Building a Vibrant Community: A Great Place to Live Learn and Play (31/01/2013)

581220_10151033565206819_1763672626_n_1_.jpgOur Values and Achievments

Over the last four years we have focussed on traditional Labor priorities: increasing pensions, injecting more money into education, health care, training more doctors and nurses and increasing superannuation.

We’ve seen this translate into some great results locally:

  • New Libraries, School Halls and Classrooms - $136 million spent on upgrading school facilities to equip schools with buildings and facilities for learning in the 21st Century, including 8,300 new laptops to local schools students;
  • New Trades Training Centres that benefit seven local high schools, so that kids can start their apprenticeship or traineeship while at school;
  • New Child Care Facility - $6 million for the brand new childcare training facility at Shellharbour TAFE;
  • Teen Parents & Disadvantaged Families Assistance: an employment and training initiative with more than $70 million to help young Shellharbour mums and long term unemployed back into education or the workforce;
  • School Kids Bonus – payments of $410 or $820 for more than 9,000 local families of primary or high school students which helps families with upfront costs like uniforms and books;
  • University of Wollongong - over $100 million has been directed to improving the infrastructure at UOW, to improve this world-class institution's research and learning facilities;
  • Illawarra Institute (TAFE) - $20M to improve learning facilities at the Illawarra Institute (TAFE) including a childcare centre at Shellharbour Campus, which improves access to education to families with young children.

    The Next Steps

There is a lot more work to be done: implementing the National Disability Insurance Scheme, the National Dental Health Scheme, Aged Care reform and Education funding based on student need and improved learning.


    Some concrete things we can do to improve access to health services:

    • Increase the number of resident training places for doctors when they graduate;
    • Streamline the process for approving overseas trained doctors to practice in Illawarra’s areas of workforce shortage.
    • Increase funding for Mental Health Services;
    • Improve the availability of Medicare offices and services.


    Some concrete things we can do to improve school education:

    • Ensure all schools in the region have access to a Trade Training Centre;
    • Ensure that local schools are funded on the basis of need with additional resources provided to schools with disadvantaged students and students with disabilities.


    Supporting local Sporting and Cultural Organisations:

    The social, physical and educational benefits of participating in organised sports, music and related cultural activities are well known.  The community organisations which organise these activities often struggle to meet the increased cost.  Where they are passed on to families, the families themselves often struggle in meeting the cost of registration, coaching/tuition and equipment.

    Government support is often ad hoc or concentrated in a few activities.  There is a role for Government to support community level activity.  One scheme may be the payment of an annual rebate or voucher for costs incurred in sporting, music or cultural activities.  This would have to be setat a modest level  and means tested.  The benefits would increase the access and affordable to these critical community activities.