Thursday, 27 February 2020
Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020, Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020; Second Reading
It gives me great pleasure to advise the member that his comments earlier were not actually accurate. Today I rise to speak to the appropriation bills, Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2019-2020 and Appropriation Bill (No. 4) 2019-2020. These bills will provide additional monetary support for government programs, both new and existing, which will be delivered over the course of this financial year.
The Morrison government is able to deliver funding to projects right across Australia through our strong management of the economy, and it is this responsible economic management that allows the government to quickly act in the face of challenges such as devastating bushfires, floods and drought, or by investing in important measures to keep Australians safe in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. It is also this strong economic management that, despite the many challenges that we've faced as a country over the past few months, allows for investment in vital infrastructure upgrades and local projects in communities all around Australia, including in my electorate of Robertson. Today I'll share just a few examples of the many, many projects that the Morrison government will be investing in to improve the lives of residents on the Central Coast.
Last year, the federal government announced a $35 million package in the government for additional car spaces at Gosford and Woy Woy train stations. This was part of a $541.2 million congestion funding boost for New South Wales under the national Urban Congestion Fund. The commuter car parks in Gosford and Woy Woy are regularly full by 7 am, forcing many to look for street parking that can, in some instances, be a very long way from the station. I heard from many frustrated locals who were desperate for more car parking spaces. Thanks to this investment by the Morrison government, these upgrades will make a monumental difference to the lives of many commuters on the Central Coast who travel to Sydney or Newcastle daily via public transport. Like many Central Coast residents, I'm keen to see the car parks at both Gosford and Woy Woy become a reality as soon as possible. I understand that scoping and development activities are already underway, with locations for the car parking and construction time frames to be released in due course.
In addition to boosting car-parking capacity for commuters on the Central Coast, the Morrison government is continuing to work on improving mobile phone coverage along the train lines between the Central Coast and Sydney. The first mobile base station was launched at Narara train station in October last year, along with free wi-fi at Lisarow, Mount Colah and Tuggerah train stations. The second of the planned 22 mobile stations is now almost complete, with the launch of Narara's Showground Road site expected in early March. Improving connectivity for local commuters is important, with one in four people living on the Central Coast commuting by train each day—a journey that can take more than two hours. Building the new mobile infrastructure will reduce mobile black spots and allow passengers to catch up on work or the news, and stay in touch with friends and family. While I understand the ongoing frustration of commuters with delays of this project's completion, I would like to acknowledge the strong collaboration between Sydney Trains, Telstra, and the federal and state governments on ensuring these vital upgrades are completed as quickly as possible.
The $70 million Central Coast Roads Package is another example of what is possible under a government that can manage the economy. In 2019, this government committed a record $70 million to improving 29 local roads that were in dire need of attention. This followed our local roads petition, launched in 2017; over 700 members of the community in my electorate raised their concerns and had their voices heard. It's only because of the Morrison government's strong financial management that we are able to invest this record funding, which will improve the experience of so many people who live on the Central Coast. I'm pleased to advise that Central Coast Council has already started work on these upgrades, with drainage work on Mutu Street in Woy Woy complete, and work on kerb and gutter replacement expected to wrap up in April. I understand that Central Coast Council are scheduled to begin construction on Glenrock Parade in Tascott next month. I understand that upgrades to 20 of the 29 roads will have commenced by the end of next year, which I'm sure will be welcome news to many who have been waiting years to see their roads upgraded.
We've also committed to $4.3 million in funding to Central Coast Council to upgrade vital roads, and install much-needed footpaths in North Avoca. It will see Tramway Road, View Street and Elgata Avenue fully reconstructed, including with curb and guttering and new footpaths. This commitment came about after a group of local mothers from North Avoca advocated for upgrades due to a number of concerns they had about safety in the area, particularly for pedestrians, due to the lack of footpaths. I understand that Central Coast Council has commenced the design process for this project, with a concept design scheduled to be prepared in the coming months. I look forward to seeing local families being able to walk with their toddlers and their prams down to the beach and the local shops without concern, when this project is completed.
The Morrison government has also provided a $9 million investment, a very important investment, for a women's residential drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre on the Central Coast, known as The Glen centre for women. This investment—I do believe this is an incredibly important announcement—followed a feasibility study that was supported by a consultation process involving over 400 women, including Indigenous elders and more than 40 organisations from community groups, peak bodies and research and service providers. Of the total $9 million in funding provided in the 2019 budget, $4.5 million will go towards building the new facility, with an additional $1½ million per annum for three years to cover operational costs. I'm delighted to say that The Glen centre for women is a step closer to becoming a reality with a funding agreement executed just this week. I understand The Glen will now turn their attention to identifying the most appropriate location for the women's centre to be built.
An additional health initiative funded by this government is the delivery of funding for another linear accelerator, which will boost cancer treatment capacity at Central Coast Cancer Centre. The $3.8 million investment in the 2019 budget provides for a third linear accelerator machine. The machines are vital in the treatment of cancer as they allow doctors to target cancer cells while protecting the surrounding healthy tissue. This extra linear accelerator machine will make a dramatic difference in my community once installed.
Another example of this government's investment in local communities is the $8.25 million upgrade of the Umina recreational precinct. This funding will allow for the redevelopment of the existing skate park, BMX track and basketball court, and a new football club house for Umina United Soccer Club, a new integrated community facility and additional car parking. It was clear after speaking to residents in my local community and receiving a petition with over 2,000 signatures that these upgrades would make a significant difference to those who are living on the peninsula. The redevelopment will not only improve social cohesion within the community but deter antisocial behaviour from our young people. In addition, the facelift will draw regional sporting competitions to the state-of-the-art facilities, boosting our tourism and local economy.
A concept plan is being finalised after 18 months of community consultation, with a detailed plan now available on the Your Coast - Our Voice website. Construction of the Umina recreational precinct is due to start in the coming weeks, with the upgrade expected to be complete by late 2020. I join with many others from right across the peninsula who cannot wait to see this fantastic project finally underway.
The government committed $80,000 to upgrade the scoreboard at Woy Woy Oval. This funding has allowed the local sporting clubs to use this ground to install a state-of-the-art scoreboard to further encourage the youth within the community to participate in local sporting events. The Morrison government also committed $1.45 million for a new amenities block at the Lemongrove Netball Courts at Ettalong Beach. I was happy to advocate for this project after seeing firsthand the poor state of their existing amenities blocks. These upgrades to sporting facilities will provide immense benefit to all who regularly utilise them.
Finally, we're a step closer to creating a world class health and innovation precinct in Gosford as $18 million was committed last year by this government to build on the vision of the Central Coast Medical School and— (Quorum formed)
This $18 million in funding will assist with the development of a precinct in the heart of Gosford to increase educational opportunities in the region and create a centre of excellence in integrated health care. Additional benefits of this investment will see several new degrees offered by the University of Newcastle. One of my top priorities is attracting—