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Tuesday, 20 March 2007
Page: 88

Mr TICEHURST (9:16 PM) —The New South Wales Labor government is once again ignoring its responsibilities in the Warnervale region, a rapidly growing area in my electorate of Dobell. It is in desperate need of infrastructure and support services. The Warnervale Family and Community Centre is doing a fantastic job giving families in the area an opportunity to come together as a community to participate in local events while providing a number of support services to families.

Twice the federal government has thrown the community centre a lifeline after the state government abandoned the centre. The Prime Minister visited my electorate to announce $269,000 in funding in 2004 and I secured a further $94,000 in 2006 when the centre again faced closure. This centre is again in need of funding and, while I will continue to work closely with them to try and resolve this matter, the New South Wales Labor government have been shifting the blame and responsibility for local issues onto either the federal government or Wyong council for far too long.

The provision of recurrent funding to community centres is the jurisdictional responsibility of the New South Wales government through the Department of Community Services. Indeed, the New South Wales Minister for Community Services, Reba Meagher, was asked on local radio station 2GO recently if the funding for this centre was a state responsibility and she could not give a straight answer to the question. Wyong shire mayor, Councillor Bob Graham, has called on the state government to step up to the plate and allocate further funding for this service. I call on New South Wales Labor candidate David Harris to do the same.

I recently took the state Liberal candidate for Wyong, Ben Morton, and the New South Wales Liberal leader, Peter Debnam, to the Warnervale community centre so that they could see firsthand the valuable work that this centre does. The New South Wales Liberals have committed to providing $500,000 in funding over four years for the centre. Mr Harris, I call on you to do the same. Put your money where your mouth is and give the residents of Warnervale a commitment that you will fund this vital service if elected this Saturday.

All three levels of government have a responsibility to work together to achieve the best possible outcomes for the Central Coast. That is why it is disappointing that the New South Wales Labor government has ignored its responsibility to fund this service, just like it turned a blind eye to Tumbi Creek, calls for funding to restore Tuggerah Lakes and the need for community rooms at Woongarrah Public School. Woongarrah Public School needs more classrooms but the Iemma government could not be bothered installing demountables. Instead, it took the cheapjack option, taking two much-needed community rooms away from the school and turning them into classrooms.

I hand-delivered a letter to New South Wales Premier Morris Iemma protesting his decision at the official opening of the Hunter pipeline in December last year. I also handed him a letter from the school captains of Woongarrah Public School pleading that he reconsider the decision of the New South Wales Department of Education and Training to take away their valued community facility. We did not even get the courtesy of a response. So, on top of twice failing to put up the funds to allow the Warnervale Family and Community Centre to continue operating, the New South Wales government has now denied the area further community facilities.

State Labor also continues to play games when it comes to the Tumbi Creek dredging project, which I secured $1½ million funding for some time ago. The trial dredging took place in July last year, yet we are still waiting for the state government to give approval to Wyong council for the dredging to go ahead. What are we waiting for? All the while they stall this important project, residents are losing out. Heavy rain may cause flooding and possible damage to many homes along this part of the Tuggerah Lakes. It is disgusting that the New South Wales Labor government is ignoring the wellbeing of the Central Coast community in this way.

As the local federal member, I take my responsibilities seriously and will continue to push for the best possible outcomes for the Central Coast community. It is time that the state government did the same by offering a firm commitment to provide recurrent funding for the Warnervale community centre and giving immediate approval so that Tumbi Creek can finally be dredged. I ask the Leader of the Opposition to end the blame game and to make sure his Labor colleagues in New South Wales meet their obligations to the residents of the Central Coast.