Hills Relay for Life 2023

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell) (10:58): It's a pleasure to rise and speak about the 22nd annual Cancer Council Hills Relay for Life, which was held this weekend, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21 May, in my electorate of Mitchell at the Castle Hill Showground. It's a privilege for me to have attended the last 15 years with a team, along with thousands of others from my community. I'm told by the Cancer Council that the Hills Relay for Life is probably the largest in Australia and that the relay that has raised the most money, which is a very significant achievement from the Mitchell community.

Obviously Relays for Life are to recognise and celebrate local cancer survivors, patients, their carers and to honour and remember everyone who's been lost to cancer and to raise that vital money for research and funds in the ongoing progress that we are all making as humans against an insidious disease that takes so many. This year it was a privilege to have about a hundred people on my team and to raise a couple of thousand dollars, but it was more important to see that over the last 22 years we've now reached over $5 million just from this one relay. This year we reached $300,000 as a community for the Cancer Council. It's a great privilege to represent such a generous and charitable community, and this relay, being one of the largest—if not the largest—in Australia, is a great source of pride to me and a great community for me to be involved in.

The Hills has some of the highest voluntary rates of anywhere in the country. We still have that great community spirit. Even post COVID, people are getting back into community volunteering. I note the state government are promoting volunteering again, and I support their endeavours to get on board and get people out volunteering and back to that sense of community.

This relay doesn't come together overnight. I really want to congratulate the Hills relay committee. They prepare almost all year round, with nine months of intense effort at the Castle Hill Showground. I want to congratulate and thank the Hills Relay For Life volunteer committee. They are all volunteers. There's the chair, Lisa Carruthers, Michelle Patterson, Jaime Berglin, David Hand, Lynne Pike, Ruth Didsbury, Alison Harper, Katie Didsbury, Bryan Mullan, Feona Hennes, Jenny Glover, Karen Cunningham, Renae Dean, Michelle Byrne, Denise Daynes, Bev Jordan, Angela Pike and honorary committee members Jacqueline and Victoria Lee. They show fantastic dedication. That's a large team I just mentioned, but there are even more volunteers behind them. To raise $5 million in the last 15 years is such an important effort. We heard from the researchers and the people who benefit from that money on the work that they do and the progress that they've made in fighting this insidious disease.

I want to say big thankyou to everyone, the 2,000 participants on the weekend. Millions of dollars were raised. We have great community spirit and a really great institution. I look forward to participating in this for many, many years to come to make sure we are raising that vital money and supporting all the victims and survivors of this insidious disease and their carers.