Page 1537 - Week 05 - Thursday, 7 May 2015

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Kowen Forest ride 2015

MR GENTLEMAN (Brindabella—Minister for Planning, Minister for Roads and Parking, Minister for Workplace Safety and Industrial Relations, Minister for Children and Young People and Minister for Ageing) (4.14): Tonight I rise to speak about an event which has been held in the ACT for the past 10 years and one which I have attended on a number of occasions. The annual Kowen Forest ride involves an organised day of motorbike trail rides through Kowen Forest. It is a great event organised by the Dual Sport Motorcycle Riders Association, DSMRA, to raise money for various organisations. This year approximately $2,700 was raised for the Snowy hydro helicopter service, along with $1,000 being donated to the ACT SES. In addition to these donations, the Vietnam Veterans Association made food sales on the day and used that opportunity to raise some money for their own organisation.

This year there were 414 registered participants, 85 per cent of whom were from interstate. Participants travelled from New South Wales, Victoria and as far afield as Queensland and South Australia. This event is very popular every year and this reputation has been aided by the work of Territory and Municipal Services rangers and foresters whom I would like to thank for their efforts. Many of the interstate visitors camped out in Kowen in order to be at the heart of the action over the weekend. Many others stayed in Canberra or Queanbeyan in hotels or motels and the economic overflow from this event to the local economy is most welcome.

It was great to see that there were various opportunities for learners and beginners to partake in classes that were run by accredited instructors. For more experienced riders the event provided approximately 150 kilometres of trails to enjoy as they pleased. The tracks were divided into five loops which catered for all skill levels, from beginner to advanced. As someone who has enjoyed partaking in motorsport for most of my life I can attest to the great fun that it can be.

It is important that participants are properly trained in order to ensure the riders and drivers are safely operating their vehicles for the benefit of themselves and their passengers and spectators. This message should come through as particularly pertinent at the moment, with this week being Road Safety Week.

I would like to briefly provide a little background regarding Kowen Forest, where the event was held. It was one of the areas initially settled by Europeans when they arrived in Ngunnawal country in the first half of the 19th century. Since then the area has been used for various purposes and most recently as Kowen Forest pine plantation. This plantation was the only one of the ACT’s pine plantations to survive the 2003 bushfires unscathed. It includes camping areas maintained by TAMS and a mountain biking facility located near Sparrow Hill, in the eastern part of the forest. It is a great facility and an area I would recommend for weekend visits.

I had a great time riding in the Kowen Forest ride this year. It was a great day of recreation with a good bunch of people. I want to make a specific mention of and give my thanks to Chris Stilling, who picked me up off the ground after my somersault from the motorcycle.

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