Pedal power in Yass on Sunday

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A contingent of politicians rode into Yass on Sunday as part of the annual Pollie Pedal ride for charity, this year raising funds for Carers Australia.

Pollie Pedal founder and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Hume MP Angus Taylor were among a plethora of cyclists who embarked from Parliament House in Canberra on Sunday morning.

They were slightly behind schedule arriving in Yass at about 1.20pm.

Hume MP Angus Taylor (left) and Tony Abbott (centre) led the pack into Yass on Sunday. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Hume MP Angus Taylor (left) and Tony Abbott (centre) led the pack into Yass on Sunday. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

“This is the first day and it’s certainly gone very well – as soon as we got to the electorate of Yass,” Mr Abbott joked when they stopped at Coronation Park for a meet and greet with the public.

“There were a few people who had a bit of leg soreness on hills and so on, there were the couple of kilometres of dirt road, Rowena, which is inside your boundary I believe?”

Mayor Rowena Abbey agreed, saying “I did warn them there might be the odd flat tyre on there unfortunately”.

“But we got through,” chimed in Mr Taylor.

Pollie Pedal founder and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott signs a copy of his book for Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Pollie Pedal founder and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott signs a copy of his book for Yass Valley mayor Rowena Abbey. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Mr Abbott joked there was more chance of a punctured tyre with people placing tacks around Parliament House rather than traversing the valley’s dirt roads.

Mayor Rowena Abbey took the opportunity to get her copy of Tony Abbott's book "Battlelines" signed during his stop. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Mayor Rowena Abbey took the opportunity to get her copy of Tony Abbott’s book “Battlelines” signed during his stop. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Mr Abbott founded Pollie Pedal 19 years ago.

The backbencher hopes the eight-day, 1000km ride will raise $300,000 this year, the goal significantly down from $500,000 last year when he was Prime Minister.

It’s the fifth year the ride has supporters Carers Australia, raising close to $3 million over that time, said Mr Taylor.

“The other thing I was going to say for Scoop Yass Valley, is Carers Australia is a fantastic cause, I’m really excited to be raising lots of money for them and it’s really great to have carers supporting us, and to be supporting carers themselves, because that’s what this whole ride is all about,” My Taylor said.

“Carers make a huge contribution to our communities and to the economy as well.”

VIDEO: Part of the chat Mayor Rowena Abbey, Hume MP Angus Taylor and former PM Tony Abbott had with Scoop on Sunday.

The team remarked about the perfect weather conditions and “magnificent” countryside along their travels.

Mrs Abbey took the opportunity to mention the Barton Highway as this community’s major federal issue.

“Federally, the Barton Highway is the big one for this community… And the Canberra Airport is a big part of that process too, bringing on international flights and [exporting fresh] produce, I think there are quite a few people here excited about opportunities for our local community.”

Yass Asylum Seekers Support group members took the opportunity to voice their concerns over asylum seeker policies.

Convenor Karan Gabriel said she spoke to Mr Abbott about concerns regarding Australia’s treatment of refugees and that the group would continue to push for policy change in that area.

“His response was good. He said a lot of stuff, particularly about when they have to deal with such huge amounts of people, it’s very hard to deal with.”

Yass Asylum Seeker Supporters member Karan Gabriel voiced her concerns about Tony Abbott's stance on asylum seekers during his break at Coronation Park in Yass. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

Yass Asylum Seeker Supporters member Karan Gabriel voiced her concerns about Tony Abbott’s stance on asylum seekers during his break at Coronation Park in Yass. 

“He talked about people smugglers and the boats, and I said I don’t think it’s an either/or;  to just lock them up or just let them come in. I think there’s other ways that we can do this.

“I was very pleased that Mr Abbott wanted to talk about it and he didn’t just palm me off, so that was encouraging.

“We also talked about how a lot of them are not stopping in the first country, they are coming further to get to Australia. So they really want to get to Australia. My response to that is yes, they come here and they are hungry to work, hungry to provide for their children and their families, isn’t that the kind of new Australians we want to have here? He kind of agreed with that, if they are keen to become part of “team Australia” they are welcome.”

Carers ACT do a lot of respite for local Yass Valley family members caring for people with a disability, mental health issues, chronic illness of the frail aged, Carers ACT representatives told Scoop.

After a quick shower at their motel, Mr Taylor and Mr Abbott visited Yass Little Learners Childcare Centre to officially open the new facility.

Mr Taylor is a family friend of owner Jessica Grundy, and Jessica went to school with Mr Abbott’s daughters in Sydney.

After a quick wash and change of clothes, Hume MP Angus Taylor and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially opened Jessica Grundy's Yass Little Learners child care facility. Mr Abbott is a friend of Jessica's family. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

After a quick wash and change of clothes, Hume MP Angus Taylor and former Prime Minister Tony Abbott officially opened Jessica Grundy’s Yass Little Learners child care facility. Mr Abbott is a friend of Jessica’s family. PHOTO: Katharyn Brine

The politicians mingled with families at the centre before retiring for the day with plans to head into Cootamundra on Monday.

 

Katharyn Brine

Editor / Publisher

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