With Labor’s recent victory in the NSW state election, led by State leader Chris Minns, sweeping changes are expected to be made in various sectors of life in NSW, including health, education, public transport, and more. The effectiveness of the new Labor government and the length of time it takes to pass legislation in the Parliament will determine how long it will take to implement these changes.
The recent election can be seen as the culmination of a “Labor revolution,” with all States and Territories on the mainland, as well as the Commonwealth, governed by Labor. The new Minns Government has come to power amidst dissatisfaction from public workers, such as teachers, against the previous Coalition Government. With a strong momentum from this victory, the Labor government aims to deliver on its campaign promises.
One of the major issues taken to the election was healthcare, and how it can be improved upon as we emerge out of the pandemic. Labor has pledged to address hospital wait times by enforcing a nurse-to-patient ratio to guarantee an adequate number of staff in hospitals while not overburdening nurses and doctors. Additionally, Labor has promised to build new hospitals in Rouse Hill and the Aerotropolis precinct and to increase capacity at various hospitals throughout the State.
Transport was another critical issue during the election, given the numerous industrial disputes with the train network and repeated interruptions of the train schedule. The new Premier has previously criticized the former Premier, Dominic Perrottet, for his government’s struggling relationship with the train network. Labor has promised to build trains in NSW, creating more jobs in the State, and will create a taskforce to improve bus services. Labor also intends to focus on the Tallawong-St Marys and Macarthur-Aerotropolis metro lines. Roads are also a priority, with Labor having promised $1.1 billion for road improvements across Western Sydney. Alongside this, Labor has vowed to table $225 million for the purpose of building evacuation roads, bridges, and levees in areas which are at risk of flooding.
Education has been one of the central points of Labor’s campaign. Labor aims to give 10,000 casual teachers permanent positions and investigate the workload of teachers to reduce their workload. Investments in new preschools, public schools, and expanding TAFE resources to allow more apprentices to enhance their technical skills will also be considered.
Improving Cost of Living
Labor has addressed the cost of living crisis by stating their agenda to reduce the cost of tolls, firstly by capping the toll bill to $60 per week. Labor has also promised to work with each sector to determine fair salaries for public sector workers, such as teachers. This pledge by Labor can be seen as a complete contrast to the previous Coalition Government, who were more hesitant to meet with sector workers, which led to various strikes.
Other Policy Changes
Labor has promised policies in various other sectors, including investments in renewable energy and creating an energy relief fund to reduce energy costs. Labor has also pledged to fund a job academy for women to boost the numbers of female workers in NSW and to increase funding for the sexual violence helpline. In regards to the environment, Labor campaigned on a promise to spend $80 million on the Great Koala National Park to be built on the Mid-North Coast.
While the agenda which Labor has presented can be seen as a standard campaign platform for any party running for Government, the effectiveness they will have is yet to be determined as votes are still being counted. Regardless, the new Premier has started his first few days by visiting Liverpool hospital and conducting interviews with morning radio talk shows to discuss his agenda further.