Charity cycling event Pollie Pedal will spin its wheels in Western Australia for the first time in the ride’s 24-year history this October.
Event organisers Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor and Shadow Defence Minister Andrew Hastie officially launched the ride this morning in Perth’s Kings Park announcing veterans’ charity Wandering Warriors as the Pollie Pedal 2023 beneficiary.
This year a group of almost 50 cyclists will jump in the saddle outside the WA War Memorial in Perth and ride over 1,000 kilometres through regional towns and villages including Mandurah, Bunbury, Preston Beach, Margaret River, Dunsborough, Leeuwin, Nannup, Collie, Balingup and Pinjarra.
The ride was founded by former Prime Minister Tony Abbott in 1998 and has ridden more than 23,000 kilometres right across eastern and central Australia.
Mr Abbott, who is now the event’s patron, will return to the handlebars alongside Mr Taylor, Mr Hastie and Nationals’ MP David Gillespie who form the event’s organising committee.
Shadow Treasurer Angus Taylor said Wandering Warriors was an outstanding organisation which helps former service men and women transition from military to civilian life.
“We have the uttermost respect for our men and women in uniform. We know that too often when they return home they are left with the seen or unseen scars of war,” Mr Taylor said.
“Wandering Warriors helps our veterans deal with those scars and transition them back into civilian life.
“A number of veterans will once again join us on this year’s cycle. It’s a privilege to ride with those who have put their lives on the line and served our nation in uniform.
“I’m pleased to announce volunteer group Rapid Relief will be back on board this year to provide us with the coffee and carbs we need to get through the long days in the saddle.
“Pollie Pedal is also a great opportunity to get out of the suit and spend some quality time in regional communities with everyday West Australians – many of whom are struggling under the rising cost of living.
“It’s the people you meet and the stories they tell that make Pollie Pedal so special for me.”
Shadow Minister for Defence and Federal Member for Canning Andrew Hastie said it was an honour to bring Pollie Pedal to the West for the first time in the event’s history.
“This is something I’ve been petitioning for some time,” Mr Hastie said.
“I first moved to Perth in 2010 after being selected to serve with the Special Air Service Regiment (SASR) and have called WA home since.
“Pollie Pedal is an opportunity to showcase some of the best of the state while raising money for Wandering Warriors – an exceptional organisation supporting veterans of Australia’s Special Operations Command transitioning from military to civilian life.”
Wandering Warriors’ Chairperson Brett Sangster thanked not-for-profit veteran’s organisation Solider On which was the previous recipient of Pollie Pedal support.
“We acknowledge the professional and seamless Pollie Pedal handover from fellow veterans’ charity Soldier On and wish them well in their continuing support to the veteran community,” Mr Sangster said.
“Pollie Pedal funding means we can expand our scholarship offerings, which have already benefited so many transitioned veterans. Pollie Pedal support will add greatly to the capacity of Wandering Warriors to deliver our education, employment, mentoring and respite programs.
“We see our career transition program The Krait Foundation as the Wandering Warriors’ flagship initiative and Pollie Pedal funds will assist greatly in securing the future of this important program. We thank all involved with Pollie Pedal for the faith placed in Wandering Warriors and for the opportunity the funding provides for our transitioned veterans.”
For almost a quarter of a century Pollie Pedal has raised more than $7 million for organisations such as Carers Australia, the Royal Flying Doctor Service, Ronald McDonald House, Youth Insearch and the Paralympic Games and has also supported medical research into childhood leukaemia, diabetes, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
The ride will run from 7-14 October 2023.