Browsing articles in "Grayndler Hansard"
Sep 10, 2018

Statements by Members – Globe Wilkins Preschool – Monday, 10 September 2018

Federation Chamber 
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:29): I rise to express my solidarity with the more than 500 inner-west residents who gathered yesterday to protest against the New South Wales government’s decision to close Globe Wilkins Preschool, located in my electorate. The school’s been operating for over 20 years, from dedicated classrooms on the grounds of Wilkins Public School in Marrickville. It’s one of only 20 preschools right across Australia to hold an Excellent rating awarded by the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority.

There is a national perspective for this, because Globe kindergarten was relocated after the third runway was built, because it was deemed to be inappropriate to have a childcare school right under the flight path in its location in Marrickville. I’ve been informed that the level of care and quality of teaching at Globe Wilkins is second to none. The team of educators at the preschool are highly valued by children and parents for their dedication to their work and to the community.

The New South Wales education department has told them that, when the lease of their premises expires in 2019, Wilkins Public School will require the classrooms to return to school use during the day, which will result in the preschool’s closure. Ironically, the New South Wales government has announced in its budget a commitment to increasing preschool numbers. You don’t support early childhood education if you’re closing a vital local community facility. The New South Wales government must reverse this decision.

Aug 21, 2018

Constituency Statements – Planning and Development – Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Local planning powers being given to Macquarie Street and taken away from the local community is not sensible policy. I pay tribute to the current Minister for Planning in New South Wales, Anthony Roberts, who was prepared to sit down with the Mayor of the Inner West Council, Darcy Byrne, and me, as the federal shadow minister for cities, and restore those planning powers to the Inner West Council and to Canterbury-Bankstown council. It will result in a much better outcome for the community. One of the things that caused such a revolt by local members of the community was the proposal of Mirvac down at Carrington Road which would have seen an old industrial area where there is just one road in and one road out, built in a flood plain, have four 35-storey towers. Within a couple of weeks of that proposal being made public, at a meeting organised by the council, Jo Haylen, the local state member for Summer Hill, and I, we packed out Marrickville Town Hall. This is a sensible proposal. There is a message here also for the development community: sit down with the local community members and work with them; don’t seek to impose overdevelopment which destroys the character of local communities. Congratulations to all involved in this community campaign.

Aug 16, 2018

Constituency Statements – Australian Broadcasting Corporation – Thursday, 16 August 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:44): Last night I attended the ABC’s showcase here in Parliament House to demonstrate my strong support for our national public broadcaster, particularly at a time when it’s under attack by those opposite, in the government. In the words of Radio Birdman’s ‘Aloha Steve & Danno’, I say to the ABC, ‘Get out an APB and purchase the broadcast rights to Descent into the Maelstrom, the Radio Birdman story.’

The creation of the band by Deniz Tek and Rob Younger in Sydney in 1974 cemented the foundation of Australian punk rock, laid in the very same year by Chris Bailey and Ed Kuepper of The Saints, a Brisbane band. Radio Birdman’s visceral performances, attended by thousands, are an important part of Australian musical history—not to mention the release of their first full-length studio album Radios Appear in 1977 to critical acclaim.

Through the cunning use of archival and present-day footage spliced together, Director Jonathan Sequeira has managed to capture the band’s journey and outlaw reputation on film—a journey that was also integral to the development of the independent music scene here in Australia. Descent into the Maelstrom chronicles the beginning of the Sydney punk scene, from the perspective of the band, including a look at The Funhouse, a venue managed by Radio Birdman and used as a base of operations of sorts, found in the back room of a pub in Taylor Square off Oxford Street and notorious for hosting any and all groups with similar musical tastes and on-stage charisma.

The band’s significant contribution to culture and the arts in this country should be celebrated. Descent into the Maelstrom has been called the greatest Australian music documentary, and I strongly believe that the public should be given the chance to make their own assessment of this. As such, I implore the ABC to reconsider acquiring the rights to the film and for it to be broadcast to the nation free-to-air. Indeed, keep The Funhouse alive! A decision by the ABC to show this documentary will have all contemporary music fans singing, ‘Yeah hup’!

Aug 15, 2018

Statements by Members – Newtown Rugby League Football Club – Wednesday, 15 August, 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:45): Newtown Rugby League Football Club are celebrating their 110th year as a local community based organisation this year. One would have thought that after being thrown out of the NRL they might have just disappeared. Instead, they have thrived as a community based organisation. There is nothing so good as old-fashioned footy on the hill at Henson Park on a Saturday afternoon. Two weeks ago, I was there at Henson Park for the Beer, Footy and Food Festival, where, once again, 8,972 fans gathered at Henson Park to celebrate the local community with local beer, local food and a sense of celebration.

One of the great things about this country is that, on the hill at Henson Park and at other local community based sporting activities on weekends, we are all equal. We’re all equal in celebrating that sense of community that comes from sport and that sense of identity and bringing together of the community that comes from a local football club like Newtown. I pay tribute to the chair, Barry Cotter; all of the board and players of Newton for keeping that spirit alive. They’re largely volunteers, and those volunteers keep that community based club going week after week.

Aug 14, 2018

Statements by Members – Mr Giuseppe ‘Joe’ Fin OAM – Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:36): Last Friday it was my honour to be at the farewell for Giuseppe Fin, or Joe Fin, as he was known, one of the founders of Co.As.It, the Italian welfare organisation in Australia. The farewell at St Fiacre’s Catholic Church in Leichhardt was, of course, packed. Without doubt, he was probably the most significant leader of the Italian community in Sydney over the last century. He and his wife, Patricia—she was an organist at St Fiacre’s way back, many decades ago—raised eight children; many, many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They were all there to farewell this great community leader.

He’d been active in the Catholic Church in Italy before migrating to Australia in 1956. He, through CO.AS.IT, founded a bilingual school, which is now a very successful Sydney institution. He moved into aged care, into welfare, into providing services for people who’d migrated to this country, and CO.AS.IT became a national organisation. To all of Joe’s many friends as well as his family and the Italian community of Sydney, I pay tribute to his great contribution.

Jun 28, 2018

Hansard – Constituency Statements – Arts – Thursday, 28 June 2018

Australia has a rich artistic tradition that began way back, tens of thousands of years ago, with the great art of the First Australians. The oldest art in the world is on rocks and on bark right here in Australia. Today, that tradition continues, along with those who have made Australia their home since the 18th century.

The government have a critical role in supporting the arts sector. This is important for our economy but important also for our culture. A delegation of industry figures asked us to support their industry. They want us to maintain quotas for locally made children’s programs and drama. They want us to impose local content obligations on streaming services. They want us to continue to provide adequate funding for public broadcasters and screen agencies. I’m very proud that Labor have announced that we will reverse the cuts to the ABC and we’ll stop the attacks that have occurred on the ABC and SBS.

The fact is that culture is important, and the culture of this island continent is different from the rest of the world. The stories of the melting pot that is Australia need to be seen and need to be told, and through the arts is how we do that. I’m very proud that I represent an electorate that has a very high proportion of creative artists from across the sector—writers, actors, producers and others involved in the arts. I call upon the government to recognise the need to support that sector.

Jun 25, 2018

Constituency Statements – Co.As.It

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:30): It was my great honour recently to attend the 50th anniversary celebration for Co.As.It. Co.As.It have been providing services for the Italian community in my electorate and indeed much more broadly around Australia for 50 years now, and they celebrated this at the Italian National Day celebrations in Sydney just last month. Co.As.It also promote Italian culture, including through their family history group, which preserves and promotes the history of Italian migrants in Australian. Italian Co.As.It community care workers support the elderly Italo-Australian community and allow older Italo-Australians to stay in their homes—and vitally connected to their community—for longer. The organisation also run support programs for serious issues like drug and alcohol addiction, gambling, and mental health. This is an invaluable community service.

To celebrate their 50-year milestone, Co.As.It have published a photobook by Paolo Totaro AM—Visual Legacy: Italian Australian Elders. Paolo, himself an Italian migrant, travelled to Australia for work in the 1960s. He went on to work for the Australia Council, founded the Community Arts Board and was also the foundation chairman of the New South Wales Ethnic Affairs Commission. He said of this time:

I avoided the famous and the rich, they don’t need this sort of celebration. I wanted to capture the image of the ordinary Italian-Australian experience … We are not any more new Australians, we are Australians, who showed enormous self-reliance and resilience from the very start of our arrival in this country.

In this book, he celebrates the lives of these Australians. Many of the stories highlighted are those of migrants who travelled to Australia, who made that journey that so many have made, to forge a new life for themselves and their families. They travelled to a new country where they didn’t speak the language; they bravely made their way in Australian society and created a community—a community which is evident in Leichhardt and Haberfield, and right around Australia. This book celebrates their lives. As Lorenzo Fazzini, president of Co.As.It said:

You won’t find any tall poppies in this book. These are all very humble people, but they are the images of the people who have ‘created’ the Italian-Australian community. Although some of these people are no longer with us, we continue to learn from them, respect them and thank them for paving the way.

I’m very proud to call Paolo Totaro a dear friend of mine. He is someone who has made an extraordinary contribution to his nation, Australia. With this book, he has added to the wealth of that contribution.

Jun 25, 2018

Private Members’ Business – Local Government – Monday, 25 June 2018

Federation Chamber
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (18:56): Indeed, the week after we had the Australian Local Government Association here in Canberra, it is somewhat ironic that the member for Mackellar has brought forward a motion to this parliament supporting the role of local government. What used to happen when the Australian Local Government Association gathered here, when I was the minister for local government, was that we would have them meet with the entire cabinet, as well as members of parliament, and we would have discussions with the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and the finance minister, as well as the local government minister and people directly involved. They would meet for two days, with a function in the evening which would involve every single mayor and shire president around the country, regardless of what their politics were.

This was an initiative that was welcomed by local government, and in spite of some reticence, it must be said, from some of my colleagues when it was proposed. They recognised that it was extremely valuable to get that direct input here in Canberra over that period of time. We also created the Centre of Excellence for Local Government to drive best practice. We created the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, whereby every single council in the country benefited, including—in the council which the member for Mackellar spoke about—the upgrade around Narrabeen Lakes, the upgrade around the Manly foreshores, and the upgrade of the cricket pavilion at Manly in the electorate of Warringah.

We actually delivered infrastructure funding for communities, not just in marginal electorates as electoral fodder, but in every electorate around the country. We treated local government with respect. That’s why we wanted to recognise local government in the Australian Constitution. To give credit where its due, Barnaby Joyce strongly supported that, as the then federal shadow minister for local government. But the Liberals we couldn’t get across the line to recognise and enshrine respect for local government so that they didn’t exist solely at the whim of state governments, who now can cut their funding and can amalgamate councils without any reference to the actual constituents.

That’s what happened to my council, the Inner West Council. Three effective local governments in Marrickville, Leichhardt and Ashfield were amalgamated without any reference to the voters whatsoever. Indeed, we had an appointed administrator of that council, elected by nobody—no previous involvement in local government—who was effectively a dictator for the Inner West for 18 months before elections were held. That was of course under the New South Wales Liberal government, of which Mr Falinski, the member for Mackellar, is of course a great supporter.

This motion also supports the Black Spot Program, which we support, but there’s a 33 per cent underspend in that program. It mentions the Bridges Renewal Program but doesn’t mention that there’s a 53 per cent underspend in that program. It also mentions the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. What it doesn’t mention though is that 85 per cent of that funding flows after 2023. So it will be this term, the next term and really even most of the term after that before all but 15 per cent of that funding flows.

I am a genuine supporter of local government. I think that local government, as an area of government that is closest to local communities, can play a great role in determining what the priorities of those local communities are. That’s why, under our program, the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, projects had to be nominated by local government. Under this government’s regional program, a few cabinet ministers sitting in a corner—three cabinet ministers—get to determine where all the funding went. There is no reference to the community whatsoever. Local government deserve proper respect. They deserve the sentiments in this motion, but they deserve much better from this government.

Jun 25, 2018

Private Members’ Business – Cyprus – Monday, 25 June 2018

I had the honour of convening a meeting on behalf of the Australia-Cyprus parliamentary friendship group with two Australian friends, Stavros Protz and Yalcin Adal, from Greek- and Turkish-Cypriot backgrounds respectively. These two great friends in Australia are examples of the fact that, in our multicultural nation, people live not just in harmony but with its diversity being a great strength. Stavros and Yalcin began the Journey into Cyprus: East2West initiative. Together, over 16 days beginning on 21 March and ending on 5 April, the two friends walked 400 kilometres through the middle of Cyprus to inspire reconciliation and support for a united island nation. Stavros and Yalcin, having successfully completed their journey, walking up to 30 kilometres a day over very rugged terrain, are here in Canberra today continuing to promote the common interest and harmony between all Cypriots. After reaching the St Hilarion Castle on top of the Kyrenia mountain range in Cyprus, the two friends found a window and announced their wish for the future of the island:

We wish that one day the people of this island regardless of age, colour, ethnicity, gender and religion will be able to live freely.

This echoes the message of a peaceful resolution that I put forward in my first speech to this parliament about Cyprus, way back in 1998. I said this 20 years ago:

What is clear is that the Cypriot people, regardless of their origin, do want a peaceful resolution to this crisis.

The sentiment has been demonstrated in an extraordinary way by these two friends through their East2West initiative. Their journey has quite literally brought the two sides of the conflict together to advocate for a peaceful resolution that has eluded the island nation for far too long.

However, a solution, when it comes, must of course support the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Republic of Cyprus, a single legitimate authority on the island: one nation, one citizenship, one international personality, one people. While the nation continues to be divided, its people—both those of Greek-Cypriot background and those of Turkish-Cypriot background—will suffer.

Each year I attend a commemoration of the invasion of Cyprus at the Cyprus Community Club in my own electorate of Grayndler. Each year the crowd gathers and hopes for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that should come sooner rather than later. The journey of Stavros and Yalcin, taken together, has encouraged this peace to be brought forth. They exemplify two courageous people who are saying: ‘Enough is enough.’ It is in the interests of all of the people of Cyprus for the conflict to be resolved, for us to live in harmony side by side, just as people of Greek-Cypriot background and Turkish-Cypriot background live side by side in harmony right here in Australia, particularly in my electorate in the inner west of Sydney. I commend the motion to the House and I pay tribute to these two fine young Australians.

May 10, 2018

Hansard – Constituency Statement: WestConnex – Thursday, 10 May 2018

Federation Chamber
Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (11:20): I rise again to express concern at the lack of proper planning by the New South Wales government for the WestConnex project. This project has been characterised by bad planning and incompetence, and inferior and sometimes, quite frankly, misleading community consultation processes. Perhaps uniquely, it is a project in which they started building the tunnel without knowing where the tunnels would come up, something that will be studied by governments in future years. The bad planning was exemplified by the New South Wales Supreme Court’s decision last week that the New South Wales state government’s acquisition of property in the Rozelle goods yards was invalid. The Desane Group, whose property was located at 68-72 Lilyfield Road, had taken action. This is a massive blow to the state government. It undermines their future acquisition powers and shows that the government simply does not have its act together.

It follows a series of debacles: the underpayment of residents who had their properties voluntarily or, in some cases, compulsorily acquired; changes to the route and to where the dive sites for the project would be, including the quite extraordinary proposal to have a dive site almost on the grounds of Sydney Secondary College Leichhardt Campus; changes to where the stacks are and a refusal to filter the stacks, unlike what the state government said about stacks for roads near schools on the north shore of Sydney, which should be filtered; and proposals to use parks or ovals for the project. Ashfield Park, Petersham Oval and Blackmore Oval have all been threatened at various times. Good infrastructure requires you to plan first, then get the financing, then start construction. This has happened in the opposite direction. The fact that Infrastructure Australia had this project on its priority list calls into question its processes as well, because it goes neither to the port nor to the airport, which were the objectives of this project.


Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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