It was great to be with Luke Foley yesterday when he announced NSW Labor will commit $5m to match the ACT Government and fund thebusiness case for a faster rail service between Canberra and Sydney. There's so much that can be done to open up the corridor and make it easier for people to commute between Goulburn and Canberra and to bring the time down from Canberra to Sydney to under three hours. Let's just get on with it!
A faster rail service could qualify for funds generated by the sale of NSW’s share in the Snowy Hydro if it meets strict criteria outlined by NSW Labor.
If we can reduce rail journey times along the corridor then towns like Goulburn can truly grow as more people choose to live there and work in the region.
The Liberal-National State Government has squandered hundreds of millions of dollars on blowouts on WestConnex and Sydney light rail and has starved the regions of the public transport infrastructure that is needed. Labor has the right priorities and it is in public transport.
Faster rail is the obvious answer and Labor is committed to developing the business case so that we can get this long overdue project on the slate.
The benefits to the region will be immense and this is a realistic project that can happen in the short term. It will boost economic investment and tourism opportunities and get cars off the road.Read more
The NSW Government's decision to renew the remaining part of the coal exploration license for the Shenhua Watermark project is “irresponsible” will potentially devastate the prime agricultural land of the Liverpool Plains.
The black soils of the Liverpool Plains are some of the richest farmland in Australia. Annual agricultural production is worth well in excess of $2 billion. Local farmers, such as John Hamparsum an award winning sustainable farmer, are worried . "It's about mining versus dining," If this mine goes ahead it will ruin the food bowl."
Mr Hamparsum argues that the environment minister cherry-picked information from the IESC's findings and other scientific reports to justify granting approval for the mine in July 2015.
Now the NSW Liberal government has given the go ahead, knowing that the mining company will need to draw on the water table for its mine.The whole ecosystem in that area is completely linked and it's completely false to suggest that there will be no impact on the Liverpool Plains.
Shadow Minister for Industry Resources and Energy, Adam Searle MLC says
NSW Labor is staunchly opposed to mining in the Liverpool Plains, which is prime agricultural land, and any exploration could have enormous impact to the water table and food bowl. NSW Labor has previously called on the Berejiklian Government to shut Shenhua down.Read more
Did you know that in NSW, we have lower than acceptable vaccination rates in Sydney’s east and the northern beaches and the State’s north coast?
2017 was one of the worst years in recent memory for influenza in Australia. In NSW, there were 128,000 confirmed cases of influenza and more than 650 people died. So, I am very pleased that a Foley Labor Government will continue to protect the community by increasing the range of vaccinations available through pharmacies.
Under the plan, from September 1, 2019, NSW pharmacies will be able to provide vaccinations for:
- The dTp vaccine – diphtheria, tetanus and whooping cough (pertussis); and
- the MMR vaccine – measles, mumps and rubella.
The scourge of ICE use in NSW is having devastating effects in many communities and Labor has launched a new plan for mandatory detoxification and rehabilitation of ice addicts – for minors in the first instance, and then for adults.
Labor will open six clinics across the state for the mandatory detoxification and rehabilitation of patients with severe ice addictions who pose a risk to the community and themselves.
Labor will fund six facilities attached to public hospitals with a total of 150 beds – four will be located in regional NSW – at a cost of $100 million.
These clinics will treat up to 1,300 ice addicts a year and will be staffed by specially trained nurses, health professionals and security guards.
Police and health professionals will be able to refer and take patients to the clinic where an accredited medical practitioner will assess the patient and issue a certificate to admit them. A magistrate must review the admission. The requirements will be similar to the admission process for the current Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDAT).
Did you know that NSW patients are waiting for elective surgery much longer than patients in comparable countries including Canada and the United Kingdom? For the elderly in NSW – especially those waiting for knee and hip replacements and cataract removal – they face some of the longest waits for elective surgery in Australia – up to three times longer than the Australian median.
We currently have around 76,000 patients waiting for much needed surgery.
Of the patients waiting for elective surgery, there were:
- Almost 19,000 patients waiting for orthopaedic surgery;
- Almost 16,000 patients waiting for cataract surgery;
- More than 11,00 patients waiting for ear, nose and throat surgery;
- More than 8,500 waiting for a total knee and hip replacements;
- More than 4,500 patients waiting for tonsillectomies;
- The current wait tonsillectomy is 273 days; 197 days for a total hip replacement and 271 days for a total knee replacement.
Patients are forced to wait too long under the Berejiklian Government and only NSW Labor has a plan to resource our health and hospital system and put patients first.
Since 2011, the Liberals and Nationals have sold off more than $50 billion of publicly-owned assets and have gone too far in their privatisation agenda. This has had devastating effects for people in NSW.
Privatisation has resulted in higher electricity prices for families and small businesses, despite a pledge by former Premier Mike Baird that prices would not go up. Prices have gone up by 20 per cent since 2017 and 60 per cent since 2011.
The Liberal government has plans to sell off more public assets. Labor says, this has to stop!
It was fantastic to be in Murrumbateman yesterday with Luke Foley and Mike Kelly MP to give the good news that Labor is committing $25m to build the new primary school in Murrumbateman.
Documents obtained by NSW Labor under FOI show prisons across the state would be left at ‘high risk’ danger due to staff cuts being made by the Berejiklian Government’s so-called benchmarking reforms.
The risk assessments reveal experienced corrections staff and senior psychologists will be cut from prisons, forcing less-qualified staff to take on extra duties under the reforms introduced by Minister Elliott. This was confirmed last month by local MP Pru Goward in a speech to Parliament where she outlined exactly were the cuts would land at Goulburn Gaol.
The documents further state that changes to the staffing in NSW prisons could present a ‘high risk’ to their good order and security, as well as to the safety of inmates through suicide and self-harm (see images at end of release).
There is currently a Parliamentary Inquiry into Prisons which is examining the benchmarking process, prison security, the privatisation of Parklea and a series of corrupt events that have come to light during the investigation.
Shadow Minister for Corrections Guy Zangari says
"the Liberal-National Government is threatening the safety of staff in every prison and endangering inmates by reducing their access to mental health services through cuts to services provided by psychologists."
The Prison population has reached an all time high of 13,600 this year and the government's solution has been pop up prisons that have already been subject to riots, lockdowns and serious assaults on prison officers and prisoners.
In Goulburn, we have the toughest prisoners in the state.
There will be job cuts - the Assistant Superintendent ranks will be removed.
We need our prison staff to be well protected and able to come home to their families at the end of their shifts.Read more
Are you suffering power bill shock? You aren't the only one!
Hundreds of thousands of Western Sydney residents have been overcharged at least $227 million by a newly-privatised electricity company.
Endeavour Energy has been ordered to pay back its customers – who are spread across the Illawarra, Southern Highlands, South Coast and Blue Mountains - millions of dollars in overcharges.
Endeavour was sold to a Macquarie Group-led consortium in May 2017 for $7.6 billion.
The money raised from privatisation was promised to fund the Government’s infrastructure program but the reality is people are being asked to pay more tolls, higher electricity prices and much higher housing costs.
Labor Leader, Luke Foley says
"The Liberals promised the public that their power bills wouldn’t go up and yet prices have risen on average by 20 per cent. Their election pledge wasn’t worth the paper it was printed on.Read more
The Berejiklian Government is splurging on consultants but keeps cutting public sector jobs.
An analysis of Crown Entity Financial Statements by the NSW Opposition has revealed that the Berejiklian Government spent an extraordinary $75 million on bankers, lawyers, accountants, public relations experts and other consultants for work in privatising Port Botany, Port Kembla and Port of Newcastle.
Earlier this year, documents showed the Liberal-Nationals had thrown $20 million at consultants to sort out its stadium policy before it had even released the business cases for splurging $2.7 billion on the knock-down and rebuild of Sydney stadiums.
Consultants, developers and the big end of town are continuing to line-up for a handout from the Berejiklian Government. It seems everyone except the people of NSW are benefiting from the cash being splashed about by the Liberal-National Government.Read more