What exactly are we voting for again?
We are voting for the people who will represent our respective electorates in the NSW parliament, as well as in the upper house (general representatives across the state). At state elections, we vote for both the lower house (the Legislative Assembly) and the upper house (Legislative Council). The Legislative Assembly consists of 93 members who each represent one electoral district for a four-year term. The Legislative Council consists of 42 members who represent the state on a maximum 8-year term. At each state election, 21 Council members are elected.
The cost of living crisis
According to NSW Labor’s fresh start plan, Labor intends to address the cost of living crisis firstly by stopping the Liberals’
The NSW Liberals have a sweeping assemblage of vouchers and rebates that they say will ease the pressure on household budgets. Examples are the Premier's $150 Back to School voucher and the $500 Before and After School Care voucher. Rebates include energy rebates such as the $285 Low-Income Household Energy Rebate and $110 Gas Rebate. They also have a toll relief program that will save commuters up to $750 a year.
The Greens, like Labor, want to end the privatisation of public assets. They state that they will put power assets back in state hands, which would, in turn, lower energy bills. Free public transport is another promise of the Greens, which would see regular commuters saving a maximum of $50 per week ($50 being the current weekly Opal cap). Making housing affordable, fully funding public education, and, similar to Labor, scrapping the public sector wage cap, are all promises the Greens have made to release some of the financial pressure being experienced by NSW residents.
The Liberals’ plan for transport includes the opening of the City and South West Metro in the next five years and the continuation of construction of the Airport metro. More light rail is also on the NSW Liberals’ agenda, evident in their $600 million commitment to the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2.
NSW Labor’s Fresh Start plan states that they will better the transport system through investment and ending the privatisation of services such as public transport. They also seek to replace older trains with ones made in NSW, which is predicted to create at least 1000 new jobs. NSW Labor also promises to start construction of the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 within its first term, additionally committing an extra $200 million on top of the $600 million already committed by the NSW Liberals.
The Greens plan for transport leans into the current cost of living crisis. As mentioned prior, the NSW Greens plan to scrap all public transport fares in New South Wales, meaning free trains, buses and ferries for all. Additionally, they aim to make existing services more frequent and reliable. The Greens also want to reverse the privatisation of the bus network and bring NSW rail assets back under direct government ownership.
Regarding education, the greens policies seek to wipe Uni student debt, disallow privatisation of the tertiary sector, and make TAFE free again for all students. Teachers will benefit from their government due to their firm stance on rejecting the casualisation of university staff and increasing the salary of TAFE teachers. In the area of early childhood care, the greens want to ensure free and universal preschool by 2030 and deliver 100 new government preschools in the following three years.
TAFE Manufacturing centres of excellence is a unique policy proposed by NSW Labor which is intended to help rebuild TAFE and incease NSWs domestic manufacturing potential. According to NSW Labor, the centres will be able to train and upskill 1,000 apprentices and workers annually. Regarding primary and high schools, NSW Labor will fund every public school using its $400 million Education Future Fund. On a controversial note, NSW Labor also asserts to ban mobile phone use in all public schools. Preschool is another area that Labor wants to tackle, with their promise of 100 new public preschools and 50 new and expanded preschools at non-government schools.
The NSW Liberals vow to introduce an extra year of play-based education before Kindergarten at no cost to parents. This will assist with the integration of pre-school with primary schooling and also aid in the transition to primary school. Like the Greens and Labor, the Liberals will increase the number of full-time teachers by moving away from the casualisation of the teacher workforce. This will translate to 15,000 teachers and support staff being transferred into permanent roles this year. The Liberals will also appoint a Chief Behaviour Officer to focus on classroom behaviour, with the aim of improving the schooling environment and supporting better learning.
One central element of the NSW Labor campaign is their proposal for major gambling reform. Actions that compose this reform include a 12-month cashless gaming trial which would see a mix of pubs and clubs in NSW shift to cashless gambling. This trial will be overseen by an independent panel that will make recommendations to Cabinet regarding a roadmap to gambling reform. Labor will also make it illegal for political parties to accept financial donations from venues that possess gaming machines and seek to ban external signage related to gaming, i.e. VIP Lounge. In Labor’s plan, feed-in limits will be reduced for all new poker machines from the current limit of $5000 to $500 per machine, a step which they say is vital regarding harm minimisation — an area Labor intends to reinvest the $100 million Star Casino penalty on.
The NSW Liberals also have a gambling reform plan involving cashless poker machines. Their current plan supports all recommendations made by the NSW Crime Commissioner regarding eliminating money laundering through gaming machines at pubs/clubs. Through legislation, the NSW Liberals intend to roll out mandatory cashless gaming across all venues by 31 December 2028. Like Labor, the Liberal party will also prohibit external signage using terms insinuating gaming machines inside a venue, such as VIP Lounge, as a complementary measure. The NSW Liberals will also ban donations from pubs and clubs to political organisations. Regarding harm minimisation of gambling, under the Liberals, players will be required to set limits that cannot be changed for seven days and take mandatory breaks in play.
The Greens have a focus on harm minimisation measures, with a goal to prevent gambling-related harm using a public health approach. The Greens have proposed a comprehensive slew of regulations to minimise the harm of gambling, including prohibiting inducements to gambling such as discounted alcohol and food and removing ATMs from all gambling venues. Furthermore, the Greens will restrict the consumption of food and beverages in gaming areas and require venues to have natural light sources. Similar to Labor and Liberal, the Greens will also mandate self-exclusion programs