NSW LABOR LEADER LUKE FOLEY LAUNCHES COUNTRY LABOR’S MURRAY BY-ELECTION CAMPAIGN

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NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley and candidate Michael Kidd today launched Country Labor’s campaign for the Murray by-election.

Mr Foley said the Nationals were clearly relying on misplaced loyalty to retain the seat when all the evidence clearly showed they had done nothing for the region and had actively gone to court with the State Government using taxpayer-provided funds to keep electricity prices up. 

Families are now struggling with huge electricity bills – which will get bigger over the summer months. Murray families will pay an extra $320 a year, small business an extra $920 on average, with many paying much more.

Labor will fix that – keeping prices down by re-regulating the industry.

The Nationals have said nothing while their Liberal partners squandered billions of dollars in Sydney – with cost blowouts on toll roads, tunnels and new sports stadiums.

Money that could have worked wonders for the whole Murray region, if even a portion had been spent in the area.

Mr Foley highlighted the lack of maternity services at Leeton for nearly two years, saying Labor was also demanding an investigation into the outsourcing of instrument sterilisation services and the failed decision to cut pathology services at Griffith Base Hospital.

Many, he said, suspected the decision to allegedly reverse those cuts is only a ‘pause’ – until the by-election is over. Labor wants an end to centralisation of health services for the Murray, without excuses or weasel words.

That ‘pause’ might also apply to the  ‘re-engineering’ of police local area commands. On Friday NSW Police detailed how Sydney metropolitan commands will be affected – but there was no announcement about regional areas. So speculation continues that Deniliquin will be absorbed into Albury LAC, until at least after the by-election.

The Police Commissioner needs support on having the numbers, resources and equipment they need to ensure they continue to keep local communities safe.

Mr Foley said he guaranteed at least 70 per cent of all Vocational Education Training funds would be allocated to TAFE, in a Labor Government. This was critical to reverse the Nationals attack on TAFE involved thousands of teacher sackings, jacked up fee costs and decimation of courses statewide.

In Griffith this involved the removal of automotive, carpentry, hospitality and commercial cookery courses, in a region where key industries needed these skills and where youth unemployment is well above the state average.

The Nationals have been exposed in a scandal over water theft – allowing irrigators to take billions of litres. Labor has now referred this to the ICAC, the Independent Commission Against Corruption.  As a result Labor wants no decisions made on plans for a pipeline taking raw water from Wentworth to Broken Hill, until the rorters have been identified.

He praised Country Labor candidate Michael Kidd as a true local who understands the region’s specific needs.

He’s lived in Leeton for 35 years, worked as a Shire councillor, radiographer, served on the local health advisory committee, Tidy Towns committee, chaired the Roxy Theatre committee and is a member of Leeton United Football Club’s committee.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“Nationals and Liberals did everything to drive up prices. Essential Energy, which serves the Murray and is owned by the New South Wales government, went to court to stop the Independent Energy Regulator from cutting electricity prices in the bush. It even lied in documents.

“So Murray families will pay an extra $320 a year, small business an extra $920 – and many will pay more.

‘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. 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.”

Quotes attributable to NSW Country Labor Candidate for Murray Michael Kidd

“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.

“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.

“The Nationals attack on TAFE involves thousands of teacher sackings, jacked up fees  and decimation of courses including removal of automotive, carpentry, hospitality and commercial cookery courses at Griffith. These are key courses, especially for students interested in local tourism and food/wine industry.

“A Foley Labor government has guaranteed at least 70 per cent of all VET funding, for TAFE. And that is vital for this region.”