FIVE BIG ISSUES FOR THE NSW ELECTION
COST OF LIVING
* Both the coalition government and the Labor opposition have announced policies aimed at driving down Sydney’s high cost of living.
* The government has introduced stamp duty concessions for first home buyers and Service NSW which is a streamlined access point for several state services.
* The opposition has promised to make public transport free for school children and to scrap birth certificate fees.
* A decision by Premier Gladys Berejiklian in 2017 to knock down and rebuild both Allianz and ANZ stadiums for $2 billion drew immediate criticism.
* The Labor opposition seized on the public backlash and began campaigning on the slogan “schools and hospitals before stadiums” – arguing the policy was a metaphor for the government’s wrong priorities.
* An online petition against the stadiums policy garnered almost 220,000 signatures.
* In March 2018 the government partially backed down on the plan by refurbishing ANZ Stadium at Olympic Park for $500 million less than a knockdown.
* The opposition remains opposed to a knockdown of Allianz Stadium at Moore Park and is fighting the government in the Land and Environment Court in a bid to prevent its demolition.
HEALTH AND EDUCATION
* While schools and hospitals are at the core of Labor’s election campaign, the Berejiklian government has thrown billions at both sectors in recent weeks.
* The coalition has committed to recruiting an extra 500 nurses and midwives (which Labor has promised to match) as well as spending almost $900 million to upgrade both St George and Ryde hospitals.
* Labor has promised to air condition every school in NSW, taking $300 million from the government’s stadium spend and adding it to $500 million that was allocated by the Liberals to the policy.
* Labor has also promised free TAFE for skills shortage areas and an extra 50 schools. It’s also pledged to improve nurse to patient ratios and recruit 250 extra security staff at public hospitals.
* Several cost blowouts, ongoing delays and a protracted legal battle have dogged the Sydney to eastern suburbs light rail project.
* Originally set for completion in early 2019 (before the state election) at a cost of $1.6 billion it’s now due to be completed by May 2020 for at least $2.1 billion.
* Having already wrestled Orange from the government in a 2016 by-election, the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party are eyeing other regional seats held by the Nationals, including Barwon and Murray.
* The Greens are in a battle to retain their only regional seat of Ballina. The party holds the north coast seat with a 3.1 per cent margin. The party is tipped to hold onto Newtown (8.7 per cent) and Balmain (4.7 per cent).
* Former federal Labor leader Mark Latham is hoping to re-enter politics as a One Nation candidate for the NSW upper house. One Nation is also running several candidates in city and regional Legislative Assembly seats.
* Outgoing federal Liberal Democrat Senator David Leyonhjelm is also running for the Legislative Council.