Federation Chamber - CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS - Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, Macarthur Electorate: Infrastructure

Federation Chamber - CONSTITUENCY STATEMENTS - Queen's Commonwealth Canopy, Macarthur Electorate: Infrastructure Main Image

As a staunch republican I'm probably the last person one would expect to see here speaking about the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Alas, here I am. This week marks 70 years since the Queen ascended to the throne. Why am I speaking about this? Campbelltown's koalas. I thought that this would be the perfect opportunity to speak about a pretty exciting project that will take place across all Commonwealth nations—the Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative. This initiative aims to establish a network of conservation projects to preserve our wildlife. I'm advocating for one of the projects to be undertaken in my electorate to protect Campbelltown's wonderful and unique koala colony.

Since arriving in this chamber six years ago I've spoken consistently about the plight of Macarthur's koalas. As most members would know, Campbelltown is home to a unique disease-free koala colony. This colony faces a great deal of threat from habitat destruction. Unfortunately, because of urban sprawl we need to preserve our wildlife corridors to ensure our beloved koalas' survival. Time and again I have sought to work with the New South Wales and the federal Liberal governments to bring about desperately-needed protections for our wonderful koala colony. Unfortunately, thus far the governments have failed to come to the table.

The Queen's Commonwealth Canopy initiative aims to improve our biodiversity through the undertaking of reforestation projects across the globe, preserving our wildlife for future generations. I can think of no project more worthy than the protection of our koala colonies through the conservation of bushland along the Georges River and the Nepean River catchment areas. I recently had the pleasure of working with the Country Women's Association, who are spearheading this proposal. I'm very proud of the work they've done. I also thank Labor's shadow environment spokesperson, Terri Butler, who took the time to meet with the group and me to discuss this exciting proposal. The ball is now in the court of the governments, both state and federal. We are putting this proposal on a platinum platter. We ask the government, after years of neglect, to at least do something to try to protect our wonderful koalas.

I'd also like to say that the residents in the newer suburbs of my electorate of Gregory Hills, Gledswood Hills, Leppington, Oran Park, Harrington Park and Catherine Park have been sold a lie by state governments. I won't stand for it. Many of our local residents were under the false illusion that their suburbs and communities would be served by a train station and by schools. The state Liberal government has done nothing and they have been left in the lurch, having to transport their children long distances by car to go to school. This is a tragedy. This is something that should never have happened. I condemn the government.