Today I give my first private member’s statement as the newly elected member for Hawkesbury. First, I thank the people of Castle Hill for giving me the opportunity and privilege to represent them in the New South Wales Parliament. This Government had some great successes for the Hills district, which for many years had been neglected as a community. The start of the construction of the North West Rail Link and the upgrade of Showground Road are just two key projects which have now begun and will have a significant impact on the lives of many families in the Hills district.
I thank a number of community groups that I came to know and became very good friends with over the past four years and which have served the Hills community with distinction. Don Tait, Warren Glenny and the Castle Hill RSL and RSL Sub-branch have become such good friends to me and my wife, Helen, and family—particularly Charlotte, who is here in the Speaker’s gallery tonight. The Rotary clubs, Lions club, the Community Foundation of North Western Sydney and Inala at Cherrybrook, which the member for Epping talked about earlier today, do amazing things. I thank Peter Gooch and the Castle Hill Show Society and Judith Adam and the Castle Hill Art Society.
One of the projects I initiated in the Hills was the Castle Hill Leadership Program, and I am looking forward to extending that program to schools in the Hawkesbury electorate. The program was completed last year and I had the privilege of trekking the Kokoda Track as an alternative to “schoolies” with the 14 year 12 students who participated in the program. I thank Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who is the program’s patron, Gail Kelly, John Howard, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court Tom Bathurst, Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione, Pat Farmer, Miranda Devine, and David Kirk, who had agreed to mentor the students over the course of their Higher School Certificate year. The trip with the students, following in the footsteps of those who fought for our freedoms, was a phenomenal experience and one which I know will remain with the students throughout their lives. I wish the incoming member for Castle Hill, Ray Williams, all the best over the next four years.
I was truly humbled to be given the opportunity to represent the people of Hawkesbury as their elected member in this place. The local community has been very warm and welcoming of both me and my family and we already feel very much at home. I am proud to represent the people of Hawkesbury as a member of the Baird Liberal team, which has completely turned this State around in the last four years. We have an ambitious vision for the State of New South Wales, underpinned by new world-class infrastructure, jobs creation and the promotion of small business. Delivering for Hawkesbury is central to that vision.
I have often said, “You do not know where you are going unless you acknowledge where you have come from”. Hawkesbury is famous for its strong links to our past. It has a rich history dating all the way back to 1810 when Governor Lachlan Macquarie established the five Macquarie towns. These would be instrumental in providing the young colony of New South Wales with almost half of its grain supplies and ensure that New South Wales would have a future. Once again, the future of Hawkesbury is key to the future of New South Wales. My vision is for the Hawkesbury to be connected, protected and promoted. It is the platform we ran on during the last election campaign—a platform soundly endorsed by the local community.
On being connected, I believe the Hawkesbury electorate can reach its potential only by being connected both internally between its townships and externally to metropolitan Sydney and rural and regional New South Wales. We are getting the Hawkesbury moving by tackling congestion. We are accelerating stage two of planned roadworks between Richmond and North Richmond, spending $5 million on safety works and the Pitt Town bypass and completing the Richmond Road upgrade by the end of 2016. On being protected, I believe the Hawkesbury, as one of the oldest European settlements in Australia, must have its rich heritage and history protected and preserved. That is why we have committed to building a new community recycling centre for better waste management, constructing a state-of-the-art fire station at South Windsor and completing stage two of the flood management program. I acknowledge John Miller for his advocacy on that issue.
I believe Hawkesbury is a special region of New South Wales with natural beauty and a rich tapestry of history that must be promoted. That is why we have pledged $3 million for local tourism to showcase our region and bring visitors to the area. Of course, the Baird Government is also focused on service delivery. The Hawkesbury region will benefit from a new Service NSW one-stop shop in Richmond, our support of chemotherapy services at Hawkesbury Hospital and the construction of a new hospital at Rouse Hill.
I am convinced that exciting times lie ahead for the Hawkesbury. The lease of the poles of wires to provide better infrastructure, sound economic management and a focus on helping the vulnerable will underpin the Baird Government this term and will be of much benefit to the people of Hawkesbury. I thank the people of Hawkesbury for giving me the humbling privilege of representing them in this place. It is my intention to do whatever I can to repay their trust by delivering for the Hawkesbury.