House debates

Wednesday, 3 February 2021

Constituency Statements

Watson Electorate: Lunar New Year, Cheng, Maria, Canterbury Hospital

10:17 am

Photo of Mr Tony BurkeMr Tony Burke (Watson, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for the Arts) Share this | | Hansard source

In my electorate in my part of Sydney not only the Chinese community but the Vietnamese and Korean communities always celebrate lunar new year, and the rest of the community celebrates it along with them. It's probably universally agreed that the year of the rat was a sorry disappointment, and people are very much looking forward to the year of the ox. I wish a happy new year to everybody who'll be celebrating, including in my local area where we've had to change how we'll do things—no longer the big lion dance; it'll now be a smaller noodle market.

One of the community organisations, which has always served the local community well, based in Campsie is the Chinese Australian Services Society. CASS run everything from child care through to aged care. They recently lost one of their most dedicated staff members. Maria Cheng sadly died in December last year, too young, after a relapse of cancer that she thought earlier she'd beaten.

Most notably, Maria was instrumental in CASS establishing their first residential aged-care facility in 2015, a facility which I've been a long-term supporter of. It is critical and part of people feeling dignity in the final years of their life if as many things as possible that surround them are familiar. To have aged-care facilities that are built for purpose for people with different cultural backgrounds is a wonderful legacy of CASS as an organisation and Maria Cheng as an individual. She worked selflessly for better outcomes for her community for over a decade. Because of this, her impact will be felt for a long time to come.

Also in my local area I want to refer to our hospital, Canterbury Hospital. For over 90 years Canterbury Hospital has served our community as our most trusted local institution. In its first year of service fewer than 600 patients were treated at the hospital, but now it looks after more than 100,000 patients a year. In the next 10 years the population that it serves is expected to grow by just under 40 per cent. The 800 staff who work there are getting the pressure of increasing workload with facilities that were simply not built to cope with the demand.

Canterbury hospital desperately needs an upgrade. The last time it was upgraded was in 1998. The local state MPs, Sophie Cotsis, Jihad Dib, Jo Haylen and I have all called for the state government to redevelop the hospital. We need a modern, fit-for-purpose facility that can meet the current and future health needs of our population, create good secure jobs and act as a major stimulus to the local economy. People in our part of Sydney deserve good health care as much as anyone else.