Monday, 30 September 2013

The O'Farrell government going nowhere but it is reviewing reviews

In a very well written article in today's Daily Telegraph its State Political Editor Andrew Clennell wrote entitled "The Premier State NSW stuck in a policy bog as Barry O'Farrell reviews and reviews and reviews” DT 300913 exposes the O’Farrell Liberal government as a do nothing government, just intent on presiding, offending as few people as possible, making itself a smaller target as possible and just getting to the next election in March 2015.

Mr Clennell in an article published in the Daily Telegraph on June 6, 2013 at DT 060613 described the performance of the O'Farrell Liberal's as:

"This affair is the best example of a lazy, arrogant government, which thinks it can hide behind the ICAC scandal and a record of electoral margin."

On Febraury 24 2013 on this blog commenting on another article of Mr Clennell RH 240213 I wrote that the article had, "in effect, exposed Premier Barry O'Farrell for who, in my opinion he really is; just another politician, just interested in being there, providing no intellectual leadership, and no genuine intellectual agenda."

The observations made in today's article are not a popular press beat up. It is an important analysis of the failure of the ability of the O'Farrell government to actually govern. The list of 100 reviews with no decision is an embarrassment to New South Wales. How much are all these consultants costing? The Premier asserts that his government makes "no apologies for seeking expert advice on which to base decisions." Does he have no faith in the state's public service?

In any event, after receiving all this expert advice there is an expectation by the people in this state for the O'Farrell government to actually make decisions and govern.

While I accept there are plenty of proposals where expert advice needs to be sought for example Law reform issues such as child abuse matters where the Law Reform Commission, the Law Society, Bar Association and the Judiciary should to be consulted. However, the O'Farrell government didn't get expert advice when it introduced its ridiculous and ineffective: "Right to silence" legislation to give the impression it was tackling gun crime.

It should have consulted widely on its planning law reforms, which were the most absurd and dangerous planning reforms ever, proposed in this state. The government might have been better consulting one of its own members the Liberal member for Pittwater who is a highly qualified and highly regarded planning lawyer, which would have saved a lot of angst to a worried community.

The O’Farrell Liberals spent almost 2 years waiting for Nick Greiner to tell the government what infrastructure priorities it needed to adopt. The Liberals sat in opposition for 16 long years. Might the community have expected it to be elected with some kind of plan?

WestConnex was their magic solution. A year ago it was going to cost $10 billion, now it is going to cost $11.5 billion. It is not going to be finished until 2023. It is not even going to start until after the state election in 2015. The roads are in gridlock; the cap has been removed from Port Botany millions of containers will be spewing onto our roads.  And in 2023, Hey Presto the "WestConnex lemon" will be the magic solution.

When Nick Greiner resigned from infrastructure NSW in disgust, the public now have some idea as to why? Now Infrastructure NSW is to be reviewed.

The trouble with getting these 100 reviews is it demonstrates either the government or the public service of which it leads does not have the ability to make decisions, or the government is frightened of making decisions because they may be unpopular. Either way the people of New South Wales are not being well served.

What will happen next?

That is not very hard to predict. When Parliament resumes in a couple weeks time there will be a flurry of activity. Announcements will be made to give the impression of the government doing things.

Having regard to the intellectual capacity of the O'Farrell Liberal government, any rushed decisions in these circumstances are likely to be disasters.

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Visit to Alexandria Park Community School

Diane Fetherston (Principal), Meiya Folwell, Jennifer Vo, Ron Hoenig MP,
 Hassan Mouad (School Captain), Beulmi Mitiakigi and Christopher Bernardo
I had the pleasure in visiting Alexandria Park Community School. Upon my arrival I was delighted to be greeted by Principal Diane Fetherstone, members from the school’s P&C, School Captain Hassan Mouad and fellow students who took me on a tour of the school and spoke to me about all the wonderful things that they are involved in and what the school is doing.

I was lucky enough to catch the band rehearsing and the physics student’s discussions. I felt inspired and enthused by what I saw and also by the way that the students that accompanied me on tour spoke about how much they enjoyed attending Alex Park and the opportunities and support they felt they had by the teachers and the school.

Principal Ms Fetherston was very excited to tell me that they will be celebrating their 10 year birthday on November 22 with a concert and carnival extravaganza which will involve the students, staff, families and the community.

More exciting news is that the school are working with Carriageworks to secure a 3 year 'artist in residence' partnership, which will see a dance, a pop music duo and a visual artist working in their school and working with their students and staff complementing their already strong creative and performing arts programs in our school.

I also was thrilled to hear that the 15 years girls basketball team won the Sydney East regional CHS knockout competition and will represent our area of Sydney at the NSW carnival in Terrigal in November.

I would like to sincerely thank Principal Fetherston, the teachers and members of the P&C, along with all the students who took out time to spend with me, it was a really great day.

St Peters Public School visit

Ron Hoenig MP & Jeff Lie (Principal)
I have been out & about visiting schools hearing about upcoming events, student and staff achievements and general school business. I really enjoy getting out to schools, meeting the teachers and saying hi to the children. It is amazing to see how things have changed since I was at school, especially with all the technological advances such as laptops and IPads in classrooms.

One of the schools I visited was St Peters Public School, a small school consisting of only 44 families. Principal Jeff Lie described St Peters is an inner city school with lots of promise with a real community feel, I couldn’t agree more. I had the opportunity to walk around and visit the children in their class rooms and was pleasantly surprised that one class knew exactly who I was as they are learning about Government and law and had a recent visit to NSW Parliament House. 

I also popped in to see the younger students in kindergarten and noticed how personalised, caring and supportive the teachers were in ensuring they provided only the best learning environment.

I was very happy to have the opportunity to speak with Principal Jeff Lie; Principal Lie is filled with enthusiasm, pride and dedication to the students and the progress of St Peters Public School.

As a teaching Principal, Principal Lie is very busy and I would like to sincerely thank him for his time and efforts in education, the school and the community.

Bangladeshi Community BBQ celebrate Matt Thistlethwaite's victory

Mahbub Syed, Ron Hoenig MP, Bobby (Bangladeshi community member),
Noel D’Souza (Deputy Mayor Randwick Council)
Last Sunday was a day of celebration for everyone that attended the Bangladeshi Community BBQ at Matraville Public School.

Sheik Rahman and the Bangladeshi Community had organised a get together to celebrate and congratulate Matt Thistlethwaite MP on his election win of the Federal seat of Kingsford-Smith. 

With many words of congratulations and happy faces it certainly was a delight to attend and celebrate with the Bangladeshi’s that show much support and spirit for their local community. 

Sheikh Rahman gathered everyone around and made a heartfelt speech about how important the community is to him and how important it is to have great leaders such as Matt. 

Matt thanked the community for their support and myself and Michael Daley MP, Member for Maroubra also had the opportunity to say a few words, we are ever so grateful to have such a wonderful community within our Electorates. 

I would like to thank the Bangladeshi Community, especially Sheik Rahman for putting on such a wonderful BBQ where family and friends could enjoy themselves and celebrate and share stories with their Federal and State Members of Parliament.

Michael Daley MP, Sheik Rahman, Bangadeshi community member, Matt Thistlethwaite MP
 Ron Hoenig MP, Bangadeshi community member, Cr. Noel D’Souza)

Mascot Public School P & C Visit

Cr Stan Kondilios ( President), Sandy Templeton(VP) Ron Hoenig MP,
Tina De Angeli (Acting Principal), Jenny Hudson, Mark McLean ( Treasurer),
Saj Masum(Secretary) Phillip Agripanidis ( VP) Phillip Karabitsios.
I was delighted to be invited to attend the recent P&C meeting of Mascot Public School. I was really happy to hear how productive the Acting Principal, Tina De Angeli, fellow teachers and P&C members have been in planning for the school including the implementation of better technology resources such as Wifi around the school and Ipads for the children before the end of term. 

I was pleased to also know that the children of the school have been involved in many musical and drama performances along with other programs thus creating a diverse range of talent and skills in the young community.

My attendance at the meeting was to speak to the parents with regard to funding of State Education. I informed the Acting Principal and P&C members of the following: 

· The significant decline in the standard for literacy and numeracy levels in Australia 

· The State Government has cut $1.7 Billion to funding for education and training 

· The State Government has closed 5 regional offices of the Department of Education but these offices do however provide teacher education and training and monitor curricular activity. Their absence will be felt throughout the education system in NSW. I do acknowledge that teachers as educators needed the support of the regional offices to maintain their own professional training and standards for their development and student education welfare. 

· The Federal Government allocated to the State of NSW $1.6 Billion which  was supposed to be on top of the $1.7 Billion not in substitution of it. 

I acknowledge that there have been cuts made to the pre-schooling arrangements as they have impacted on Mascot Public School and having the hours reduced to 15 hours as adopting the minimum as a standard. 

The NSW Labor opposition are regularly raising these concerns in the NSW Parliament. Every student in NSW deserves a quality education and governments should be investing more not less in education in NSW.

Monday, 2 September 2013

Eastlakes Shopping Centre Visit with Matt Thistlethwaite

Ron Hoenig MP and Matt Thistlethwaite meeting Eastlakes residents
Yesterday I visited Eastlakes Shopping Centre with Matt Thistlethwaite to say hello local residents about their concerns.

So many of our residents spoke to Matt and I about their fear of the proposal to build more high rise flats in the Eastlakes area. The already overcrowed area and gridlock in the streets has the local residents very worried about the pending development application before the State's Planning and Assessment Commission.

All of us would like to see the shopping centre redeveloped. It is the high rise flats that we are concerned about.

Two weeks ago I met with the Planning and Assessment Commission and voiced my fierce opposition to the proposal.  I was please that Labor's Matt Thisthlethwaite, the candidate for Kingsford Smith at Saturdays Federal Election was with me to hear the residents views first hand.

After all Matt is a local and understands. He is one of us.