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Thursday, 14 March 2013
Page: 2255

Mr IRONS (Swan) (12:02): I take this opportunity to update the House on two important local issues in my electorate of Swan, in Western Australia. Since last year, I have been working with the Contemporary Gymnastics Academy in Carlisle to help them find a new home so that they can expand the services they provide to local people. There was uncertainty surrounding their lease and they were looking for expanded new premises that could cater for the ever-growing interest among kids and adults in the sport and exercise programs that they provide. Given that they are one of the only artistic gymnastics clubs in the local area, it was particularly important that they survive and thrive into the future.

Following the relocation of activities, which previously took place at the Queens Park Recreation Centre, to the new Cannington Leisureplex, the Contemporary Gymnastics Academy put in an application to the council to lease the centre. There was great community support for this proposal, as indicated by one of the surveys I did through the area. Unfortunately, after a lengthy process, the City of Canning decided to award the lease at the new centre to the eightball association, which was disappointing for the gymnastics club. However, we did not give up and we continued to look for a new home due to the support in the community and the fact that there are exceptionally few gymnastics facilities in the region. We started looking and put out a call to the public for a location for a new home for the gymnastics centre.

In the Southern Gazette on 12 February 2013, in an article by journalist Susanne Scolt, we put out a public call to try and find a new home. Mrs Michele McDermott said that she was particularly keen that the club stay in the local area as all the gymnasts were local residents. We also knew, however, that while most of the members came from the Victoria Park area there was a big potential for expansion in the Canning area following the survey results I conducted in the local community. So we ideally wanted somewhere in the heart of Swan which would be accessible to everyone. Michele stated that they were looking for a warehouse that was square, with a lot of space for training and a high roof for their equipment.

After a long process, I am pleased to be able to advise the House that Michele and the gymnastics association have found new premises on Tennant Street, Welshpool, and the club's future is now secure. This is very close to where my business used to be. I visited the new facility recently and it is twice as big as the old facility and perfect for the club. The location is close to perfect as it is close to the suburbs of Canning, Victoria Park and Belmont and also next to a train station.

I would like to publicly thank the owners of the Welshpool site who worked with the club and provided the facilities at a reasonable rate. They have made a great contribution to the community by doing this. Michelle must be congratulated for her tenacity—and she should be commended as she has been focused throughout the process and has got a deserved result. I will continue to help the club in any way possible into the future.

Finally, I would like to talk about another local issue that I have been working on in Lathlain in my electorate of Swan. In January Lathlain residents contacted my office about an escalation of antisocial behaviour taking place at the vacant Red Castle Motel site in Lathlain. According to residents, the site was occupied by squatters and had seen a spike in incidents since a fire at the vacant building in September. There was concern that the premises might become a base for criminals and drug dealers operating in the area.

We contacted the relevant parties, and a meeting was held between the officer in charge of Kensington police, the police inspector of the south-east metropolitan district, representatives of the owners and representatives of the town of Victoria Park to address the issues. The meeting was positive and there was a consensus on immediate action to prevent the site from becoming a source of crime in the Lathlain-Burswood area. The priority was obviously to secure the building, and there was widespread agreement from all parties that this needs to happen as soon as possible, and this has now been undertaken. Significant responsibility lies with the owners to secure the premises to prevent access.

We know that crime is in issue in the Burswood area and we do not want this to develop into a base for further criminal activity. Long-term, the stadium precinct developments—including a train station overhaul, combined with the rejuvenation of the Crown at Burswood—provide an opportunity to design out much of the crime problems that exist in the area. In the meantime we must stay vigilant and continue to crack down on the antisocial behaviour as much as possible. I will continue to work with the police and the council to do what I can to help. Our focus, as always, is on the community who deserve and should be able to live in a harmonious environment and have an expectation of safety and freedom from crime in their area. Thank you.