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Thursday, 31 May 2018
Page: 5212


Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (10:06): As many of us know, particularly on this side, a good education is a powerful start to any child's life, and so getting better support and funding for our schools is always a top priority of mine. There are many factors contributing to our children's journeys, but one of the most important is having dedicated teachers and educational leaders to guide them. One of those role models for me is Fiona Jackson. Over 39 years in education she made exceptional contributions to many Chifley schools, from appointments as a teacher at William Dean Public School to that as principal at Ropes Crossing Public School. She was a passionate, educational leader working to improve the learning outcomes of students, which was evident and shone through in proud students accepting awards for outstanding achievements at the end-of-year presentation ceremonies, many of which I was pleased to attend. Fiona, best wishes for your retirement and thanks for your invaluable service.

Another Chifley champion who recently retired is Jenny Gibbons. An educator for 28 years, most recently as principal in at Mountain View Adventist College in Doonside, Jenny made a permanent mark on the college. When she started at the school, 15 years ago, there were roughly 100 students. Today it educates nearly 700. She established the middle school, started a gateway class, opened a new admin building and school halls and expanded the campus with a prep centre, which I had the privilege of attending the opening of last October. Jenny finished up with Mountain View last year, officially retiring this year, and on behalf of a grateful community, thanks, Jenny, for your care and guidance.

Another priority of mine is getting better and affordable health care for Mount Druitt residents. I've been fighting for an MRI facility at Mount Druitt Hospital for years. After a long community campaign the funding for the MRI was finally delivered by federal Labor in 2013, only to be ripped away by the federal coalition later the same year. After the New South Wales coalition miraculously installed the MRI, Malcolm Turnbull refused to grant a Medicare licence for this machine. That licence would allow locals to have affordable access to technology to help Mount Druitt residents fight terrible diseases like cancer. The hospital wrote recently to the federal Minister for Health, Greg Hunt, asking for a licence. He knocked them back again. This means you can only get an outpatient MRI if you spend hundreds of dollars for it. The average weekly income in Mount Druitt is lower than the national average. A $250 scan is one-fifth of that household's weekly income. That there are people in need of this service and unable to pay for scans while, at the same time, the MRI machine is sitting in the hospital being underutilised is an utter disgrace. If he's got the guts, let's see the health minister visit Mount Druitt and tell locals why they have to fork out hundreds in MRI costs while he can throw money for licences in better-off Liberal electorates like that of the member over there.