Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (10:58): Thank you. I rise to deliver some good news. Common sense has prevailed in our part of Western Sydney, having seen off one of the most bizarre propositions that had been put forward and has now been roundly panned. And I refer, of course, to the proposition that was advanced late last year by the Liberal councillors on Blacktown City Council to hold a public vote to change the name of Blacktown and its CBD to ‘West Sydney’. The council had to go through an extensive process of community consultation to ask people what they thought of the idea to change the name of our city. In fact, the council surveyed over 3,000 people in our area, and the results showed that just under 80 per cent of residents surveyed said that they did not want a name change. The survey alone cost council $98,000 just to find out what everyone living in Blacktown already knew—that they loved the area and the name.
Blacktown is home to Sydney’s largest population. It is one of the largest council areas in New South Wales: 340,000 people live in the city, it is growing at a rate of 7,000 people per year and it has a $13 billion economy. This is an area that people are proud of, and community consultation resoundingly showed that residents did not want to rename their area. Led capably by Mayor Stephen Bali and six other Labor councillors, along with Independent Councillor Jacqueline Donaldson, the council voted not to take any further action on changing the name.
We should be focused on things that matter to our residents—transport, infrastructure, health care, education, employment—not about things that are an unnecessary distraction, like name changes. Like many other Blacktown residents, I am proud of Blacktown, and I do not know why Blacktown Liberals are not.
Speaking of things that make me proud of my area, at Sacred Heart Catholic primary school in Mount Druitt, there is an inspiring woman who has served as the school’s principal for many years. Her name is Moya McGuiness, and, after 48 years of service, she will be retiring in April. She is a local inspiration, working with students for almost five decades at Sacred Heart. The local school is a vibrant learning community, and Moya’s distinguished academic achievement and civic service have benefited our area massively and raised the reputation of the school.
After a long career as a classroom teacher, Moya was persuaded to apply for assistant principal and was inevitably promoted to a principal’s role. She is someone that we will miss. She has had a huge impact in our area. She listens to people and hears their stories. Like Saint Mary MacKillop, she never sees a need without doing something about it. Thank you for your service, Moya McGuiness.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Mr John Cobb ): In accordance with standing order 193, the time for members’ constituency statements has concluded.