Browsing articles in "Grayndler Hansard"
Feb 9, 2015

Private Members’ Business – Reclink National Program Funding

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (12:51): I am pleased to support this motion moved by the member for Melbourne Ports in this parliament today. The great, late Nelson Mandela once famously said:

Sport has the power to change the world. It has the power to inspire. It has the power to unite people in a way that little else does … Sport can create hope where once there was only despair.

Last year, I was fortunate to have had the opportunity to participate in Reclink’s Community Cup in Sydney. This Reclink Community Cup event is, of course, a much larger event in Melbourne. My team, the Rock and Roll Walers, coached by Jason Evans and skippered by Mark Evans, took on the media industry based Sailors, captained by Adam Spencer, at Henson Park in my electorate of Grayndler. It was my Aussie Rules debut. I took a mark, somewhat surprisingly, which features, for those doubters, on YouTube. This was the highlight of my short Australian Rules career and, given that the KPI I had set myself was simply to be able to walk off the field, I was pretty pleased. Yet for the third year in a row my team, the Walers, lost.

The real winner of the day, however, was undoubtedly the community. The money we raised went to Reclink, a Melbourne based charity that works in partnership with over 450 charities from around Australia. It is a charity that until the coalition’s first budget in May last year received funding from the Commonwealth government.

Reclink has a long and proud history of coordinating sporting and cultural programs for those less fortunate. It provides a valuable link between vulnerable people and their community in towns and cities across Australia. Reclink makes a difference for youth at risk, those experiencing mental illness, people with a disability, the homeless, and people tackling alcohol and other drug issues and social and economic hardship. In the year 2013 to 2014, Reclink Australia delivered over 115,000 participation opportunities for sport, recreation and arts. Reclink helps facilitates pathways for education and employment, often giving people a confidence in themselves they previously struggled to find. Reclink believes there is sufficient anecdotal evidence to suggest that, for every dollar invested by the federal government in the Reclink National Program, there is at least a tenfold equivalent dollar benefit to the community. That makes the federal government investment of $560,000 per annum value for money in economic terms, as well as priceless in social terms. I would like to recognise the hard work of the team behind Reclink Australia and congratulate founder Peter Cullen for all that he has done to make communities around the nation a better place.

The Senate select committee into the Liberal government’s budget cuts recommended that the government reinstate Commonwealth funding for Reclink Australia immediately. Today, the coalition should do just that. Brian Millett, a participant in the Reclink program, spoke to the Senate select committee about his friends and the positive impact of Reclink in their lives. He said:

Wednesday is football and they cannot wait for Wednesday. They belong there; they have a connection there. That is what I needed. I needed that gap filler to get me there.

It seems that the coalition know the price of everything and the value of nothing. You do not create stronger communities by tearing them apart.

I call upon the coalition to immediately reinstate funding to the Reclink national program and express some disappointment that there are no coalition speakers on this motion that has been moved by the member for Melbourne Ports and seconded by the member for Lalor in this House today. That is extraordinarily unusual. It is the case that people front and put their argument when debates occur in this parliament. To simply withdraw from the debate, to have nothing to say, does not do anything to give credit to the coalition government. However, all will be forgiven with the stroke of a pen if they fix up this funding shortfall and reinstate the cuts that they made in last year’s unfair budget.

Debate adjourned.

Feb 9, 2015

Condolence Motion – The Hon. Tom Uren, AC

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (14:12): I join with the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition in supporting this condolence motion for my friend and comrade Tom Uren. Tom Uren saw deprivation in his early years, and then the worst of humanity. Born into the Depression in 1921, he left school at the age of 13 because his father could not get employment. He was a great sportsman. He represented Manly, unfortunately, in rugby league, but he also fought for the Australian heavyweight boxing championship. He was also a surf lifesaving champion at Freshwater. He had a lot to look forward to; and then, of course, World War II intervened. He put his nation before himself and, like so many other young men and women of that time, he enlisted. He went to Timor and was captured. He served in Timor, in Singapore, on the Burma-Siam railway and in Japan as a prisoner of war of the Japanese. Those people who read Richard Flanagan’s extraordinary book would respond to it as I did: you just wonder how these men came through that process without being bitter about the world and their place in it.

He was an extraordinary man. If he can be characterised by anything it is by his faith in humanity and his fellow man. He came through that process with love and used to speak—unusually for a man—about his love for people. It was genuine, and he received love in spades in return.

He was, in my view, the most significant grassroots campaigner in the history of the Australian Labor Party, given the longevity that the issues, be it the anti-Vietnam war moratoriums, which he and Jim Cairns led, his role on the environment—well ahead of the pack; well ahead of the intelligentsia—he understood a love for our natural and our built environment or whether it be issues of justice for our veterans. He was very proud that his last victory was to convince Prime Minister Gillard to grant justice to the surviving former prisoners of war of the Japanese. That occurred in 2012.

He leaves a tremendous legacy: the greening of Western Sydney, access to sewerage for people in our outer suburban communities, the first significant investment in public transport by a national government, the Australian Heritage Commission, the Register of the National Estate and the saving of the Sydney Harbour foreshores. Wherever you look around this country, particularly in outer suburbs and our regional cities, Tom Uren leaves a legacy of which he and his family can indeed be proud as both a minister in the Whitlam government and a minister in the Hawke government.

When he was nominated for the Companion of the Order of Australia I contacted Tony Abbott, the then Leader of the Opposition, and told him—as I told Bob Brown, the leader of the Australian Greens—that Prime Minister Gillard was supporting that nomination. All three of them enthusiastically and genuinely supported that nomination. He was someone who, in the noise of politics and conflict and petty squabbles that go on, soared above the political landscape—in this building and out there in the community.

To Christine, Ruby, Michael and Heather—and all of his family—I pass my condolences to you. His state funeral was a very historical event. I think it was wonderful to see Sir John Carrick, a good comrade of Tom’s as a prisoner of war. They led parallel lives of different political viewpoints but both are people, for those of us who have come after them, to whom we owe eternal respect for what they did for our nation.

Dec 4, 2014

Constituency Statement- WestConnex

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (09:57): The second President of the United States, John Adams, once remarked that ‘facts are stubborn things’. ‘Whatever our wishes, inclinations or passions,’ Adams said, ‘we cannot alter facts.

We cannot change evidence.’ That is a good rule for people who are involved in infrastructure. That is the rule that we established through the creation of Infrastructure Australia: to get proper advice from experts based on cost-benefit analysis—based on the benefit to productivity guiding where infrastructure investment went.

The Abbott government has ignored that. The experts at Infrastructure Australia urged the government to invest in the Melbourne Metro. We had already spent $40 million on getting the planning right. We urged it to invest in the M80 program. One billion dollars had already been spent on improvements to the ring-road around Melbourne —much needed and of much benefit—but it was cut in the budget this year. And then we have the Managed Motorways Program, benefiting the Monash Freeway to the east of Melbourne, where there was a $68 million cut in the budget even though it had a cost-benefit analysis of 5.2, or a $5.20 benefit for every dollar invested.

The government backed the East West Link project in spite of the fact that the cost-benefit analysis was 0.5— or, if you add things in, 0.8. Last Saturday, the voters of Victoria rendered a judgement about those actions by electing my friend Dan Andrews as Premier of Victoria.

Today I also want to talk about the WestConnex road project in Sydney. The WestConnex project, as I said on 12 March last year as the Minister for Infrastructure, needed to achieve three objectives. I told the House about three commitments that we made: one, the M4 has to take people into the city; two, the M5 has to take freight to the port; and, three, you cannot have new tolls on old roads.

That position was right then and it is right today. At the moment, the proposition that the WestConnex project will channel traffic to St Peters, to the west of the airport, to the most heavily congested areas of Sydney, and then traffic will have to funnel its way through Gardeners Road or King Street, Newtown, will ensure that this is a road to a traffic jam. This is contrary to the advice of Infrastructure Australia and the advice from Infrastructure New South Wales that, in its 2012 report, said first things first and that better port access was the top priority for New South Wales. I urge the government to ensure that they get this right.

Oct 30, 2014

Condolence motion – Mr Brian ‘Chicka’ Moore

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (10:11): It is with sadness that I rise to speak of the passing of Brian ‘Chicka’ Moore and to pay tribute to his enormous contribution to Rugby League in this nation and particularly in the inner west of Sydney. Brian passed away this week at the age of 70, after a long illness. Brian was very much a passionate Rugby League man. Many people know that I am passionate about my support for South Sydney. Brian was just as passionate about his support for and participation in the Newtown Rugby League Football Club. When he began playing for them they were, of course, the ‘Bluebags’; they were later known as the Newtown Jets.

Brian was a devastating player. I never missed a Newtown versus South Sydney game on the hill at Henson Park. One of the great experiences for kids was old-school footy at Henson Park in Marrickville, in my electorate. The King George V stand fitted hundreds of people, but there were thousands standing around and sitting on the grass watching Rugby League when Newtown had a home game.

Brian was a tall, hard-running centre with strength and speed. He did play for Australia, but many good judges argue that he would have been a permanent fixture in the test team were he not a player in the same era as people like Reg Gasnier, Graeme Langlands, Paul Sait and a range of very good players who kept him out of the test team. But he did play for New South Wales between 1963 and 1970, and he toured with the Kangaroos in the 1967-68 tour. He did not play any tests on that tour, but he was Australia’s top try scorer—a remarkable feat, given that he did not play in the test. Later he became Newtown’s last first grade coach in 1983 when they left the main competition. Newtown still play in the New South Wales Cup and are still followed by many loyal supporters. It is still a good day at Henson Park watching Newtown go around.

Brian was also a police officer, as many of the Rugby League greats of that era were. They did not get paid well enough to have Rugby League as their full-time job—so they had other jobs. He was a police officer and he was a mentor of many younger people coming through. Indeed, in 2008 he was inducted into the New South Wales police team of the century and in 2009 he was awarded the New South Wales Police Medal for diligent and ethical service during his time in uniform. One of the obituaries on the Newtown website says:

Arguably the finest moment of his career came in 1973 when he almost single-handedly helped Newtown to a remarkable comeback win over St George in the final of the 1973 Wills Pre-Season Cup.

‘Newtown were down 15-2 at halftime and the heat was horrendous,’ says respected rugby league historian Terry Williams.

‘They won 17-15 and that was largely on the back of Chicka. He basically took St George on on his own. In attack he cut the Dragons to pieces out wide and when they had the ball he became a road block.

Chicka Moore was a great character. He very prematurely, at a young age, became bald and his figure stood out on the field. As a young man in his 20s he played 173 games for Newtown and scored 90 tries, and he was a great player and a great character in Newtown. I pay my respects to his family and all of his friends.

Oct 28, 2014

Communities – Millers Point and Leichhardt

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (21:00): Last weekend I was very honoured to attend once again the Norton Street Festa, an Italian community festival at Leichhardt in my electorate. As I wandered among the stalls and greeted old friends and constituents, I was reminded of the immense strength that resides with vibrant, dynamic, strong and healthy communities. Australian communities are tightly bound by a powerful collective spirit—a sense of shared experience and history and a feeling of belonging. People in communities like Leichhardt care for each other and their common wellbeing. They understand there is an inherent value in their community. They want governments to respect and build upon that value.

I am concerned that the current government is devaluing the concept of Australian communities. Through its policies and its rhetoric, the government seeks to trigger a shift in our national culture—one that gives the concept of individualism absolute priority, to the exclusion of any concept of common interest. We see it throughout a range of policies, particularly in the budget—regarding cuts to pensions and health and the deregulation of higher education that sees it as an individual commodity that can be bought and sold rather than as a benefit to the nation. This trend is also illustrated when the Treasurer claims that Australians are either lifters or leaners and when government ministers routinely attack disability pensioners as bludgers. This rhetoric is designed to make many Australians think more about themselves and less about the many.

This is a government that does not like public education. It does not like public health, public broadcasting or public services—in fact, it simply does not like the public. And it is not just in Canberra. There is no better example of this conservative campaign to devalue communities than what is happening in the public housing precinct at Millers Point in Sydney. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird is selling about 300 public housing units which for many decades have formed the basis of a vibrant community. This is housing that was formerly controlled by the Maritime Services Board. People who live in the community either worked on the waterfront themselves, or their parents—or even their grandparents—did. So far, six of these homes have been sold. Because of this injection of private investment, the New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, recently said:

… the future for Millers Point is optimistic.

There is not much optimism among those being thrown out of their homes.

It is easy to put a reserve price on a house in Millers Point, but no-one seems to weigh that value against the lost value involved in dismantling the existing community. No-one is asking how much it will cost the government to move these residents to other areas—presumably on the edge of town, away from services, public transport and their support groups.

When Mike Baird looks at Millers Point he sees dollar signs. When I look at Millers Point, I see a living, breathing community which deserves respect and care. Many conservatives seem to hold the view that, while wealthy people should be applauded for accumulating property, the public sector has no right to be a property owner. The fact is this: vibrant communities are part of our nation’s complex tapestry. It is not good enough for state or federal ministers to know the price of everything but the value of nothing. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of any government selling public housing stock when there is a public housing shortage. I am concerned that the logic the state government is putting forward would see it sell public housing in precincts like Pyrmont, Ultimo, Woolloomooloo, Glebe and North Sydney. This will change the nature of these communities.

Successful cities are not disconnected enclaves of advantage and disadvantage—they are diverse and vibrant. Successful communities are collections of individuals bound together by threads of history, common humanity, common experience and friendship. We should not toss people aside as if they are disposable. A government that seeks to engage with its community will find the community a willing partner and the entire community will benefit, regardless of its income. That is why the state government’s approach is so short-sighted. I call upon them to reconsider this attitude.

Oct 28, 2014

Constituency Statement – Norton Street Festa, Public Housing

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (21:00): Last weekend I was very honoured to attend once again the Norton Street Festa, an Italian community festival at Leichhardt in my electorate. As I wandered among the stalls and greeted old friends and constituents, I was reminded of the immense strength that resides with vibrant, dynamic, strong and healthy communities. Australian communities are tightly bound by a powerful collective spirit—a sense of shared experience and history and a feeling of belonging. People in communities like Leichhardt care for each other and their common wellbeing. They understand there is an inherent value in their community. They want governments to respect and build upon that value.

I am concerned that the current government is devaluing the concept of Australian communities. Through its policies and its rhetoric, the government seeks to trigger a shift in our national culture—one that gives the concept of individualism absolute priority, to the exclusion of any concept of common interest. We see it throughout a range of policies, particularly in the budget—regarding cuts to pensions and health and the deregulation of higher education that sees it as an individual commodity that can be bought and sold rather than as a benefit to the nation. This trend is also illustrated when the Treasurer claims that Australians are either lifters or leaners and when government ministers routinely attack disability pensioners as bludgers. This rhetoric is designed to make many Australians think more about themselves and less about the many.

This is a government that does not like public education. It does not like public health, public broadcasting or public services—in fact, it simply does not like the public. And it is not just in Canberra. There is no better example of this conservative campaign to devalue communities than what is happening in the public housing precinct at Millers Point in Sydney. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird is selling about 300 public housing units which for many decades have formed the basis of a vibrant community. This is housing that was formerly controlled by the Maritime Services Board. People who live in the community either worked on the waterfront themselves, or their parents—or even their grandparents—did. So far, six of these homes have been sold. Because of this injection of private investment, the New South Wales Minister for Family and Community Services, Gabrielle Upton, recently said:

… the future for Millers Point is optimistic.

There is not much optimism among those being thrown out of their homes.

It is easy to put a reserve price on a house in Millers Point, but no-one seems to weigh that value against the lost value involved in dismantling the existing community. No-one is asking how much it will cost the government to move these residents to other areas—presumably on the edge of town, away from services, public transport and their support groups.

When Mike Baird looks at Millers Point he sees dollar signs. When I look at Millers Point, I see a living, breathing community which deserves respect and care. Many conservatives seem to hold the view that, while wealthy people should be applauded for accumulating property, the public sector has no right to be a property owner. The fact is this: vibrant communities are part of our nation’s complex tapestry. It is not good enough for state or federal ministers to know the price of everything but the value of nothing. I am very uncomfortable with the idea of any government selling public housing stock when there is a public housing shortage. I am concerned that the logic the state government is putting forward would see it sell public housing in precincts like Pyrmont, Ultimo, Woolloomooloo, Glebe and North Sydney. This will change the nature of these communities.

Successful cities are not disconnected enclaves of advantage and disadvantage—they are diverse and vibrant. Successful communities are collections of individuals bound together by threads of history, common humanity, common experience and friendship. We should not toss people aside as if they are disposable. A government that seeks to engage with its community will find the community a willing partner and the entire community will benefit, regardless of its income. That is why the state government’s approach is so short-sighted. I call upon them to reconsider this attitude.

Oct 23, 2014

Constituency Statement – Multicultural Services

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (09:48): Recently, I was contacted by Sydney Multicultural Community Services about an important issue: the shortage of services to help older people from non-English speaking backgrounds remain in their homes. Like so many of the dedicated non-for-profit associations who support ethnic communities in this country, this organisation has a long and proud record of serving and advocating for migrant communities.

My electorate of Grayndler is, in many ways, the heart of multicultural Australia. Generations of migrants have come from Greece, Italy, Portugal, Vietnam, China, Lebanon, Syria and every continent on earth to make the inner west of Sydney their home. Together we have built a tolerant, harmonious and vibrant community. That is why it is so important that the people who built our nation are not forced out of their homes because of a lack of support.

In-home services for older people with limited English work best when they are provided by someone who can speak their language and understands their culture. The relationship between aged-care workers and their clients is built on trust, and rapport can only be established through communication and understanding. The sad truth is that, in Grayndler and across the country, when older migrants cannot access culturally appropriate services they often cannot access any services at all. While it is acknowledged by all that the population is ageing, we need to ensure that older Australians from multicultural communities are properly catered for. As people age, they are more inclined to use the language of their birth and lose their second language. It is important to acknowledge that there is a genuine need for home-care services to be available to people whose first language is not English. The waiting lists for home-care assistance are growing. For those from multicultural communities the need is even greater. Simply put, without appropriate care the health of these people is compromised. Governments should do all they can to make sure that the citizens who have given so much to Australia are not isolated in their homes or institutionalised and separated from their families and communities unnecessarily—especially not when there are dedicated, professional and reputable organisations already working in local communities and wanting to expand their operations.

In government, Labor made aged-care more accessible and fairer, and more sustainable into the future. We understood the challenges of an ageing population and the impact that that would have on aged care. The government should commit to increasing home-care packages to multicultural-specific aged-care.

In the inner west of Sydney there is now a severe shortage of packages for Italian, Spanish and Portuguese speakers in particular, and only a small number of packages allocated for other languages. As I have said, many people in my electorate from non-English-speaking backgrounds have contributed a great deal to this nation and to our community. I call on the government to do the right thing by them and commit more funds to multicultural home care.

Oct 20, 2014

Statements by Members – South Sydney Rabbitohs

Federation Chamber

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (16:27): Two weeks ago, I went with my son to see South Sydney win their 21st premiership—a 30-to-six victory over Canterbury Bankstown. It was a special celebration, particularly for all the people who campaigned for South Sydney’s right to play—the 80,000 people who marched in the streets of Sydney to declare that football was not just about sport; it was about community identity and a sense of belonging. It was a great night. I got to go with my friend, the chairman, Nick Pappas, and former board members. I was on the board during the period in which we were excluded from the competition. There was Andrew Denton, Ray Martin, Nick Hatzistergos and other members of the South Sydney family. I also had a chat with the Burrow—salt of the earth people for whom that victory, particularly for the Indigenous community based in the South Sydney area, was so important. To watch John Sutton’s leadership, Sam Burgess’s courage and Greg Inglis’s skill, capped off with him doing the goanna after the last try, was a great evening indeed. It was great that it was versus Canterbury, also a club based in their local community. The leadership of Michael Maguire, Souths’ coach, and Shane Richardson, the CEO, has made this possible. I am sure that the 22nd premiership is not far away.

Sep 30, 2014

Statement by Member – Rugby League

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (13:54): This Sunday night I will follow in the footsteps of many South Sydney supporters in going to see South Sydney play in the grand final at the ANZ Stadium. This is 43 years after I was taken by my mother in 1971 to see Souths beat St George on the SCG Hill. It is also a tribute to those people in the community who stood together so that Souths could stand alone when they marched for South Sydney’s readmission into the National Rugby League comp. Institutions such as Souths are the fabric that binds a community together, and I pay tribute to all those who fought for their club to be allowed to play in the National Rugby League competition. Go the Rabbitohs!

Sep 24, 2014

Constituency Statement – Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler) (09:30): Two weeks ago I opened the annual Dulwich Hill festival in my electorate of Grayndler. It was not the same. As much as it was a joyous occasion, I was deeply saddened by the absence of my friend the former Marrickville Councillor Emanuel Tsardoulias. This gave the day a solemn undertone for me and for many of Emanuel’s friends and colleagues who were also there.

Emanuel Tsardoulias passed away at the youthful age of 38 on Saturday, 16 August this year. He leaves an enormous legacy as a deputy mayor, councillor, Dulwich Hill ALP branch activist, leader of Grayndler FEC and Canterbury SEC of the Labor Party, executive member of the local government association of New South Wales, SES volunteer, Rotary activist and community member.

Local festivals like the Dulwich Hill festival meant a lot to Emanuel. It was more than just part of his job as a councillor. This is because Emanuel was part of his local community. Our festivals in Dulwich Hill and Marrickville were always abuzz with the enthusiasm of hundreds of people. And enthusiasm is what Emanuel Tsardoulias had in spades.

He was a true champion of the inner west who was passionate about improving the lives of local residents. He was particularly proud and committed to Dulwich Hill, attending both Dulwich Hill Public School and Dulwich high school. He campaigned strongly against the high school’s possible closure more than a decade ago. He was proud of the improvements that he instigated to Jack Shanahan skate park and Arlington Oval. He was one of the instigators of the Dulwich Hill street fair.

A small business man, he was active in the Greek-Australian community and was particularly concerned about providing opportunities for young people in the inner west. Emanuel approached every task with enthusiasm, optimism and commitment. This was reflected in his support and passion for the Labor Party, where he was a loyal comrade and exceptionally hard worker. Election time will not be the same without him.

Emanuel showed enormous courage while dealing with cancer and related illness over recent times. My heart goes out to his beloved wife Zoi and his beautiful 18-month-old twin boys, Stephen and Dimitri, who were his pride and joy. I will never forget his pride at their christening just last year.

His funeral at the Greek Orthodox Parish of St Nicholas saw many hundreds of people come to farewell one of Marrickville’s finest citizens. We will miss his infectious laugh, love of life, friendship and loyalty. At 38 years old, Emanuel had so much more to give, and this is a tragic loss for his family and for the community.

May Emanuel rest in peace.

Contact Anthony

(02) 9564 3588 Electorate Office

Email: [email protected]

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