RFS Volunteers

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I commend the member for Epping for moving this motion, which is extremely timely.

It is important that members thank those in our community who keep us safe.

The Blue Mountains is a unique World Heritage area, but it is also one of the most bushfire-prone areas in the world. The district is home to just over 75,000 people, who live in and around 27 towns and villages across the mountains.

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Intercity Train Project

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It is critical that this Parliament set aside time to debate the Baird Government's intercity train procurement project.

Over recent weeks and months it has become clear to me and any my Labor colleagues that the Minister for Transport is incompetent and that we are hurtling towards a point of no return with a doomed project that will cost taxpayers billions of dollars.

Members opposite like to style themselves as low-spending economic rationalists. In fact, they are presiding over waste and mismanagement of epic proportions.

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Central West Jobs and Infrastructure

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It is a joke that this motion has been accorded priority, and what a sad joke this Government has become.

There must be a by-election in Orange this weekend, but I do not know what the Government thinks this motion will do for it. Voters in Orange already have switched off from the nonsense this Government peddles.

That is why Bernard Fitzsimon is giving The Nationals a run for their money in an area that usually delivers 65 per cent of the primary votes to The Nationals. That primary vote is in tatters.

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Sun Valley Pony Club

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In a beautiful and protected valley in the Lower Blue Mountains you will find a small pony club with a very big heart and some talented young riders.

I congratulate the members of the Sun Valley Pony Club on their achievements in the State championships in April and July of this year. This little club, with only nine riders, won multiple awards in both championships.

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Stronger Families Alliance

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Today I acknowledge the Stronger Families Alliance in the Blue Mountains. I specifically refer to the launch of the evaluation report which has been a long time coming. A huge number of people who work across our community services sector, health sector and education sector in the Blue Mountains were in attendance, along with the Stronger Families Alliance executive. We were joined for the official launch by the Hon. Brad Hazzard. The Blue Mountains community sector has long been recognised in this State as innovative, collaborative and smart. It comes as no surprise that a best practice model in working with children and families should emanate from my electorate.

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Blue Mountains Business Awards

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The Blue Mountains Business Awards were held at the Fairmont Resort on 14 October and showcased the breadth of talent and excellence in the Blue Mountains business community across a wide range of industries.

The outright winner of the Harry Hammon Blue Mountains Business of the Year Award was Mountain Heritage Hotel and Spa Retreat and its Chief Executive Officer, Eric Sward. Mountain Heritage also took out the Blue Mountains Accommodation Award.

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Mental Health Month

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According to the World Health Organization:

Mental health is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realizes his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.

As a parent of two wonderful young men, this definition encapsulates the desires and aspirations of many parents such as me. We all want to see our children grow into healthy, strong and resilient people who make a contribution to their families and the community. However, at any point in time one in three Australians will be experiencing a mental health disorder. This is the paradox of mental illness.

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Western Sydney Infrastructure

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Yet again a Government backbencher comes in here and seeks to ingratiate himself with the Premier with some mindless backslapping in the form of this motion.

The member for Riverstone is having a laugh with this motion, and so he should be because it is a joke.

The Baird-Grant Government has an infrastructure program that is in tatters. It is in absolute tatters. WestConnex is a white elephant, the North West Metro will blow out by billions of dollars, and the Parramatta light rail has been slammed for having a poor cost-benefit ratio… bureaucrat lingo for a waste of money.

 

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Regional Infrastructure

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What a joke this motion accorded priority is, and what a joke this back-slapping Government has become. The member for Clarence is deluding himself with this motion. Services have been cut. There is no growth in full-time jobs. Full-time jobs do not exist.

TAFE has been eroded. The opening hours at Service NSW centres have been slashed, and suicide rates have increased as there are not sufficient services to deal with that.

It is a joke.

The unemployment rates in the Central West was 4.9 per cent when Labor left office and in August 2016 the rate was higher at 5.3 per cent.

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National Art School

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I commend, and Labor commends, the signatories to the petition being discussed in the House this afternoon that calls upon the Baird Government to guarantee the ongoing funding and accommodation of the National Art School.

As the members for Sydney and Summer Hill have noted already, the work of the National Art School is vitally important to the cultural fabric of this city and our State.

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