Alister Henskens portrait
Alister Henskens portrait

Ku-ring-gai Electorate Events

Group talking on train platform

Mr ALISTER HENSKENS (Ku-ring-gai—Minister for Skills and Training, Minister for Science, Innovation and Technology, Minister for Enterprise, Investment and Trade, and Minister for Sport) (11:27): As we approach the end of this parliamentary term, I draw attention to the progress that the New South Wales Liberal-Nationals Government has made in the Ku-ring-gai electorate over the past four years. Firstly, I acknowledge that 2022 has been a special year not only for local residents but also for the people of New South Wales. It is the first time in over two years that we saw the welcome return of many community events that were sorely missed. New South Wales has emerged from the pandemic stronger than ever, and the 2022‑23 New South Wales budget is reflective of that.

Just recently, year 6 Ku-ring-gai school leavers, their families and teachers came to Parliament as my guests, something that we have not been able to do since 2019. Locally, we have seen the return of many community fairs, including the Wahroonga Food and Wine Festival, the Loreto Normanhurst Spring Fair, Pymble Ladies' College and Barker College spring fairs, and the Ku-ring-gai Public School public speaking competition and music contests at Warringah Park. Families have come out in record numbers at each of these events, loving the chance to soak up the sun and enjoy the interesting activities and social interactions the community events facilitate.

The completion and opening of the redeveloped Hornsby Ku-ring-gai Hospital was a remarkable milestone for my community. The health Minister, Treasurer and I attended the launch to celebrate the transformation of the hospital, including the expanded emergency department and the new clinical services building, which has made a dramatic improvement to the hospital at a cost of many hundreds of millions of dollars. Those upgrades have meant an increase of nearly 250 more doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to our local hospital since 2011, strengthening our health services and ensuring our local community has access to high-quality health care close to home. The hospital was so run down under Labor that possums were falling through the ceiling and onto surgical wards. Now it is one of the most modern facilities in the world. There is still more to come for the hospital. New dental, breast screening, renal and mental health facilities and services will be delivered in the coming weeks and months.

In 2020 upgrades were completed at Warrawee station and this year upgrades were completed at Wahroonga station. Similar ongoing upgrades are being made to many of our heritage stations across the North Shore to improve accessibility through the installation of lifts. Many of those station upgrades are expected to be completed in 2023, including at Pymble station, Killara station, Normanhurst station, Thornleigh station and Waitara station. Those upgrades to health care and transport in Ku-ring-gai were made possible due to the way in which the Government has been able to manage its money. It has ensured sufficient funding for necessary infrastructure. Without that, we would not have seen such improvements.

Over the course of this parliamentary term, the Government has delivered for the people of Ku‑ring‑gai and surrounding areas with the completion of the NorthConnex tunnel in 2020. The NorthConnex tunnel has returned Pennant Hills Road to local residents. Traffic count data shows that both heavy and light vehicle volumes on the Pacific Highway have decreased. Furthermore, early in my parliamentary term new State Emergency Service and Rural Fire Service facilities were constructed at North Wahroonga. Since 2019 many local community organisations have received grants, including 31 sporting clubs. An example of that funding is a multi‑sport facility that will be delivered at Ku-ring-gai High School. The New South Wales Government has invested millions in funding for disability education in Ku-ring-gai as well as once-in-a-generation upgrades to Waitara Public School and Ku‑ring-gai High School.

Many projects are underway, including improvements to the Pacific Highway between Turramurra and Wahroonga to ease bottlenecks, improve travel time and reduce congestion, and a $9 million upgrade to Mark Taylor Oval at Waitara for the construction of the Cricket Centre of Excellence. The centre will ultimately give cricketers the best possible facilities. It may be of such a standard that women's international cricket will be played in our community. That is just the first stage in making Mark Taylor Oval the premier cricket facility for the whole of North Sydney.

The Liberal-Nationals Government has delivered unprecedented and once‑in‑a‑generation upgrades for Ku‑ring‑gai, not only over the course of this parliamentary term but since 2011. It has been an honour and privilege to serve our community. I have worked to preserve what is special about our local area. I thank the community for its support over the past eight years. I believe the future is bright. I wish everyone in Ku-ring-gai and across New South Wales a very merry Christmas, an enjoyable and restful summer and a happy new year. I hope to be given the great privilege of representing the new electorate of Wahroonga, which will incorporate much of my current electorate.