Wednesday, 01 June 2016
YASS AND GOULBURN JOBS
Ms PRU GOWARD ( Goulburn—Minister for Mental Health, Minister for Medical Research, Assistant Minister for Health, Minister for Women, and Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault) (18:11): I bring to the attention of the House a fantastic win for local jobs in the Goulburn and Yass communities. Despite a proposal to reduce the number of hours of staff working at both stations by NSW Trains, which would have seen Yass not staffed at all and a number of job losses at Goulburn, the community can be assured we will have staffed stations and retain most of the existing positions for the benefit of passengers. As much as those opposite claim they are the only party that stands up for workers, the local rail workers, union officials and I were happy to stand shoulder to shoulder at Goulburn station to negotiate the retention of jobs and passenger services with very receptive representatives of NSW Trains management.
We put a strong case for the importance of servicing passengers at a station with a range of users: the elderly, students, families visiting prisoners at the jail, and people with mental illness attending Goulburn's extensive regional mental health facility. Many of these train users need sensitive care and the Goulburn staff do their job very well. As a result, almost all customer-facing positions at Goulburn station will be retained. I thank the management of NSW Trains for its careful consideration of our advocacy. The position at Yass station will also be retained, ensuring that customers boarding departing trains or disembarking from arriving trains will always be met by a friendly face to assist them with their luggage, on and off the train, and with queries about their ticketing.
This is a great win for rail users in my electorate, and I thank everyone in our community who contacted me, either through my office or stopped me on the street, for speaking up about the need to retain these services. I particularly want to thank the staff at both stations for participating in the process and remaining positive. I want them to know that I support them and I will continue to support them. My door is always open and, while I may not always be successful, I will always have a go for them. As I said, I am pleased that negotiations with management were conciliatory, respectful and thoughtful.
The outcome of these negotiations means that regional communities in my electorate and across New South Wales will continue to be supported as they use our transport systems, which are vital for keeping our communities connected. Regional communities are resilient and resourceful, and I am so proud to represent just some of New South Wales' greatest regional communities. We are innovative, we make do and we respond to change with determination, particularly if we are faced with a reduction in funding or services. The Goulburn community knows all too well the growing need for more child care and early education options, which is why the closing of the TAFE Child Care Centre at the end of 2015 was extremely distressing for our city.
Sadly, TAFE could no longer support the nine children remaining who used the centre and the five staff who cared for them. But, in the face of adversity, our city remained positive and searched for a solution to keep the jobs of those childcare workers and the service available to parents. Despite my opponents announcing doom and gloom for the people of the city, Anglicare NSW stepped in and proposed a partnership with TAFE Illawarra. It is now running the centre. Already 43 children are enrolled, which is almost a full house. That wonderful centre is now enjoying full use, as it should.
I was so pleased I could support this wonderful partnership and I was proud to help open the new centre a few weeks ago. It is a great example of government working in partnership with a community organisation, and of the resilience of the Goulburn community and its ability to find solutions that work for it. I take this opportunity to thank Anglicare, in particular Simon Bennett, for his idea to combine the two facilities; and David Guthrey of TAFE Illawarra. He saw the benefits that keeping this facility open will have for TAFE and for Goulburn families. I also congratulate all the educators at the centre on their strength and courage through this period—some have gone and some have stayed—the TAFE students, who will continue to have access to this great learning environment, and the families in Goulburn who will continue to benefit from this wonderful service.
Mr JOHN SIDOTI ( Drummoyne ) ( 18:15 ): Now we see how it is done. First and foremost, it is important to have a high-profile and high-performance Minister. What we have seen is the hard work of a very good local member. She has presented the case, fought for her community and worked hand in hand with groups with which traditionally she may not have worked. At the end of the day, that is what members do for their constituents when they are passionate about an issue. First and foremost, they come before any politics. And that is what has prevailed in this case with that great win for Yass and the community of Goulburn.