House debates

Thursday, 1 August 2019


Appropriation Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 2) 2019-2020, Appropriation (Parliamentary Departments) Bill (No. 1) 2019-2020; Second Reading

11:45 am

Photo of Melissa McIntoshMelissa McIntosh (Lindsay, Liberal Party) Share this | Hansard source

We all make commitments during election campaigns, and I promise my community of Lindsay that I'll work really hard to deliver what I promised during the campaign; I'll advocate for many projects on behalf of my local community. Prime Minister Morrison and I toured our beautiful Nepean River, where he rowed as a kid. We are investing in the river to make sure that it stays healthy for future generations. We're investing in infrastructure to create jobs in Western Sydney, to ease congestion on our local roads and upgrade community facilities so local families and kids have active, healthy lives.

We committed $63½ million for the upgrade of Dunheved Road, and, in my maiden speech, I talked about the importance of having a safe road. When my husband, Stuart, was an Olympic athlete, he was hit by a car when cycling home from training. So, personally, it is very important to me to ensure that our roads are safe for all of our community. Dunheved Road has grown from a local service road to a major arterial road, and it forms a strategic role connecting the Northern Road to the newly opened stage 1 of the Warrington arterial road. Dunheved Road runs east-west through the local suburbs of Cambridge Park, Cambridge Gardens, Werrington Downs and Werrington County. During the election campaign, I doorknocked many of those houses and collected many signatures from people across our community wanting to ensure we upgrade this very important road. Dunheved Road is experiencing crashes and road-safety issues, particularly at peak times. Increased traffic and trips generated by the Western Sydney Airport together with residential growth along the Northern Road corridor and the proximity of the university campus impact Dunheved Road. The upgrade will address critical road safety and traffic efficiency issues. Once completed, there will be improved road safety and improved access to local amenities for local residents and people living in the surrounding suburbs.

We also know that, while congestion is a problem for many people accessing car parks to catch the train to work, many people in our community travel out of the area each day for work. In Western Sydney, only five per cent of people work within 30 minutes of where they live. I know what it feels like to catch that train to work—15 hours a week spent commuting. So that's why we're investing in more commuter car parking in Kingswood Station, North St Marys Station and Emu Plains Station, and we'll work closely with the New South Wales government to deliver this much-needed infrastructure.

The Morrison government's biggest investment in Western Sydney is the $5.3 billion to fund the construction of the Western Sydney International (Nancy-Bird Walton) Airport and $3.5 billion for stage 1 of the North-South Rail Link, which I can proudly say runs from St Marys in the electorate of Lindsay to Badgerys Creek. During the construction of the Western Sydney international airport there will be over 11,300 jobs, and within five years of opening there will be 28,000 jobs, including jobs in construction, transport, logistics, retail, hospitality and professional services. The important thing is that there will be local jobs for local people living in Western Sydney. Construction has recently started on the Sydney Science Park, a $5 billion integrated science, research and residential facility in Lindsay, another example of the airport's ability to create local jobs and drive our economy in Western Sydney.

There are a number of community projects that I worked hard for during the campaign, and I will be delivering them for our community. Some of these include the Penrith Valley Regional Sports Centre upgrade. I was very pleased that Prime Minister Morrison visited this facility and met with many community members and families who use it every day. Funding for the internal refurbishment of the centre will take place. The Penrith Whitewater Stadium is a place that I know very well. It is an Olympic legacy venue from the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games. This is a venue that has created some of our best athletes in the country, including Jessica Fox, who is an Olympic champion. We've secured funding to transform the stadium into a high-performance centre with new athlete and visitor facilities, and we know that it's accessed by international athletes, Australian athletes and, very importantly, by local families. We're funding the Chapman Gardens Sports Precinct in Kingswood for the construction of a new amenities building. The upgrade to the building at both the football field and the softball field is really important, and it's been many years since these fields have received any attention. There will also be an installation of an irrigation system to the cricket fields.

As I mentioned, our families love the Nepean River, even our Prime Minister does. The river is an essential part of our local community that families use every single day, and it is important that we look after it for our future generations. That is why I was proud to announce funding for the Nepean River health upgrade. This will assist with native revegetation and weed management. Local organisations such as Muru Mittigar and Penrith council will be assisting with this invaluable work to ensure that our river is healthy and our local families can continue to enjoy it. We're committed to the Cumberland Conservation Corridor project to conserve our natural environment. Again, this is a very important local community project.

Safety is important to our local communities, and that is why I was proud to secure the community safety package. This funding will assist with the delivery of light poles on the Great River Walk between Jamison Road and Nepean Avenue, and CCTV cameras in St Marys, Kingswood, Werrington and Penrith CBD. Our community and our small-business owners deserve to feel safe, and I welcome this project. I look forward to seeing the benefits in our community, such as social cohesion and, absolutely essentially, the creation of a stronger community.

My focus is always on our local economy and the creation of more local jobs. It's at the centre of everything I do. Not only are we delivering congestion-busting infrastructure projects but we're also delivering programs to ensure that local people can re-engage with the workforce, and access training and personal development that they need for education and employment opportunities. One of these programs is the dependence to independence job program. This will provide funding for youth in search of work to partner with a Lindsay based organisation—school-industry partnerships—to support young people in finding employment and receiving mentorship during employment, which I think is very important. I worked with women in social housing in a previous role, before coming into this place, and I found through work that I'd previously done that mentorship can be the one component that helps somebody stay in a job, so this is a very important role that I commend. We are also investing in the Inspiring the Future program, investing in our young people in Lindsay. This funding will see the ongoing rollout of the program across local schools. It connects local young people, and it has a particular focus on young women being connected with professional mentors.

As I've said before, Lindsay is home to nearly 6,000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. It is important that we encourage our younger generation to access the best education and employment opportunities, and that's why we secured funding for the Western Sydney Indigenous jobseekers program. This funding will be provided to Muru Mittigar to connect local Indigenous students with job providers, and has guaranteed 154 job placements.

Our community facilities play a very important role. I've often said that community spirit is at the heart of everything we do and what drives people in Lindsay, and this is very important to me. The community halls upgrades project will provide funding for upgrades to four community neighbourhood centres within the Penrith local government area: Arthur Neave Memorial Hall, St Marys Community Centre, St Marys Senior Citizens Centre and the Floribunda Community Centre, which I was very pleased to visit recently and where there were lots of kids enjoying dance programs.

Another community organisation that plays an important role in our community is the Luke Priddis Foundation. The foundation supports children and families affected by autism. Earlier this year, we announced funding for the Luke Priddis Foundation digital hub to turn the foundation's offices into a digital hub to assist young people with autism. I will be very pleased to work with the foundation on the delivery of this very important project. We're delivering funding for Panthers on the Prowl. This will be delivered over two years to fund the full suite of Prowl programs. The Prowl schools program has been active since 2002 and has had an impact on over 250 young people and their families. The projects are aimed at building kids' self-esteem, social skills, resilience and leadership and at improving student motivation and engagement. Another fantastic program in our communities is the St Marys school lunch program, run by Christ Mission Possible. We've secured funding for the ongoing delivery of this program, which provides meals to at-risk young people in St Marys based schools. I know Christ Mission Possible well. They do fabulous work in the community of Lindsay, assisting people experiencing homelessness.

This week—and I like to speak this this subject—I talked about the Cranebrook Breakfast Club and how we worked together to deliver funding for the purchase of a new bus. This is very important for local children in Cranebrook. The bus will pick them up from their home and deliver them to the Breakfast Club so they get something good to eat, and then they get to school. The vehicle means that the centre can double the number of kids that are being picked up and dropped off at school each day, and these are some of the most vulnerable kids in our community. They usually have a very low attendance rate at school.

Ratha's Place in St Marys is a wonderful local disability employment provider, and I was very pleased to work with the team there to secure funding for the purchase of a new refrigerator truck so they can continue training and support for their employees that have an intellectual disability.

Another great achievement is the funding we secured for the Western Sydney Community and Conference Centre. This will assist in the establishment of a state-of-the-art community centre within the existing Panthers precinct and means that lots of local not-for-profits—small, local not-for-profit organisations—will be able to have an office space so they can continue their much-needed work in our community.

The Morrison government is investing in local jobs. It's investing in community upgrades and congestion-busting infrastructure for the people of western Sydney and for the people of Lindsay. It is absolutely one of the most critical things we can do in Western Sydney as Western Sydney continues to grow. Essentially, we need to ensure that we have this infrastructure investment and that we're also investing in jobs of the future for our kids. This means linking schools to higher education, workplace training and employment. This will ensure that our local kids won't have to commute out of the area like many of us do now. They'll have those local jobs. I'll be working hard over my term in parliament to ensure that we are delivering these projects and more.

As I talk about local kids and local schools, I very much enjoyed this week having another school, St Nicholas, come to Parliament House and share their experiences that they've had. I think it's very important for local members of parliament to ensure they stay connected with their community when they're here in Canberra. One of the top questions the kids asked me was about infrastructure, so it is a big issue in our community. They want to know how we'll deal with population growth through infrastructure. Another thing they asked about was future jobs. The kids of today in our schools in Lindsay are thinking about their future, and I am very pleased that I'll be a member of parliament working hard to ensure there are more local jobs so kids can stay and not have to move out of the area as they grow.


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