This election could be the closest for many decades. The choice is stark and Tony Abbott poses a real risk to the future of NSW families. These families deserve a government that offers the right judgment and a positive economic plan. I want to see a strong NSW economy that creates jobs, to invest in great schools and hospitals and build the infrastructure we need for the future. In contrast, Abbott is relentlessly negative because he has no plan to talk about.
He will pull the plug on the national broadband network – technology that will make businesses from western Sydney, to North Sydney and the Sutherland Shire more globally competitive. Construction of the network will begin soon in Minnamurra and Kiama Downs, in the Illawarra, and West Armidale in the New England region, and will begin early next year in Riverstone in western Sydney – unless Abbott is elected.
We have announced new Medicare rebates so that patients in regional areas and outer metropolitan Sydney can get medical care through online consultations.
Imagine a patient with heart disease being able to get regular specialist consultations via their own GP – saving them hours in the car.
Abbott’s budget is based on grabbing cash from pensioners, apprentices and disadvantaged schools. He will cut more than $1 billion from the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and push up the cost of drugs for pensioners.
He would cut an additional $1.5 billion from education and training, eliminating 191,000 training places for the apprentices and trainees that the state’s economy depends on.
And, in another trick hidden until this week, Abbott will cut $330 million in funding from 630 disadvantaged schools across NSW. He will also bring back the worst aspects of Work Choices, which will impact on fair workplaces.
In contrast, I have an economic plan to help families meet cost-of-living pressures. And I believe in a sustainable Australia, which protects our quality of life – including in regions such as western Sydney.
My government will build the infrastructure Sydney needs for the future, including projects like the upgrade of the M5 near Campbelltown, which is under way, and the Parramatta to Epping rail link.
We will deliver GP super clinics, including in Liverpool and Blacktown.
And we will support the after-hours GP helpline, to ensure a nurse or GP is available on the other end of the phone, 24 hours a day.
We will help families deal with cost-of-living pressures by reducing the tax burden on working Australians so that a person earning $50,000 a year is paying $1750 less tax than in 2007. We increased the childcare rebate from July 2008 to 50 per cent, giving families up to $7500 per child, per year. And we have a plan to make family payments work better – putting up to an extra $4000 in the pockets of mums and dads with teenagers.
Abbott is too great a risk to the economy and to families. I will move the nation forward with a strong economy and a positive plan, including more doctors, more nurses and the national broadband network.