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Monday, 3 December 2018
Page: 12293

Ms RYAN (LalorOpposition Whip) (19:30): The Regional Rail Link was a significant investment from the former federal Labor government that has been invaluable to the thousands of people in my community who use the service to commute to Sunshine or to the city. The fact that car parks at our railway stations are full by 8 am—correction, sometimes as early as 7 am—demonstrates that people living in Melbourne's outer western suburbs want and need to use public transport. It was never imagined that this line, the Wyndham Vale line, on its way through to Geelong, would attract such custom. It is vital therefore that we are not only investing in additional public transport services, as we have seen from the state Victorian government, but also delivering measures to ensure that commuters who choose to use public transport can do so with minimum hassle.

I was proud to recently join the shadow minister for infrastructure, transport, cities and regional development, Anthony Albanese; the Victorian Treasurer, Tim Pallas; and the newly elected member for Tarneit, Sarah Connolly, at the Tarneit train station. The member for Grayndler announced that a future Shorten Labor government, with the Andrews state Labor government, will jointly fund a $15 million expansion of car parking facilities at the Tarneit train station. The commitment to build an additional 400 car park spaces at Tarneit station will make a real and practical difference to the lives of people who rely on public transport, while also reducing congestion for local residents. This is fantastic news for our community.

But, equally, it is disappointing that over the past five years those opposite have failed to invest in this vital infrastructure that my community needs and deserves. There are those members in my community who would like to say that the people who are accessing Tarneit train station should be doing so on a bike. I take this opportunity to remind those people in my community and in others that sometimes parents are dropping children at child care; if you look into the cars at the Tarneit train station on any given morning, you'll see many a child seat in those cars. People have incredibly busy lives and we need to make it easier for them both to access employment and to have as much family time as they can.

Earlier this year, I launched a petition calling on the federal government to fund a desperately needed full Medicare rebate MRI licence for the Werribee Mercy Hospital. So far my request has been ignored by the federal government and the Minister for Health. To date my petition has collected over 500 signatures and many locals have taken the time to send me emails or have a chat to me about what access to a full Medicare rebate MRI would mean to them. Vicki from my community said, 'The Werribee Mercy Hospital needs an MRI licence. My husband had a bleed on the brain and we went to the city very stressed.' The last thing you should have to worry about when you or your loved ones are sick is whether or not your local public hospital has the equipment required and the licence required to give you a diagnosis and a treatment. Further, I refer to Lisa, who said, 'As someone who has had to pay for four MRIs privately so far, I think this is long overdue.' Being forced to pay high out-of-pocket costs through the private system or travel long distances to access Medicare rebated scans is not good enough. But this is the reality that residents in my community face.

I am pleased that, despite being ignored by the federal health minister, the shadow minister for health, Catherine King, the member for Ballarat, has listened to my community and has announced that a Shorten Labor government will deliver a full Medicare rebate MRI licence to our local Werribee Mercy Hospital. Again, this is another example of Labor listening and delivering for residents in Melbourne's outer western suburbs.

On a sombre note this evening, my community, many young people, many families, schools, and community and sporting organisations are deeply mourning the loss of a vibrant, loving young man who left us suddenly and in tragic circumstances last week. I want to send my love and thoughts and deep condolences to his family, to his parents and brother and sisters; to his extended family; and to all in our community who are struggling to come to terms with the loss. As the grief reaches through the community, I want to thank everyone for the thoughtful, careful way that they are expressing their grief and reaching out to one another to offer comfort. This young man has left a deep impression on all those who have spoken to me about their relationship with him. His loss defies collective comprehension, but, with all in our community, I send to his family strength and love.