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Monday, 9 December 2013
Page: 2027

Ms HALL (ShortlandOpposition Whip) (21:00): In this, the last adjournment debate of the year, I would like to offer my thanks and give credit to the people of Shortland electorate. I thank them very much for placing their faith in me and for re-electing me at the last election, and I give them a guarantee that I will deliver to them. I know that health, education and the environment are all very high priorities for the people of the electorate that I represent, and I will work to see that we have a strong, safe and inclusive society. Unfortunately, over the last 12 months, my office has been inundated with constituents who have raised state government issues with me. I do not believe that the state members within Shortland electorate have a common goal with me and share my desire to deliver to the people of the area.

Be it the Department of Housing, the police, education or health, the story is the same: the state member is unavailable to assist. Recently, there has been the issue of GST on residential parks. Members on both sides of this parliament have expressed concern that residents living in these residential parks may be forced to pay a GST on their rental. That is very unlike the response of state members in my area to the new residential parks laws that the New South Wales government have put in place. People have been very disturbed by the way it has been handled, and the state members have been missing in action when residents have wished to talk to them. There is a chronic shortage of social housing, and the O'Farrell government is responding by selling housing stock. Surely this will make the housing crisis even worse.

The people of Swansea have been battling to have their police station operating for 24 hours a day for a very long time. Unfortunately, even though the state member promised the people of Swansea prior to the last state election that he would ensure that the police station was operating 24 hours a day, he still has not delivered.

Belmont police station is being upgraded—I congratulate the O'Farrell government on choosing to upgrade Belmont police station and Belmont courthouse—and the police from there are to be moved on a temporary basis to Swansea. There has been a 12-month process during which approval for the redevelopment has been stuck in a position where nothing has happened. I made some inquiries as to why this was the case. Was it a council hold-up? We all have problems from time to time with councils being a little bit slow. But, no, the problem was that the O'Farrell government was not giving the information to the local council, even though they had requested it. I am very hopeful that that will happen soon. But once the police station has been upgraded I have great fears that Swansea may not even have a police station. I can see that the O'Farrell government will sell it off just the way they are currently selling off the education office in Swansea. The district education office is in the process of closing down and moving into inner Newcastle because the state O'Farrell government is selling the building. It is a very sad state of affairs. Fire stations have been taken off-line, leaving communities at risk. The O'Farrell government has been selling off all of the electricity stocks. In Newcastle, the Port of Newcastle has been sold.

When Labor was in government they invested in health. They gave $20 billion to the states to address shortages. In New South Wales, money is being taken out of the system. Staff are being treated appallingly. Staff working at John Hunter hospital have been told that they can only use UHT milk, and the waiting lists continue to grow. The way that the O'Farrell government has handled workers compensation in New South Wales and the way that they have really disadvantaged workers is appalling. There is one young woman that I have been working with over a long period of time. All she needs is a back operation, yet the changes to the workers compensation laws make it impossible. I think it is appalling that the state government refuses to treat the people of Shortland electorate with the respect that they deserve.