Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (13:45): Despite the heavy rain last weekend, 6,000 people lined the streets of the Illawarra, waving banners and cheering on the 755 trucks and 860 motorbikes taking part in the annual Camp Quality Convoy fundraiser. Starting at Illawarra Coal's West Cliff Colliery on Appin Rd, the trucks and bikes follow a route down the mountain, through southern Illawarra and finish at Croome Road in Albion Park Rail in my electorate of Throsby.
The convoy is now in its ninth year and has raised more than $4 million dollars over this time. This sum includes public donations; however, the majority of the money is raised through competitive bidding wars between local companies for the privilege of being the lead vehicle in the pack of over a thousand.
The event generated over $1 million dollars last year alone, but it looks to eclipse this record in 2013, with the lead truck from Coastal Windows in Albion Park donating a whopping $114,000. All proceeds go to Camp Quality, who help more than one in three kids battling cancer in Australia. These are kids like seven-year-old Ruby Marriott, who lives in Mount Warrigal, in my electorate of Throsby. Ruby has been battling leukaemia since she was 4½. Fortunately, she is now in remission but will never forget the fun and games and ability to make her feel 'normal' that Camp Quality gave her during some of her toughest hours.
I commend the generosity of the Illawarra community and local initiatives like the convoy—without which, charities like Camp Quality could not keep providing services for children like Ruby.