13 March 2024

Mr ANOULACK CHANTHIVONG (Macquarie Fields—Minister for Better Regulation and Fair Trading, Minister for Industry and Trade, Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology, Minister for Building, and Minister for Corrections) (20:47): Nine years ago I was elected by the good folk of the Macquarie Fields electorate as their representative in the New South Wales Parliament, which has been a great privilege. But a lot can change in nine years. Now, with the first Labor Government in New South Wales in more than a decade, I am delighted to say that life is about to change significantly for the people of Macquarie Fields. Why is that? Because the Government is getting on with the job of improving accessibility and safety at Macquarie Fields train station. That is right—Macquarie Fields station is finally getting its lifts!

The station upgrade is a major win for our community. It comes after years of advocacy—a joint campaign spearheaded by me and the Federal member for Werriwa, Ms Anne Stanley. The long overdue lifts will make the station inclusive for all: for people with a disability, people with prams or luggage, older people and people with mobility issues. For the first time in 136 years, Macquarie Fields station will be fully wheelchair accessible. I thank my community for their perseverance and patience. This win is for them.

Over the years, I have met with constituents at the station and listened to their stories. They have shared their struggles of dealing with over 70 stairs. They have shared their frustration at having to travel to Ingleburn or Glenfield to catch a train, adding time and cost to their journey. They have shared their anger at being consistently ignored. Time and again, our community was short-changed and held in contempt by the former Liberal Government. Let us not forget that the Liberals were in government for 12 long years—and long years they were, especially for the people of Macquarie Fields, who wanted nothing more than their fair share. There was nothing fair about the former Liberal Government's prioritisation of station upgrades.

More than 10,000 trips are taken through Macquarie Fields station every week. The community is home to 2,000 people aged over 60, yet the former Liberal Government invested in less‑used stations first, like Hawkesbury River station, which sees one quarter of the weekly passenger numbers of Macquarie Fields. The former Treasurer and current shadow Minister may recall that he once boasted that political "skulduggery and manoeuvring" resulted in his local station at Hawkesbury River being bumped up 150 spots to receive a lift upgrade at the expense of other stations, like Macquarie Fields, which were much more deserving. It was pork‑barrelling 101.

A 2019 Auditor-General's report slammed the former Liberal Government's politicisation of station upgrades that prioritised stations with a lower-ranked need than Macquarie Fields. That is why the New South Wales Government is restoring integrity and fairness to station upgrades, to ensure that those with the biggest needs do not miss out. It is true that members of my community have waited too long. They can finally look forward to a station upgrade, with work set to get under way later this year. Macquarie Fields is one of seven stations that will receive upgrades as part of a $800 million commitment to accelerate accessibility upgrades across stations in New South Wales. I thank the Premier, the Minister for Transport and the Minister for Disability Inclusion for making that momentous announcement.

I thank my community, which includes people like Donna Palmer, who lives up the road from the station but who has been denied access to for many years because she uses a mobility scooter. People like Donna can now look forward to knowing that the New South Wales Government will not leave them behind. I am proud to be part of a New South Wales Labor Government that is delivering long-overdue infrastructure for our growing communities. I recently had the privilege of opening the new Edmondson Park North Commuter Car Park, which will provide more than 900 new spaces, delivering much-needed community infrastructure. Commuters will now have access to around 2,000 additional parking spaces at Edmondson Park. The car park features over 800 rooftop solar panels, 10 electric-vehicle charging stations and a range of sustainability initiatives.

I thank everyone for their support for our community campaign to deliver Macquarie Fields its fair share of infrastructure needs. I recall visiting Edmondson Park when I was first elected in 2015 and seeing a conga line of cars around the station precinct. People would park cars illegally on footpaths and risk a fine just to catch a train to work or for other activities. It was total chaos. Now, with two dedicated commuter car parks at Edmondson Park, people finally have the infrastructure they deserve. A lot can change in nine years, but change need not take that long. After only one year, the New South Wales Government has not wasted time in delivering for the Macquarie Fields community. It is time for our fair share.