ADDRESS AT THE CAMP QUALITY PUPPET SHOWCASE LAUNCH

Thank you Tristan for that warm welcome and for the work you do as an Ambassador for Camp Quality.

  • Simon Rountree. Chief Executive of Camp Quality and to your team of dedicated staff;
  • To my friend and colleague the State Minister for Education Martin Dixon;
  • To my parliamentary colleague Kelly O’Dwyer;
  • Ladies and gentlemen.

Tristan is a great friend and supporter of Camp Quality. He’s been involved for a long time — most of his 31 years in fact — ever since he was himself a kid with cancer coming along to the fun Camp Quality events that kept his spirits up.

Tristan’s message on the Camp Quality website pays a wonderful tribute to this very special organisation.

Tristan has represented Australia in wheelchair basketball against the best in the world, winning gold as a Paralympian.

What a great inspiration!

And what a great example of the power of unrelenting optimism and resilience learned through Camp Quality.

Camp Quality makes a huge difference to the lives of a lot of Aussie kids and their families.

The future of Camp Quality

But to be able to continue this great work Camp Quality needs support.

This evening, I am very proud to announce that the Australian Government has provided Camp Quality with a $1 million grant.

The grant, provided through my Department, is supporting the development of Camp Quality’s new Primary School Education Program.

This programme, to be launched nationally in January next year, is targeted at teachers, children and parents.

An important aim is to dispel concerns about contact with children who have cancer.

The centrepiece of the programme is a puppet show and it’s expected that five million children will see this show by 2017.

Students will learn about the challenges of living with cancer and how to support a classmate or friend living with the illness.

The new programme also includes support for children who have a parent living with cancer.

I’d like to thank playwright Joanna Erskine, the Head of Education at Bell Shakespeare, who, with the help of other theatre directors and teachers, developed the script for the new script that will be used in the puppet production as part of the programme.

To the philanthropists, foundations and corporate supporters of Camp Quality here this evening, thank you for your on-going commitment to such a great cause. And thank you to Martin Dixon and the Victorian Government for their advocacy in support of Camp Quality.

Together, we can ensure programmes like Camp Quality continue to inspire.

By joining forces, government, community organisations, corporate and individual donors can make a huge difference.

This is civil society at its best. People in the community working together.

Teaching each other to be supportive and understanding of children and families living with cancer.

Nurturing hope and optimism.

Together we can make a difference, and tonight, together, we have.

Thank you.