PARLIAMENT HOUSE, Canberra: This is the last week of the 43rd parliament and possibly the last time that I will have the opportunity to speak in this House before the election. I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people of Aston for the honour they bestowed upon me in 2010 to be their representative. It has been a tremendous honour and great responsibility. I have done my best to represent the people of Knox as well as I can.
I am particularly proud of our community campaign to get a headspace centre into Knox. Without our campaign, which involved dozens of local residents, the headspace centre would not be there today. It is already helping hundreds of young people.
I am also proud of our campaign to save three-year-old kinders in Knox. Our advocacy nationally and our work locally helped those kinders stay open and allowed one—Templeton—to reopen.
The Stud Road bus lane between Ferntree Gully Road and Kellets Road was eliminated in large part because of our public efforts to put it on the agenda.
Along with some other colleagues, we were successful in forcing the federal government to reinstate $8.4 million in health funding to Knox. I have also worked closely with our schools and local businesses over the last three years to support them with funding and other issues.
None of these efforts could be done alone. I can spearhead many of these local campaigns, but they only have weight because community members have done the work and got behind them also. Perhaps the most satisfying part of the last three years has been working with individuals who have come to my office seeking assistance. I cannot always make a difference, but sometimes I can by virtue of my office. Some constituent matters become nationally prominent—for example, Henry Zhang, who came to see me about a gambling problem he had with Sportsbet. From that we placed some of the online gambling issues onto the national agenda.
As an election approaches I will again be seeking the support of the people of Aston to have the honour of representing them for a further term. I am a proud Liberal Party member and so will be campaigning for the end of this dreadful Labor government and the election of a Coalition Government. I am proudly supporting our core commitments of again getting control of our borders, addressing cost-of-living concerns, getting control of our finances and building a stronger economy through less regulation.
Locally, there are a number of priorities I would work on should I be re-elected. I would work on building a safer Knox through increased community safety measures such as CCTV cameras and better lighting at local shopping strips and train stations. One in 10 Knox residents does not feel safe in our community, according to my local survey. This is not good enough, and we can do better. Some of our roads need improving, and I will continue to fight to ease congestion, including by supporting the East-West link to take pressure off the Monash and by maintaining the pressure on Rowville rail so that it stays on the agenda. The section of the Stud Road bus lane between Burwood Highway and Boronia Road must also be fixed.
Our community can be made stronger through supporting key local institutions such as our schools and large sporting clubs. Everyone is a beneficiary of better sporting facilities because it keeps young people active and off the street and allows mentoring to occur.
I would like to continue with our efforts to install a Knox Honour Roll to acknowledge those locals who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation. Our plans are well advanced, but I would be determined to see this installed in time for the centenary of ANZAC.
Our small businesses and manufacturers need support. We have one of the highest concentrations of manufacturing in the nation, but many are struggling. To support them we must have policies including abolishing the Carbon Tax, getting rid of red tape and building economic infrastructure. When our local businesses do well, we all do well because there are jobs and wage increases for everyone.
Finally, I would like to focus on doing everything possible to reduce cost-of-living pressures. People in Knox are hurting, particularly due to skyrocketing electricity prices. We must get costs under control, and it starts with getting rid of the Carbon Tax to provide immediate relief but also means getting rid of regulations which make services more expensive.
My family and I live in a great community. I represent a great community. Together we have achieved a lot, but there is more to be done. It would be an honour to represent the people of Aston again, and over the weeks ahead I will be seeking their support to do so.