Western Sydney: Health Care

Thursday, 01 December 2016

Mr HAWKE (Mitchell—Assistant Minister for Immigration and Border Protection) (12:27): I would like to raise the Baird government's announcement this month of the $550 million redevelopment of Nepean Hospital. This very significant announcement of huge capital works funding for one of the most important hospitals in Western Sydney is a long-overdue announcement that was only made possible by the Baird government's work in privatising the poles and wires in New South Wales, which provided the capital that New South Wales needed to do these urgent works on hospitals, roads, and new police and fire stations all around the state. I welcome the announcement by Mr Baird and Ms Skinner, noting that this will deliver the biggest hospital rebuilding program in the state's history: $5 billion into the state's hospital infrastructure that is being provided by the Baird Liberal government in New South Wales.

It is a welcome development, but, of course, it was not welcomed by some Labor members here in the parliament, even though you are seeing $550 million of redevelopment, including a new clinical services block; a new and expanded emergency department; expanded and upgraded medical imaging; 12 new operating theatres; 18 birthing suites and new accommodation; a new neonatal intensive care unit; 200 overnight beds and new accommodation; a new helipad; and new community health services. You would think it is an amazing achievement for any state government. You would think the new federal member for Lindsay would welcome such an announcement, given the fact that she has been talking about this for some time. But instead, on Monday, 28 November, here in this House, the member for Lindsay did not welcome the announcement. In fact, she sought to play politics with the fact that the Baird government is putting $550 million of real money on the table to upgrade Nepean Hospital.

I think it is very poor form, because the state government has done the hard yards in privatising the poles and wires. It was opposed bitterly by the state Labor Party at every turn. It was opposed by the unions, who support the member for Lindsay, and from whom the member for Lindsay has drawn support. They opposed, at every turn, the privatisation of the poles and wires, even though the public in New South Wales cast their votes in record numbers to privatise the poles and wires in New South Wales, understanding that the dividend of that would be a huge injection into the health and hospital system. What we are seeing now is a $5 billion redevelopment of our health and hospital system in New South Wales. It is an outstanding record of achievement for a state government. It is coming to Penrith and it is coming to Lindsay, and I want to commend the state member for Penrith, Stuart Ayres, who has fought very long and hard for this and has made some great announcements about this. I want to commend the former member for Lindsay, Fiona Scott, who fought and campaigned for a long time to get this hospital upgraded. I know she would welcome this announcement as well today.

I also want to note, while we are speaking about Western Sydney, that not only have the Labor Party opposed the privatisation of poles and wires but now—we have had airport briefings in this place—the new member for Lindsay, the new member for Macquarie and the new member for Macarthur are opposing the Western Sydney Airport. They are putting themselves in the block of another major economic achievement for Western Sydney. It is actually the Labor Party's policy at the moment to support the Western Sydney Airport. It is the Liberal Party's and the current federal coalition government's policy to support the airport, to put in place the roads and infrastructure, and to support the airport to have the jobs of the future for people in Western Sydney, and these new members of parliament are seeking to oppose what will be the biggest economic driver for Western Sydney in many decades.

I think it is a poor record. I think it is poor form. I think it lacks grace and it lacks class not to welcome a $550 million redevelopment of a hospital when a state government announces it. I believe the member for Lindsay should come in here and say thank you to the state government, the Baird Liberal government, and she should acknowledge, at the very least, that it is an important announcement. It is a historic announcement. It has been made possible by the hard work of good economic management and of taking the hard decisions that need to be taken so you have the capital to upgrade this vital community asset, Nepean Hospital. I want to say again to the Baird Liberal government of New South Wales: thank you for the vital work you are doing in New South Wales in injecting the capital we need to have a world-leading health system.