Anniversary of Election

On this day two years ago the electors of Lalor put their trust in me to become the member for Lalor—a humbling experience. Two years later, being the member for Lalor is inspiring. The people I meet, their stories, their resilience, their determination and their aspirations drive me every day. I am driven by what I see on the ground, by the community organisations working tirelessly to assist the underprivileged, by the sport and leisure associations and organisations and the volunteers who work in those to keep them going, by the young families getting their children involved in school and in sport, by our school communities, by their leaders, teachers and parents. I am inspired by our workers, who get up early every day and go to work to ensure their families are housed, clothed and inspired again. I am inspired by our business owners and particularly by those who care about their customers and their workers. In short: I am inspired by the community spirit. I am inspired by the way our community meets its challenges.

On election night two years ago I committed to being a strong voice for my local community—a community that is meeting enormous challenges of high growth, changing cultural demographics and a changing world. They are doing this through collaborating. They are doing this by problem-solving and building communities from the ground up in new housing estates all over the City of Wyndham.

On election night I made a commitment to be that strong voice and tonight I reaffirm that commitment. I reaffirm that I am committed to making sure that the people I represent are heard in this place. So tonight I want to talk about what they need, and what the people of Lalor need are jobs. They need to ensure that industries of the future are coming into their community. They live in a large city with travel times to the CBD of Melbourne that can be up to an hour and a half each way. They live with limited public transport—buses that can take 40 minutes to get them to a train station. They need jobs of the future. They need commitment from the federal government to ensure that the cities that they live in—that the City of Wyndham—is connected to the CBD through public transport.

They need access to the NBN for business, from small, home based microbusinesses to tradies to our large warehouses and manufacturing industries. They need quality education. It is critical in my community that the thousands of young people—80 babies born a week—have quality early childhood education services and quality schools with quality teachers. It is important that the supports are put in place to ensure that our kids get the best start in life. They need access to health services. They need quality services for the aged. As I have said, they need infrastructure. A high-growth community needs enormous infrastructure.

They need good support from local government, state government and federal government. And so many of these needs are not being met in my electorate under this government. It is my job as the representative, as the member for Lalor, to stand here time and time again until their voices are heard. This government has cut funding to education. I have seen the positive evidence of the impact that additional resources had on our local schools under the previous Labor government. The lift was remarkable, but it is now under threat as the resources are not being guaranteed. There are cuts to preventative health programs. We have had attacks on Medicare. We have had replacement of Medicare Locals with a larger organisation that is expected now to do the same work across more municipalities with less money. We have had no new NBN areas. We have had unemployment and youth unemployment rising in the electorate. We have had local car and shipbuilding industries closing and under threat. My community needs this government to take its needs seriously, and I call on it to do so.

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