Address in reply to the Governor's Speech

EXTRACT FROM PARLIAMENTARY DEBATES

Address‑in‑reply

Ms RYALL (Ringwood) — It gives me great pleasure to rise to contribute to the address‑in‑reply to the Governor’s speech. First and foremost, I thank the community of the Ringwood electorate for the honour and privilege they have bestowed upon me in electing me to represent them. I again give them my commitment to represent them in this place and in the community to the best of my ability.

The boundary reforms saw an approximately 50 per cent change between what was the seat of Mitcham and the new seat of Ringwood. In the seven months leading up to the 2014 election I was privileged to visit almost all of the community groups in my electorate, whether they be sporting clubs, faith‑based organisations, multicultural groups, residents associations, traders groups, environmental and common interest groups or primary schools, secondary schools and preschools. In addition, I visited many of the fabulous businesses we have in Ringwood.

One thing I pride myself on is my engagement and involvement with my local community on all levels and through all local organisations. Only being with people and understanding what they are saying — hearing and understanding the issues — enables you to adequately represent them. In connecting with so many from my community, whether it be through my mobile offices, local markets, community events, doorknocking, street corners, cold winter and spring mornings at the five railway stations in the Ringwood electorate or the many awards I present, I feel so heartened by the strength of our community, the ability of its members to communicate openly and their receptivity to engaging their local member of Parliament to represent them in the best way.

From 2010–14 I was delighted to be the member for Mitcham, and I thank that community for the privilege of serving them. The new seat of Ringwood comprises parts taken from four seats, including the seat of Warrandyte, the former seat of Doncaster, the former seat of Kilsyth and the seat of Bayswater. I thank each of the members for those seats — the member for Warrandyte; Mary Wooldridge, the former member for Doncaster and now the Leader of the Opposition in the Council; the member for Bayswater; and the member for Croydon, who was the member for Kilsyth — for their great achievements for their communities in the time they held those positions.

I will touch on those great achievements across what is now the Ringwood electorate from 2010 to 2014. There was the $27 million redevelopment of Maroondah Hospital; the removal of the Mitcham and Rooks roads level crossings, a blight on the ability — —

Mr Pesutto interjected.

Ms RYALL — Absolutely. Those crossings were a blight on the ability of people to travel through those areas without being stuck at boom gates for 25 minutes during peak hour.

There was also the Box Hill Hospital redevelopment, with an additional 200 beds and one extra floor in the scope of the pricing envelope; the upgrades to Ringwood Heights and Ringwood North primary schools; the $2.2 million upgrade to Ringwood Secondary College; and the Eastwood primary school rebuild — I was there only this week to inspect the first half of the rebuild that is taking place and it is spectacular. There was also the Ringwood station and bus interchange redevelopment, something that had long been longed for and something the member for Warrandyte worked hard to deliver. It is great to see that taking shape.

There were the Heatherdale oval and Mitcham Bowling Club lighting upgrades; the Box Hill to Ringwood shared bike path, some sections of which are already open; protective services officers being put on the beat at Blackburn, Nunawading, Mitcham, Heatherdale, Ringwood and Ringwood East railway stations; the preservation of Nunawading’s Junction Road parklands as open space; the opening of the new premium Mitcham railway station, which is a spectacular piece of infrastructure; the $5.1 million rebuild of Mount Pleasant Road Primary School and Kindergarten, which is underway and was much needed by the school, which was neglected for so long; and the $1.29 million upgrade of Mullauna College.

I was privileged to chair the Family and Community Development Committee as it undertook an inquiry and published a report into social inclusion for Victorians with a disability. I note that the government’s response to the report, which was due on Tuesday, has not yet been provided. I look forward to seeing the government’s response to the recommendations made by the committee so that Victorians with a disability may learn what will be done to provide them with the opportunity to live in their communities in a more inclusive manner.

One of the commitments we made was $10 million for Ringwood Secondary College, which is absolutely needed. That funding was stripped from the school by those opposite, who in 2010 made a $100 million commitment to the Maroondah education coalition. That has fallen short considering the fabulous indent into the work that needed to be done there. The government is cutting $5 million from the pledge to Ringwood Secondary College and $3 million from the pledge to Norwood College. We committed $3 million to Mullauna College and another $1 million to Rangeview Primary School. Norwood was to have a total of $7.5 million, and Maroondah Hospital was to have an additional 100 car parks. Each of these things is very much needed, and they are either being done in a half‑baked fashion or being ignored by the current government.

The now Minister for Education made a great song and dance about attending some of the schools in my electorate, in particular Norwood. He walked through those schools, so he knows their science and art facilities are absolutely appalling and in need of upgrade, but he has failed to fund the important things they need. They need $7.5 million to do the work, and that is what we committed to.

What is the government providing? It is giving them $4.5 million for a school hall. The government is not doing anything or providing any funds for the important science, technology, engineering and mathematics centre Norwood wants and needs or the arts facility the school wants and needs. That is what happened as a result of the Minister for Education failing to consult with the school, to sit down and wait for the new principal to arrive to work out the needs of the school, instead of flying off and spitting out money to different places to see if it suits a need. It is about listening to and understanding the needs of the community and making sure that you make commitments in line with those needs — —

An honourable member interjected.

Ms RYALL — And properly, absolutely. Turning to the Maroondah Hospital car park, the electorate of Ringwood and surrounding communities that make up the catchment for Maroondah Hospital desperately need the car parks that were committed to by the coalition government should it win the election. We have received nothing from this government. The member for Monbulk should hang his head in shame because this hospital serves his community and he knows only too well that health services need to be accessible to the community.

When I was out there talking about this issue and making the announcement of the 100 new car spaces a lady drove through the psychiatric area of the hospital and at that precise time said, ‘I have been here when my son was suicidal. He was in the car with me and I could not get a park and I was beside myself’. She said that she parked illegally and then had to apply to have the fine that she subsequently received revoked.

Members of the community and I often have to go around the block trying to find a parking space at that hospital. I congratulate those opposite on the announcement of a breast cancer centre for Maroondah Hospital, but the community and I are yet to hear what will happen with it. This new facility will only compound the parking problem unless it is dealt with now so I call on the government to fund the necessary car parking arrangements and not expect Maroondah Hospital and Eastern Health to pull money out of their operating budgets to fund these car parks. We need those additional car parks. We do not need talk. We do not need to say, ‘We’ll look at it when we do the cancer centre and we’ll cater for it’ because there is a much bigger issue that needs to be catered for now. There is a much bigger community, including the member for Monbulk’s community, that needs a resolution to this problem.

Those in the west know as well as those in the east just how necessary a second river crossing is. It is a travesty that the Premier can have so little insight and understanding of the needs of Victorians and Victorian businesses that he would consider tearing up the
east–west link contract. It risks not only Victoria’s reputation as a safe place to invest but also the ability of business to freely move products and services around the state. As the population grows this will only become worse. The immediate impact on those who hoped for years of work ahead on a shovel‑ready project — a really shovel‑ready project, one that immediately created 3700 jobs on the eastern end — has been huge.

Those people, a number of whom live in my community, are now wondering where their work will come from. This is about food on the table for those people and families that need the work. I heard the Minister for Tourism and Major Events go on about a jobs plan and how fantastic he is, but this is nothing less than job destruction. The coalition also committed to both the rail capacity project and the airport link. It is not about one thing. Unfortunately those opposite can only do one thing at a time. This is about making sure that the necessary infrastructure and jobs are there for this state and that business has the ability to move around it. That is what is needed for the future, and I call on the government not to tear up the contract for the east–west link.

I want to pay tribute to the volunteers in my campaign who stood by my side in the seven months of very busy community activity leading up to the election. I am very grateful to those who stood by my side, helped at the stations from 6.30 a.m., doorknocked and letterboxed with me, assisted at mobile offices, stood at street corner meetings and markets, and assisted with the very important community forums that I held on family violence and ice.

Campaigns are not won by the candidate alone. Being elected relies on the goodwill and efforts of those people who support us and what the Liberal Party stands for, which is that platform of being able to have a go, personal responsibility and being the best you can be, enterprise, small government and interfering as little as possible in the lives of those people in your community. I thank all those volunteers who assisted me and gave all their time to winning Ringwood for the Liberals. My confidence never wavered. I never, ever took the people of Ringwood for granted. I have shown them my engagement and they know they count and that I am the right person to represent their needs. I am so thankful they saw fit to elect me, and I will be forever grateful.

Last year, 2014, was an incredibly difficult year for me and my family. I lost my father. He passed away 12 months ago. He was a true Liberal from working‑class roots. He was a man who fought valiantly for so long. He never failed to give me the right advice right up until his last moments, and I will forever miss our talks, his frank advice and his ‘say it like it is’ manner. I commit to doing him proud and to continuing the work ethic he and Mum instilled in me in the knowledge that hard work and sacrifice is the basis for so much. To my mum, the most amazing woman I know: thank you for your never‑ending love and support. She has done an amazing job, despite having lost my father in the last 12 months.

My daughter, Karlie, who I cherish, knows the sacrifice of family life that we MPs make. Her support has never wavered. We celebrated her 18th birthday in Parliament and her 21st birthday celebration was held the weekend before the 2014 election. She has been with me through thick and thin since the beginning of this journey, and I love and admire her for her hard work throughout the campaign.

Last but not least, my husband, Jeff, has been steadfast and unwavering in his love and support. This role is a partnership. For five years now since I started with my first campaign he has supported me in every aspect and never failed to encourage me or give me the courage that I need. He has stood by my side. I will be eternally grateful for his love and commitment.