While I have been speaking out in this place about the Baird Government's cuts to TAFE since the election last year, I have been fighting alongside TAFE teachers and students for many years. I acknowledge the presence in the Chamber of my colleague, our hardworking shadow Minister for TAFE, and thank her for caring about students and teachers. I stand with her in supporting TAFE. I have been fighting alongside TAFE teachers and students to save TAFE because I know that the only way to ensure young people find work, the only way to ensure our economy has workers with modern skills, and the only way to ensure quality education outcomes are put ahead of private profits, is to protect the TAFE system we have now—a system that has long been the envy of the developed world.Read more
I acknowledge Norm and Laurel Harris, who have lived in the Blue Mountains since 1992. Prior to retiring, Laurel was an associate dean in the Faculty of Nursing at Sydney University. Norm had enjoyed a successful career with Westpac and prior to retiring was a project manager. They have dedicated their life to environmental causes, and were key members of Gordon Falls Bushcare. Familiar figures at Gordon Falls, they could often be found weeding, planting and mowing the reserve, much to the delight of other Leura residents and visitors.Read more
It is Yellow Ribbon National Road Safety Week. Today I pay tribute to Peter Frazer of the Blue Mountains, his family and friends, and our community for their efforts in promoting SARAH, Safer Australian Roads and Highways. "Stop driving blind" is the campaign message for 2016 to focus on eliminating distractions while driving. Last year 1,209 people were killed and more than 30,000 were seriously injured on our roads. This week the SARAH campaign asks people to stop for a moment to remember and drive so others survive. I acknowledge the change and effort in this arena that has come from the incredibly sad loss of Sarah Frazer in 2012.
I support the Government Information (Public Access) Amendment (Sydney Motorway Corporation) Bill 2016, which was introduced by the member for Strathfield, because, as is the case for many in this Chamber, my community relies on the M4—and because we believe in public scrutiny. The M4 is a road that is central to the lives of so many of our constituents. Moreover, the WestConnex project is large and costly and will have wide-ranging and long-lasting impacts throughout Sydney—not all of them positive. It is therefore bewildering to me that the Government has chosen to be so wilfully obstructive and deceptive about the Sydney Motorway Corporation and its plans for the M4 and WestConnex once roadworks are completed.Read more
I pay tribute to the efforts of the fabulous Blue Mountains Artist Network [BMAN], which held an exhibition entitled "Infinities of Blue" in the New South Wales Parliament Fountain Court throughout March. I was incredibly proud to host the exhibition. The artwork was a reflection of the village life, landscapes, flora and fauna, and architecture of the Blue Mountains. The exhibition successfully showcased our artists and the extent of their responses to our unique environment. The fact that we are in a World Heritage listed area enriches our lives. The exhibition was a celebration of artists in our distinctive region and gave them essential exposure.Read more
The Woodford Academy in the Blue Mountains is the oldest complex of colonial era buildings in the region. Originally built as an inn in the 1830s, between 1907 and 1936 it was the site of an exclusive school, the Woodford Academy. Today, with the assistance of a group of dedicated volunteers, the Woodford Academy operates as a museum of sorts, offering a unique insight into colonial era life. I pay tribute to the hard work of the National Trust and volunteers, including Libby and Noel Burgess, Brian Kirkby, Felicity Anderson and Dat Lieu, who make it possible to enjoy and understand the history of the Woodford Academy.Read more
I thank the member for Port Stephens and the member for Cootamundra for their contributions to this matter of public importance. Last week I spoke in this House about Playgroup NSW, and the importance of its work in early intervention and prevention. Established 40 years ago, Playgroup NSW is the peak body for playgroups in our State. Why is National Playgroup Week so important? It is when we recognise that playgroups provide informal support to parents and children. These support networks will often last many years, helping families to get through the various transition points and challenges of early childhood.Read more
Earlier this month I had the pleasure of attending Springwood Hospital's fortieth anniversary. I was joined by staff, past and present, and members of the Blue Mountains community to mark this special occasion. Officially opened on 1 March in 1976, Springwood Hospital originally operated as an extension to Nepean Hospital, offering general medical and surgical care. These days it specialises in geriatric, rehabilitation and palliative inpatient care and day surgery. This is a true community hospital with ongoing fundraising efforts from the fantastic auxiliary providing much-needed resources.Read more
I support the Crimes (Domestic and Personal Violence) Amendment (National Domestic Violence Orders Recognition) Bill 2016.
At no time before has there been a national dialogue occurring across our nation on the often hidden and always shameful act of domestic violence.
In speaking to this bill I must first pay my respects to the women and children who have been victims of domestic violence. Domestic violence is a major betrayal of trust that has long-term psychological and physical impacts, as well as long-lasting intergenerational effects.Read more
I support this petition all the way from the Blue Mountains and I appreciate the Attorney General outlining her reasons for supporting it.
It has to be said that there does not seem to be a patch of grass or building in Sydney that the Premier does not want to commercialise or sell off, and that includes our precious national parks.
The Gap Bluff proposal for Watsons Bay in South Head National Park is just one of many.Read more