Tonight I wish to discuss public transport, specifically train services, in relatively broad terms. Public transport options, or lack thereof, are a major concern for the Blue Mountains community. The last revision of and changes to the Blue Mountains timetable took place in October 2013 without consultation with the community. It is not good enough. Public transport impacts on every aspect of life in the mountains for many people. We are a series of villages spread across a ridge line, and the train network is integral to our moving about.Read more
Domestic and family violence is an all too common crime. Today I acknowledge the victims and survivors of domestic and family violence, and those who have for many decades provided care and support to women and children experiencing violence and abuse. Just over 40 years ago a brave group of women took refuge in an abandoned house in Glebe. Through hard work and commitment they established Elsie's Refuge for Women and Children in 1974.Read more
I speak about The Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise [BMEE] Creative Industries Cluster after opening the Blue Lab symposium last week in Katoomba. I remember being at the very first Creative Industries Cluster Muster two years ago when the chief executive officer, Jacqueline Brinkman, spoke quietly to me of her nervousness: Had she misjudged the appetite for a collaborative approach to industry development among artists and creative enterprises based in the mountains? She had not.
Over 200 people arrived that day to learn about clusters and how they build sector sustainability. The positive feedback was deafening. Kelly Blainey was appointed cluster manager and set about her role with fierce determination. Kelly brokered contracts and partnerships, immediately boosting the industries' financial viability. This grassroots approach kept work in the mountains that may have been lost to other regions. I recognise today the ingenuity, drive and vision of the BMEE team for bringing a powerful idea to life.
On 5 June each year the United Nations Environment Programme honours World Environment Day to raise awareness about environmental issues and make a call for action. The theme of this year's event is sustainable lifestyles. Its motto is "Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care." It is a particularly powerful topic because it encourages everyone to take a moment to question how we live and how our actions impact the planet.Read more
There is a potential calamity regarding land use and development in the Blue Mountains. This issue has arisen after an apparent backflip by the New South Wales planning department over the draft local environmental plan [LEP]. Blue Mountains City Council has worked with the community intensively for two years to devise an LEP that conforms to the standard template but also takes into account the mountains' unique position within a World Heritage area, its environment, water catchment and character housing.Read more
I denounce the Baird Liberal Government's privatisation agenda and I oppose the Electricity Network Assets (Authorised Transactions) Bill 2015 and the Electricity Retained Interest Corporations Bill 2015. I do so not just because I am stridently and ideologically opposed to the conservatives' obsessive, compulsive privatisation of public assets, but because I am acutely aware of the lie that underpins the Liberal Party's dogma against publicly owned assets.Read more
I speak on behalf of Blue Mountains residents who have been mistreated by the former O'Farrell Government and who are still left in a state of uncertainty by the Baird Government. In 2012 the O'Farrell Government cut the sewage pump out subsidy to the remaining 72 residents in the Blue Mountains whose homes were not connected to the sewer. That decision was made high-handedly without consultation and communication with the people affected and it went against a written commitment by another Liberal Government.Read more
Tonight I speak about the importance of IDAHOT, the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. In Katoomba this Sunday I will attend the rainbow flag-raising ceremony as the member for Blue Mountains because it is a great day and also because vilification and persecution are still a feature of everyday life for members of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and questioning [LGBTIQ] community, and it has to stop.Read more
The SPEAKER: Order! I welcome to the gallery this morning supporters, family and friends of the member for Blue Mountains. In particular, I acknowledge the presence in the gallery of the former member of the Australian House of Representatives representing the electorate of Macquarie, and former member for Blue Mountains, Bob Debus, also the former for Blue Mountains, Phil Koperberg, and former member of the Legislative Council Helen Westwood. I warmly welcome all of you.Read more