• NSW Labor leader Michael Daley (L) and NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian (R) during their respective election campaign launches in Sydney. (AAP)Source: AAP
With the state election on Saturday, the major parties have now released their Aboriginal policies.
By
Brooke Fryer

Source:
NITV News
20 Mar 2019 - 4:28 PM  UPDATED 20 Mar 2019 - 4:28 PM

Recent polls ahead of the state election on Saturday have shown the Coalition and the Labor party are neck and neck, with the latest figures indicating the state is likely on the brink of seeing a hung parliament.

The NSW Coalition and Labor are split 50-50 on a two-party preferred basis, with 26 per cent of voters still undecided, according to a YouGov/Galaxy poll posted in The Daily Telegraph.

In the same polling, NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian is ahead of opposition leader Michael Daley as the preferred premier 38-36.

The Greens currently hold 9 per cent of votes; Shooters, Fishers and Farmers hold three per cent; and One Nation holds one per cent.

A November 2018 poll favoured Labor 52-48.

If the election results in a hung parliament, the Coalition would need to make a deal with independents to form a government. 

The Coalition currently holds 52 seats. Losing six seat would also result in their loss of a majority government.

The Labour Party led by Michael Daley needs to gain 13 seats to claim a majority.

The Greens hold three seats; the Independents hold three; and the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers hold one, with the seat of Wollondilly vacant since December.

Here is where the key players stand with their Indigenous policies

The NSW Coalition government has promised, if re-elected, to introduce a $55 million dollar infrastructure plan across 10 Aboriginal communities including, Bellwood Reserve, Bowraville and La Perouse.

The Roads to Home plan is aimed at improving quality of life for communities living in former reserves and missions by updating roads, footpaths, drains, street lighting, power and telecommunication.

State Minister for Aboriginal Affairs, Sarah Mitchell, told NITV News that some communities are in desperate need for things as simple as footpaths.

“When some of the elderly are trying to move between houses it’s a health hazard or they're worried about falls when the children are trying to play in the outside areas, but there’s not sufficient lighting and what that means for safety and security, it’s those sort of things that might seem small but will make a really big difference,” she said.

Ms Mitchell says the plan first targets the 10 communities and will be rolled out over time to 51 other Aboriginal communities. 

On the matter of a Treaty, the state Liberals and Nationals say it is best introduced at the federal level.

“For us as a Coalition, we have made it pretty clear that we think discussions and considerations around Treaty should happen at a Federal level and that’s something that we’ve been quite open about,” she said.

Labour's Mr Daley has pledged a suite of policies, including flying the Aboriginal flag over the Harbour Bridge all year round and investing millions of dollars to support education, culture, empowerment and reducing the prison population of Indigenous people.

NSW Labor has also promised a Treaty process in consultation with Indigenous leaders and Elders to agree on how services like health and education could be rolled out.  

“We are fully committed to that (Treaty) and what we want to do is form a partnership with Aboriginal people to determine what that looks like and how that works… we want to do it in terms of program delivery and empowering Aboriginal communities,” Shadow Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Labor MP David Harris said.

The NSW Greens have released a 5-point First Nations Justice package promising repeals to the recent changes in child removal adoption laws and the control or co-management of public forest reserves.  

Aboriginal Affairs spokesperson and Greens MP, David Shoebridge, additionally outlined the party's plans for a new body aimed at reducing the numbers of Indigenous people in the State's prisons.

“The de-incarceration commission will be headed by a First Nations judge and it will consider all First Nations people who are held in NSW jails for non-violent offences and any that are able to be released without an unacceptable risk to the community or any individual will be released on a de-incarceration order,” he said.

Included in the package, the Greens are promising to negotiate individual treaties with the many groups of Indigenous communities across the state.

“We acknowledge that there’s a diversity of Aboriginal voices across NSW and we think it’s not achievable to have a single Treaty as a first step in a Treaty progress,” Mr Shoebridge said.

“The commitment is to sit down at a local level and negotiate multiple Treaties.”

Polls open 8am Saturday.

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