April 27 - May 3, 2014: Issue 160

 Pittwater Congratulates Hon. Rob Stokes NSW's Minister for the Environment - Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning 

Hon. Rob Stokes during his ANZAC Day 2014 Commemorative Service Address. Picture by A J Guesdon.

Pittwater's NSW representative was inundated with congratulations from residents at Friday's ANZAC Day Service at Avalon Beach RSL Club. The announcement by newly elected Premier Mike Baird of his Cabinet on Wednesday 23rd of April including "Pittwater MP Rob Stokes, who becomes Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning." is cause for celebration in Pittwater.

Residents will remember all the work Rob put into Saving Currawong as soon as elected to represent Pittwater in 2007. Working with Friends of Currawong members he made a huge contribution to ensuring inclusion of Currawong Beach on the State Heritage Register and the creation of Currawong State Park. 

A whole three weeks ago we ran the wonderful announcement of the creation, through the hard and persistent work of Friends of Narrabeen Lagoon Catchment members and Rob's tireless efforts, of the Narrabeen Lagoon State Park. 

In between and way before these landmarks Rob has persistently pursued the betterment of quality health care with over $50 million towards the maintenance and redevelopment of Mona Vale Hospital, including the renovation of maternity services, extension of palliative care services, construction of short stay unit within the emergency/urgent care centre; expansion of rehabilitation services and ongoing master-planning of Mona Vale Hospital as a centre for excellence in a range of sub-acute services.

Under Rob's watch a $32 million upgrade of Warriewood Sewerage Treatment Plant to address environmental and water quality concerns has happened, in September 2012 a 250k grant to restore Ingleside and Epworth park to their original states was won. In a June 2012 Press Release Hon. Rob Stokes stated; “This grant builds upon earlier NSW Government funding to the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment and will contribute to the long-term rehabilitation and protection of this unique green space. The Warriewood Wetlands are the largest freshwater wetlands in northern Sydney an integral part of the Narrabeen Lagoon catchment – which must be preserved. The project will include control of noxious weeds, protection of surrounding wildlife corridors, restoration of watercourses and community education.”

Rob has always taken the approach that he is working with his community - he is one of us - a member of Mona Vale SLSC, Board Member of the Northern Beaches Christian School; an Honorary Fellow with Macquarie Law School; and an Assessor with the Northern Beaches Branch of Surf Life Saving Australia - just a few of an increasing list of work and works. He and wife Sophie also have three young children too!

On Friday Hon. Stokes gave the ANZAC Day Address at the 11.00 a.m. Avalon Beach RSL Club Service, the first time he has spoken publicly in his community since this week's events. After the Commemorative Service Rob was surrounded by people who wanted to congratulate him, were happy that a passion of this gentleman's and Pittwater's - the environment - will have one of its great champions as NSW Keeper.

As we do each week, we check the NSW Government's Environment website and found some wonderful news - see our header in this week's Environment page - apart from the announcement of Rob's election to Cabinet.

Hon. Rob Stokes Address forms part of this year's ANZAC Day record, here, but his Media Release should get the final word here:

NEW OPPORTUNITY FOR THE ENVIRONMENT AND HERITAGE- Thursday, 24 April 2014 


Minister for the Environment, Minister for Heritage and Assistant Minister for Planning Rob Stokes today welcomed the opportunity for better coordination across key portfolios following the establishment of the Department of Planning and Environment.  

“This decision demonstrates a commitment from the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government to focus on better environmental outcomes and greater coordination of planning, environment, heritage and local government issues,” Mr Stokes said. 

“The Environment portfolio has been one that I have long had a passion for and I am honoured to be given this opportunity by the Premier. 

“The chance to deliver better environmental protection will require careful planning and robust consultation with stakeholders to ensure we move away from the current patchwork of regulatory approaches.  

“The State needs to assist sustainable agricultural and economic development while providing best practice laws that deliver better environmental protection.  

“I look forward to this opportunity to help deliver coordinated thinking across planning, environment, heritage and local government departments with my new colleagues Pru Goward and Paul Toole. 

“I would also like to pay tribute to my colleague and friend Robyn Parker, who delivered the toughest environmental regulations in the country, established an independent environmental regulator and pioneered ground-breaking new approaches to threatened species conservation.”

Rob Stokes MP 
Minister for the Environment 
Minister for Heritage 
Assistant Minister for Planning 

Report and Picture by A J Guesdon, 2014.