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Remarks at Bear Cottage: Speech, Manly, New South Wales

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Remarks at Bear Cottage, Manly, New South Wales September 01, 2013


It’s good to be here at Bear Cottage. Bear Cottage is an iconic local facility. Bear Cottage does such wonderful work for families and for some of the most needy and vulnerable children in our society. Bear Cottage has been a much loved part of this area and

a much loved part of the New South Wales health scene since it was first established more than a decade ago here in Manly on the grounds of what was St Patrick’s college.

Everyone in Manly loves Bear Cottage and thousands of local people including our Mayor Jean Hay who is with us today and

David Hay, her husband did everything they could to bring this beautiful and tranquil place to fruition. So, it is an honour to be here on Father’s Day. Father’s Day is special for families and there are hundreds and hundreds of families in this district and right

around Sydney and New South Wales who have benefited from the work that Bear Cottage has done over the last decade or more.

The interesting thing is that the work of Bear Cottage has been almost entirely privately funded. About 600 families have benefited

from Bear Cottage’s services over the last decade. Just last year alone, some 200 sick children including 16 who were dying enjoyed the benefits of Bear Cottage and the families received the benefits of Bear Cottage, but it was almost entirely done

through private funding. I know the people associated with Bear Cottage have been saying for a long time that there ought to be more assistance for this work and I understand that the New South Wales Government is listening carefully to those pleas. But

what I am very happy to announce today is that if there is a change of government in Canberra next Saturday, that an incoming Coalition government will make available $2 million to Bear Cottage so that its work can continue and be improved.

Over the years as a local Member, I’ve tried to do what I can in a personal capacity for Bear Cottage. In 1998 and again in 2005,

Bear Cottage was a beneficiary of the Pollie Pedal charity bike ride. Back in 2006 when we had a programme to help people and help organisations helping people with life limiting illnesses, there was a modest grant made from the federal Government towards

Bear Cottage. This is a marvellous institution. It does extraordinary work. Every family and child who comes to this institution would be just so incredibly grateful. It’s only right and proper that a grateful nation should do what it can to help a place like Bear

Cottage to continue to thrive. So that’s what we’re doing.

This builds on the commitment that I’m pleased to say both sides of federal politics were able to make to Hummingbird House in Brisbane earlier in this campaign. Hummingbird House should it go ahead as I think it will now, will be just the third hospice for

sick children in this country. Twenty three million Australians have at the moment just two hospices for children and with Hummingbird House, it will be three. By contrast, the United Kingdom with a population of some 63 million, has almost 50

hospices for children. So this is one respect in which the old country has done better than us and I hope that in the years ahead we can improve in this area and certainly Bear Cottage is a marvelous model with so many lessons to teach other places and so

many lessons to teach our society.

So, it is a real thrill to be here. I just want to say how honoured all the Abbott’s are to be here today, how proud we are of the work that the staff of Bear Cottage do, how in awe of the Bear Cottage parents we are and how full of love we are for the Bear Cottage

children on this day. I think that as a father myself it’s nice to be able to do something like this on Father’s Day.

Thank you.


© Tony Abbott MHR 2010 | Authorised by Tony Abbott MHR, Level 2, 17 Sydney Rd, Manly NSW 2095

Tony Abbott Federal Member for Warringah | Leader of the Opposition

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