30 JULY 2018


Mr President, Michael Daley and my other colleagues, men and women of the Labor Party. 

We meet on Gadigal land – in a spirit of respect.

If Labor earns the privilege of governing – we’ll listen to First Nations – and we’ll work with First Nations.

We’ll establish a process to negotiate a Treaty between the government and Aboriginal peoples. 

A Treaty…

An honourable basis for our reconciliation with the first peoples. 

At the outset, I want to say

That all of us in the Labor Party stand with the workers who will have their take home pay cut tomorrow.

With further reductions to their penalty rates.

Cuts made possible by the Liberal and National parties.

My colleagues and I stand with all of you in the fight to restore their penalty rates.

And as I committed to you last year, a state Labor government will legislate to protect the penalty rates of all workers on state awards and agreements. 


I come before you at this, our final Annual Conference before the New South Wales election to be held on March 23 next year.

I can report that our organisation is ready…

our candidates are in place…

that State Labor’s in its best shape in over a decade.

Three years ago…

the conventional wisdom…

Mike Baird set to reign for a thousand years.

This weekend…

We’re all here ready to fight for the future of the state, and Mike Baird? 

He’s on a beach somewhere…

He’ll have taken some work with him.

He might be putting the finishing touches to the corporate social responsibility chapter of the NAB’s annual report!

But wherever he is, he’s very relieved he won’t have to campaign for re-election against Kaila Murnain.

Since 2015...

We’ve bludgeoned our opponents at by elections…

defeated their greyhound ban…

exacted an end to their hated policy of forced council mergers…

We have them on the run over stadiums.

And we’ve seen off a Premier.

This tired government, now in its eighth year…

on its third Premier, third Deputy Premier and fourth Treasurer. 

Waiting to be cut down….

Well, we’ll finish what we started…

Together, we will put an end to this thoroughly bad Berejiklian government.

We’ll end it on March 23 next year.

We will – and we must.

The future of the state depends on it.

Because you cannot trust the Liberals and Nationals with schools, TAFEs and hospitals.

Their approach: selloffs, sackings, a Sydney stadiums splurge.

There’s fewer public schools in New South Wales today than when this government came to office…

120 000 students in demountable classrooms.

A $570 million school maintenance backlog. 

An elective surgery waiting list of almost 78 000 patients.

Hospitals not adequately staffed.

Labor has very different priorities. 

An unprecedented school-building program.

Every new public school will have childcare or before and after school care facilities, on site.

All new schools will be exempt from local infrastructure charges.

And only Labor will air condition every public school.

Delegates. I’ve said it before…

I’ll say it again…

Schools before stadiums!

If you want better schools … and TAFE rebuilt...

Choose the party whose branches are full of teachers, not bankers.

Don’t vote for the party whose Treasurer’s proudest boast is that privatisation is “the golden key”.

If you believe education is the golden key, vote Labor.


And vote Labor if you believe in public health care.

Labor has a plan for health.

Hospitals properly staffed.

Elective surgery waiting lists cut.

New nurse walk-in centres.

And tackling the scourge of ice head on…

With our plan for the detoxification and rehabilitation of addicts.

Our opponents’ record over eight years?

More than $50 billion of privatisations. 

Power prices up by 20 per cent this financial year alone. 

Charges at the Port of Newcastle more than doubled by the new owners. 

The Westconnex road next to be privatised…

And you know what that means for motorists….

Tolls – tolls – tolls. 

The public always pays more. 

This is why I’ve made Labor’s Privatisation Pledge.

No privatisation of water.

No more electricity privatisation.

No privatisation of public transport.

And no privatisation of public hospitals.


Next year, the sell-offs stop.

The Liberals and Nationals told a very simple story at the last election. 

They made this promise: that electricity privatisation would pay for essential infrastructure.

And what did they deliver?


Every home and business is paying much higher electricity prices. 

And motorists have to pay new tolls on old roads. 

There’s a place for toll roads.

But the M4 is not a new road.

The M4 was paid for and so the toll was removed, when Labor was last in government, in 2010.

The Liberals have brought back the M4 toll. 

The mere seven kilometre widening will be paid off in full mid next year. 

Yet the Liberals’ toll will be in place until 2060. 

Many households in Sydney’s west now spend more on tolls than on fuel.

The Liberals’ toll is an unfair tax on western Sydney because it is designed to subsidise roads in entirely different areas – like Ms Berejiklian’s Northern Beaches mega tunnel. 

This toll makes life much harder for the families who use the M4 – people who work the hardest and complain the least – the very people the Labor Party exists to represent.

We’ve represented them…we’ve fought for them.

I remember as a young volunteer campaigning on a commitment to lift the Liberals’ tolls on the M4 and M5.

Bob Carr fought on this issue in opposition, wrestled with this issue in Government, and from this very stage, at this very Conference, in this very address, made his great announcement in 1996.

He told us, 

“We intend to keep faith … we will introduce a system that honours our commitment … the M4-M5 cashback.”

It was prudent, fair, far-sighted, and made a real difference for the people of Sydney’s west.

Labor at its best.

On the people’s side. 

We won’t stop fighting.

I do not accept the Liberals’ two thousand four hundred dollar a year tax on motorists.

They’ve reintroduced the toll on the M4…

Yet they deny motorists Cashback.

That’s the ultimate betrayal of western Sydney.  

Labor will never accept it. 

We’re on the side of western Sydney’s motorists. 

People like Neil.

Neil and his wife Helen are raising two children under five in Werrington, near Penrith.

Neil works in logistics in the eastern suburbs.

He used to travel on the M4 – but now, this toll would be over $2000 a year.

It’s money he can’t afford in a family budget already stretched to the limit.

So now, Neil gets off at Church Street at Parramatta – and it takes him over two hours to get to work.

It’s not right.

That is why delegates.

I can announce today…

A Labor Government will restore the M4 cashback for the families of Sydney’s west.

Private car users will be entitled to a rebate for their M4 toll payments.

A simple arrangement – between a Labor government and private car users. 

You pay the toll, send us the bill, we pay you back. 


No changes will be made to the current discount on vehicle registration costs for motorists spending over $1300 a year on tolls. That scheme will remain.

And on the M5 – like the M4 – the Liberals want to extend a toll to 2060.

I commit that under Labor the M5 cashback will remain.

Labor’s M4 cashback will give back up to $193 million each year to western Sydney motorists.

It will be fully funded by savings measures that tackle the Berejiklian Government’s massive waste. 

These will be fully outlined by Shadow Treasurer Ryan Park well before the election campaign. 

Let me turn to public transport.

I’ve made clear…

Labor’s top transport priority is the Western Metro.

A new fast rail line between Westmead, Parramatta and the Sydney CBD.

It’s the Liberals’ last priority – but Labor’s first.

We will reallocate billions of dollars from Ms Berejiklian’s Northern Beaches Tunnel and from the conversion of the existing Bankstown line.

That’s how we’ll deliver a new Western Metro years before the Liberals could.

And we’ll also do the planning for future extensions to the Western Metro.

And we will partner with a Shorten Federal Labor Government in funding the first stage of the North South Rail Link from St Marys to Western Sydney Airport and Badgerys Creek.

We will connect rail to Western Sydney Airport for the first time for the airport’s opening. 



Let me turn to regional New South Wales.

In May last year I announced that we would support the transfer of the State’s share of the Snowy Hydro Corporation to the Commonwealth on two conditions…

That it remain in full public ownership…

And that 100 per cent of the proceeds be invested in infrastructure projects in rural and regional New South Wales.

One hundred per cent. Not a dollar less.

The Nationals argued against this.

They argued for thirty per cent of the Snowy proceeds to go to the regions.

Then in February they backed down and adopted our policy.

New South Wales has received $4.1 billion from the Snowy Hydro transfer.

These funds must be spent wisely, on transformative projects that will leave a lasting legacy in rural and regional New South Wales.

The Snowy Hydro Scheme was established by Ben Chifley’s government with the active support of the McKell and McGirr New South Wales Labor governments.

In 1949 Chifley told the Commonwealth Parliament that the Snowy Scheme

“provides not only for the provision of vast supplies of new power but also for an immense decentralisation of industry and population”.

I stand here and pledge to you that these are the principles which will guide a future Labor government when it comes to investing the proceeds of the Snowy Hydro transfer.

We will adopt the Chifley principles.

All proceeds must be spent on infrastructure projects that pass at least one of the following three tests:

First, the creation of jobs and growth of industry in rural and regional New South Wales.

Second, the decentralisation of population.

And third, the generation of new and renewable energy supplies.

True to Labor’s finest traditions …

These are our Chifley principles.


Our great state can’t afford 12 years of Liberal and National Government.

Two terms of waste and incompetence – bad enough.

Eight years of the wrong priorities – long enough.

What do you want New South Wales to look like in 2023?

If the Liberals and Nationals are allowed to govern for 12 straight years, think about what will happen. 

More privatisations? They’ve only just begun. 

12 years of conservative government will mean that for the first time since the Great Depression there won’t be one public bus route left in the whole of New South Wales.

They’ve already privatised the Hunter’s public transport. 

In Sydney, inner west buses privatised from tomorrow. 

The other routes will follow if our opponents win another term.

And if you think you’re getting ripped off by 51 per cent privatised electricity companies, wait until you pay a bill for 100 per cent privatised power.

12 years of Liberal – National rule will mean the 100 per cent privatisation of our electricity network.

Sydney Water? Gone. 

Hunter Water? Gone too.

Our state’s public hospitals? For sale signs out front. 

Goulburn, Maitland, Wyong, Shellharbour and Bowral…

All of them and more. 

Campbelltown hospital upgraded? Work won’t have finished – their current budget tells us that.

And Tweed hospital? Work won’t have started.


In Sydney’s east a new stadium…

A glimmering private pleasure dome rising majestically over Moore Park, a monument to the power and influence of the SCG Trust.

12 years of Liberal - National Government in 2023.

Premier Andrew Constance announces the Sydney Light Rail will be complete within two years…

when the court cases finish!

He launches a competition to name the trams. 

Transport Minister Felicity Wilson – Fibbing Felicity! …

She cuts the ribbon on the new Northern Beaches Tunnel.

And Treasurer Gareth Ward. 

I rest my case.

They don’t deserve twelve years.

Waste. Incompetence. Wrong priorities.

Only we can stop them. 

So as they risk being buried by the mounting mess of failed policies and failing politics.

Our opponents have thrown the switch to desperate.

Seven years of cuts and sell offs.

In a final roll of the dice they want us to believe it all changed last week.

The last refuge of these scoundrels: a pretend spend on hospitals and schools.

An auction on health and education.

Well delegates, if you want to fix schools, TAFEs and hospitals.

Vote for the party that sees spending on schools and hospitals as an investment. 


Labor will put schools and hospitals before stadiums.

Labor will stop the privatisation scams.

Labor will tackle the cost of living with the M4 cashback.


Next March, we’ll submit our Labor priorities for the judgement of the people of New South Wales.

We, Labor, will deliver a fairer NSW. 

I’ll see you on the campaign trail.

I know we’ll get this done.