Thursday, 4 April 2019
Please excuse me, colleagues, but I am fortunate to represent the best electorate in Australia. Bennelong is the home of innovation, from wi-fi to the Granny Smith apple, and is the base of dozens of the country's most innovative businesses. We are the most multicultural electorate in the country, with tens of thousands of locals who once called somewhere else home. We are a rich community of excellent schools, supportive families, hardworking small businesses, charities and volunteerism.
However, our greatest challenge is overdevelopment. Overdevelopment is the disease; congestion is the symptom. This is why I've been pushing the government for more support to bust congestion, and they have listened. We are already getting over $3 million from the Urban Congestion Fund to upgrade the bottleneck at Balaclava and Blaxland Roads. With this fund being quadrupled in this week's budget, I'm confident we will be able to secure more fixes to our infrastructure.
Overdevelopment is just development without supporting infrastructure. I've been a tireless advocate for better infrastructure. The $100 million Macquarie Park interchange will connect our high-rise developments, largest shopping hub and business park with our local bus network and the brand-new Northwest Metro. The Northwest Metro is particularly exciting, as most of our traffic is imported from the north-west. When this modern and efficient Metro line opens, in the next few weeks, we should see an enormous reduction in the number of cars on our roads.
I've also been a tireless advocate for high-speed rail, not because of the train itself but because it is the catalyst to decentralise our overburdened cities and suburbs. It's great to see both sides of parliament coming around to this thinking and the government pledging fast rail in the budget this week. We're not just funding transport infrastructure, though; we're putting $350,000 into rebuilding the old Scouts boatshed at Meadowbank, creating a new wharf for the community in the process. We're funding schools and students to record levels and we're supporting the state government in building and comprehensively upgrading over 10 schools. We're also putting our own Bennelong spin on the schools investment by repeating our table tennis in schools program and providing free table tennis tables to all schools, thanks to Hyundai.
There is much more happening locally, and I don't have the time to mention it all in detail. Our Bennelong Village Businesses initiative continues, with the help for small businesses that this week's budget sets out. Our fabulous volunteering groups are being supported like never before, through our grants program, as are our rich ethnic communities, who make our community so vibrant and diverse. It is a great honour to support this wonderful electorate in parliament. I hope to return to continue the good work in the 46th Parliament.