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Monday, 9 November 2015
Page: 12498

Mrs BRONWYN BISHOP (Mackellar) (21:14): Much has been said in this chamber in recent times about the success of a firm, Blackmores, which is based in my electorate. It is quite a remarkable firm in that it is a family dynasty, where the current chairman, Marcus Blackmore, has built on the strength of his father and his grandfather before him. There are many firms that have been successful in this country, but the thing that strikes me so much about Blackmores is that it remains fundamentally connected to its community.

On Saturday, 31 October, I had the privilege of taking part in an open day at their campus in support of health, environment and community organisations. Their idea was to have a really lovely campus, which encompasses a splendid, contemporary building, where manufacturing and packaging takes place, set in beautiful gardens of native plants—an environment which is very conducive to having a restful soul, if you like, was in keeping with the idea of complementary medicine.

There were stalls set up throughout the gardens, and more than 4,000 people attended. Some of the community organisations with stalls included Northern Beaches Interchange, Community Care Northern Beaches, the Be Centre, the Burdekin Association, Bear Cottage—which, of course, is for terminally-ill children, Bilgola Surf Life Saving Club, the Exodus Foundation, Avalon Computer Pals for seniors, and the local councils. Health, wellbeing and the environment were the major themes, with a focus on nutrition, kids and teen health, and active living and healthy ageing, while environment groups showcased recycling initiatives, productive gardens, medicinal plants, bush and wildlife care. All of this showcased the activity of volunteers in my electorate of Mackellar. We are very proud of the fact that, in my electorate, we seem to have a higher than average, if not the highest of any electorate, of people per head who volunteer their services, and do it for an altruistic reason.

There was also entertainment and speeches. Marcus Blackmore, as chairman of the board, welcomed everyone in a most enthusiastic but genuinely caring and interactive way. He was followed by the CEO, Christine Holgate, who was recently named in the list of 100 most influential women in Australia. The Reverend Bill Crews was, as always, a blessing. The Exodus Foundation, which I mentioned earlier, in fact, provided the food for which the 4,000 people were in queues to enjoy. This is the food that they normally prepare for the homeless people of Sydney. They provide a kitchen every day, and a van that provides people with meals that they otherwise would not have. It is always a delight to have Bill with us.

Visitors were able to tour the factory and the gardens, and enjoy performances from the Narrabeen North Public School band and the Pittwater High School Senior strings ensemble. There were many other schools and individual groups that took part, but the whole thing was an interactive exchange between Blackmores—a firm that provides so many products that the Australian public welcomes—and the community, because that is the sort firm that it is, and that is the sort of person that Marcus Blackmore is.

So, I simply say to them: congratulations on your continued involvement with our community, as well as being a hugely successful business. It is one that is exporting into Asia and making use of the new free trade agreements. Indeed, Christine Holgate has become the new chair of the Australia-ASEAN Business Council. It is truly a business with a heart, and I am very proud to have it in my electorate.