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Wednesday, 21 March 2012
Page: 3846


Mr ALEXANDER (Bennelong) (09:54): I rise to speak about a great Australian charity event, sponsored by a great Bennelong business. The annual Pollie Pedal is a cycling event started in 1998 by several federal and state politicians, led by the Leader of the Opposition, Tony Abbott. The purpose of Pollie Pedal is to raise money for a variety of charities whilst at the same time providing the opportunity for many small regional communities to meet with members of parliament. The Pollie Pedal has raised nearly $2 million for organisations such as the Poche Centre for Indigenous Health, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Ronald McDonald House, Youth Insearch and the Paralympic Games, as well as funding towards medical research into childhood leukaemia, diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer.

Pollie Pedal 2012 will commence this Sunday in Geelong and conclude in Canberra one week later. Funds will be raised for Carers Australia, the national peak body representing Australia's 2.6 million carers. In the Bennelong electorate there are 2,300 recipients of carers allowance, yet thousands more provide care to the people they love without recognition or financial support.

The primary sponsor of Pollie Pedal is Amgen, the multinational biotechnology company that has its Australian headquarters in North Ryde. I congratulate Amgen's Managing Director, Ian Thompson, and Executive Medical Director, Dr Mark Tennyson, for their unflinching generosity and support for these great causes, and also the many community programs they run in and around Bennelong. I will be delighted to visit Amgen on Friday to launch the Pollie Pedal coinciding with the National Ride to School Day. I will also be visiting Meadowbank Primary School to celebrate these two events and promote messages of health, fitness and preventative medicine.

Amgen employ approximately 17,000 people worldwide, including 160 people in Australia, marketing eight products and generating domestic revenue of around $210 million. Amgen Australia invests between $30 million and $35 million in local research and development each year, which is amongst the highest contributing countries to clinical trial activity across Amgen's divisions worldwide. Just last year Amgen Australia conducted 74 different clinical studies at over 390 sites involving about 1,200 patients trialling their innovative medicines.

With a nod towards yesterday's condolence motion for Jim Stynes, Amgen has currently announced a world's first clinical trial to treat a form of brain cancer known as AMG 595. Approximately 1,400 Australians are diagnosed with malignant primary brain tumours each year, a statistic that brings us back to the dire need for carers in our society and the generous commitment from both Amgen and the Pollie Pedal to raise money and awareness for this great issue.