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Thursday, 24 June 2010
Page: 6683

Mr RANDALL (10:37 AM) —I rise today to mention two significant projects in Canning that will benefit the community for years to come. They are two projects that I have long supported and fought to deliver for the region: the Pinjarra pool and the Sarich paediatric ward at the Peel Health Campus. I have mentioned these projects on several occasions in this parliament. Why? Because they are projects that the Rudd-Gillard government willingly cast aside. For a government that once labelled these very projects ‘regional rorts’, they have quickly changed their tune now as the next election rolls around.

No-one can feign surprise at another complete turnaround by the Labor government but I welcome their $1.2 million backflip on the Pinjarra pool because it delivers a long lasting benefit for Pinjarra. If the Rudd Gillard government was really serious about delivering community infrastructure this pool would have been built two years ago. In 2007 the coalition delivered $1.1 million for the pool but it was ripped up by Labor along with a $10 million commitment to the Pinjarra bypass and $650,000 for the Pinjarra bowling club.

For almost three years my calls on the Rudd-Gillard government, including direct appeals to Minister Albanese, to honour these projects have fallen on deaf ears. Lack of interest by the Labor government until now means the hydrotherapy pool was withdrawn from the initial build to save money. A sudden change of heart and sweeping into town grandstanding about the investment in infrastructure will not hide the fact that the funding being delivered is the same funding that was taken away two years ago. The government even knocked back the project again as recently as last year. Why now? The answer is clear but it is unfortunate that the elderly and the ill in Pinjarra have been left waiting with bated breath about the future of a vital community facility and health treatment options for cynical reasons and political point scoring.

While the government has eventually come good on the pool it was the community that rallied to ensure the paediatric wing of the Peel Health Campus became a reality when the Labor government cruelly reneged on the coalition’s funding agreement. In fact, they reneged twice. Special mention must go to the state government, who made up the shortfall when the Rudd Gillard government withdrew its commitment, contributing almost $1 million to the total. The $3.4 million Ralph and Patricia Sarich paediatric wing was built from the ground up, predominantly with funds raised by the Peel Health Campus Foundation led by Arthur Marshall. They are true heroes. It took five years of funding and contributions from more than 1,500 local groups. The 12-bed purpose-built facility with family room and playroom was built by the community for the community after lots of cake stalls, dances, raffles, sausage sizzles and old-fashioned money-can shaking in the local streets. I was proud to attend the official opening of the ward by health minister Kim Hames last week. It was clear that this true community effort will benefit health care through the region for years to come, offering real comfort to families during some of the most difficult times of their lives.