Thursday, 20 September 2007
Today I would like to talk about some of the issues affecting the area of Dobell on the Central Coast. They relate to the failure of state Labor governments, and in particular their planning. In relation to Central Coast water, we have secured $80.3 million to provide the missing link. But to make this project a viable option it needs the state Labor government to approve the water-sharing agreement for the water coming out of the valleys down into the Wyong River. They need to approve the environmental concerns.
The state government needs to reject the longwall coalmining proposal by Korean Coal. Korean Coal are looking at putting a longwall mine under the Wyong River, which has the potential in four areas to cause a problem with the water coming down into this catchment. Potentially, they could destroy the water table, and 50 per cent of the water for the Central Coast comes down over these valleys. The state government also needs to reject the coal loader that is proposed to be built at Blue Haven. The longwall coalmining under the valleys causes the water issue, and in Blue Haven, just up at the top of Dobell, we have all sorts of issues with noise, pollution and dust. And they want to put a rail loader there to take this coal off to Newcastle.
The other issue relates to the failure of state government planning. In June 2006, the state Labor government took the planning powers from the Wyong Shire Council for the area of Warnervale, and to date they have done absolutely nothing. Frank Sartor did that under the guise of having a preferred plan and wanting to make sure that this whole development was done under a controlled process. We know what Labor’s controlling is all about! But nothing has happened. We hear nothing from the state Labor members. Why is that? Because they are all members of the Labor government in the state.
Also we have the Warnervale Economic Zone, which is the industrial part of Warnervale. Again, development of that was usurped by Frank Sartor and nothing has happened. We are relying on this area to create new businesses. We have businesses wanting to come into the area and there is no planning at all in this Warnervale area. We have a couple of large factories operating right now. We have a Woolworths distribution centre and a few other areas, but much of this land is there to be developed and the planning needs to be done.
Over the past six years I have been the only voice there opposing the failure of the state Labor government. Much of what I get involved with to support the constituents of the Central Coast relies on stirring up state Labor to do something. In many cases they do not do anything, and then I have to rely on the federal government coming in to fix the problem. We saw a similar situation six years ago now with Tumbi Creek. Finally I can say that the operations at Tumbi Creek are underway. Dredging started about three weeks ago—but no thanks to state Labor. They totally walked away from that and left a third of the cost to be borne by the local ratepayers, and two-thirds to be picked up by the Australian government.
The other issue that is quite vital is the North Wyong primary healthcare unit. This primary healthcare unit was set up with contributions from the local Wyong Council, the University of Newcastle and the state government and with federal government funding. Recently I announced funding of another $220,000 to keep this project going. But now we find that Landcom owns this land, which forms part of the Warnervale town centre. It has given this primary healthcare unit at North Wyong until the end of December, which is when its lease runs out, to move. This is totally disgraceful. We had the Leader of the Opposition up at Wyong the other day. He sneaked in one Sunday, went to Wyong hospital and talked about setting up primary health care. We already have primary health care there—it is about a kilometre away from where he was—yet Labor want to kick it off the site and for the land to be resumed by Landcom. Until they come up with a program for what they will do with the Warnervale town centre, nothing will happen.
It is essential that the people of the Central Coast realise that I am the only person there who, for the last six years, has been speaking out on these issues that are of such vital importance to them. We need to make sure that we keep this work going—because, if we have wall-to-wall Labor governments, you can forget the Central Coast. We are being ignored by the state in so many areas. They have sent a blow-in up from Victoria to run against me in the coming campaign; he would not know where the area is. The last thing we need is another union heavyweight from Victoria coming up to the Central Coast.