Press Conference, Kings Park, Perth

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The Hon Matt Keogh MP

Minister for Defence Personnel

Minister for Veterans’ Affairs

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Stephanie Mathews on 0407 034 485

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21 July 2023

SUBJECTS: Pollie Pedal Launch 

ANDREW HASTIE, SHADOW DEFENCE MINISTER: My name is Andrew Hastie, the Federal Member for Canning here in Western Australia. And it's great to see you all here at Kings Park this morning for the launch of the 2023 Pollie Pedal. With me, I've got a number of colleagues. We have the Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor, all the way from New South Wales. We have the Minister for Veteran Affairs, Matt Keogh, who's also a representative here in Western Australia. We have Kate Chaney, the Member for Curtin. We have Senator Matt O'Sullivan, Senator for WA, we have Steve Martin MLC from the Ag Region here. And we have Mr. Brent Sangster, who is the Chairman of the Wandering Warriors, the charity that we will be supporting this year. This is a great ride that we do every single year. And this year, we are supporting veterans as they transition out the Defence force into civilian life through the charity Wandering Warriors, which is affiliated with the Special Air Service here in Perth. It's also great to have a few other riders from Defence and also Alcoa with us this morning. And with that, I'll hand over to Angus Taylor, who will say a few words.

ANGUS TAYLOR, SHADOW TREASURER: Thanks Andrew. Well it’s wonderful to be here in Kings Park in Perth, with my parliamentary colleagues here, it is absolutely brilliant to be launching the 2023 Pollie Pedal. Because Pollie Pedal has been going since 1998. We’ve ridden over that time, 23,000 kilometers, raised over $7 million for a range of wonderful causes, including Roald McDonald House, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Carers Australia, and now the Wandering Warriors, and it's just a real privilege to be able to support our veterans as they move from military life to civilian life, making sure that they use those incredible skills that come from their time in the military, out in civilian life. So a wonderful, wonderful cause. We'll be riding south of Perth, we ride each year for about 1000 kilometers over eight days. And that's what we'll be doing this year as well. It's a bipartisan event. And it's wonderful to have my colleagues here from right across the Parliament to support this extraordinary event. I think Matt's going to now say a few words.

MATT KEOGH, MINISTER FOR VETERANS’ AFFAIRS: It's great to be here supporting Pollie Pedal. First time it's been in Western Australia, it's good to see we'll have MPs from across the Parties but across the country coming to Western Australia as part of this important bipartisan event. And as a bipartisan event, it's excellent to see that this year, they are supporting Wandering Warriors, an organisation that is supporting our veterans, particularly as they transition out of service. And just like the Pollie Pedal event, support for our veterans is not a partisan thing. It's support for veterans across the Parliament across the Parties. And I'm very happy to be supporting the Pollie Pedal this year with their support for Wandering Warriors and supporting our veterans. The work they do in assisting in transition is vitally important. The Government's been doing work around supporting education for our service members to make sure that their transition into civilian life is improved to make sure we're supporting them into employment. And the work that Wandering Warriors does some of which has been in partnership with the Department of Veterans’ Affairs is important in supporting our veterans and particularly our Special Forces veterans as they transition. Of course, Western Australia here, we're the home of the SASR. We also have the Navy Diving Clearance Team here, all part of our Special Forces operations across the country. And so the work that Wandering Warriors does is critically important to supporting these veterans as they transition out, understanding that they may have issues that they need support with, but also making sure that people recognise the great skills that they bring to the civilian workforce as well, because they've been so well trained - in teamwork, in leadership, in being able to work under pressure, things that any employer is looking for. And we're really proud to be supporting them through the Pollie Pedal this year. And I encourage everyone to get on board in supporting the Pollie Pedal this year in Western Australia supporting our veterans.

Now I’m going to hand over to Kate.

KATE CHANEY, MEMBER FOR CURTIN: Thank you. It's fantastic to have the SAS right here at Swanbourne. And we're very grateful for the service that they provide to our country and our community. And we can see that it's quite tough sometimes to make that transition to civilian life and that's why we need organisations like Wandering Warriors. I'm very supportive of the Pollie Pedal. It's great to see anything that has multi partisan support, to raise awareness for these really important causes and show that you don't have to be a middle aged man in lycra to get out there and have a go so really excited to be here today.

HASTIE: And if I could introduce Mr. Brett Sangster who is the Chairman of Wandering Warriors.

BRETT SANGSTER, CHAIRMAN OF WANDERING WARRIORS: Thank you very much, ladies and gents, we're very humbled and very, very pleased at Wandering Warriors to have the opportunity to be the beneficiary of the 2023 Pollie Pedal. What a great event. It brings some real positivity to our veteran community at a time when we can really do with that positivity. Very, very pleased. Thank you very much for your time for those event coordinators, who are donating their time and their energy to this year's Pollie Pedal this year in Western Australia, which is terrific, and a beautiful scenery to be riding a bike in mid October. At Wandering Warriors we do provide education pathways for veterans, we focus on employment opportunities, we look at respite and mental health programs, wellbeing programs. But as Matt said, really importantly, one of our key initiatives this year is what we call the kRAIT Foundation, which is our program, our flagship programs, to transition serving veterans, serving personnel out of the military at their choosing, into civilian life, which can be can be difficult to navigate into. So that program is all about successful transition out of military and into civilian life is as seamless as possible, and to provide those connections. I'd also like to thank Soldier On who were stewards of Pollie Pedal for the last few years and the great work that they did, and wish them the very best for their endeavors, their next endeavors, and veteran campaign. And of course, I wish the all the cyclists, the 50 odd cyclists in mid-October the very best. It will be interesting to see how our fittest politicians fare against some of our best and brightest veterans on the day but we’ll see in October.

JOURNALIST: Can you talk us through your injury? How’s that coming along?

TAYLOR: I’ll say two things, I came off the bike on my driveway. So not, not, a particularly exciting accident, but I'm ready to go. I'm back on the trainer again. And I'm going to be back on the bike today so I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into that. I should say while I'm at it that really critical to this endeavor is sponsorship. And we have our first platinum sponsor ISPS Handa. And it was great to have them represented here today. And for all those businesses and others out there who want to support our wonderful veterans back into civilian life. We need sponsorship, that's absolutely essential to the success of what we do on Pollie Pedal. We've raised over $7 million since 1998. And we plan to raise lots of good support for our veterans here this year.

JOURNALIST: And can you talk us through the ride itself? Where are some of the stops along the way?

TAYLOR: Yeah, so heading south, from here, down through towns including, Andrew might want to add to this, but Mandurah, his neck of the woods, Pinjarra, Collie right down through the southwest. As I say, 1000 kilometers, eight days, and lots of different parts of the state and a really exciting route and just brilliant to be here in WA we've never ridden Pollie Pedal in WA before so very excited.


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