Adjournment Speech - The South Coast Deserves Better

When you live in a region for most of your life, you get a sense of what makes it tick and what is on people's minds. As I look south from the region that I represent, I am increasingly in despair at the poor level of representation of the people of the South Coast of New South Wales in particular.


They feel let down by their state and federal representation. They have been misled, they have been taken for granted and they have been cheated out of decent services. Now they are being told that, if they want decent services, they are going to have to sell their electricity network. It does not stop there but goes on to health, education and taxation. In fact, it is impossible to find an area of public policy where the people of New South Wales, including those of the South Coast of New South Wales, have not been let down by their Liberal representatives.

In the seat of Eden-Monaro, we have a case in point. The member for Eden-Monaro went to the last election promising to deliver better health and education services to people on the front line, and I have here a copy of Mr Peter Hendy's pre-election campaign material. He supported $100,000 university degrees and the Americanisation of our university system. He said in this chamber:

… I strongly endorse the reforms of the Minister for Education. They are far-sighted …

That is a speech that he would not have mailed out to his electorate, Deputy Speaker, I can guarantee you. He also supported the GP tax, the very tax that was going to deliver $4.7 million in increased medical costs to the constituents of his electorate. It is a long way from the glossy pamphlet that I have here that promised his electorate better health and better education services if he was elected. I put it to you, Deputy Speaker, and I put it to the people of Eden-Monaro that they have been let down by their federal member. It is a long way from the tax cuts when you look at the fact that he voted for the increases in the petrol tax.

I move to state representation. There we look at the current Speaker of the Parliament of New South Wales, Ms Shelley Hancock. Much of Eden-Monaro is covered by the New South Wales seat of South Coast, which is represented by this member. The member for Eden-Monaro should be watching closely what happens with the seat of South Coast in four Saturdays time, because the member, Shelley Hancock, infamously signed a TAFE pledge. She pledged to 'increase permanent teaching positions' and to 'ensure that everyone in New South Wales has affordable access to a TAFE education'. But what did she and the Baird government do? They slashed over $800 million from TAFE and the jobs of TAFE teachers in that state. So it is little wonder that one former TAFE teacher, Ms Fiona Phillips, who is doing an outstanding job of taking the fight up to a Liberal MP in what is thought to be a safe Liberal seat, is absolutely nailing her on all of these broken promises. Fiona has been out on the hustings doing an outstanding job. I say to the people of the South Coast: look very carefully at what is on offer. If you want a local champion, look to Fiona Phillips, because she will stand up for TAFE, for your local hospitals and for the services in your electorate.

I have also had the benefit of having a close look at the Labor candidate for the seat of Kiama. In Glenn Kolomeitz you have a man who has served his country and who now wants to serve his community. This man has had an illustrious career in the Australian Defence Force, in our Army. He has served as a police officer. He has an apprenticeship and has served an electrician. He now works, mostly on a pro bono basis, defending the rights of veterans, and there are many veterans in the seat of Kiama and on the Far South Coast, to ensure that they get their rights and entitlements before the veterans appeal tribunal. This is a bloke who has fought for his country and who now wants to fight for his community. I say to the people of Kiama: have a look at the credentials of Glenn Kolomeitz. This is a guy who is willing to put his life on the line for the country and he will do what it takes to get a better deal for the people of Kiama, and it will not be electricity privatisation, closing down the TAFE system or massive cuts to income assistance