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Thursday, 19 June 2014
Page: 6773

Ms PARKE (Fremantle) (09:30): It was my pleasure this week to host the mayor, Logan Howlett and his wife, Pat, and three councillors from the City of Cockburn, Philip Eva, Steven Portelli and Yaz Mubarakai. There were here in Canberra to participate in the National General Assembly of Local Government. I know they gained a lot through their involvement in this year's NGAA program, and they brought with them their perspective and experience as representatives of an important local government in Western Australia.

I also participated in a breakfast meeting yesterday with the National Growth Areas Alliance and I am grateful to the member for Franklin, the shadow minister for regional development and local government, for organising and hosting that valuable opportunity for a number of members to hear some of the specific needs and challenges that face growing outer metropolitan communities.

The City of Cockburn in my electorate is a member of the alliance and, in addition to being one of the most significant growth areas in WA, it is also one of the fastest growing local governments in Australia. The National Growth Areas Alliance made an important budget submission this year, noting that the local governments within the alliance absorbed 35 per cent of Australia's population growth between the last two censuses, and calling on the federal government to provide a growth fund to support critical initiatives in areas like transport infrastructure and training and skills development. Investment in these areas is essential if growth areas are to function at their best, enabling their residents to participate fully in the economic and social life of our cities. The reality is we will not see the kind of coordinated and integrated growth we need, with the kind of sustainability and amenity outcomes that Australians should expect, if the development of growth areas is not carefully guided and appropriately resourced.

I have explained before the wonderful and catalytic effect of the Perth-Mandurah rail line and growth in the City of Cockburn, and credit must continue to go to the member for Perth in relation to the achievement of that visionary project during her time as minister in the West Australian Labor government. Now it is up to the current WA government to do its part and for the current federal government to overcome its inexplicable aversion to public transport. In my role as the federal representative of the people of Cockburn, I have worked hard with local government representatives to close the gap between the pace of residential development and the lagging provision of community infrastructure to match that growth and support those households and families. As part of the Labor government that took local government, city planning and public transport seriously, and knew the enormous benefit of public assets and services, I was pleased to help deliver projects like the new fire and emergency services headquarters, the new Coogee surf lifesaving club and the new Cockburn integrated health and community facilities.

I thank the mayor and councillors from the City of Cockburn for their good company this week and I encourage interested members to consider the National Growth Areas Alliance advocacy campaign, which is aptly titled 'Bring the Basics Within Reach—Jobs and Services for Growing Outer Suburbs'.