do something special to raise money for the victims of the flood and to support the city of Brisbane. Like many fellow Brisbane residents, I was so impressed with how the Brisbane City Council under Campbell Newman rose to the challenge, mobilising thousands of volunteers to put Brisbane back together. As such the Lord Mayor's Community Disaster Relief Appeal Fund was the obvious benefactor for this great initiative.

Knowing that so many people across Brisbane, particularly on the bayside, have an appreciation for and an affinity with fishing, my electorate of Bonner is also the proud home of Wilson Fishing Rods, Australia's premier fishing rod manufacturer. As such, I decided to contact Wilson to see if they would like to donate five very special fishing rods, rods that are unique, specially made for this special purpose, and which would also fetch a premium price to aid in the flood relief.

The Alvey fishing reel company is a historic, Brisbane based reel manufacturer that has been in business for more than 90 years. It was a victim of the 1974 Brisbane flood. I felt very confident that they would also do all they could to help, so I contacted Mr Bruce Alvey to see whether he would join with me and Wilson rods in a special partnership to manufacture five distinctive fishing reels and create a limited edition fishing rod and reel combination, the proceeds of which would be donated to the flood recovery fund.

I was delighted that both these Brisbane based companies were enthusiastic in producing a unique fishing rod and reel combination, one that we all knew would appeal to a collector, regardless of whether or not they liked fishing. The final specification of the Alvey fishing reel is made of Huon pine that is over 1,000 years old. It is turned by a master craftsman and features a unique laser-cut design on the stainless steel face of the reel. The reels are then adorned with original 1950s Alvey badges that were salvaged from the 1974 floods from where the original Alvey fishing factory was situated in St Lucia, Brisbane. These fishing rods are proudly Brisbane made and are engraved by Brisbane's premier engravers, John Hammond and his 2IC Duncan Vickers, who have very generously donated their master engraving on these exclusive numbered fishing reels.

I sold three of these unique pieces but, given that the flood had been and gone and so many people had given so generously to other appeals, I wondered if the last two reels would fetch such a premium price. Any doubts were truly unfounded. While I spoke at one of my local Rotary meetings, I informed the audience of this great opportunity to give back and receive simultaneously. To my surprise, after the speech a local businessman came to me and said that he would immediately write out a $2,500 cheque to secure one. I was in a quandary about what to do with the last rod and reel and decided to leave it with Toni, the lovely businesswoman who runs the Water Tower Bait and Tackle Shop in Manly. Toni happened to mention the rod and reel to her electrician, who immediately wanted to buy the last combination, sight unseen, for another $2,500. The only thing I regret is that we did not have more to sell. Campbell Newman said that the flood recovery would be a marathon, not a sprint; I am happy to have completed our leg of this marathon and at the end donate just over $10,000 towards the Brisbane flood recovery.

The Bonner office could not have done this alone. I would like to thank Toni, Doug Barton, a man who gives so much to the bayside community, Greg Willems, Paul Vincent, Steve Taylor and Mark Chapman—a man with a big heart for his community—for their outstanding generosity and support in doing their bit to help rebuild our wonderful city and get our fellow Brisbanites back on their feet. The great news is that you are all now the proud owners of a unique heirloom.