Mr HUSIC(Chifley) (10:01): Today I want to speak up for frustrated Bidwill residents. For years, their shopping plaza stood empty, with one lonely food outlet left standing at the centre after it initially closed its doors. In February 2014, the community spoke up and called on investors to move into Bidwill and revive the shopping plaza, which had been long neglected. At the time it was concerning to comprehend how families had to travel considerable distance or had to use a local drive-through liquor outlet to buy basics such as milk and bread.
Fortunately, a year later and after a $5 million refurbishment, the community was jumping for joy with the reopening of the plaza and hosting the anchor tenant, supermarket chain FoodWorks. I was pleased to stand up here and congratulate FoodWorks and the investors for this effort. This did not just mean access to fresh and affordable food; it also provided the prospect of new services in the area. The decision by FoodWorks to open became the catalyst for at least five other small retailers to think about establishing businesses inside the plaza.
I was incredibly disappointed to learn that these businesses never made it to Bidwill because the shopping centre developer decided to cash in on the interest in the plaza, jack up the rents and squeeze out those potential retailers. As a result, FoodWorks could not sustain themselves without the supporting businesses around them and the traffic they would have brought, and this was responsible for them closing their doors in December.
I am calling on the stakeholders to see the true potential and benefit of this community by bringing business back to Bidwill. The shopping centre owners deserve to be treated in the same way they are treating Bidwillwith utter contempt. Their greed and lack of concern for Bidwill residents is scandalous, and I vow to pursue this issue on behalf of residents.
It is my firm belief that our families and residents in Chifley deserve healthcare services as good as anywhere else in Sydney. This belief drove me to launch a campaign to secure an MRI for Mount Druitt hospital. After securing thousands of signatures for that MRI, the former federal Labor government delivered the necessary funding in 2013only to have it cut by the Liberal government on winning office. They have broken a commitment to the community, which desperately needs this equipment. The Liberal government, following their federal counterparts, have cut health care in our area, shut down the cardiac ward and shut down funding to vital services in need.
We then saw, in the last state election, a sudden commitment by the Baird government to fund an MRI for Mount Druitt hospital. We have been asking for ages where it is at. It has not been delivered. If it is good enough to make the promise, it is good enough to deliver on it, and I urge the Baird government to get on with it and deliver the MRI to Mount Druitt hospital.
CONSTITUENCY QUESTIONS: Chifley Electorate: Bidwill Shopping Centre, Chifley Electorate: Health Care
24 May 2016