Thursday 24 April 2014

Remember ANZAC Day tomorrow

Ron Hoenig MP talking to residents at Eastlakes 
I enjoyed being out and about in Eastlakes Shopping Center talking to residents about the issues that concern them. They really are quite unimpressed with the new "Merchant Banker" Premier who wants to do things like privatise public hospitals.

I took the opportunity to remind residents of ANZAC Day tomorrow with the nearest Dawn Service being at Booralee Park, Botany, corner Daniel and Bay Streets, commencing at 6am.

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Remember ANZAC Day this Friday

I was out early this morning at Mascot Railway Station reminding Mascot residents of ANZAC Day this Friday and the Dawn Service at Botany.

ANZAC Day – 25 April – is probably Australia's most important national occasion. It marks the anniversary of the first major military action fought by Australian and New Zealand forces during the First World War.

In 1917, the word ANZAC meant someone who fought at Gallipoli. Now it is a National Day on which the lives of all Australians lost in war time are remembered. 

The spirit of ANZAC recognises the qualities of courage, mateship and sacrifice which were demonstrated at the Gallipoli landing.

It is the spirit of ANZAC, the hero's, the fallen and those who survived, who sacrificed everything in the name of freedom.

To residents of my electorate living in easy access to Booralee Park, Botany at the Corner of Daniel and Bay Streets, the Commemorative Dawn Service will commence at 6am.

Organised by those wonderful veterans of Botany and Mascot RSL, and generously supported by Botany Bay City Council, a gesture I know the community appreciates.

As a person who has been chosen by the people for public office for over three decades, first as Mayor then as a Member of Parliament, I am always conscious of the privilege to be elected by a free people is because of the sacrifice made by the men and women we honour on ANZAC Day. LEST WE FORGET

Tuesday 22 April 2014

NSW Liberal government in chaos with four Ministers sacked - that now makes seven

Opposition Leader John Robertson today said Mike Baird’s Cabinet reshuffle – forced by the chaotic resignation of Barry O’Farrell last week – showed the Liberal Government was disarray.

Mr Robertson said Mike Baird has promoted and protected failed Ministers – and turned his back on the regions with two Ministers from the Hunter sacked and someone from Sydney appointed to the Hunter Ministry.

“This reshuffle has nothing to do with rejuvenation – this reshuffle was forced on the government by the resignation of a Premier last week ......” Mr Robertson said.

“We have now seen 7 ministers and a Premier sacked or resign in just 12 months – with this instability very different to what the community voted for in 2011.

“Mike Baird has promoted Brad Hazzard to the position of Attorney-General despite bungling the planning portfolio – and he has promoted Pru Goward despite overseeing cuts to caseworker numbers and leaving more vulnerable children at risk than ever before.

“We have also seen Mike Baird fail to remove Health Minister Jillian Skinner despite overseeing the longest wait time for elective surgery in the country and longer waiting times in emergency rooms.

“We also now have a Minister for Western Sydney who lives in Manly, a Minister for the Hunter who lives in Willoughby and a Minister for the Illawarra from Rockdale.

“Just eight weeks out from the NSW budget we now have a rookie Treasurer and Finance Minister.

“The last thing NSW needs is a Treasurer and Finance Minister on their L-plates – especially after Mike Baird himself made a billion dollar error with the budget in 2011.

“Today’s reshuffle shows just how out of touch Mike Baird is – with his new Cabinet not properly reflecting the whole of NSW.”

Mr Robertson said Mike Baird had also reduced the number of women in his Cabinet – another demonstration of just how out of touch he was with the community.

“Mike Baird should not be reducing the number of women in Cabinet,” Mr Robertson said.

“In only a few days we have already seen Mike Baird’s extreme agenda for NSW – with plans to privatise electricity, privatise hospitals and increase the GST.

“Mike Baird is now in charge of a government in disarray and chaos – with extreme plans that will only hurt families across the state.”

Hunter representation removed from NSW Cabinet under Mike Baird's reshuffle

The Hunter region has fared terribly in Mike Baird’s crisis-driven cabinet reshuffle – with no one from the Hunter left sitting at the Cabinet table to fight for local hospitals, schools and community services.

Maitland MP Robyn Parker and Upper Hunter MP George Souris have been dumped from the Ministry, leaving the region with no Ministers.

Mike Baird has also given the responsibility of Minister for the Hunter to Gladys Berejiklian – who is based on Sydney’s north shore.

“Mike Baird is taking the Hunter’s money back to Sydney while depriving it of even a single voice in the Cabinet,” Opposition Leader John Robertson said today.

“At a time when the Liberal Government has cut funding from Hunter hospitals, TAFE and child protection services – and left key transport and urban projects undelivered – it defies belief that the region’s representation has been eliminated.

“You need that local voice prepared to go into bat for the Hunter around the Cabinet table.

“Mike Baird is clearly someone more at home on the north shore of Sydney than mixing it around the State.

“The new Premier is clearly out of touch with the Hunter community – and the lack of Hunter representation in his Cabinet is bad news for the region.”

Mr Robertson noted that the Liberal Government’s track record in the Hunter over the last three years includes:
  • Breaking its word and privatising the Port of Newcastle – with most proceeds sent to prop up the Government’s coffers in Sydney instead of reinvested locally;
  • Cutting the Newcastle Rail Line at Wickham;
  • Cutting $88 million from the Hunter New England health budget via labour expense savings;
  • Leaving the region’s ambulance network in crisis, with response times nearly twice the State average;
  • Failure to reopen the John Hunter public eye clinic or begin work on a new Hunter hospital;
  • Failure to fund the Newcastle Art Gallery refurbishment;
  • Removal of the HSC syllabus across Hunter TAFE – as well as key courses such as hospitality, tourism, welding and boat building;
  • Funding cuts to 21 schools across the Hunter and Central Coast, including Morisset High School, Fennell Bay Public School (Lake Macquarie); Lakeside School and Windale Public School (Charlestown); Woodberry Public School, Tenambit Public School and Hunter River Community School (Maitland).
  • Hunter child protection services left in crisis with 28 caseworker vacancies – the highest number of vacancies of any region in NSW.
Shadow Minister for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said: “There are now no locals left in in the Cabinet to fight for the critical funding needs of Hunter hospitals, community services, schools and TAFE.”

“With the change of Planning Minister, key projects such as the Newcastle urban renewal strategy have been left in limbo.

“Maitland has lost its only voice around the Cabinet table.

“Mike Baird has shown in only a few days that he has an extreme plan to privatise electricity, privatise hospitals and broaden the GST – all things that will hurt Hunter families.”

Child protection a mess in NSW

The NSW Ombudsman earlier this month issued a devastating report on child protection services in this state.

The Ombudsman’s report found:
  • “Young people continuing to get lost in the system”. (p6)
  • “The statutory child protection system is still struggling to meet the demands placed on it”. (p8)
  • “Response rates will remain inadequate without the injection of further targeted resources”. (p13)
Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services Linda Burney said today that the Ombudsman's report had prompted Labor to demand the Minister, Pru Goward be removed from the portfolio.

Following MS Goward's removal from the portfolio today and being appointed Minister for Planning, Ms Burney said; “The decision to remove Pru Goward from Community Services is appropriate and one that Labor has long demanded – however it is extraordinary that she has been rewarded for her incompetence.”

“The NSW Ombudsman has shined a light on the full extent of the crisis in NSW child protection,” Ms Burney said.

Ms Burney called on the new Minister Gabrielle Upton to commit to implementing all the Ombudsman’s recommendations and righting the child protection tragedy that is unfolding across our State.

Monday 14 April 2014

Mascot RSL ANZAC March and Commemorative Ceremony

The pouring rain did not deter the hundreds of people who marched and attended Mascot Memorial Park yesterday afternoon for the Annual ANZAC Commemoration Ceremony organised by Mascot RSL who were joined by Botany RSL.

As Police closed Botany Road to traffic, the March led by The Clan MacLeod Pipe Band and the flag bearers, I and my parliamentary colleagues, Michael Daley MP Member for Maroubra, and Matt Thistlethwaite MP Federal Member for Kingsford Smith, were honoured to join our Veterans, their families and the families of the fallen.

The wonderful community spirit was so evident despite the falling rain. People young and old participated in the march. There were soldiers, scouts and cubs, girl guides, school children from Mascot Public School, St Therese Mascot, and J J Cahill Memorial High School, residents of Windgap, and local councillors. There was also Pagewood Botany Football Club generously providing a free sausage sizzle to the hundreds of children.

It was touching that so many in the Mascot, Rosebery and Botany Community were there to honour the memory and sacrifice that our serving men and women have given to Australia in the name of freedom. Lest we forget.

Sunday 13 April 2014

Redfern RSL Commemoration of ANZAC

It was extraordinary how the rain just stopped this Sunday morning just as The Redfern RSL Commemoration of ANZAC ceremony was about to commence at Redfern Park.

The printed order of service contained on the front page contained a reminder to all those blessed to be living in a free society, a quote from 1817 by US President Thomas Jefferson; "The Price of Liberty is 'Eternal Vigilance".

Chaplain Stephen Estherby RAN lead the prayer service and the very moving ANZAC Address was given by Michael Wilkinson, the Sub Branch Vice President. Attended by our veterans and the family of veterans and the fallen, Cr John Mant representing Sydney City Council, as always I felt privileged to stand with the men and women who gave us our nation .. our freedom .. to  honour the memory of those who paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom. Lest we forget.

Friday 11 April 2014

2014 Rotary Police Awards

Police Award Winner with the dignitaries 
I was delighted to attend the 2014 Rotary Police Awards last night held to recognise outstanding the Police Officers in the Eastern Beaches and Botany Bay Local Area Commands at the Lakes Golf Club at Eastlakes.

Attended by Police Minister Mike Gallagher, Shadow Police Minister, Michael Daley MP, Kingsford Smith MP Matt Thistlethwaite, Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith, Randwick Mayor Scott Nash, Botany Bay Deputy Mayor George Glinatsis, Acting Assistant Commissioner Karen McCarthy and many other distinguished guests all came to pay tribute to the outstanding service of police officers in our area.

The Rotary Police Officer of the Year awards are an opportunity for Rotary to recognise outstanding Police Officers in the Local Area Commands that cover our communities. Risking their lives daily to keep our community safe, and being so accessible and responsive to community needs is a hallmark of our Local Commands.

I thank Rotary Clubs of Maroubra, Randwick and Botany Bay for honouring our local police, as I thank Botany Bay City Council and Randwick City Council for sponsoring all police officers in attendance.

Botany Bay Business Enterprise breakfast

Ron Hoenig MP & Small Business Commissioner Robyn Hobbs
I appreciated yesterday attending the Botany Bay Business Enterprise breakfast and meeting with local business men and women. At the breakfast we were given the opportunity to meet and hear from the newly appointed Commissioner for Small Business, Ms Robyn Hobbs.

I believe it is important to remain up to date with local business news, and speaking directly with our local business people was invaluable for gaining insight into current issues and trends.

The Botany Bay Business Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organisation that offers free advice to people that require assistance with business planning; to small businesses experiencing hardship and to those wishing to expand their business. Importantly, the Botany Bay Business Enterprise Centre is community based, so breakfasts such as this are vital for community engagement and networking.

I was pleased to see Deputy Mayor George Glinatsis and Cr. Christina Curry and the General Manager from Botany Bay Council in attendance. Their presence indicates the council's support of the local business community.

I thank the Botany Bay Business Enterprise Centre for their invitation and for the opportunity to meet with so many of our local business people.

Paul Thomas - your community says thank you

Paul Thomas
Mr Paul Thomas, a Mascot local has recently been honoured in the NSW Legislative Council for his dedication and commitment to not only our local community, but also to the wider international community.

Mr Thomas has not only been an active parishioner of St Therese’s Church in Mascot since 1962, he has also delivered home communion to the sick and fragile for more than 30 years. 

Mr Thomas sponsors over 50 children, a deed that most of us would find humbling. 

I am certain that Mr Thomas contributes to our community without the consideration of gaining recognition; however I believe that it is important that these acts do not go unnoticed.

I look forward to joining Mr Thomas with his friends and family at a reception in his honour at Parliament House in May and I thank my good friend The Hon. Shaoquett Moselmane MLC honouring such an outstanding citizen in this way.

I congratulate Mr Thomas on the recognition of his outstanding work. On behalf of our local community I thank him for his tireless commitment to bettering our community.

Wednesday 9 April 2014

Plans to charge to attend NSW hospital emergency departments is just economic zealotry

Refusal by Liberal NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell to rule out a plan by his Liberal Federal colleagues to introduce a fee to attend NSW hospital emergency departments is a worrying sign.

With reports today asserting that the Abbott Liberal Government has a secret plan to allow State Governments to impose a charge on patients who report to hospital with what turn out to be less serious ailments, Mr O'Farrell needs to come clean with our community.

This is nothing short of a hospital tax that would work alongside the Liberal Party's proposed $6 tax to visit a GP.

Labor's NSW Shadow Health Minister, Dr Andrew McDonald is a highly respected paediatrician that still practices on a pro bono basis. His views on health policy should not be taken lightlyHe says;

“This is crazy health policy that will impact on every person in NSW.”

“Our hospitals are cash free zones. It would cost more to collect the revenue than the revenue that would be received.

“The reason patient costs in emergency departments are high is precisely because most patients who attend do so for a reason – they know their problem is not one for their GP.”

Dr McDonald added that he was concerned people could be deterred from reporting to hospital for what turn out to be serious risks to their health.

“Mums and Dads with sick children will be whacked with a tax to visit the GP – and now a tax to visit the hospital,” Dr McDonald said.

“Once this principle is established – there is nothing to stop a $6 tax from turning into a $36 or even $60 tax.”

This is just the latest round of economic Zealotry. These economic zealots put an actuarial cost on human life, then cut health services and now want to charge for services to deter people form accessing those health services. These Liberals are just a frightening prospect. They give out Knighthoods but want to charge the sick indigent when they go to a hospital. 

Mascot RSL ANZAC Day March this Sunday

Ron Hoenig MP at Mascot Station reminding residents about Sunday's ANZAC Day march
I was out early this morning at Mascot Railway Station reminding Mascot residents of the annual Mascot RSL ANZAC Day March this Sunday 13 April which Leaves Baxter Road at 2.15pm for Mascot Memorial Park, Cnr of Botany Road and Coward Street.

The Commemorative March which is usually the Sunday before ANZAC day is a week earlier due to Easter. At Mascot Memorial Park the Commemorative Service will be held and the laying of wreaths. After the conclusion of the ceremony a free sausage sizzle will be provided at my request courtesy of Pagewood Soccer Club.

I urge all residents to attend. I always regard it as a privilege to stand with the men and women who gave us our nation .. our freedom .. to  honour the memory of those who paid the ultimate price in the name of freedom. Lest we forget.

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Out and about at Eastlakes

I enjoyed being out and about at Eastlakes Shopping Centre today talking to residents and business owners. It is where I grew up, went to school, where my late parents home still stands today, and near where I now live.

Eastlakes is such a vibrant community. With all the pressures and poor planning decisions that has produced such difficulty for local Eastlakes residents, they are always upbeat and always greet me with smile and a hello "Ronny".

Support the establishment Alexandria Scouts & Cubs

As a long-time supporter of Scouts and Cubs, I am proud to support the campaign by the Friends of Alexandria Scouts club to re-establish Alexandria Scouts Club in the old Alexandria Scout Hall.

Scouting provides an opportunity for young people to develop their character in an environment that is inclusive and encouraging. It also provides young people with the skills to be active and productive members of our society. 

I believe that the re-establishment of the Alexandria Scouts Club will add significant value to not only the community of Alexandria but also the South Metropolitan Scouts Region group. 

This campaign is a great initiative by Friends of Alexandria Scouts club and I commend them on the work they do for our community.

If you wish to sign the petition to re-establish Alexandria Scouts Club, I encourage you to visit their website:

Saturday 5 April 2014

St Peters Anglican Church - 175th anniversary of the first burial

Laurel Horton, Ron Hoenig MP, Bob Horton
It could have been 200 years ago as I was welcomed this afternoon at St Peters Anglican Church that was celebrating the 175th anniversary of the first burial at Sydney's second oldest church.

Dressed up in Victorian style clothing members of the congregation opened their doors to members of the community marking the occasion with 12 permanent information plaques that were being installed in the graveyard.

A power point presentation on "Victorian Death and Mourning", a Victorian music organ recital, a sausage sizzle and afternoon tea made the community very welcome on this historic occasion.

St Peters Church was constructed 176 years ago. The building is an early gothic revival constructed in 1838. The first person to be buried at St Peters was John Benfield, a soldier, the last burial was 1896. A total of 2,515 people were interred, two thirds being children under 10 years. That to me was an eye opener as I read the tragedies of children, as the Rev. Andrew Bruce reminded the congregation how that generation had to live with death so frequently.

I am so impressed listening to Bob and Laurel Horton and their follow congregants who do so much to educate our community about St Peters and Sydney's rich heritage.
Ron Hoenig inspecting the historic graveyard at St Peters

Ron Hoenig MP speaking to St Peters congregation and guests

Friday 4 April 2014

Congratulations to our new Australian citizens

It was a pleasure to attend Randwick City Council 's Citizenship Ceremony and join Randwick Mayor Scott Nash, Kingsford Smith Federal member Matt Thistlethwaite MP, in welcoming our newest Australian Citizens.

Randwick Town Hall was filled with family and friends and special guests as they witnessed our "New Aussies" taking their "Pledge of Allegiance", the final step to becoming an Australian Citizen.

It was a fantastic evening that will be remembered by our newest citizens for the rest of their lives. Australia’s multicultural society is at the heart of what makes our country so great and by continuously learning and embracing each other’s cultures and experiences we can only grow together. I congratulate our newest citizens and welcome them as a fellow Australians. 

Thursday 3 April 2014

Tribute to Annett McKeown retired Principal Mascot Public School

Cr. Stan Kondilos, President Mascot Public School P & C, Annette McKeown, RonHoenig MP
It was a great pleasure to present Ms Annette McKeown with a copy of the tribute I made about her in Parliament last year.

Ms McKeown was Principal of Mascot Public School and left the teaching profession last October after 20 years as a school principal and 18 years as a teacher. Ms McKeown leaves behind a lasting legacy at Mascot Public School. She was responsible for implementing a number of important reforms, including improving student learning outcomes and enhancing the positive relationship that the school enjoys with the local community.

Ms McKeown’s almost 40 years of service to public education ought to be recognised and I wish her the very best in her well-deserved retirement. I would like to sincerely thank Ms McKeown for her tireless dedication to not only our community, but also to the New South Wales public education system. 

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Centennial Park Mobile Office

I really enjoyed visiting the residents of Centennial Park over the weekend for a mobile office and speaking to them about some of the issues that concern them. This is a new area for me that will come into the Heffron electorate after the recent redistribution. 

I believe it is important that I am always available to residents in hours and locations that suit them. Thank you to those that came out and met with me, I look forward to visiting again soon.

Alexandria Summer Fair

It was terrific to pop in on Sunday to Alexandria Park for the second annual Alexandria Summer Fair that was organised by the Alexandria Residents’ Action Group (ARAG). 

Many local businesses joined with the Alexandria community to exhibit the huge array of services.  Just talking to people and stall holders you could feel the wonderful sense of community pride from the Alexandria community. The rain held off magically on a warm sunny day. 

I enjoyed chatting to some of the stall holders at the “Trash and Treasure” site, as well as to volunteers with the St John Ambulance Service who outlined to me the wonderful work they do for our community.

The Alexandria Park Community School band also performed brilliantly for everyone at the fair and I know there were many proud mums and dads watching on. 

I would like to congratulate the ARAG volunteers on their outstanding effort in organising the fair. ARAG's level of commitment to the community of Alexandria is certainly worth recognising, that goes beyond raising community awareness and fighting on their behalf on environmental matters. 

It also thank Sydney City Council for their support of the fair and I look forward to attending it again next year.