Hansard Search

12 March 1991 - Current

Page 78
19 December 2018
ASSEMBLY Address-in-reply Melissa Horne
Ms HORNE (Williamstown—Minister for Ports and Freight, Minister for Public Transport) (17:47:19): I am pleased to second the motion. Deputy Speaker, it is a great honour and privilege to be standing here today having been elected as the 16th member for the electorate of Williamstown. Given that this is my first speech in Parliament, I would like to acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which Parliament House stands as well as the land that covers my electorate, the Kulin nation, and pay my respects to elders past, present and emerging. I also want to take this opportunity to congratulate the Deputy Speaker on her election. I am lucky to be following in the footsteps of previous members for Williamstown who have made significant contributions to the state of Victoria: Joan Kirner, Steve Bracks, and a man I am honoured to call my friend, Wade Noonan. When I joined the Labor Party more than 20 years ago, I did not imagine for a minute that I would be standing here today representing the people of Williamstown. I grew up in a family that taught me the importance of fighting for what is fair, a fight that my dad fought every day as the federal member for Paterson in the 1990s. His tireless advocacy for constituents taught me that you need to stand up and find solutions to issues that you may not have anticipated. I still remember Dad working with Carmen Lawrence, then the Minister for Human Services and Health, to change surrogacy laws. One of his former students from when he was a schoolteacher had become a quadriplegic in a car accident. Dad brought her down to Canberra and she was on the floor of the Parliament when the legislation was introduced that allowed her to have the beautiful family that she has today. It is this ethic of working for change and making a difference for people that shaped my decision to enter Parliament. That is why I joined the Labor Party, because it is a party that stands for what is fair. It is a party that gives people who most need it a chance to succeed and it is a party that governs, because governing is what it is all about. It is the opportunity to effect change and to continue to deliver for people in the west. This is particularly apparent in the policy area of education. Both my mum and dad were public high school teachers, and I believe that access to good public education is the most critical role that the state can play in creating an equal footing for all members of our community. My partner and I moved to the inner west nearly 20 years ago. It is our home and where we raise our two boys. It is a great community and one that I am proud to be part of. I was the president of the local community group SKY High for many years. Our group was formed to lobby for a new public high school in Yarraville following the closure and sell‑off of a public high school under the Kennett government. After years of our campaigning, holding rallies and working with local members Marsha Thomson and Wade Noonan, this Labor government is now delivering what will be the most innovative way of learning, through the Footscray Learning Precinct. The Footscray Learning Precinct is testament to how Labor governments listen to local communities and deliver, and I would like to thank the Minister for Education for his support. This will provide the inner west with access to innovative learning opportunities for people at every single stage of their lives. I would like to thank the SKY High community for never giving up the fight to see additional public high school places in the inner west. I would like to thank Wade and Marsha for their determination to see this become a reality. The other policy area that I am passionate about—and I must thank my friend and former colleague, the Premier, for his faith in allocating me the portfolio—is transport. Fifteen years ago I fell in love with the complexities and challenges associated with moving people and goods around the transport network when I was the director of public affairs in the then Department of Transport. More recently, as the director of communications for the Level Crossing Removal Authority, I helped shape the community engagement for delivering the most transformational project and one that has been the hallmark of this government. I feel I have enormous opportunity to further build on the successes of the work that the former Minister for Public Transport did in the first term of the Andrews Labor government with their massive infrastructure agenda. We just kept creating thousands of jobs across the state. Many of these jobs are in my home suburb of Williamstown, where we have a rich industrial history. We manufactured the first trains in Victoria, and we are manufacturing the latest trains in Victoria with the high‑capacity Metro trains. Workers in Williamstown have built trains, they have built ships and they have built cars. We have been a community that has thrived on manufacturing but we have also been a community that has seen significant change as companies have closed and moved. I believe we are on the pathway to recreating that innovative manufacturing hub once again in the west, to provide the opportunities for our next generation of workers through investing in their skills and providing the right environment for innovation. We have got Australia’s largest science museum right in the heart of the electorate. We have the Footscray Learning Precinct with its focus on STEM learning. We have the Newport rail academy that is training workers for the massive pipeline of rail infrastructure works that this government is delivering. However, much of the legacy of the past has impacted the livability of our local community, and there are challenges there. My focus will be on improving lives in the local community. I will continue the work of the previous Labor government to find ways to get more trucks off our streets; to work with industry to create clean, high‑tech jobs close to home; and most importantly, to improve air quality in the inner west. We have the policy settings and have started the work not only to deliver the jobs of the future but to improve the livability of our local community, and this is my commitment to the people of Williamstown. There are many people who have put their faith in me to achieve this, and there are many people who have helped me along the way. It is humbling and an honour, and I will try every day to live up to their expectations. There are a number of people who deserve a special thanks for their hard work in my campaign and their friendship, support and advice along this incredible journey: my campaign director, Sacha Fenton, and my campaign team, all of whom were women—Claire Rowe, Pam Mulready, Marsha Thomson and Stacey Lynne. Thank you. To a number of community groups who opened their arms to me and welcomed me into their community, including the leadership at the Newport mosque, Joe Attard at the Maltese association, the Williamstown CYMS Football Club and the Williamstown Seagulls, who have awarded me with their first‑ever number one female ticketholder honour, thank you all. To Wade Noonan, whose selflessness, grace and wisdom taught me much; to my family, who have tolerated an absent partner and mother in the interests of wanting to improve social justice and a better community, thank you. And finally thank you to the voters of Williamstown, who overwhelmingly endorsed the positive policies of the most progressive government in Australia. What my experience in politics has taught me is that minor parties come and go, with variations of posturing from keeping the bastards honest through to government’s neglect of our community, but it is only Labor governments that deliver for the people of the western suburbs. That is what I intend to do, and it is great to get started now. Members applauded.