ADJOURNMENT - Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation

14 June 2023

I would like to say how moving that speech was by the member for Riverina. I send my regards to his niece, Elizabeth. I know there are many people in this parliament who would resonate with his speech, particularly the member for Kooyong and the member for Kennedy, who have been very strong promoters of bone marrow registries for bone marrow donations. So I thank the member for Riverina for his speech.

I am very fortunate to represent a community that has such a strong commitment to bettering the lives of those around them. Today I would like to mention one example of this selfless work, the Kids of Macarthur Health Foundation. Since 2000, the Kids of Macarthur has served our region and helped raise crucial funds that go towards the purchase of critical paediatric medical equipment to enhance the level of children's health care in our local hospitals.

I recently had the honour of attending the Kids of Macarthur ball with my wife, Sharon, and a number of my colleagues from the healthcare and political world, including the New South Wales Minister for Health, Ryan Park; the member for Campbelltown, Greg Warren MP; the member for Macquarie Fields and minister for numerous portfolios Anoulack Chanthivong MP; and the previous member for Macquarie Fields and fellow paediatrician, Dr Andrew McDonald; as well as my paediatric colleagues Dr Raymond Chin and Professor John Whitehall and many others.

Minister Park made a very welcome announcement that the New South Wales government was pledging $30,000 towards the Kids of Macarthur to fund this year's pledge item, a retinal camera, which is a neonatal retinal scanner that will ensure less risk and greater comfort for premature and underweight newborns as they undergo vital vision testing and treatment for visual problems. Securing this piece of equipment at Campbelltown Hospital will allow children to be treated locally without having to be treated at the Children's Hospital and will eliminate the costs and stress of travel for families. This is why local advocacy by a local group such as Kids of Macarthur is so important for our communities. It's put together by those who know well the area and its needs.

I would like to particularly thank Denise McGrath, the Chief Executive Officer of Kids of Macarthur, for her selfless work above and beyond any possible thanks we could give her. She works tirelessly to raise funds and raise awareness of paediatric issues and needs in our community, and we are very, very grateful for her hard work. I have known Denise for a number of decades. She is a tireless campaigner for local children and their healthcare needs, and I thank her for her hard work. Denise is committed to Macarthur and has no hesitation in giving much of her time and skills without charge to better our community.

I would also like to thank the board of directors of Kids of Macarthur, particularly its chair, Bruce Hanrahan AM, of Dignan and Hanrahan Solicitors, for their valuable work in ensuring the charity continues to thrive. I would also like to particularly mention my very good friend the late Dr Rick Dunstan OAM, who we sadly lost in 2022. This was the first Kids of Macarthur ball we had without Rick. We worked together for over 35 years, and Rick had the original idea to raise funds and awareness to obtain the very best equipment for our local paediatric services. I'm proud to see that, through his vision and Denise and other's tireless efforts, Kids of Macarthur continues to be a shining light on the hill for sick children, their families, our community and our health practitioners.

There is another important group of people that we need to thank too, and that's the volunteers who contribute to Campbelltown Hospital and Kids of Macarthur. This year, Gail Kelly was named Volunteer of the Year for the wonderful efforts she put in in providing toys, beanies, mittens and socks and other handcrafts to the children in our hospital, as well as the gift hampers that are used for fundraising purposes at Kids of Macarthur events. I've seen firsthand the importance of this work in providing support for our local children and our local hospitals, and I want to make sure that it continues, and I commit to supporting Kids of Macarthur well into the future. They make a difference for our kids in hospital, for our kids who are suffering from terrible illnesses like leukaemia and other blood cancers, solid cancers, heart failure and a whole range of other severe illnesses that, unfortunately, inflict themselves on our local children. I see it as my job to promote this wonderful charity and the efforts it makes to promote the health care of our children.