Australia

Health, education at heart of NSW election campaign launches

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian at the NSW Liberal Campaign Launch at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Sydney, Sunday. Source: AAP

With a state election in New South Wales less than two weeks away, both major political parties held official campaign launches on Sunday.

The NSW Liberal National and Labor parties have both launched their state election campaigns to crowds of red and blue supporters.

The state election will be held on March 23 and is expected to be followed by a Federal election most likely in May.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Federal Labor Leader Bill Shorten were both lending support at their parties Sunday launches.

In Sydney’s far west, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian fronted a sea of blue Liberal National supporters in Penrith.

The Premier is seeking re-election on her government’s track record in power.  

A record she said proves “NSW can have it all.”

“I’m the first to acknowledge that our job is far from done,” Ms Berejiklian said.

She asked voters for the chance to finish her government’s work in infrastructure, healthcare and education.

“Too often in New South Wales we’ve seen our hard work undone by the election of a Labor government,” the Premier said.

A recent poll showed that Labor leads the Coalition 51-49 on a two-party preferred basis with Mr Daley ahead of Ms Berejiklian as preferred premier.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian arrives to speak at the NSW Liberal Campaign Launch at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Sydney, Sunday.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian arrives to speak at the NSW Liberal Campaign Launch at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Sydney, Sunday.
AAP

READ MORE

Opposition challenge

Telling voters “we can win this election,” opposition Leader Michael Daley put education and health front of his pitch to voters.

The two leaders have both made big promises on these policy fronts and public transport to win voters support.

Mr Daley spoke to a crowd of hundreds of Labor backers at Revesby in the city’s southwest.

There he declared the government was "afraid" of Labor's political challenge.

"In 13 days’ time, we will show that there fear is justified."

The Labor leader promised supporters he would “put schools and hospitals before Sydney stadiums.”

“Unlike the Liberals and Nationals we are listening to the people of New South Wales,” he said.

Debate during the campaign has brought spending on Sydney stadiums to attention.

The Premier under scrutiny for plans to demolish and reconstruct the city’s Alianz Stadium.

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley speaks during the NSW Labor Party election campaign launch in Revesby in southwest Sydney, Sunday.
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley speaks during the launch the NSW State Labor Party election campaign launch in Revesby in southwest Sydney.
AAP

Campaign promises

In her speech, the Premier defended her government’s investment in infrastructure and services for the people of New South Wales.

“We are delivering the greatest public investment in public transport in Australian history,” she told supporters.

This included promising a rail link to the new western Sydney airport.

She said the Coalition would spend $2 billion over the next four years on the metro rail line from the St Mary’s station in Sydney’s far west.

“No one should underestimate the impact that this rail line could have for the people of Western Sydney,” the Premier said.

For health services, the government pledged to build or upgrade 29 hospitals and health facilities.

This included $1.3 billion for the Lidcombe hospital in Sydney’s southwest and adding 5,000 more nurses and midwives to health services.

Mr Daley has promised $2.7 billion to make NSW the first state to fully fund public schools in line with Gonski commitment for school funding.

He also announced Labor’s policy of mandated nurse-to-patient ratios for emergency and medical wards would now also include mental health units.

This part of a promised $250 million spend, to boost the state's mental health services.

“I believe the primary role of government is to put people first,” he said.

Coming Federal election

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, sitting alongside former Prime Minister John Howard, did not speak to Liberal faithful at the party's Sunday launch.

But he did acknowledge the challenge ahead following the event.

“I’m always worried about the prospect of state Labor governments,” he said.

“I’m always concerned about the prospect of any Labor government because it means higher taxes and a weaker economy.”

 His opposition counterpart Bill Shorten did front supporters, backing Labor’s New South Wales state leader.  

“If you want a government that will help the people instead of helping themselves then vote for Michael Daley and vote for Labor,” Mr Shorten said.

Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten speaks during the NSW Labor Party election campaign launch in Revesby in southwest Sydney.
Federal Labor leader Bill Shorten speaks during the NSW Labor Party election campaign launch in Revesby in southwest Sydney.
AAP

‘Change outdated assumptions’

In closing her speech, the Premier spoke about changing perceptions of the party, which Labor is trying to paint as out of touch.

In his address, Mr Daley accused the government of being “arrogant” and having a “sense of entitlement.”

“Government is supposed to be for you and your family not for a few select insiders,’ Mr Daley said.

 But the Premier promised to deliver “equality of opportunity” for all.

“It is time to challenge outdated assumptions about who our party in New South Wales represents and what our party stands for,” she said.

 “Together let’s get it done."

Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former prime minister John Howard at the NSW Liberal Campaign Launch at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Sydney, Sunday.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison and former prime minister John Howard at the NSW Liberal Campaign Launch at Penrith Panthers Leagues Club in Sydney, Sunday.
AAP

Other policy fronts

At Sunday's launch, Gladys Berejiklian also revealed a new program that would give every child in NSW access to before-and-after school care from 7am to 6pm by 2021.

The Premier hoping the policy will “take the pressure” off working families.

Mr Daley announced a $1 billion water fund to improve supply and security in regional communities.  

He also promised to lead an inquiry into water management of the Darling River in response to mass fish deaths in the river system.

Both political leaders backed the need for renewable energy sources and to address rising power prices in the state.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch