Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sydney Airport unreality must end

As Virgin Chief Executive John Borghetti jumps on Treasurer Mike Baird’s bandwagon calling for a fourth and fifth runway at Sydney Airport, it is time for a reality check.

Mr Borghetti is about Virgin’s bottom line and Mr Baird seems hell bent on showing he’s different to his Premier, for his own reasons.

It’s time for this nonsense to stop.

It’s time for the NSW government to get beyond its hindering of the NSW economy by co-operating with the Federal Government to make the obvious and necessary on Sydney's second airport.

NSW State Treasurer Mike Baird suggestion that a fourth and fifth runway should be built at Sydney Airport on reclaimed land is ridiculous. Now Virgin Chief Executive John Borghetti has jumped on the bandwagon for dollar-based reasons.

For 40 years everybody has known that Sydney needs a second airport and in those four decades, successive state and federal governments, of all political persuasions, have dithered and avoided making decisions, costing NSW millions in lost economic opportunities.

The only movement forward was when the Hawke Labor government announced Badgerys Creek in the 1980s as the preferred site and acquired land.

The land is as fallow as the O’Farrell Government’s thinking on this State’s future airport needs.

Qantas Chief Alan Joyce is demanding a second airport lambasting the NSW Premier for his head in the sand attitude.

Every study, every examination, every piece of research demands a second airport for Sydney.

It is acknowledged as the most important piece of infrastructure for the NSW and Australian economies and a State Treasurer who can't even add up his own budget (the Auditor General finding an extra $1 billion due to arithmetic errors) seriously puts up flawed arguments.

Treasurer Baird should ask NSW Infrastructure head, Nick Greiner his opinion. He should ask advice from his father, the former Federal Member for Cook, Bruce Baird, a man who fiercely opposed this type of pie in the sky proposal.

As the Liberal Member for Cronulla Mark Speakmen, SC, pointed out in parliament on Tuesday:

"It is also a proposal discredited by the March 2012 report of the joint Commonwealth-State steering committee on aviation capacity in the Sydney region."

The strategy has always been to delay making a decision for a second airport for two reasons, first, it is too hard politically to make the right decision and, second, vested interests don’t want wish to compete or invest in additional facilities at another airport in Sydney.
The political games must stop and it’s time to put our state and country first.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Eastern Suburbs PCYC celebrates 75 years

Congratulations to Eastern Suburbs PCYC on 75 years service to the youth of our area.

I was delighted to attend the Eastern Suburbs PCYC at Daceyville for its 75th birthday celebrations, and cut the birthday cake, together with Senator Matt Thisthlewaite, Acting Botany Bay Mayor, George Glinatsis and Cr Christina Curry. 

Congratulations must go to President Michael Comnios, the Club Management, Peter Garrett the Federal Member for Kingsford-Smith and his staff for their effort on this marvelous day. It really was terrific to see so much of the community in attendance.

Eastern Suburbs PCYC plays such an important role in the community and is well known for the wonderful range of activities, including boxing, indoor soccer and basketball. The PCYC also run a range of  language classes, youth drop-in-programs, a Safe Aboriginal Youth late night transport service and after school homework clubs.

Remembrance Day 2012 - Mascot RSL

It was an honour and privilege to attend the Remembrance Day Ceremony of Mascot RSL Sub Branch at the Eastlakes Sports Club this morning at the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month to remember members of our armed forces who made the ultimate sacrifice in the Great War.

60,000 Australians died and 152,000 were wounded. 333,000 Australians fought in the Great War or World War1. Just imagine Australia's population at the time was a little less than 5 million people.

We paused at 11am today to remember all those Australians, more than 103,000 of them, who gave their lives so we Australians can live in freedom and continue the fight against tyranny around the world.

We will remember them. Lest we forget.
Ron Hoenig laying a wreath Remembrance Day 2012 - Mascot RSL

Friday, 9 November 2012

$100,000 Wasted on Department Name Change as Mascot Pre-School Hours Cut

The O'Farrell Liberal Government has spent $100,751 on changing one word in the official name of the Education Department but does not have money to fund Government run preschools. 

The Liberal Government has spent $100,751 on changing the name of the Department of Education and Training to the Department of Education and Communities.

This is a disgrace. They have told Mascot Pre-school to cut the number of hours a child can attend their pre-school next year because of budget restrictions but have hundreds of thousands to spend on changing ONE WORD in the name of a department.

From next year government run preschools, which currently offer preschool children 30 hours per week, have been told to cut those hours by half to 15 hours per week. The State Liberal Government cutting $1.7 billion from the education budget along with 361 jobs. 

This Liberal Government has got its priorities very wrong. 

This horrific waste of money is an insult to all the parents facing cuts to preschool, higher school fees and cuts to their kid's education as a result of the Government's $1.7 billion funding cuts. 

The Minister should explain to parents how changing the word training to communities makes our education system more efficient and effective. How does it provide a better education for our children. 

While the Minister is spending money on fancy letterheads and marketing consultants our school Principals are being told to cut back on everything from special needs support to school cleaners. 

I was delighted to be at Mascot Public  School this morning talking with parents who are understandably furious about the decision to cut back preschool hours for their children. 

Ron Hoenig collecting a Petition to Parliament Mascot Public School

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Would you trust State Treasurer Mike Baird to add up your Tuck shop money?

On the 15 October 2012 on this blog when explaining; "Why O'Farrell's Liberal Education Cuts Are Wrong", I said:" 

"My greatest concern with the Government is that its members do not have the intellectual ability to manage the huge responsibilities required of executive government. Has the NSW Government given any thought to the consequences of its actions?" 

Last week after the Auditor General for NSW examined the NSW State Budget he found $1 billion. Instead of a big Labor "black hole" deficit of $337 million there is now a surplus of $680 million. 

How can that happen? 

This is the State that is so broke there has to be $1.7billion cuts to education, 800 TAFE teachers have to be sacked, 15000 public servants have to be sacked, the State's assets like Ports and Electricity have to be sold, preschool hours have to be halved; all by a Treasurer whose performance is described by the State's Auditor General as follows: 

"There is a lack of effective financial management capability in this state and it must improve

The Auditor General would you believe found: 

"37 accounting errors of more than $20 million each, including some that were more than $1 billion". 

I suppose I should leave it to the Auditor General's own words to describe what should be in the forefront of the O'Farrell governments mind as it seeks to govern this State on behalf of the people of NSW: 

"The NSW Government is a billion-dollar business, it's not a school tuck shop." 

The people of NSW deserve better than State Treasurer Mike Baird, and the O'Farrell government. 

Ask yourself this question. If you were the Chief Financial Officer of a multi-billion dollar business, and you were a billion dollars out because you could not "add up" what would happen to you? 

Now State Treasurer Mike Baird is going to ask the Auditor General to help him prepare next year's budget so he does not make "adding up" mistakes again. 

Why don't you Treasurer, tell the people of NSW what all the highly paid treasury employees are supposed to be doing? 

I am happy to donate to you an abacus or even an old fashion adding machine. Not only that, I am happy to teach you how to use them. 

The Auditor General cannot help with the State Budget. This misunderstands his independent role of checking and scrutinising the financial management of the government of the day. 

The feeling I had a few weeks ago that the Liberal Government just lacked competence has been shown to be true. Heaven help the people of this State.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Heffron MP Ron Hoenig to fight against the planned lease of Port Botany

Laura Suckling - Southern Courier - 30 October 2012

Heffron MP Ron Hoenig.
Heffron MP Ron Hoenig.
"The leading Labor powerbroker who took his own government to court over planned expansions of Port Botany and Sydney airport is sparring for a new fight, this time with the Liberal state government.
As Botany Bay mayor, Ron Hoenig threatened to head back to court if there was an attempt to remove the cap on containers.
Now, as Heffron MP, he is battling the planned lease of the ports that would lead to the cap being scrapped.
Speaking at the Botany Bay BEC breakfast at Mascot on Wednesday, Mr Hoenig said using the funds from the 99-year lease of Port Botany to build a hospital or road was not an asset but a liability.
He predicted NSW could lose about $180 million a year.
"When you flog off the silverware and the silverware happens to be a revenue-generating asset, what do you do to replace the money?" he said.
NSW Treasurer Mike Baird described the long-term ports lease as a "once-in-a-generation investment opportunity".
Coogee MP Bruce Notley-Smith said the most sustainable way that government can generate revenue is by investing in infrastructure that will grow the economy of the state and ensure that ongoing revenues flow into government coffers.
The $4 billion ports bill, expected to pass through the upper house , was taken off the agenda on Friday after a breakdown in talks over plans to issue game-killing licences."

Swearing in of the Member for Heffron

Ron Hoenig being sworn in as Member for Heffron. Legislative Assembly September 4, 2012