Thursday, 17 September 2009
Dobell Electorate: Central Coast
I rise to talk about what I spoke about here last week—that is, the Central Coast being recognised as a region in its own right. It is a topic that needs more than one three-minute constituency discussion and that is why I am using this opportunity now to do so again. The Central Coast has over 300,000 people but our institutions are constantly divided between Sydney and Newcastle. Last time I spoke about some state government institutions in particular that need to change. The area health service is part of the Northern Sydney Central Coast Area Health Service when it should be the Central Coast area health service and the state school and education system is part of the Hunter-Central Coast education service, so you can see there the confusion that people on the Central Coast have. For some state government institutions we are part of northern Sydney and for others we are part of the Hunter. People on the Central Coast want to have their own identity, and it is this something that I am strongly urging the state government to do something about.
The state government also made a mistake this week in that they did not appoint a local politician as the Minister for the Central Coast. They appointed the Premier instead. An announcement that was made yesterday goes some way to mitigating that in that the very hardworking and good member for Wyong, David Harris, was made a parliamentary secretary for the Central Coast. I know that he will do everything he can to help push the regional identity issue. That has mitigated it some way but, again, it was a mistake.
Today I also want to raise some other areas that need to change. We have a great university campus on the Central Coast. It is called the Ourimbah campus of the University of Newcastle. One would think that one of the things that we could do rather quickly is at least change its name to the Central Coast campus of the University of Newcastle and then look over time to develop a university in our own right on the Central Coast. The issue is not just symbolic. It has a great effect on people being able to identify that this is a place of higher education—TAFE, community college and university—that is the Central Coast’s, and it is something that the university needs to look at.
I again call on the two councils which divide the Central Coast to work more closely together. We had the fiasco of their not being able to agree on how the water supply, which is common to the Central Coast, operates. That has caused all sorts of problems. We had different water restrictions in different parts of the Central Coast. In the last couple of seconds I have I would also like to congratulate Bob Graham and Lisa Matthews on being voted in as Mayor and Deputy Mayor of Wyong Shire Council last night.