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Thursday, 28 May 2009
Page: 4790

Ms PARKE (4:45 PM) —The Fremantle electorate encompasses or touches upon four local government areas, and while the shared name and historical importance of the City of Fremantle reflects the strong connection between the two, it is actually the City of Cockburn that contributes the large share of the territory and population of the federal district. The municipal area of Cockburn is located within the traditional land of the Nyoongar people and it extends 15 kilometres inland from the exquisite coastal waters of Cockburn Sound to the lee of the Darling escarpment. Running north-south through the middle of Cockburn, the Beeliar Regional Park is comprised of a string of precious wetlands that runs from Lake Banganup to North Lake. I have previously spoken in this place about the community efforts to protect those wetlands, especially in the context of the state government’s intention to resurrect the Frankenstein’s monster that is Roe Highway stage 8.

The City of Cockburn is one of the fastest developing localities not only in Western Australia but in Australia as a whole. The current city population of approximately 80,000 is anticipated to grow to 90,700 by 2011 and to 102,600 by 2016. This growth has received a critical boost from the completion of the Perth to Mandurah rail line by the Gallop-Carpenter Labor government. New suburban development and house construction in Cockburn has flourished over the last decade as a result of this forward-looking and sustainable urban transport infrastructure. But rapid growth also brings with it the challenge of supporting that growth, and certainly the expansion in Cockburn needs to be appropriately met by an expansion in services. As the member for Fremantle, I take it as one of my ongoing priorities to ensure that the growing southern and south-eastern parts of my electorate are assisted with a growth in services as they develop.

To that end, in January I wrote to the Minister for Human Services in relation to a petition of 10,000 signatures calling for a Medicare office to be established at the Cockburn central shopping and services precinct. I have also argued, and will continue to argue, the case for locating an integrated primary healthcare centre at a site owned by the City of Cockburn within the suburb of Success. Cockburn is an area of identified need, with its ratio of GPs per head of population of 1 to 1,613 being significantly behind the national average 1 to 1,403. The proposed site is well served by private and public transport, and it would dovetail well with the new Fiona Stanley Hospital as an important addition to the area’s existing and expanding health service needs. It is a greenfields site and I understand that with appropriate government support the Cockburn central primary healthcare centre would be in a position to go ahead quickly towards full operation.

As an area of new and rapid growth, it is of course understandable that Cockburn is more exposed than other places to the vicissitudes of the current economic downturn. For that reason, I was pleased to be joined last month by the Prime Minister and the Minister for Employment Participation at a community jobs forum that was hosted very professionally by the City of Cockburn. The Rudd government recognise that the southern metro region of WA is an area of serious economic impact in the current circumstances, and the siting of a local employment coordinator to cover this area—one of seven key locations identified across Australia—is an important part of our response. As I said at the forum in April:

This is a strong, resilient community—and we will face this challenge together, in partnership with government; in partnership with business, and with employment and support agencies; and in partnership with our neighbours and families and friends.

Of course, the Rudd government’s efforts to both grow and underpin employment through nation-building initiatives are taking effect in Cockburn, as they take effect right across Australia. In addition to the unprecedented investment in school infrastructure, the support for installing insulation and photovoltaic cells to households and the direct support for the City of Cockburn itself, I am very pleased that $2 million will go to the construction of the Coogee surf lifesaving integrated community facility under the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure program. All these measures represent immediate support for jobs and economic activity in Cockburn; and they take the form of long-term investments in the future of this community.

I would like to conclude by noting that in October the City of Cockburn will celebrate the 30th anniversary of achieving city status. It is a strong, diverse, and dynamic community with a high level of engagement in its development and, I might say, in its governance. As a federal member, I am privileged to represent the people of Cockburn, and I look forward to celebrating their 30th birthday with them.