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Thursday, 4 April 2019
Page: 15010

Ms STANLEY (Werriwa) (12:10): As the 45th Parliament draws to a close, I'm reflecting on what the government has done for the people of Werriwa. The answer is not much, and not much for the NDIS in particular. This government has woefully underspent. It has let down recipients and carers alike. Many of my constituents have been left suffering, waiting 12 months for plan reviews. The stories that I hear in my electorate are heartbreaking, as were those detailed by the member for Hunter. This should not be happening to provide a surplus.

Not much has changed about the NBN either. Much of Werriwa is still waiting for the NBN, and those who have actually got it would like it to work even when it rains! Some parts of my electorate, like Long Point, which I've spoken about in this House on several occasions, won't see it for another 12 months—although, given that every time that we check the website, that date seems to move back, 12 months may also be a pipedream.

There is not much for Western Sydney Airport. Werriwa is home to Sydney's new airport, but we don't know if this government will deliver the road, rail and fuel line needs for the promised economic boom. There is also not much for education. School and TAFEs, which promise opportunity for the people of my electorate, are being left to stagnate by this government.

Then we get to energy bills—they have never been higher. Residents of Werriwa are feeling the squeeze of the cost of living and the lack of energy policy that is leading to the uncertainty that is keeping power bills high. Werriwa's had enough. We need a Labor government to deliver the health care, education and infrastructure our community deserves.

Buongiorno! Last month I attended the beginners Italian class at Marco Polo Italian School. The school is hosted by CNA-Italian Australian Services. My electorate of Werriwa has a large Italian community. When I speak to my constituents, they're concerned about their children and grandchildren maintaining a connection to their culture and their language. While visiting CNA, I spoke to some of the HSC students learning Italian. These young people highlighted how important it was for them to continue learning the language of their grandparents, so they can connect to them and their cultural heritage. Money is tight at CNA and other language schools in Werriwa, but they still do their best to deliver services to as many of our citizens as possible.

That's why Labor's $8 million investment in community language schools is so important. We want our young citizens in a diverse and multicultural Australia to have an affordable way to connect with their language and their culture. We want our young people to be able to communicate with their grandparents and their relatives, and be part of our global economy. Under our plan, the not-for profit language schools will be able to apply for grants of up to $25,000 to upgrade resources, improve teacher training and expand their programs to preschool-age children. Having seen the CNA school, I know just how much difference this money will make, and I look forward to community language schools flourishing under a Shorten Labor government.

In February I visited John Edmondson High School in Horningsea Park for a very special ceremony. Together with Principal Leon Weatherstone, I unveiled a plaque commemorating the support of the Edmondson, Hurst and Peacock families during both World War I and World War II.

We think of World War I as the time when Australia became a nation in her own right. Whilst the Gallipoli campaign was catastrophic, it brought Australians together to share in the bravery and sacrifice of our own soldiers and those of New Zealand across the Ditch. We know both wars are significant in terms of Australian history and world history, but something we reflect less on is the individual sacrifices and the impact those sacrifices had on families and communities back home. John Edmondson, whom the high school is named for, died when he was 27, on the battlefields in Tobruk. While we rightly commemorate the bravery and sacrifice of John Edmondson himself, what we often forget to consider is the grief of his family and the grief of the community he left back home in Liverpool. John's parents, Joseph and Maude, had to wave goodbye to a son they would never see again. John was their only child. This story was common among countless families who bravely supported their children to fight for their country and whose children never returned.

The plaque was funded under the Armistice Centenary Grants Program. These grants enable community organisations to commemorate, as part of Australia's military history, the end of World War I, as well as the war's effect on their communities.