NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley and Murray’s Labor candidate Michael Kidd officially launched Labor’s by-election campaign in Leeton on Sunday.
The Labor campaign highlighted cuts to health and TAFE, electricity prices, police mergers and water allocation as key issues for the electorate.
Mr Kidd also criticised the cuts to health services, both in Griffith and Leeton.
“The Nationals only have two basic approaches to rural and regional health – privatisation or cuts. So there have been no maternity services at Leeton for nearly two years,” he said.
“You just can’t cut with one hand and give it back with the other. It’s just dishonest… You can’t take a bit and give it back.”
He also pledged support for an investigation into attempts to cut services at Griffith Base Hospital.
“We’re demanding an investigation into the outsourcing of instrument sterilisation services and the failed attempt to cut pathology services at Griffith Base Hospital, -which could be reversed once the by-election is over.”
Mr Foley says that under a Labor government, all $5 billion dollars the state receives from the federal government upon the transfer of the Snowy Hydro scheme will be invested in regional and rural NSW.
The Snowy Hydro scheme is a major scheme that generates electricity for a large part of Australia.
In the 2017 federal budget, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his intention to attempt to buy-back Victorian and NSW Government’s shares in the network.
“Labor has guaranteed that 100 per cent, every dollar, of the estimated $5 billion the State will receive from the transfer of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the Federal Government will be spent on infrastructure in regional New South Wales,” Mr Foley said.
“The inept Nationals have allowed their Liberal partners to keep 70 per cent of it, to spend on more roads, tunnels and sports stadiums in Sydney.”
Rather than getting the budget into the black and delivering surpluses through hard work, the Labor Party would rather make fake promises with funding from a transaction that has not happened nor been agreed to.
NSW Deputy Premier and Nationals Leader John Bariliaro says the Labor party are getting ahead of themselves on a deal that hasn’t yet been finalised.
“Even if we achieve $4 billion or $5 billion out of the Snowy Hydro transaction, it is less than half of the $9 billion the NSW Liberals and Nationals are delivering for regional NSW right now,” he said.
The National’s Murray candidate Austin Evans said the Nationals are the only ones offering practical solutions.
“If Labor truly cared about building schools, hospitals, roads and rail they would have a better plan for regional NSW than setting funds aside in a fake account,” he said.
“How can they be believed when they’re committing $4-5 billion from something that might happen. We’ve got $9 billion real dollars on the table.”
The by-election was triggered by the retirement of longtime National’s member Adrian Piccioli.
The by-election will take place on Sunday October 14 with pre-polling already open across the electorate.