Jun 3, 2015

Social Infrastructure in Holt Speech – 3 June 2015

A major challenge that I have been committed to since I became the member for Holt has been ensuring that families who live in the outer suburbs have what I call the social infrastructure that they need. My electorate could be characterised as a growth-belt suburb. It is a suburb to which many young families move to live and create a better future for themselves. I think the responsibility of government is to ensure that, if you are inviting people to live in the outer suburbs, you provide what I again call the social infrastructure that they need. In that vein, I would like to talk about two positive things, and unfortunately I will touch on one negative thing, with respect to providing that necessary social infrastructure. Firstly, I would like to thank the Prime Minister for the $10 million contribution that has been recently made to the City of Casey to build the new Bunjil Place Casey Cultural Precinct Regional Arts Centre in my electorate. This project will result in 1,200 new jobs during the construction period and over 53 ongoing jobs. It will enable the City of Casey to build something close to a $130 million world-class regional facility. It really is a splendid concept and I fully supported that concept. I wrote to Minister Truss supporting this. This has received bipartisan support. The member for La Trobe has been a strong supporter and the member for Flinders has been a strong supporter, so we have all come together for the common good, if you like, to lobby the federal government to get the funding. I congratulate the Prime Minister on providing that $10 million.

The other thing that I want to talk about in a similar vein is the opening of the headspace facility in Narre Warren on 22 May 2015. This is as a consequence of a long campaign by young people like Dani Rothwell, who has been at the coalface with experience, and there is the challenge of the rate of youth suicide in our area. When those things were occurring, that necessary social infrastructure was not there. Now it is there as a consequence of the lobbying of these young people. To Dani and her fellow students who lobbied long and hard and lobbied me for a period of time: mission accomplished. That facility is there. I would just like more ongoing support for that in terms of certainty about the management.

In the time remaining, the third issue that I would like to raise is the Medicare office at the Fountain Gate shopping centre. I lobbied for many years for that to be present. It was opened by the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott, in 2004. Again, it was a bipartisan measure, with the then member for Latrobe, Bob Charles, and I. It is going to be closed. It is going to be taken out of the Westfield shopping centre and put into the Centrelink office on Webb Street. It is not a move that I support and I really do regret that something that is absolutely necessary to the needs of people who go into the shopping centre.


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