$50 WEEKLY CAP FOR PUBLIC TRANSPORT

Regular Opal customers will pay no more than $50 a week under a NSW Liberals & Nationals Government plan to take the pressure off families.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s strong economic management means the Opal Weekly Travel cap will be slashed by about 20 per cent for all train, bus, ferry and light rail customers.

“Public transport is a significant cost for regular commuters and we want to make it more affordable,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We expect around 55,000 commuters will benefit from the lower cap, with thousands to save up to $686 a year.

“This is only possible because we have worked our guts out to repair the budget and now we are in a position to take the pressure off families and lower fares for customers.”

Transport and Infrastructure Minister Andrew Constance said reducing the cap from $63.20 from 1 July 2019 would encourage more people to leave their cars at home and catch a train, bus, ferry or tram.

“Only the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to reducing the cost of public transport,” Mr Constance said.

“During Labor’s 16 long, dark years in office public transport fares went up by 60 per cent.”

All of the other Opal benefits already in place will remain, including the Weekly Travel Reward, the Opal Transfer Discount, the $2.50 Gold Opal cap and the $2.70 Sunday Cap.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government has saved households more than $200 million over the last year through a raft of cost of living measures, including cheaper Green Slips, $100 Active and Creative Kids vouchers and Free Rego.

Example of yearly savings for regular commuters:

Weekly Cost Today From 1 July Yearly Saving
Penrith to Town Hall $60.84 $50 $563
Waterfall to Town Hall $60.84 $50 $563
Engadine to North Sydney $60.84 $50 $563
Seven Hills to Wynyard $60.84 $50 $563
Panania to Chatswood $60.84 $50 $563
Tuggerah to Central $63.20 $50 $686
Kiama to Sutherland $63.20 $50 $686
Meadowbank to Barangaroo (Ferry) $63.20 $50 $686
Olympic Park to Parramatta (Ferry) $54.09 $50 $212
Leppington to Blacktown $60.84 $50 $563

UNLOCKING NSW’S GREEN ENERGY POTENTIAL

The NSW Liberals & Nationals Government today announced a raft of green power initiatives to make it easier for apartments to go solar and keep power bills down.

Measures include driving forward the State’s renewable energy pipeline by working with the private sector, adding more renewable infrastructure and reducing landfill from solar and battery systems.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government is committed to clean, reliable and affordable energy solutions for everyone across the State.

“We are lowering the voting threshold from 75 to 50 per cent to more easily install solar panels, battery storage and electric vehicle charging points in strata buildings,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want everyone to have access to renewable energy and lower energy bills.”

Minister for Energy Don Harwin said the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government would also commit an additional $20 million to the Emerging Energy Program, bringing the total investment to $75 million in the renewable technologies of the future.

“Our Emerging Energy Program will work with the private sector to co-fund around 400 megawatts of new large scale, on-demand renewable energy projects, like batteries, pumped hydro and hydrogen,” Mr Harwin said.

“These new projects will add to our pipeline of close to 19,000 megawatts of renewable projects worth more than $26 billion – a huge pipeline of potential jobs and investment.

“The NSW Liberals & Nationals believe in practical action on climate change and our environment in partnership with the private sector and communities across NSW to deliver our goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.”

Ms Berejiklian and Mr Harwin also announced $10 million for a new recycling fund for solar panels and battery systems.

“Solar panels have a life of about 30 years and across Australia, roughly 30,000 tonnes will enter landfill by 2030,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“We want to recycle and re-use materials in solar panels and battery systems as NSW transitions towards cleaner energy.

“This new fund will help to build on the $800 million of waste and recycling initiatives currently being funded by the NSW Liberals & Nationals, including the Return & Earn Container Deposit Scheme.”

The NSW Liberals & Nationals already have a firm commitment to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and these new, practical initiatives will help to further that ambition.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are already taking action by:

  • Supercharging the roll-out of solar energy and battery storage for 300,000 homes
  • Investing $1.4 billion under the Climate Change Fund to reduce emissions and help households and businesses save energy
  • Progressing 24 pumped hydro projects with a total generation capacity of around 7,000 megawatts – three times the capacity of Snowy 2.0
  • Approving one of Australia’s largest wind farms at Liverpool Plains, which will power nearly 500,000 homes and deliver 800 jobs
  • Providing support for 51 renewable energy projects worth close to $10 billion in investment and 6,500 megawatts of capacity, since 2013
  • Offsetting all emissions from the Sydney Metro Northwest through investing in the Beryl Solar Farm
  • Planting 5 million trees in Greater Sydney by 2030

Investing $100 Million for Solar Schools

NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, has announced today that Labor will invest $100 million to install solar panels on hundreds of NSW schools.

Mr Daley said:

“The Labor Party knows that climate change is real and unlike the Liberals and Nationals, we’re committed to tackling it.”

“As we saw at rallies across the country on Friday, the next generation is demanding real action on climate change.”

“Putting solar panels on schools will help students further their knowledge about renewable energy, as well as bring down their school’s power bills and reduce emissions.”

Labor’s $100 million Solar Schools package will see solar panels installed on more than 350 schools, to drive down power costs, meaning funding can be directed to students’ learning needs.

The solar panels will also help offset the costs for air conditioning installed in every school as part of Labor’s $800 million Cool Schools policy.

Installing solar panels on schools is part of Labor’s commitment to renewable energy in NSW which includes delivering 100 per cent renewable energy for all State Government agencies by 2025 (it is currently only six per cent).

A Daley Labor Government will also introduce NSW’s first renewable energy target which will require NSW to generate:

  • At least 50 per cent of our state’s energy from renewable sources by 2030; and
  • Move to as close to as possible 100 per cent energy from renewable sources by 2050.

Labor’s Solar Homes policy will give 500,000 households across NSW the chance to add solar panels to their homes and enjoy cheaper, cleaner and greener energy through a rebate, to be capped at $2,200 per household.

Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for the Environment, Penny Sharpe:

Labor takes climate change very seriously unlike the Liberals and Nationals who have neglected the NSW Government’s responsibility to reduce emissions.

Shadow Minister for Climate Change Adam Searle said:

“Solar Schools is yet another aspect of Labor’s plan for cheaper and cleaner energy across NSW.”

Labor to deliver six ice detoxification and rehabilitation clinics

NSW Labor will deliver six detoxification and rehabilitation clinics – with one to be established in Western Sydney and managed by the Noffs Foundation.

Labor has also indicated that Dubbo will be the site for one of the four regional sites.

In total, they will provide an additional 125 beds – costing a total of $100 million.

In addition, Labor re-committed to holding a drug summit patterned on the historic 1999 one to respond to illicit drug use in the community.

The summit will bring together experts, law enforcement, health professionals, family members and former users to consider evidence-based policy and to develop a way forward that protects lives. The historic 1999 Drug Summit gave rise to the medically supervised injecting room at Kings Cross.

NSW Labor leader Michael Daley made the announcement with Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord, Noffs foundation CEO, Matt Noffs at Liverpool.

Embedded video

The Noffs Foundation will manage a 16-bed facility built in Western Sydney with a final site to be determined.

The Western Sydney facility would be focused on supporting western Sydney youth, with clients generally between the ages of 13 and 18.

Overall, when fully operational the clinics will treat up to 1,300 ice affected patients a year and will be staffed by social workers and health professionals.

The Noffs Foundation facility in Western Sydney will deliver:

  • Up to 16 beds;
  • Detoxification and rehabilitation support for drug-affected children;
  • Mixed gendered facilities with separated sleeping facilities;
  • Support for children following juvenile detention or those with violent histories; and
  • An alternative pathway for Judges to keep children out of juvenile detention; and
  • Support to get children out of the criminal justice and health system and into meaningful employment.

It is expected the average admission period would be around the three-month mark for most patients – however, there will be flexibility to take into account patients’ individual needs.

The Noffs facility will focus on providing services to youth addicted to ice and other drugs who are making efforts to avoid incarceration – or those who require additional rehabilitation post-incarceration.

Police and health professionals will be able to refer and take patients to the clinics where an accredited medical practitioner will assess the patient and issue a certificate to admit them.

Judges can also request the admission of patients and the requirements will be similar to the admission process for the current Involuntary Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program (IDAT).

Mr Daley said that the Berejiklian Government’s “just say no to drugs” approach is not working; we need to tackle the scourge of drug use, abuse and addiction in NSW.

“We need to get people, particularly kids, off drugs and into meaningful employment, but they are unable to do this if they do not have access to the proper support services,” Mr Daley said.

“Labor’s rehabilitation policy will get kids clean, out of the criminal justice system and into jobs or further study.”

Existing service providers say that their waiting lists for treatment are longer than they have ever been as there has been no significant increase in bed capacity since the increased funding that resulted from the Carr Labor Government’s Drug Summit in 1999.

Shadow Minister for Health Walt Secord said that the changing face of drug use presents challenges and the just say no approach by the Berejiklian Government has failed.

“We have to face that we cannot arrest our way out of the problem.”

“Ice is ruining people’s lives. The Berejiklian Government has the wrong priorities. While they splurge $2.2 billion on stadiums Labor will deliver the front line treatment and rehabilitation services to get kids off illicit drugs,” Mr Secord said.

NSW Labor investing in small country hospitals with $250 million fund

NSW Labor Leader, Michael Daley, announced a three-point plan for small country hospitals and multi-purpose services (MPSs) to improve health services in the State’s smallest rural communities, as part of Labor’s schools and hospitals before stadium plan.

Currently, there are more than 48 small community hospitals and 57 MPSs in NSW.

Many provide long-term aged care as well as acute health services. The MPSs often cater for communities with a population between 1,000 and 4,000.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

The plan comprises:

  • Investing $250 million in small country hospitals and multi-purpose services (MPSs) – including an extra $50 million for capital works and infrastructure – in the State’s smallest rural and remote hospitals.
  • Beginning the formal process to consolidate a new minimum nurse staffing standard – of three nurses on every shift instead of two, at small country hospitals and MPSs – as the next instalment of its nurse to patient ratios plan; and
  • A formal review into the direction, effectiveness and provision of health services by MPSs  – in the next term of government – to set the future direction of rural health care.

The first hospitals to have the new minimum nurse staffing level guaranteed will include Crookwell, Pambula, Yass, Tenterfield, Kyogle, Denman, Scott Memorial (Scone), Wilson Memorial (Murrurundi), Gilgandra, Dungog, Delegate, Warren, Blayney, Tomaree, Narrandera, Manilla, Bombala and Coonamble hospitals.

Mr Daley also reaffirmed Labor’s February commitments to deliver an extra $4.7 million for a maternity ward at Yass District Hospital and $3.5 million for emergency department improvements and an additional ED bed at Crookwell District Hospital.

The $250 million rural health facilities fund will be used for:

  • Upgrades and improvements to existing hospitals, MPSs including provision of cancer care and kidney dialysis;
  • Planning for new or expanded regional MPSs and hospitals; and
  • Delivering additional equipment and medical technology for rural hospitals including improved tele-medicine.

“This is about providing the best quality care to patients in rural and regional areas.

“Unfortunately, under the Nationals, there is now a two-tier health and hospital system.

“This is also about providing safe staffing levels for our smallest health facilities; improving patient care, re-assuring family members and supporting hard working nurses and other hospital staff.

“We know that there is more to do in small country hospitals and MPSs.

“Sadly, when nurses are overworked mistakes can be made. That is why NSW Labor will review minimum nurse staffing in these hospitals to start to fix the inaction of the National Party,” Mr Daley said.

The terms of the formal process for nursing in small country hospitals and MPSs would be agreed and it would be conducted by the Ministry of Health and the NSW Nurses and Midwives Association.

Previously, during the election campaign, NSW Labor announced a new nurse to patient ratio system would apply to emergency; maternity; medical and surgical; paediatric wards; and mental health units to bring NSW standards up to those already in law in Victoria and Queensland.

“This policy is about improving patient care in our State’s smaller hospitals.”

“The Berejiklian Government have the wrong priorities – they would prefer to spend billions on Sydney stadiums rather than ensure our patients in our smallest hospitals receive the best quality care.”

NSW Labor re-commits to $3.5 million upgrade to Crookwell District Hospital

A Daley Labor Government will deliver the $3.5 million upgrade for Crookwell District Hospital.

NSW Labor Leader Michael Daley was joined by Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord and Country Labor candidate Ursula Stephens to re-commit to the project.

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

NSW Labor’s commitment for Crookwell District Hospital will cover:

  • Improvements to emergency department;
  • Additional hospital equipment; and
  • An additional emergency department bed.

Crookwell District Hospital’s emergency department had 5,240 presentations in 2017-18 – a 14 per cent increase from the year 2013-14.

Country Labor candidate for Goulburn Ursula Stephens said that the community had spoken and the need for the hospital upgrade was “plain to see”.

“After eight years of neglect, the Crookwell District Hospital will finally get its well-deserved,” she said.

Mr Daley praised Ms Stephens for her strong advocacy on this important issue – saying this project has only happened due to her strong local advocacy and the community-based campaign.

Ms Stephens said: “Sadly, the Liberals and Nationals have the wrong priorities. They prefer to splurge $2.2 Billion on Sydney stadiums – whereas Labor wants to invest in our health and hospital system – especially regional facilities like Crookwell Hospital.”

“The Crookwell Hospital staff do a wonderful job, in difficult circumstances. There are genuine WHS issues that must be addressed and this upgrade will allow the Hospital to work with Health Infrastructure to overcome those genuine safety concerns for patients, staff and visitors”, she said.

Key statistics on Crookwell District Hospital

  • 15 per cent of urgent patients were not treated within the clinically recommended time period of 30 minutes;
  • 17 per cent of emergency patients weren’t treated within the clinically recommended time period of 10 minutes; and
  • 10 per cent of patients admitted at the emergency department waited at least three hours and 18 minutes before they were able to leave the hospital.

(Crookwell District Hospital is an 18 bed acute care facility providing general medical services. The hospital has an emergency department operating 24 hours a day seven days per week. It is within the Southern NSW Local Health District – and it is more than 112 years old.)

Labor backs drought-stricken farmers over Sydney stadiums

Shadow Minister for Primary Industry and Rural Affairs, Mick Veitch, has slammed the Nationals for supporting the $2.2 billion knock down and rebuild of Sydney stadiums while thousands of farmers continue to struggle through drought.

Mr Veitch said that he had taken a bi-partisan approach to drought assistance policy in NSW, but the stadiums policy needed to be called out for wasting precious taxpayer money.

“Michael Daley and Labor have taken a bipartisan to direct drought assistance. We won’t politicise it.

“But we won’t back down on stadiums. Farmers and rural communities are telling us this $2.2 billion Sydney stadiums splurge is the wrong priority. They have every right to feel angry with the Nationals.”

Daley Labor’s top 10 positive policies on drought are:

  1. Providing an additional $1 billion for a Safe Water Safe Future fund to improve water security and quality in regional communities
  2. Topping up the Farm Innovation Fund with another $350 million and maintaining current funding levels of direct drought assistance
  3. Waiving Local Land Services’ charges for all farmers
  4. Waiving rents for 1,700 western lands leaseholders
  5. Funding a new drought mental health package which includes training and employing 50 mental health outreach workers dedicated to supporting drought-affected communities, an extra $20 million to partner with not for profit mental health groups in regional areas to complement existing services and an extra $3 million for improved technology for rural tele-health initiatives
  6. Spending an additional $50 million on weeds and pests
  7. Appointing a Dairy and Fresh Food Advocate to stop price-gouging of farmers and primary producers
  8. Doubling funding for Landcare to $32.5 million
  9. Providing an additional $11.25 million for frontline biosecurity efforts
  10. Extending the wild dog fence

Mick Veitch said: “These are just some of the many commitments Labor is making in the regions.

“Upgraded hospitals and new schools also make up Labor’s list of priorities across NSW because we will put schools and hospitals before Sydney stadiums.”

Labor to provide $1.8 million boost in support for volunteer wildlife carers

A Daley Labor Government will significantly increase government support for passionate volunteer wildlife carers who care for thousands of sick, injured or orphaned native animals every year.

Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Environment Minister, Penny Sharpe, announced that Labor will provide dedicated annual funding to wildlife carers, replacing an ad-hoc and uncertain system that provides little assistance for the important work carried out by wildlife carers every day.

Embedded video

Labor will provide $10,000 to each licensed organisation, including each branch of WIRES, and $1,000 to each individual currently directly licensed to rehabilitate native animals (not registered with an organisation). This will boost annual government contributions from $32,500 to $600,000.

“Volunteer wildlife carers are truly unsung, selfless heroes in communities all around the state, who do the challenging and sometimes heartbreaking work of caring for sick or injured native animals, often in very difficult circumstances,” Ms Sharpe said.

“This crucial funding will assist organisations and volunteers who care for sick, injured or orphaned native animals to pay for critical items needed in the care of these animals, such as food, medication and treatment, transport costs, enclosures and bedding, rescue and safety equipment, and clothing.”

A recent government survey found that wildlife carers provide around $27 million in value of volunteer contributions each year (based on 17 per cent of the sector). The full value is likely to be well over $100 million.

More than one million native animals have been rescued by volunteers since the year 2000, with around 104,000 animals rescued each year over the last four years, across 800 species. Overall, the sector receives about 180,000 calls a year, with most providers offering a 24-hour, seven days a week service.

The survey found that wildlife carer volunteers gave an average of nearly seven times as much time in volunteering as an average volunteer in Australia, while personal expenditure by surveyed volunteers averaged at $3,123 per person with a median of $500 each year.

However, wildlife care organisations and licensed individuals currently have no guaranteed funding from the NSW Government, and in 2017-18 there were just 13 ad-hoc grants handed out for a total of $32,500. Providers rely almost entirely on donations and the goodwill of volunteer wildlife carers.

“I think most people would be shocked that wildlife carers receive almost no support from government when we rely so heavily on being able to reach out to their services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

“Labor is deeply committed to the care and protection of native species in NSW, and our wildlife carers deserve our support. The next time you meet a volunteer wildlife carer, please give them your thanks.”

While the Government recently produced a vague draft strategy for the sector using already-announced funding from the NSW Koala Strategy and funding for the Foundation for National Parks and Wildlife – no additional funds were provided directly to the work of wildlife carers on the ground.

BETTER HEALTH CARE FOR WESTERN AUSTRALIANS UNDER LABOR

Western Australia will benefit from better health and hospital services with a Shorten Labor Government investing an additional $110 million in vital new projects across the state.

Mark McGowan and his team are doing a great job fighting for better health care – but Western Australia deserves their fair share from the Federal Government. A Shorten Labor Government will partner with the McGowan Government to deliver the projects the state needs for better health.

Labor’s investment blitz will overhaul outdated regional hospitals, upgrade surgery facilities, provide new palliative care beds, and boost emergency capacity and dental services.

Labor’s new commitments will improve care for patients from central Perth to regional towns like Albany and further locations like Halls Creek.

Labor is today committing to fund seven new projects. We will:

  • Build a clinical command centre at Royal Perth Hospital to help provide care to patients across Western Australia ($15m)
  • Establish an all-new health clinic in Yanchep, where health services are sorely lacking ($18.2m)
  • Replace the dilapidated and asbestos-riddled Laverton Hospital with a new contemporary facility
    ($12.8m), joining a McGowan Government commitment of $4 million to the project
  • Upgrade Collie Hospital’s surgery facilities so that locals can get world-class care close to home ($12.2m)
  • Provide 25 new palliative care beds at Osborne Park Hospital to ensure more people get the best possible care at the end of their lives ($25m)
  • Double the capacity of Albany Hospital’s dental clinic ($5m)
  • Provide dialysis facilities for Halls Creek in the Kimberley ($700,000)

This new funding package comes on top of commitments Labor has already made to build an Urgent Care Centre in Fremantle ($5m); redevelop the Bentley Health Service ($10.9m); and upgrade Kalamunda District Community Hospital’s palliative care facilities ($7.6m).

That brings Federal Labor’s capital commitment to the state’s hospitals to an additional $112.4 million, with more to be announced.

This funding is in addition to Labor’s existing investment in expanding the Joondalup health campus, including the construction of a 75 bed mental health facility, as well as the rollout of new Medicare-funded MRI licences across the state.

Labor will also restore core funding to every public hospital, reversing Scott Morrison’s cuts.

We can afford these investments because we’ve made tough decisions to make multinationals pay their fair share and close unfair tax loopholes.

Scott Morrison and the Liberals cannot be trusted with health – as Treasurer Scott Morrison cut funding from health while trying to give a $80 billion tax handout to big business, including $17 billion to the big banks.

He cut $77 million from Western Australia’s hospitals under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement. And now he’s trying to lock in even bigger cuts for the next five years.

Labor is more than reversing the Liberal cuts with our $2.8 billion Better Hospitals Fund, which we will use to fund these vital projects.

Only Labor can be trusted to fix Western Australia’s hospitals.

LABOR’S PLAN TO BUILD BETTER HOSPITALS

A Shorten Labor Government will invest $1 billion on vital upgrades to Australia’s public hospitals – building new wards with more beds, upgrading emergency departments and theatres, and establishing new palliative care and mental health facilities.

Our doctors, nurses and hospital staff do an amazing job, but we know there are hospital facilities across the country that are aging and in dire need of a revamp to ensure patients get the best care possible.

At a time when everything is going up except people’s wages, soaring health care costs under the Liberals are putting more strain on the family budget – and more strain on our public hospitals. Out-of-pocket GP costs have increased by 25%, specialist costs by almost 40% and private health insurance premiums by 30%.

1.3 million Australians skip getting basic health care because of cost – and this puts extra pressure on our public hospitals.

That’s why Labor will invest an additional $1 billion upgrading hospitals across the country, with every state and territory to benefit from these targeted investments that will ensure patients can access modern and safe health services, and that doctors and nurses have the tools they need to deliver the best possible care.

We are already partnering with state and territory governments to identify projects that will make a tangible difference to the lives of Australians – whether they’re giving birth, undergoing essential surgery, waiting for emergency treatment or reaching the end of their lives.

Labor’s $1 billion investment will be flexible to meet the needs of individual hospitals – in some cases, this will mean rebuilding and expanding existing facilities so they can cater for more patients, in other cases it will mean the construction of brand new units to meet the health needs of a community.

From downtown Sydney to regional WA, from rural Tasmania to Far North Queensland, from inner Melbourne to regional South Australia and the Northern Territory: Labor will ensure more Australians can access essential health services close to home so they don’t need to travel to the next town or city.

This investment blitz is a key part of Labor’s Fair Go Action Plan to improve our public hospitals and strengthen Medicare.

We can afford to spend more on health care because we’ve made the tough decisions to make multinationals pay their fair share and close unfair tax loopholes.

This $1 billion worth of capital investments will come on top of our commitment to restore the core public hospital funding cut by the Liberals.

A Shorten Labor Government will always invest more on health and hospital services than the Liberals.

The Liberals have an appalling record on health funding, inflicting cut after cut after cut.

That’s why Australians today are paying more than ever to see the doctor, and why people are languishing longer than ever in emergency departments and on elective surgery waiting lists.

As Treasurer, Scott Morrison cut from health and hospitals in every Budget he delivered.

He cut $715 million from hospitals under the current 2017 to 2020 funding agreement with the states. And now he’s trying to lock in even bigger cuts for the next five years. Only Labor is promising a better deal.

Since becoming Prime Minister, Morrison’s sought to cut even more from hospitals and has refused to lift the six-year Medicare rebate freeze.

Labor knows there’s nothing more important than your health – that’s why we will always fight for better health care and why only Labor can be trusted to fix Australia’s hospitals.