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Thursday, 15 March 2012
Page: 3147

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (09:33): Since 2007, Labor has delivered major transport upgrades, world class research facilities, excellent leisure and sporting facilities and safer roads in my electorate of Charlton and the wider Hunter region. Two of the largest infrastructure projects, the Hunter Expressway and the Northern Sydney freight rail corridor, are now making good progress as well as employing many hundreds of workers. So too is the construction of the Hunter Medical Research Institute forging ahead. This is a project which received $48.5 million in federal funding.

There are also many local infrastructure projects that are improving community amenity for the people of Charlton. Labor has provided funding to the Lake Macquarie City Council, for example, for the Regatta Walk in Toronto, the extension of the Red Bluff pathway in Eleebana and new club facilities at Evans Park sports ground in Cardiff. And I joined with hundreds of local residents last weekend to celebrate the opening of the Wyee Point Reserve, which received $900,000 of Commonwealth money. The Commonwealth has also supported the children's playground in Speers Point Park, which is a standout feature with families. In total, more than $7 million has been provided to Lake Macquarie City Council for community infrastructure projects in my electorate and more than $20 million to upgrade roads. I am also working with the council on the Glendale transport interchange, which involves the construction of a new rail station and transport interchange, as well as a road overpass and associated roads. The council's application to the round 2 of the Regional Development Australia Fund has been selected to proceed to full application stage. The council has decided to undertake the Pennant Street Bridge and associate road works in two stages and has applied for $7 million rather than the $12.5 million that was potentially available. While I support the council's application, my preference would have been for the council to have submitted an application for the maximum amount available. However, I will nonetheless give my strong and continuing support to the Glendale transport interchange project as it is a vitally needed piece of infrastructure that will benefit a very rapidly growing region. Indeed, the region around Glendale is the demographic centre of the lower Hunter area. It is squarely in my electorate. This very important piece of transport infrastructure needs to be constructed.

The Glendale transport interchange will give greater access to major residential, retail and industrial precincts, as well as sporting, recreation and leisure areas. Importantly for commuters and people shopping in the major areas, it will reduce traffic congestion and encourage the creation of a more effective public transport system. I will continue, therefore, to strongly advocate for the Glendale transport interchange for my electorate of Charlton.