Speeches

Macquarie Electorate Adjournment Speech

December 06, 2018

For nearly 10 years I've been fighting for the people of Macquarie, both in this chamber and before coming to this parliament. Many things have changed. Prime ministers have certainly changed. New community groups have formed in my electorate, like BLORCAG. Kids who were in year 4 at school have now finished their HSC. Some small businesses have opened their doors, while others have gone. But one thing doesn't change, and that's the disregard and disdain with which the Liberals treat my electorate at both the federal and state level.

 

We end this year with the Liberal government in a shambles. It has no policy to seriously tackle the cost of energy or the impacts of climate change, which our electorate, with its predisposition to flood and fire, is particularly vulnerable to. It has no policy to seriously tackle the challenges of housing affordability or homelessness. It has no policy to find permanent homes for refugees languishing in Nauru and PNG and no policy to provide the psychological support that is desperately needed by these traumatised people. It has no policy to seriously address the long delays that elderly people entitled to in-home care experience simply to maintain independence in their own home. It has no policy to speed up the lengthy wait people have to get a pension, a Health Care Card or any other benefit from Centrelink—in fact, any service from just about any government department.   It has no policy to seriously improve health and hospital services, to make sure that patients get the care they need and that doctors, nurses and healthcare providers are not stretched to breaking point. It has no policy to seriously improve early childhood education, public schools, TAFE or universities. It has no policy to end live cattle exports and in fact voted against an opportunity to tackle that animal cruelty issue. It has no vision for our community, particularly in Macquarie, where it's hard to have a vision when you haven't even got a candidate.

 

This disregard for things that matter to Macquarie is particularly evident in the Hawkesbury. The Christmas lights light up in Windsor this week, and kids and local music groups will be performing. The mall in the historic precinct will be alive with stalls and activity. But it's impossible not to dwell on the destruction being wrought at the end of the mall, in Thompson Square, the oldest public square in the country, where every day more and more of the history is being dug up and carted away. I want to pay tribute to those who are photographing the excavations and the artefacts that are being uncovered. The real kick in the guts here is that the Georgian square, which was laid out by Governor Lachlan Macquarie, is being destroyed for no good reason. The new bridge that will go through the modernised square—an ugly concrete structure—will provide only one extra lane of traffic. I can see you thinking, Deputy Speaker, 'An extra lane each way—that will make a difference.' But, no, this isn't an extra lane each way; it's a single extra lane, to make a three lane bridge—the brainchild of the New South Wales Liberal government, whose cleverness with infrastructure knows no bounds and leaves Hawkesbury drivers in unnecessary traffic. I say to the people of the Hawkesbury: you deserve better at a state level. You deserve better roads. You deserve better public transport. You deserve to have the reasons you live in the Hawkesbury protected. You deserve someone in the New South Wales parliament who sees what makes the Hawkesbury special. You should not be taken for granted by your state representative—who has in fact decided he doesn't even want to represent you—nor by his senior staff, who've been complicit in that treatment.

I'd like to thank the thousands of people from across the Blue Mountains and Hawkesbury who have contacted me, whether by phone or email or in person, about issues important to them. Whatever the issues—whether you're concerned about the, as yet secret, flight paths that are due to come with the new airport, which I still think is a mistake and which I fear, as much as you do, will have an effect on our lives in years    to come; whether you're concerned about the threats to our World Heritage area and the tourism industry that

 

 

depends on it; whether you're fighting for a better deal from the NDIS; whether you, like me, are desperate for the NBN to arrive in the mountains, years overdue, and frustrated at the appalling internet speed we have to tolerate in the meantime; or whether you are still trying to get your fibre to the node up to speed—they are all consequences of a Liberal government that is obsessed only with itself, with no vision for the society we can be. This is a government that has lost the will to govern. It's time this government was gone.

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