Sutherland Shire Government Initiatives
Mr COLLIER (Miranda) [4.07 p.m.]: I move:
That this House notes the State Government's support and funding initiatives for the Sutherland shire.
Despite anything the Leader of the Opposition or the Liberal Party might say, Sutherland shire is a special place. We who live in the shire have a sense of community, a sense of belonging and a sense of commitment to a part of Sydney that we regard as unique. But one has to live in the shire to appreciate that. The administrative area of Sutherland shire encompasses the electorates of Miranda, Cronulla, Heathcote and Menai. I was appalled when the honourable member for Cronulla voted against this motion, which seeks to debate initiatives in the Sutherland shire. It appears as though he would rather talk about gaols in Nowra.
The Carr Government is committed to the people of Sutherland shire. Since its election in 1995 it has demonstrated time and again its support for the people of the shire. It has done that through funding initiatives and programs. It has delivered on major projects for health, education, roads, transport, policing and the environment. The Carr Government, using its local members as a team, has been listening to the people of the shire. It has been working hard to meet their needs, expectations and aspirations. Unlike the previous Coalition Government, the Carr Government has not sat on its hands claiming credit for an idea here or there but doing little or nothing about it. Rather, it has taken good ideas, regardless of their source, and translated them into reality for the shire.
The $47 million Woronora Bridge is a classic example. The Liberals claimed that it was their idea, but they did little or nothing about it. The recent announcement by the Minister for Transport, and Minister for Roads, the Hon. Carl Scully, of funding for planning, design and duplication of Cronulla railway line is another example. The honourable member for Cronulla should be pleased about that initiative, which will also benefit his constituents. However, the honourable member for Cronulla, in his usual negative way, complains that Labor stole the Liberal Party's idea. He conveniently forgets, even though he has been the member for Cronulla for 15 years, that he was a member of the Greiner and Fahey governments, which did absolutely nothing about it.
The contrast between the negative, carping approach of the Liberals and the positive commitment of the Carr Government is readily apparent to the people of the shire. It is as apparent now as it was in 1999. In 1999 the people of Miranda chose the Carr Government because they saw it as having a commitment to the shire. The Carr Government has not let them down. Prior to the 1999 election the Liberal stamp of neglect was apparent everywhere in the Miranda electorate. While there is more to be done, the Carr Government's strong support for the people of Miranda and the shire has shown that the Liberal stamp of neglect is not indelible. The Liberal stamp of complacency can and is being washed out by the Carr Government, which cares about Sutherland shire.
Sutherland hospital is a prime example. The hospital is currently undergoing redevelopment at a cost of $82.5 million. Progress has been impressive; the building is on track for completion in 2003. But the Carr Government's commitment to the hospital does not stop there. Expressions of interest have been called for a 100-bed nursing home on the site. That is to be compared with the Liberals Party's neglect and lack of vision. The previous Liberal member for Miranda failed to secure even one cent of capital works funding in the last Coalition budget for Sutherland hospital. The difference is that the Carr Government cares—and what could be a more tangible expression of that caring than funding the redevelopment of our precious Sutherland hospital?
With regard to education, the Carr Government is also delivering for the Sutherland shire. For example, it is building a new hall at Oyster Bay Public School. After years of promises, both before and after elections—promises without substance, promises not delivered by the Liberal Party—the Carr Government is supporting the parents, students and community of Oyster Bay. Tenders are being called for the construction of a $1.5 million hall, and construction is to commence later this year. The Carr Government has also shown a commitment to other schools in my electorate, and each of these schools has benefited from major and minor capital works projects. This year $880,000 has been allocated to some 14 schools in the electorate for a range of improvements. For example, this year Port Hacking High School received more than $164,000 for upgrades, adding to 2001 funding of more than $51,000 for computer cabling. The Carr Government's commitment to education does not stop there. It has also provided funding for wombat crossings at schools.
The Carr Government has also provided funding for improvements to the five-ways roundabout, which has been a problem for motorists for 15 years and is currently the State's number one black spot for minor accidents. After consultation with the community, the roundabout is now being removed and replaced with traffic lights. Other projects include the M5 East, the Woronora Bridge, and the easy access upgrade of Caringbah and Miranda railway stations. All those projects make a difference to the lives of the residents in the shire. With regard to the environment, the Carr Government has provided funding for a $90 million upgrade of the Cronulla sewage treatment plant and the establishment of an aquatic reserve at Boat Harbour. The Government has spent $1 million on improvements to the environmentally sensitive wetlands of Towra Point, and it is spending $11.5 million to prevent sewage overflows into the Georges and Hacking rivers.
The Carr Government is also supporting the shire's police. It recently announced funding of $226,000 to upgrade Cronulla police station, in the Miranda Local Area Command. Miranda police station has been expanded and the Minister is considering expanding it further. Police numbers at Miranda police station have increased, and the police are doing an absolutely fantastic job. The incidence of all major categories of crime has reduced since the previous summer. For example, malicious damage offences have dropped by 21 per cent, assaults have dropped by 10 per cent, break and enter offences have dropped by 8.6 per cent, stolen vehicle offences have dropped by 13 per cent, robberies have dropped by 8 per cent and stealing offences have dropped by 10 per cent. According to an article in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader of 23 May, the results are pleasing. They are not my words but the words of Superintendent Reg Mahoney, the Miranda Local Area Commander.
In Miranda we are trialing the police accountability community team process, which makes police accountable and responsible to their community. I believe the trial—which includes the honourable member for Cronulla, the shire mayor and me—is working well. The Carr Government has been working with the council to tackle the problem of overdevelopment. During its term the previous Liberal-controlled council, under the then mayor, Kevin Schreiber, approved more flats than any other council in Sydney. Kevin Schreiber was mayor from 1996 to 1999, when he was tossed out by Labor and shire watch independents because of his open-slather approach to development. When Labor came to office more than 2,400 developments for which construction had not begun were approved under Kevin Schreiber. The 11-storey monstrosity that we now see taking shape at Caringbah, in the Cronulla electorate, was approved on 7 December 1998 by the then Liberal council. That is just one example of Kevin Schreiber's handiwork starting to rear its ugly head in the shire.
On the other hand, this Government has been working hard with council to address the damage done by Kevin Schreiber. We have had the Fielding Inquiry that addressed the "Liberal use" of State environmental planning policy [SEPP] 1 variations by Kevin Schreiber's council. We have reviewed and reformed SEPP 5, and are now working with the council on an exemption for the shire. We have undertaken a review of the Land and Environment Court to address residents' concerns about the costs of appeals to ratepayers and councils. The Government has also worked with council with regard to gazetting local environmental plan 2000, placing restrictions on multi-dwelling development, capping the number of villas and townhouses allowed in neighbourhoods, increasing the minimum site requirements for unit blocks, and banning medium-density cul-de-sacs. Two expert planners from the Government have been working with council. The results speak for themselves: development has slowed substantially. An article that appeared in the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader of 18 April this year reads:
The Carr Government has been working hard to address the concerns of residents of the Sutherland shire. Whether we look at rail, roads or transport infrastructure, the Carr Government is a caring Government committed to improving the quality of life of residents of the Sutherland shire. I could go on listing the Carr Government's commitments. I could talk again about the Woronora Bridge and the M5 East, which make it much easier and quicker for residents of the shire to travel to the city. I could talk about the Bangor bypass, as I am sure my colleague the honourable member for Menai will. These are significant improvements. To say that the Carr Government is not working hard for the Sutherland shire is an outright lie. I am surprised that the honourable member for Cronulla does not support the motion but instead chooses to support the establishment of a gaol at Nowra. Sadly, we are still suffering from Kevin Schreiber's decisions, but we have done a lot to ensure that those decisions will not be repeated. The shire cannot afford a repeat of that sort of Liberal lunacy. The State Government is supporting the Sutherland shire through a multitude of projects and funding initiatives, and I am pleased to draw these to the attention of the House.
The number of development applications for medium- and high-density housing in the Sutherland Shire fell by up to 84 per cent in the three years ending June 2001.
Development applications … for dual occupancies have dropped 84pc while requests to build residential unit blocks fell 72pc in the same period.
Medium-density housing … also fell markedly—down 46pc in the three-year period.
Mr KERR (Cronulla) [4.17 p.m.]: All of us should be working to improve the Sutherland shire, which is the subject of the urgency motion. The Government controls the management of the business of this House. There was no need for this motion to be moved in competition with another urgency motion. The Opposition is very happy to agree to additional sitting days. It reflects poorly on the Government that important issues are raised in competition. In order to lay down the foundation for a sensible debate about what can be done for the Sutherland shire, it is necessary to first consider the amount of revenue that is obtained from the taxpayers and businesses of the shire and how that revenue equates with expenditure in the shire.
That is a very simple exercise. It would be interesting to see whether any speaker in this debate refers to how much money the Carr Government has raked off taxpayers since 1995. New South Wales is the highest taxed State in Australia. I invite members to speak to local business owners in their shires about workers compensation, and about the premiums they paid under the Greiner-Fahey administration and what they are paying now. This morning a constituent came to my office and said he formerly employed 12 tradesmen but, because of the imposts of the highest-taxing Government this State has ever had, he now employs only two tradesmen. That is what this is really about. Let us talk about public transport.
Dr Kernohan: What public transport?
Mr KERR: Yes, what public transport? That is what people standing on Sutherland railway station trying to get a train to Cronulla mid-afternoon would be asking. Sutherland shire residents experience delay after delay and breakdown after breakdown. They well remember the front page of the St George and Sutherland Shire Leader showing a driver standing with a telephone and saying, "Mr Scully, is that you?" I ask members opposite to compare public transport running times under Minister Scully with those under Minister Baird. I challenge them to speak in this House about the times that the Coalition got people to and from work. Do members opposite know how many people in the Sutherland shire have lost their jobs because they could not get to work on time and their bosses would not accept the excuse, day after day, that trains were delayed? Government members should listen to what people are saying.
Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Would the honourable member like a minute's break?
Mr KERR: No, I would like an extension of three years to talk about what this Government has done in the shire. Let us talk about Caringbah railway station. Bruce Baird had it in the budget in 1995. Honourable members know when it was opened. Why? Because of pressure from the people. That is why it was opened in 2002. Why do Government members not tell us what they are doing for Gymea and Kirrawee railway stations, instead of making personal attacks on Kevin Schreiber, who was simply a mayor? The Government had the town planning laws in its control at that time—from 1995 until now. It ran the State. If it thinks the shire was overdeveloped during that time why did it not use the planning laws? I will tell the House why.
Mr McManus: You were in government. Where were you?
Mr KERR: Why do members on the Government side not talk about development and what is happening, instead of this carping and criticism? The honourable member for Baulkham Hills might have to put them straight on the history. The Minister for Transport was responsible for the great train robbery of 2002 when he tried to tell us that the Cronulla railway line was a Labor Party initiative. It was built under a non-Labor Government. He said that McKell was responsible. McKell was not Premier until 1941. The Minister for Transport should have been expelled from the McKell school for bringing that up. Bill McKell would have been ashamed; he was an honest man. The Minister for Transport should read what his Premier wrote in the Bulletin about McKell, when he was granted the only interview. The Premier's press secretary is in the gallery. I turn to the Bangor bypass. The honourable member for Heathcote will well remember when Genevieve Rankin was mayor. She is probably a friend of his.
Mr McManus: That is a disgrace—talking like that about people who are not members of the House. Why don't you concentrate on the shire and what is happening there?
Mr KERR: All I am saying is that Genevieve Rankin was opposed to the Woronora Bridge.
Mr McManus: I never was.
Mr KERR: Well, why did you not speak to her? Why did you not say something to her at a branch meeting? The Labor Council did not want the Woronora Bridge built. The public asked what was being done with the Bangor bypass. People such as Steve Simpson got out there with the community and told the Government what the people wanted. Chris Downy had a great association with the Oyster Bay school. The people there will remember him. Government members attacked Ron Phillips, saying that he did not do anything.
Mr McManus: Where is he now? You will be with him shortly.
Mr KERR: That is personal denigration. Ron Phillips provided a blueprint for the upgrade of Sutherland hospital. It is happening in 2002. Government members ought to go to Sutherland hospital and look at the working conditions the nurses have to put up with. The double shifts at Sutherland hospital are putting lives at risk. Members should go to the Industrial Relations Commission and listen to what it is saying about nurses' wages. Why does the Government not provide funding to upgrade nurses' wages? It should look at the equipment in Sutherland hospital and provide funding now. This is like the episode of Yes, Minister in which a new hospital got an award because it was never used. Hospitals are not just about bricks and mortar—they are about people and they are about providing quality of care.
However, the best quality of care cannot be provided when experienced nurses are leaving and junior nurses are having to work not one shift but two shifts. We cannot have quality of care when those nurses do not get a living wage. We are talking about workers in the truest sense of the word, and they are being short-changed by this Government. This debate is about public health, trains and roads—all of which we should be working as a shire team to provide. I will tell honourable members about schools. Gough Whitlam used to be the president of the parents and citizens association at the Cronulla South school. That school has been trying to get a hall ever since Gough Whitlam was president of the parents and citizens association in the 1950s. Is that something to be proud of?
Mr McManus: Where were you?
Mr KERR: If the Coalition had been re-elected in 1995 that school would have a hall. Miranda North school would also have a school hall. I have often talked about Burraneer Bay school.
I invite the Minister to visit that school. Parents have written to him, but he does not have the courtesy to reply to them with a personal letter—he just sends a standard response. The quality of education in these areas is first-rate because of the dedication of the staff, but they need backup. These schools have not been built just recently. Caringbah High School was made a selective high school with the support of people in the shire.
For years Government members opposed selective schools—they should refer to their speeches. They did not want the best and talented to have selective schools. They did not appreciate that talent can exist in Caringbah as well as in Killara, and that it should be nurtured and fostered. It took a Liberal Government to provide that selective school. Government members should tell us about the consolidation of the site. That school brings together pupils from the rest of the Sutherland shire. Government members are congratulating themselves and saying that nothing happened before year zero—1995. A lot happened in the shire that we can be proud of because of Coalition members, including Ron Phillips and Chris Downy. [Time expired.]
Mr McMANUS (Heathcote—Parliamentary Secretary) [4.27 p.m.]: The honourable member for Cronulla is big on rhetoric about working as a team. When the Liberal Government was in office and I was the only Labor member in the region the three Liberal Party members never came near me to talk about shire issues. When the honourable member for Miranda, the mayor of Sutherland and I went to Perth to look at closed-circuit television [CCTV] the honourable member for Cronulla was nowhere to be found. Yesterday the Minister came to the Cronulla electorate to open a shop. The honourable member for Miranda was there, the mayor of the shire was there and I was there. Where was the honourable member for Cronulla? He was one hour late. By the time he got to the shop the people of his electorate were asking where he was and saying he is never there. The honourable member for Cronulla and Mr Schreiber are a disgrace in the shire. When Councillor Schreiber was mayor he did absolutely nothing for the residents of Cronulla. If he did nothing for Cronulla when he was mayor, what would make us think he would do anything if he won the seat of Miranda?
Councillor Schreiber, along with his Liberal mates, approved one of the State's worst developments. Everyone knows about Willock Avenue, Miranda—one of the State's worst examples of overdevelopment and poor design. There are no windows in the units. Willock Avenue is another overdevelopment gift from Schreiber and the Liberals in Miranda, and it was done while they were in office. The Liberals have continued—time after time, year after year—to throw up overdevelopment in our shire. The Leader of the Opposition now has the hide to come to the shire and say, "Vote for the Liberals and we will give you less development." During their seven years in Government the Liberals proliferated overdevelopment—and they have the hide to say in the House that they want to work with us as a team!
I will work as a team when I see some commitment from the Liberal Party in the Sutherland shire. Councillor Schreiber and his Liberal mates started overdevelopment in the shire, and now the Leader of the Opposition has said that people should vote for the Liberal Party because it will stop overdevelopment. Schreiber and Kerr are leopards—they do not change their spots. That is the message that has to be given to the people of the shire, and that message has to be drummed home time and again. Sutherland hospital was mentioned. If the former Minister for Health was any good, why in blazes is he not a member of this place today? When he had an opportunity to do something about Sutherland hospital he did nothing. This Government realised that, and has committed $31 million towards this $82.9 million project this year.
The major redevelopment of Sutherland hospital will provide a fully integrated 330-bed district hospital on the existing campus. It will provide new low-rise in-patient accommodation and refurbishment of the south wing. The existing block on the Kingsway will be demolished. Let me tell the House a few other things that are occurring in the seat of Heathcote. Members opposite ignored Heathcote when the Coalition was in government, and now they have the hide to tell me that they work as a team. The Government has given a nod to Sutherland hospital; its redevelopment is under way. We have given Engadine Public School a new hall, classrooms and toilets—completed. We have given Engadine railway station easy access—completed. We have given Jannali railway station an extra exit, a wider platform, better lighting, lifts and security cameras—completed. Major renovation of Engadine fire station has been completed. In conjunction with my colleague the honourable member for Miranda, work on upgrading the Princes Highway at the intersection with Acacia Road, Kirrawee, will be completed in September 2002, as will work on Woronora bridge.
Mr Kerr: Tell us about Steve Simpson!
Mr McMANUS: The honourable member for Cronulla refers to Steve Simpson. Although the honourable member gave platitudes to Steve Simpson in this House, the Liberal Party of the shire did not preselect Steve Simpson as a candidate. That shows what the Liberal Party thinks about him. The Liberal Party preselected a nondescript person over Steve Simpson, whom the honourable member for Cronulla says is a great bloke. Why was Steve Simpson not preselected to run in the seat of Menai? The honourable member for Cronulla is a hypocrite, just like the rest of his colleagues in the shire. And he talks to me about working in a team! It is an absolute disgrace that when the honourable member had the opportunity to talk about and acknowledge what has been done and what needs to be done in the shire, he voted with his Liberal Party colleagues to talk about putting a gaol in Nowra.
Mr MERTON (Baulkham Hills) [4.32 p.m.]: It is important that the Sutherland shire receive an adequate share of the State Government's budget with respect to support and funding initiatives. The Opposition is merely saying that it is important that the area gets this support. The honourable member for Cronulla agrees with that notion. He has effectively represented that part of the shire for many years. I must admit that this debate seems like a re-run of a debate held in this Chamber about a week ago, when a similar motion was put up noting the State Government's support and funding initiatives for Western Sydney. Today, the powerbrokers and the advisers say that we will move on—
Mr George: What will happen next week?
Mr MERTON: One wonders what will happen next week, what area will be designated for support and funding. The situation in Sutherland shire is similar to the situation in Western Sydney in terms of Government support. This Government is strong on rhetoric, promises and building up people's expectations and hopes. However, the reality is entirely different. In a moment I will look at some factors that prove what I am saying. The Government has done very little for the people of Sutherland in many important respects. Specific matters that affect the people of Sutherland should be raised. First, I refer to the duplication of Cronulla railway line, which is vital. What does this Government provide? It is providing $1 million for planning for the full duplication of the Cronulla line. Hello! That has shades of the $2 million provided by the Government for planning the north-west rail link. In 1998 the people in north-west Sydney were promised a fully funded complete rail link in 2002. They were promised a dream costing $1.4 million which has no funding whatsoever.
Now the people of Sutherland are in the same situation. What does one get for $2 million? One gets nice glossy brochures and plans—things that look good. One might think that this is only happening in Sutherland. However, it is also occurring in north-western Sydney. When will the outlay of $1 million or $2 million be brought into effect? Honourable members might recall that the Government allocated $1 million for planning and survey of Bells Line of Road. I do not wish to be cynical about the Government's efforts. With its limited abilities it has done fairly well, in its own estimation. However, the basics are not there. This seems to be a typical ploy of a desperate Government that is trying to retain members in seats in southern Sydney. The Government is saying, "We will give the old carriage a fling again. We will provide $1 million here and $2 million there for a study." We have not received any details or promises. We do not know when the rail line will be duplicated.
Let us look at some of the basics, such as providing extra night patrols for the police to crack down on street gangs and drug dealers. The Government is guilty on that. The Government has not added any more land to national parks—it is guilty on that. What happened to the land at Kurnell that the Government said it would provide for an additional national park? What happened to that? The $125,000 Taren Point to Sutherland cycleway has not eventuated. The Government has failed to designate Miranda Local Area Command as a possible base for a flying squad to target crime hot spots. It is guilty of downgrading Menai and Cronulla police stations. It has failed to commence construction of the Bangor bypass. The reality is simple: The Government's plan to duplicate the Cronulla railway line is no more than its plan to the people of north-western Sydney: it will give them $1 million worth of glossy brochures and nothing else—no tracks, just brochures.
Mr George: It must be election time.
Mr MERTON: The honourable member for Lismore said that it must be election time. It is interesting to note that the honourable member for Miranda has dominated and featured in this debate. He will be beaten by the candidate endorsed by the Liberal Party for the seat of Miranda at the next election. Members opposite have used this debate as a cheap opportunity to undermine the credibility of a hardworking councillor, who will make a brilliant member when he is elected by the people of New South Wales on 22 March. The honourable member for Miranda struggled to fill 10 minutes with the Government's achievements. He did a fairly good job with limited material. It was a brilliant effort. However, the reality is that people will find him wanting on 22 March. [Time expired.]
Ms MEGARRITY (Menai) [4.37 p.m.]: I wholeheartedly support the motion moved by the honourable member for Miranda. The suburbs in the Menai electorate that are in the Sutherland shire comprise about 44 per cent of my electorate. Indeed, the list of the State Government's support for those suburbs and the projects that are under way is so extensive that I will probably have difficulty keeping within my allotted time. The first issue I want to look at is the education and training component. Overall, the 2002-03 State budget will provide $8 billion for education and training. As honourable members would be aware from the Treasurer's speech, a number of categories included nearly $5 million to improve on what is already an outstanding record in literacy and numeracy. Further school global budget items such as reading materials, minor maintenance and stores, and a range of other things will impact on the schools in my electorate.
With respect to capital works, this year work will commence on the $2.2 million stage two upgrade of Alford's Point Public School. That will include the construction of permanent classrooms, a library and administration facilities to replace the existing demountables. The money allocated in this year's budget will see the start of construction because all the necessary planning and council approvals have been obtained. This Government thinks ahead. Stage one is already completed, all the planning and approvals have been done so that stage two of the project for this important school in my electorate can begin. The State budget contained an all-time record investment in health services for the St George and Sutherland areas. Overall, the budget allocated $856.3 million for the South Eastern Area Health Service. In addition, $36.3 million has been allocated for capital works—that is a massive total—and there will be funding increases for a number of different services, such as cancer care, critical care and diabetic in-patients at Sutherland hospital.
The Government has allocated $31 million towards the $82.9 million redevelopment of Sutherland hospital. This major redevelopment will provide a fully integrated, 336-bed district hospital on the existing Sutherland campus. Recently I visited the Sutherland hospital redevelopment site with the Minister for Health and the honourable member for Miranda. The staff are very excited about their opportunities. They were overwhelmed by and excited about what is happening. In relation to police, $159,000 has been allocated in this budget for the construction of a weapons training facility to be housed on the same premises as Menai police station.
The budget will also help the plan by the Commissioner of Police, Ken Moroney, to put more police on the beat. Funding allocations in the police portfolio are also numerous, and I will mention only the $8 million to recruit and train more police for front-line duties and the $12.1 million for the first stage of the administration and civilianisation program. The cell improvement program and the upgrade of the police radio network are also improvements which support a high-impact, highly visible police force. I have received many representations from individual residents and community-based groups, such as the Alfords Point Neighbourhood Watch and the Illawong Progress Association, which say they want a high-impact, highly visible police force. They are also anxious to see the outcome of the 1 July restructure of the Police Service. They want to hear the report on the first police accountability community team [PACT] meeting that has been established and is being trialled in the Sutherland shire so that they can learn about the impact of this community-based policing initiative and have their say on policing activities in the shire.
The honourable member for Baulkham Hills believes that work on the Bangor bypass has been delayed. I probably need to show him a map of where it is located. The environmental impact statement has been released, comments have been taken from the community and, all going well, with the approval by the Minister for Planning construction will start before the end of the year. I will happily invite the honourable member for Baulkham Hills to be a part of that exercise. The total cost of the Bangor bypass will be approximately $115 million, which is not a bad commitment from a government that is doing nothing for the shire according to the Opposition. That project is the centrepiece of the budget allocation to my electorate. It will improve the accessibility and amenity of the area. Road safety improvements are also planned for Alfords Point Road, Menai and Heathcote Road, Sandy Point.
In relation to sporting and recreational opportunities work is progressing well on the rehabilitation of the old tip site at Lucas Heights for a range of sporting facilities. Sutherland council has almost finished work on the netball courts. The whole project will compliment the indoor sporting centre which is being built by Sutherland council, for which funding has already been allocated. Work will start within a couple of months. All of those projects, and more, are part of the Government's commitment to the Sutherland shire, which encompasses my electorate.
Mr COLLIER (Miranda) [4.42 p.m.], in reply: I could add many more things to answer the claim by the honourable member for Baulkham Hills, who has left the Chamber, that I had run out of things to say. A carpentry and joinery section at Gymea TAFE, for which $1.9 million has been allocated, has been completed. Another $1.2 million has been allocated in this budget for a specialist beauty and hairdressing section at Gymea TAFE. We are committed to vocational training in the shire, and Gymea TAFE now has the benefit of $3.1 million for that purpose. As a result of my urging the State Government has taken a special interest in road safety around schools in the shire, which, sadly, has been neglected for many years. In fact, State-funded wombat crossings have been provided for the following schools: Como, Grays Point, Gymea Bay, Kirrawee, Sylvania Heights and Yowie Bay Public schools, and Kirrawee and Sylvania high schools.
Mr Kerr: Point of order: The honourable member is speaking in reply. I draw your attention to Standing Order 75, which provides that the subject matter of a reply is to be confined to matters raised during the debate and that no fresh material can be provided.
Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Order! It is a question of relevance. I am sure the honourable member for Miranda will soon return to the leave of the debate.
Mr COLLIER: I am directly answering the honourable member for Baulkham Hills, who claimed that I had run out of things to say. The honourable member for Cronulla, who is just using up my speaking time, talked about working together. He is a member of the Miranda police accountability community team, the first one in the State, with Superintendent Mahoney, the mayor and myself. He has an input into policing in the shire. The 23 May statistics from Superintendent Mahoney that I read showed that malicious damage, assaults, break and enters, stolen vehicles, robberies have all dropped. However, rather than work with Superintendent Mahoney, the honourable member for Cronulla in his column on 30 May talked about crime soaring and quoted a great many other spurious figures. He has the opportunity to work with us on crime. I ask him to do so and not to make it a political issue.
In relation to Cronulla police station, about which constant petitions have been lodged, the Government has made a significant contribution. Cameras have been installed and $226,000 has been allocated in this year's budget to upgrade the station. Kirrawee railway station will be upgraded as part of the duplication of the rail line. The honourable member also referred to easy access to Gymea railway station. I have made representations to the Minister about that matter and I will continue to pursue it. The Government has been addressing the backlog of projects left by Liberal governments prior to 1995. Sutherland hospital was mentioned in debate. Last week there was a tree-topping ceremony at Sutherland hospital.
Since 1998 the accident and emergency service, a frail aged dementia unit, a respite unit and a day surgery unit at a cost of $1 million have all opened at Sutherland Hospital. The hospital is recruiting nurses. When Ansett Airlines folded, a lady who lives near me received no support from the Federal Government. She went back to nursing and is now working at Sutherland hospital. Having spoken to nurses at Sutherland hospital only last week, I can say that they are delighted with the progress that is being made. They are looking forward to using the new facilities and continuing to provide quality care for their patients. A new hall has been a long time coming for Oyster Bay Public School.
Ms Megarrity: The backlog.
Mr COLLIER: The backlog again. The honourable member for Cronulla mentioned Oyster Bay Public School hall and raised the spectre of Chris Downy. The school community showed me a videotape of Chris Downy promising the hall in about 1994. I raised this matter with the Minister. The Department of Education and Training looked back through its records and could find no record of any suggestion about the hall being brought forward, as suggested by Mr Downy. I was surprised and shocked by that. Oyster Bay Public School is getting a new school hall. We are doing things for the shire. The shire is on track: the Government is delivering.
Mr Kerr: Point of order: in relation to what the honourable member for Miranda said in reply, I refer to Standing Order 73. I seek the opportunity to explain a material part of my speech which was misunderstood by the honourable member. It related to policing, the petitions that have been lodged in this House and the fact that the numbers at Cronulla police station are nowhere near what they were.
Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Is this a point of order or a point of explanation?
Mr Kerr: I want to tell you the basis of the misunderstanding in relation to my point of order under Standing Order 73. The misunderstanding I seek to clarify is in relation to Cronulla police station. I was referring in my speech to the insufficient number of police there rather than any physical upgrading.
Mr DEPUTY-SPEAKER: Order! That submission is accepted.
Motion agreed to.