Mr BARTLETT (Port Stephens) [5.27 p.m.]: Sunday 2 June was the end of Club Week, which highlights the vital role played by clubs in connecting people and providing social cohesion for country communities. Clubs help fund the Kids Help Line, which is contacted by around 30,000 students each week. Clubs are not-for-profit organisations owned by members; they have around 40,000 employees and tax revenues of something like $750 million per annum. In many country towns clubs are meeting places—indeed, they are town halls and community centres rolled into one. On Sunday 2 June Club Week was celebrated at Tomteland, an amusement park in the Port Stephens electorate. I am told it was the largest Club Week event held in New South Wales. The event was called the Kids Big Day Out. The 157 clubs in the Hunter came together to sponsor the event. Club members nominated sick, disabled and disadvantaged children to go to Tomteland for the day. Some 1,925 sick, disabled and disadvantaged children, their parents and carers went along on the day, and it was a great event for those people. A number of performances were put on by groups such as the Port Stephens community youth choir. Carousels, dodgem cars and many other amusements were also available for everyone to enjoy.
Chief executive officers, staff members and board members from the 157 Hunter and Newcastle clubs that were involved volunteered to help Tomteland. Some 200 volunteers turned out on the day and helped to make the event a success. It is impossible to name everybody from the clubs in the area, but I will mention a few: Roy Clark, Bob King, Charlie Eason and Len Worgan. The day was organised by Tony Drew from the Soldiers Point Bowling Club, Jon Chin from the Hexham Bowling Club and Julie Bain from the Hexham Bowling Club. They organised the club members and did the paperwork. Some 200 volunteers helped the nearly 2,000 visitors to Tomteland. I acknowledge the great contribution of Mr Ian Wilks, who organised and co-ordinated a number of service clubs from the Port Stephens electorate—namely, Raymond Terrace Rotary Club, Raymond Terrace Lions Club, Raymond Terrace Kirwanis and Raymond Terrace Probus Club. Some 50 members of those clubs cooked lunch for the carers, children and parents.
At one stage I wandered over to the barbecue tent, where I saw approximately six barbecues going outside while everybody lined up inside to get their lunch. It was an extremely good event for the Hunter. It was popular with the children. It shows the influence that clubs have in Port Stephens, Newcastle and New South Wales. This is something that other regional clubs could do in their areas. I understand that it was the largest Club Week event in New South Wales. I commend the Osborne family for providing Tomteland as the venue for the day. I give my hearty congratulations to all those involved. A number of dignitaries attended, including the Minister for Gaming and Racing, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Hunter Development. It was a great day; it was enjoyed by all. The rain held off for the couple of hours that I was there. I commend all those involved—the service clubs, the clubs and the volunteers—in making it such a wonderful day. [Time expired.]
Mr FACE (Charlestown—Minister for Gaming and Racing, and Minister Assisting the Premier on Hunter Development) [5.32 p.m.]: I thank the honourable member for Port Stephens for raising the fun day for kids at Tomteland. It was one of the many activities held during Club Week, which started with a constructive summit within the precincts of Parliament House. The honourable member for Ku-ring-gai attended the summit. We both took heart from the fact that clubs have matured in recent years and understand that they were originally established for their members, their bona fide guests and to serve the community. That is evidenced through the community development and support expenditure [CDSE] scheme that I introduced. Although the scheme was controversial at the time, it now allows 1.5 per cent of taxation to flow to clubs' causes. It has generated $140 million in three years. A lot of this money is going back into the community, such as the Tomteland fun day for disabled children. That money enabled a lot of children to attend the fun day this year.
Without wishing to skite, there is only one place in the State where such a day could have been held: the Hunter region, where clubs and the community work cohesively together. Because the region works cohesively and the clubs co-operate with each other, 157 clubs—under the stewardship of Tony Drew, helped by John Chin, the Clubs New South Wales representative, Judy Croese from Cardiff RSL and Gary Leo from South Newcastle Leagues Club—took part in the fun day. This is a great example of what can be done with the $9 million which I announced recently would be made available to make small clubs throughout New South Wales more viable. It is not government money; it is unused dividends and unclaimed prizes from Keno. It will go a long way, especially to the smaller clubs in country and regional areas where they are in difficulty.