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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1700


Ms SCOTT (Lindsay) (19:12): I rise tonight in support of Appropriation Bill (No. 3) 2014-15 and cognate bills. In doing so, I would like to share with the House some of the very positive economic activity taking place in the outer suburbs of Western Sydney. So much work has been done with regard to the innovation corridor—a corridor of smart jobs that will not only create new and emerging industries but will also create the jobs, and the smart jobs, of tomorrow.

As it stands today, Western Sydney suffers with job deficits of anywhere between 180,000 and 220,000 jobs. The Penrith Business Alliance further estimates that two-thirds of the region are forced to commute every single day to work—that is about 65,000 people. Most of these people make the trip by car along the M4 to their place of employment. This daily commute, this exodus from the region, can take anywhere between two to four hours a day. Let us think of the damage to our local economy done by this leakage of people leaving our town every single day and the disruption to all of those families, not to mention the immense effect that it has on our nation's productivity.

I am proud to be part of a government that has a vision for Western Sydney, that has a vision for our nation and one that is getting on with the job of delivering that vision. In January, I was very honoured to host the Treasurer. First, I took him to a suburb called Jordan Springs—one of seven new housing developments going up within my electorate at this point in time

This development was awarded the prestigious 2014 best master-planned development in NSW by the Urban Development Institute of Australia. It is developments like Jordan Springs that have driven economic growth in New South Wales from last in our country to the state performing best in our country.

Later I took the Treasurer to meet local business innovators and they discussed with him the amazing opportunities they saw for Western Sydney. One particular opportunity is that of the Sydney Science Park—a 287 hectare mixed use development in Luddenham. As its vision statement clearly says, Sydney Science Park will be a new centre of excellence in the key growth areas of food security, energy and health. This internationally recognised epicentre for research and development will employ 12,200 professionals, educate 10,000 students and provide quality residences and infrastructure to cater for them. Spread across 287 hectares in the growing Western Sydney region, Sydney Science Park will be home to the Baiada laboratories, the research and development arm of one of Australia's largest privately owned food groups. By bringing together the industry's best and brightest, this multibillion dollar precinct will help drive growth, productivity and competitiveness across the food and agribusiness sector.

This development will bring together thousands of jobs and scientific minds to study some of our agricultural industries. Over and above the value of the land, the Baiada group are pledging to invest in the vicinity of $2.5 billion into our region. This private investment further complements the $3.6 billion investment the federal government, together with the New South Wales Baird government, is investing in the roads of the 21st century. These roads will improve the vital arteries that connect our regions. In my electorate of Lindsay, this will include the widening of Northern Road and Elizabeth Drive, and there will be improvements to Bringelly Road in the electorate of Macarthur.

This is very exciting news for the people of Western Sydney. I am proud to be part of a government that is delivering for the people I represent. In February I was honoured to host the foreign minister. We oversaw the beginning of the development of the Sydney IQ medical research park in Werrington, a location where already $28million has been made available by the federal government and the University of Western Sydney. This soon to be Sydney IQ business park will be home to 450 new jobs. Thanks to the work of the Assistant Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development, the member for Mayo, the coalition government has further provided a consignment loan of $70 million to the New South Wales state government to immediately commence works on the Werrington Arterial—a vital piece of infrastructure that will provide a link to Sydney IQ, ultimately delivering 6,000 jobs to this region in medical research and technology. How can you not be excited by this? I have already mentioned 12,000 jobs, and now there are another 6,000 jobs—directly out of the policies of this government.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs in opposition worked hard on the free trade agreements that were ultimately delivered by the current Minister for Trade and Investment. These free trade agreements have had a massive impact; we are seeing the first fruits of these labours growing and coming to life in the electorate. Later in the month I will be honoured to have the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, who is in the chamber tonight, come and visit the electorate of Lindsay. He will meet a delegation of Chinese businessmen who are coming to Lindsay to see how they can further be part of this emerging services industry so these services can then be provided back to China. This is exciting news for Western Sydney, this is exciting news for Australians, and it is exciting to see so many members of our executive getting on board and working hard to deliver smart jobs for tomorrow.

Under the free trade agreement the University of Western Sydney have signed a memorandum of understanding with the Beijing University of Medical Research whereby the University of Western Sydney will be working to accredit and do all of the research trials on Chinese medicines. Globally, this is a $170 billion industry. This is where Western Sydney can really carve a niche for itself. An initial injection of $20 million from the Beijing University of Chinese Medicine will establish a world-leading centre in traditional medicines and will provide the catalyst to get the accreditation facility up and running. Penrith council reports a staggering average of $100 million in development proposals coming across its desk every month as people see the potential in investing in this thriving region. At the other end of it, we also have to look at the commitments from this government to ensure that we make this all possible.

Only a few weeks ago I was honoured to host the Prime Minister in the electorate of Lindsay. We went out to Castlereagh, where we met with hundreds of local people who were wanting to meet and shake the hand of the Australian Prime Minister. We looked from Castlereagh across the Penrith Lakes scheme, a 200 hectare site that was once the Castlereagh quarries that provided in the vicinity of 70 to 80 per cent of all the sand for Sydney developments over the last 50 years. This land reeks of opportunity. Within the next six to 18 months this land will be handed back to the New South Wales state government and together with the state department of planning and the state department of sport and the Penrith council we are now developing a plan that will develop this crucial region.

I think I have clearly demonstrated how this government is focused on the people of Western Sydney and is clearly focused on delivering growth, jobs and opportunity for all Australians. But the work does not stop there. Let us discuss WestConnex, Australia's largest urban road project—one that will ease congestion by allowing those travelling east from Penrith into the city to bypass 52 sets of traffic lights. It will provide 10,000 jobs to the people of inner Western Sydney. But it does not stop with WestConnex. What about NorthConnex? How many people in the region dread Pennant Hills Road—the pain of Pennant Hills Road—particularly as people travel up into the Central Coast for their summer holidays? NorthConnex will allow a bypass of Pennant Hills Road. I am sure that the member for Parramatta, who is also here tonight, would also like to see a bypass of Pennant Hills Road; it would also very much benefit the community in Parramatta. These are projects of vision—projects that will get the outer Western Sydney suburbs moving. The coalition government is working together at both state and federal levels. No longer will the people of Western Sydney be taken for granted, and no longer will they be left behind. I believe we have the opportunity to lead the world.

With all this development, I am also acutely aware of the spectacular and beautiful bushland that we in Western Sydney are custodians of; in particular, the Cumberland Plain Woodland, a critically endangered habitat. With so much development, we must carefully manage the competing priorities in order to care for this bushland. I would also like to applaud the efforts and the work of the Minister for Environment, not only for his long and consistent support but also, more to the point, his belief in protecting our native bushland. I would also like to record the work of so many local conservationists, including Wayne Olling, Lisa Harrold, and Geoff Brown; and Indigenous groups like Muru Mittigar, Kevin Kavanagh, and the Deerubbin Local Aboriginal Land Council—all working together to protect our bushland and to preserve our Indigenous heritage. Working with all of these local environmental stakeholders, the Minister for Environment is delivering 10 Green Army projects over the next four years. Together with land acquisitions, these projects are designed to build the connectivity of the Cumberland Conservation Corridor, a strategic arc of a natural corridor that will link flora and fauna, so that we can preserve what is so special and unique about our region. This is a vitally important project. Some of the areas earmarked still have platypus populations, while a number of creek lines are recognised as extremely rare examples of pristine environments which link back to pre-colonisation and into our Indigenous heritage. There is still so much work to be done in this space. I call on the state government to ensure that all biodiversity credits created—from all of the development right across Western Sydney—stay in Western Sydney. My own opinion is that I would love to see those credits invested into the Cumberland Conservation Corridor.

I am very pleased to confirm that there will be 10 Green Army projects in Lindsay—another excellent government initiative for which the minister for environment and heritage must be congratulated. There are only 350 projects awarded around the country, so receiving 10 within Lindsay is an amazing achievement. Almost all of them will be focused on restoring, where possible, the integrity of the remnant of the Cumberland Plain bushland. Some of the work will be carried out in conjunction with other groups in the area, like the Indigenous enterprise group Muru Mittigar, a well-respected cultural Indigenous centre for the local region. They will run nurseries, including the propagation of plants as well as seedlings, and they will roll out the projects. But here is the best news: Muru Mittigar say that at the end of the project they are aiming for a 90-per-cent employment rate for all the participants of their Green Army projects.

Western Sydney has one of the largest Aboriginal populations in the country and—as we have spoken about with the Close the gap report just a few weeks ago—providing Aboriginal employment is absolutely crucial. Working with the Green Army on this sort of project—a project that will deliver a 90-per-cent employment rate at the end of the project—is a noble cause for Muru Mittigar, and I applaud Peter Chia and the team at Muru for what they are doing. We are not only investing in keeping the green lungs of Western Sydney healthy; this is also a program of investing in jobs. And Muru Mittigar has the runs on the board to secure such a remarkable outcome. Since they began, Muru Mittigar has placed over 1,000 local Indigenous Australians into ongoing work and full-time work. That is an impressive record by anyone's standards. My interest in doing my bit for the economy is—along with the plan outlined by the Penrith Business Alliance—to create a further 40,000 jobs in Lindsay over the coming two decades.

On the coffee table in my electorate office, I have a brochure, circa 1960 or 1970. It is a detailed vision for what our forefathers thought was possible for our region. For 30 or 40 years, the vision pretty much stayed idle. But today, with this coalition government, we are seeing a vision and a life come to fruition. I would like to congratulate and thank my community and this government for delivering for the people of Western Sydney. (Time expired)