nsw-coaSouthern Highlands Redistribution Speech Delivered: 19th September 2013

In the New South Wales electoral redistribution that was gazetted this afternoon, significant changes have been made to my electorate of Wollondilly that I have had, and continue to have, the absolute pleasure of representing. Wollondilly currently comprises two parts: the Wollondilly Shire end and the Campbelltown City Council end of the electorate. The redistribution loses Campbelltown City Council areas namely Ambarvale, Rosemeadow, St Helens Park, Park Central, Glen Alpine, Bradbury, Gilead and Menangle Park. Those areas represent approximately 40 per cent of the population of Wollondilly. I thank the people of these suburbs for the trust that they have placed in me by returning me to represent them on three separate occasions—twice as a councillor and once as their State representative.

At a later point I will have more to say about that part of the electorate, but I am proud to have delivered for the area. Briefly, I think of the $139 million upgrade to our local hospital in Wollondilly, the upgrade of Narellan Road, more express train services—and it is great that the Minister for Transport is present in the Chamber because she is delivering those services—and the stopping of the Leafs Gully power station, to name but a few improvements. The people are the salt of the earth, and again I thank them. I said in my inaugural speech that I would not let them down and I trust that I have not. The achievements that have been delivered are as a result of their hard work. By working together we will never be forgotten again. My door always will be open and I will continue to help whenever and wherever needed. I know the area will be adequately represented by Bryan Doyle, who is the member for Campbelltown and whose area those suburbs go to. In addition Wollondilly is set to lose Camden Park with whose people I also have had a close relationship. I thank them for their support.

The new boundaries retain the rest of Wollondilly Shire, namely, Appin, Bargo, Buxton, Douglas Park, Menangle, Nattai, Oakdale, Picton, Silverdale, Thirlmere, Tahmoor, The Oaks, Warragamba, Werombi, Wilton, Yanderra and Yerranderie. The people in those areas are equally great and together we have achieved a lot for our region, including tens of millions of dollars for our local roads such as the recent $53 million upgrade to Picton Road, money for Silverdale Road, hundreds of millions for sewerage connections to the properties of the people of Appin, Bargo, Buxton, Douglas Park and Wilton, and a new Dharawal National Park, to name only a few. Again, I will speak more of our achievements on another day. The new electorate of Wollondilly includes large parts of Wingecarribee shire, which I am excited about representing because I know they are great people and many of them are my closest friends. The towns of Hill Top, Colo Vale, Yerrinbool, Willow Vale, Mittagong, Mount Gibraltar and Bowral have all been added to Wollondilly.

This is an area to which I owe much as I completed high school attending Bowral High School and lived in the local area, and I have some very fond memories of some of my first opportunities in life. I have been fortunate to be able to work with many of the people in those towns, including community groups and the Wingecarribee Shire Council, which works hard to ensure that this region receives it fair share of services. At this point I thank the Minister, the Hon. Pru Goward, who has had those areas taken out of her electorate. She has been a brilliant advocate for the entire Southern Highlands and has delivered real change. She already has spoken to me today to let me know what is important to the people and to our region. I know I have big shoes to fill. I thank Pru for ensuring that we continue to work together for the betterment of our area. Equally big shoes to fill are those of the former member for Southern Highlands, Dr Peta Seaton. Coincidentally Dr Seaton’s campaign was the first election campaign in which I assisted. She delivered so much for the Wingecarribee and Wollondilly region and she is always fondly remembered in conversation across the electorate. I mention these two extraordinary individuals as they have been the backbone of these communities for a very long time. I say to them both that I will continue their hard work and that they can expect to see me seeking their advice.

To the people of Wingecarribee in the areas that will come into the newly formed electorate, I say this: If elected, I will not let you down. You owe me nothing. But I owe you and our region everything. I will work tirelessly to ensure your interests are represented in this Parliament. I will work hard to ensure infrastructure is delivered and our services are the best that they can be. I will be your person in Parliament, not Parliament’s person in Wingecarribee. As a father of two young boys I believe we live in the best place on earth. I will do everything in my power to protect our natural environment and your way of life. My wife, Belinda, and I have been overwhelmed by the support you have given us. Recently it was an absolute delight attending the 150th anniversary of Bowral and Moss Vale. We were very much welcomed by the community and we were both inspired by the money raised for charity by such a giving community. I will have more to say on this topic in the future, but I look forward to visiting every one of you in Wollondilly and Wingecarribee. I will be listening to you, working with you, and representing you.