Speech

07 May 2009
Closing Remarks at a
Community Organisation Roundtable
Bankstown Town Hall, Bankstown

: Just a few concluding thoughts from me about how you can make a difference with the intelligent direction of Government stimulus on the one hand and also what happens on the ground in the local area on the other.

Just to look at some of the figures here for south western Sydney. South western Sydney, if you look at the Government’s stimulus strategy, the economic stimulus strategy, we have now proposed investment of around $3 billion in south western Sydney with the range of national programs I referred to before.

They hit the ground here locally. That is, homes, pensioners, carers and professionals, with the investment in skills, the investment in social housing, the investment in energy insulation and other local government infrastructure projects.

That is a sizeable investment into this important part of Australia. And a few other examples – our friend in Punchbowl made reference to this in part just before - under stage one of the National School Pride Program, south western Sydney has received $46 million to maintain and upgrade 277 local schools.

That’s happening now, as we speak. Work on these schools is due to commence this month.

Stage one funding will improve 225 social housing projects in south western Sydney totalling $60.5 million (inaudible) the problems of disability and ultimately the related problem of the availability of social housing. 6,878 social housing units in south western Sydney will receive much needed repairs and maintenance totalling $28.5 million. That is before you go to other road and rail infrastructure projects - Woodward Rd in Bankstown, half a million dollars, Picton Rd in (inaudible) half a million dollars, and a range of other, let’s call them continuing investments by the Australian Government as well.

Take computers in schools, in south western Sydney, $19.77 million has provided 133 schools to purchase a total of 19,496 computers. Kingsgrove North High School, Kingsgrove High School will benefit from $1.729 million in the great Kingsgrove Trade Training Centre.

I know that is the seat of Watson.

The University of Western Sydney will receive $37.9 million in funding for capital works, Port Botany road and rail access and handling improvements - $150 million.

Why am I reading through this list? These are rolling out our investments over the last 12 months into this important part of Australia, in terms of continuing investment in school education, in higher education and as well as in much needed basic economic infrastructure.

And in addition to that, the specific investments which now flow from the school modernisation program, the investment in social housing as well as other local Government infrastructure projects.

That’s $3 billion worth of additional investments.

What is the organising principle? The organising principle is, how do we support jobs and apprenticeships and training today, in building the infrastructure we need for tomorrow?

Today’s unemployment numbers for Australia have fallen from 5.7 to 5.4 per cent.

And while unemployment will rise in Australia in the future, it does mean together we can make a difference by supporting jobs and apprenticeships today and building the infrastructure we need for tomorrow.

Thank-you for your participation in this roundtable with the community today.
This is just the opening session of a long Test match and therefore - given we are in Waugh country, I thought you would understand that analogy - frankly you are the team, you as representatives of the community organisation who may never have dealt with each other before, you as representatives of local businesses who have never dealt with each other before.

The ball is very much in your court. We are not just here to make a speech and make everyone feel better, that’s not what we are on about.

We are here to make a difference. We have an employment coordinator, we have support now from Mission, we have a fund, a Local Jobs Fund. But the ideas, the initiative and the enterprise must now come from you.

Because if we can make a difference to number of lives, a number of families in this community, as a result our national family and our national community will much the better.

I thank you for your time.