TRIBUTE TO PHILL BATES, AM
The Hon. MARIE FICARRA
(Parliamentary Secretary) [6.50 p.m.]: Phill Bates, AM, has been married for 34 years to his lovely wife, Barbara. He has lived most of his life at Gymea Bay. He has four children, Kareen, Gavin, Mitchell and Cameron, and now four grandchildren. A successful businessman in Hurstville as proprietor of Bates Bikes, Phill has built a magnificent reputation in all aspects of cycling, sports promotion and community activities. This year he celebrates his forty-fifth year on the St George Cycling Club's executive committee. For the past 18 years he has been president of that club, which is recognised as one of the most successful sporting clubs in Australia. A former State representative, Phill sacrificed his own cycle racing career to coach, administer and promote the sport. His career included coaching cyclists who went on to win world, Olympic and Commonwealth Games gold medals, and he remains a mentor for them today.
At 23 years of age, he was secretary of New South Wales Cycling and remains a life member, having served 19 years on the New South Wales Cycling executive. Phill was a board member of Cycling Australia through the 1990s until 2005, and he was part of the world federation, the Union Cycliste Internationale, from 1993 to 2001. In 1995 and 1997 Phill staged track world cups in Adelaide and was chairman of the World Track Cycling Championships in Perth. Phill staged the first world cup road cycling events for women at Centennial Park, attracting the greatest women's field ever assembled in the world. He also organised the Tour de Snowy for five years, which was an event staged to promote Thredbo as a safe destination following the Thredbo landslide in 1997. The event became the biggest international race for women's cycling. Phill joined parliamentary figures Gough Whitlam, Don Chip and Sir James Killen as an ambassador of the Snowy's fiftieth anniversary celebrations, raising considerable funds and promoting the year-long celebration.
However, Phill's main focus of attention was staging the successful Commonwealth Bank Cycle Classic from 1982 to 2000. This was initially an amateur race but became the highest-profile amateur event in the world—attracting a total of 370 Olympians, including more than 70 world and Olympic champions. Many cycling aficionados say that it was the event that contributed to the rise of Australian road cycling. We recently saw Cadel Evans win the Tour de France and there have been many other great performances. Phill staged the famous Goulburn to Sydney race for more than 25 years, World Series Cycling and the national championships as far back as 1971. He worked with the Sydney Olympic Games Organising Committee to deliver the facilities required for all road events at the Sydney Olympics.
Phill's time and efforts have not only been restricted to Australia; he also successfully staged the Tour of Hawaii for several years. In 1993 Phill Bates was the founding chairman of the New South Wales Sports Federation, and he still assists it today. Throughout the 1990s he staged the Council Youth Games to foster athletics and swimming. Phill helped stage the Australian Open, World 10 Dance Championships and World Cup Show Jumping. In 1995 he conducted the Fred Hollows 500 kilometres International Teams Relay Race, which was an event staged from Bourke to Sydney that raised much-needed funds for that worthwhile organisation. Many of Phill's initiatives have raised millions of dollars. He has supported the Starlight Foundation, the Rotary Wing of the Children's Hospital at Westmead and the Victor Chang Cardiac Research Institute. From 1995 to 1998 Phill was a driving force behind the construction of Bezzina House, a 15-room cancer care lodge attached to the St George Cancer Centre that was opened by then Governor Gordon Samuels in June 1998. It has provided more than 55,000 nights of accommodation for many country people of New South Wales.
Since 2002 Phill has played a leading role in raising close to $4 million to construct the first Prostate Cancer Institute, opened by the Hon. Jillian Skinner in August this year, as a one-stop shop for prostate cancer sufferers. He has raised the funds by staging numerous events over the past eight years, including charity balls, sports dinners and golf days. Over the past eight years he has also been instrumental in raising substantial funds through the Ride for Life, an organisation that has joined with the Lifestyle Clinic, Prince of Wales Oncology and the University of New South Wales to develop the very first Cancer Survivors Centre in this State. Close to home for me, when Cronulla needed positive promotion following the riots in 2005, Phill staged a major national cycling event. The one-day event developed into a major five-race series with the support of Events NSW, attracting many of the world's best athletes, including 40 international stars. The event gained national Channel 9 coverage for Bathurst, Parramatta, Gosford, Coogee and Cronulla. This year's Grand Prix Series will again have national Channel 9 coverage over the five days through Bathurst, Parramatta, Gosford and Wollongong, culminating in Cronulla for the big finish. It is a tribute to Phill Bates, a truly remarkable Australian.