NSW Election 2023: Election Outcome Issue 4
Issue 4, 22 March 2023
Early voting for the NSW State Election, which will be held Saturday 25 March, has officially opened and will continue until Friday 24 March. The final leaders’ debate will be held tonight on Sky News at 7:30pm AEDT, live from Western Sydney.
In the final week of campaigning, both parties have ramped up their tactical messaging against each other, using privatisation and budget costings as core themes in the political rhetoric leading into the Election. Key commitments this week have centred around families, transport and education.
This is the fourth NSW Election newsletter distributed by GRACosway, and features analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling, and other political developments. View Issues 1, 2 and 3.
The Campaign Trail
Both of the major parties headed up campaign rallies on Sunday in key Western Sydney battleground seats, with the Labor Party hosting its ‘Final Countdown’ event in Paramatta and the Liberal Party’s ‘Keep Western Sydney Moving’ rally occurring in Penrith. Opposition Leader Chris Minns used the platform to reassert his Party’s top priorities to deliver fair and accessible essential services and “end privatisation once and for all”. Mr Minns also pledged to legislate Sydney Water and Hunter Water into the NSW Constitution if elected. Meanwhile, Premier Dominic Perrottet spoke at the Liberal rally about the Coalition’s economic plans, warning that Labor “can’t manage money, so they will come after yours”. Mr Perrottet also revealed his plans to reduce the weekly Opal public transport cap by 20 per cent and help commuters save up to $480 a year.
The backend of last week saw both leaders make election commitments focused on families. Premier Perrottet and Minister for Health Brad Hazzard visited the Royal Hospital for Women in Randwick to announce a $95 million commitment to upgrade its Neo-Natal Care Ward to support women and newborns. Mr Perrottet also promised an additional $10 million to not-for-profit organisations as part of the Financial Counselling Services Program in support of financial management services for family household budgets. Meanwhile, Mr Minns pledged to expand FoodBank NSW & ACT’s School Breakfast 4 Health program and vowed to invest $17.9 million to support the NSW Community Languages Schools Program. Mr Minns also announced (paywall) a $75 million recruitment program to hire an additional 250 school counsellors to improve mental health in schools.
This week, Premier Perrottet continued his focus on Sydney’s west and committed to increase the speed limit on WestConnex from 80 kilometres per hour to 90 kilometres per hour. Mr Perrottet also spent two days on the South Coast and spoke (paywall) in Nowra about his intentions to appoint Liberal candidate for Kiama Melanie Gibbons to Cabinet. Meanwhile, Mr Minns visited Warragamba Dam to discuss Sydney Water, announce fairer rental policies and meet with heath workers at Sutherland Hospital in Caringbah to announce (paywall) Labor’s proposed Surgical Care Taskforce.
Labor’s anti-privatisation messaging has continued to dominate its campaign, following the release of government documents that suggested the possible sale of Sydney Water. Citing the Coalition’s 2019 State Election promise to not sell WestConnex, Mr Minns stated that “Sydney Water is on the ballot paper on March 25” which Mr Perrottet continues to deny, calling Labor’s rhetoric a “campaign on lies”. The privatisation argument also continued during last week’s election debate on Nine, where Mr Perrottet maintained his position that “we’ve never directed the public service in relation to Sydney Water”.
Both parties also used recent findings from the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO) about budget costings to take aim on each other’s economic records. Following revelations that Labor’s proposed removal of the public sector wage cap would increase government costs by an estimated $2.6 billion over three years, Treasurer Matt Kean condemned Labor’s numbers, stating they “simply don’t add up” and referred to Labor’s economic promises as a “budget black hole”. Meanwhile, Shadow Treasurer Daniel Mookhey stated the Coalition is “promising more debt and deficit”, citing unfunded projects and reiterating the threat of privatisation.
- $75 million to recruit (paywall) 250 school counsellors in the next government term to combat mental health crises in NSW schools.
- $59 million to continue (paywall) funding Landcare’s volunteering services over four years across regional and rural areas.
- $17.9 million to support the NSW Community Languages Schools Program to reduce costs for language learning, which includes a $100 rebate for parents with children that pass end-of-year exams and have an 85 per cent record attendance.
- $8 million to support the continuation of Foodbank NSW & ACT’s School Breakfast 4 Health program over the next four years.
- $6.5 million to provide a new after-school care program in Western Sydney, in partnership with the Western Sydney Wanderers Football club.
- Amend the NSW Constitution to protect public ownership of Sydney Water and Hunter Water.
- Establish a Surgical Care Taskforce to improve surgery waitlist times.
- Introduce data protection requirements for real estate agents for rental properties, review the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal’s role in rental conflict processes and deliver more funding for tenant advocacy services.
- $95 million to upgrade the Newborn Care Centre at the Royal Hospital for Women to improve treatment spaces for women, newborns, and families.
- $40 million to rebuild and restore the Carss Park Pool into an aquatic centre.
- $25 million to upgrade community facilities in waterways across the state, including boating ramps, fishing facilities, and opening up waterways in Western Sydney.
- $21.7 million to improve accessibility to BreastScreen NSW vans across regional and remote communities.
- $10 million to not-for-profit organisations to help the delivery of financial management services to families in need under the Financial Counselling Services Program.
- $6 million to improve (paywall) accessibility to headline shows in regional NSW as part of a new Headline Act Regional Touring Fund.
- $5 million to deliver a cycleway between St Leonard’s and Chatswood.
- Increase the speed limit on WestConnex from 80 kilometres per hour to 90 kilometres per hour to reduce travel times.
- Develop natural capital accounts to be entailed in NSW’s balance sheet to track the value of natural capital over time.
- Cut the Opal weekly cap by 20 per cent, reducing the adult cap from $50 to $40 and the concession holder card from $25 to $20.
Polling released by the Resolve Political Monitor on 20 March indicated (paywall) the election is tightening, with both parties sharing a primary vote of 38 per cent, meaning the Coalition has jumped six points and Labor’s popularity has remained the same. However, Perrottet has risen further as the preferred Premier (40 per cent) while Chris Minns is falling behind (34 per cent).
PRIMARY VOTE (%)
- 38% Liberal/National
- 38% Labor
- 8% Greens
- 8% Independents
- 8% Others
Seats in the Spotlight
This week we focus on a stretch of Liberal-held seats in outer Sydney that are considered battleground electorates for the two major parties and key determinants of Saturday’s election outcome.
Note: The figures are sourced from ABC psephologist Antony Green’s calculations.
- Winston Hills (5.7 per cent Liberal) is an electorate between Parramatta and Blacktown which covers the suburbs of Northmead, Winston Hills, Old Toongabbie, Glenwood, and parts of Seven Hills and Wentworthville. Winston Hills is a new electorate, following the abolishment of the Seven Hills seat held by Liberal MP Mark Taylor who is now the candidate for Winston Hills. Paramatta Deputy Lord Mayor Sameer Pandey is running as the Labor candidate.
- Holsworthy (6 per cent Liberal) covers sections of the Liverpool and Sutherland Shire Councils including Alfords Point, Barden Ridge, Lucas Heights, Sandy Point and parts of Menai and Bangor. The incumbent MP is Melanie Gibbons who initially won at the electorate’s first Election in 2015, lost pre-selection this year and is not contesting the seat in this election. The Liberal Candidate is Tina Ayyad who is up against Labor candidate Mick Maroney.
- Parramatta (6.5 per cent Liberal) is contained within the City of Parramatta, stretching from Hariss Park, Rosehill, Silverwater and Wentworth Point in the south, up to North Parramatta, Rydalmere, Dundas and sections of Melrose Park. While historically a Labor seat, Paramatta has been held by retiring Liberal MP Geoff Lee since the 2011 Election. This year, Katie Mullens is the Liberal candidate with Lord Mayor of Parramatta Donna Davis running for Labor.
- Drummoyne (13.6 per cent Liberal) covers parts of Canada Bay Council and Strathfield Council, which includes suburbs of Drummoyne, Five Dock, Concord, and sections of North Strathfield and Homebush. While traditionally a Labor seat, it is currently held by outgoing MP John Sidoti who was a former Liberal member, having been excluded from the Party following the Independent Commission Against Corruption’s (ICAC) revelations of corrupt conduct. Both major party candidates have served on the Canada Bay Council, with current Deputy Mayor Stephanie Di Masqua contesting on behalf of the Liberal Party and former Deputy Mayor Julia Little running as the Labor candidate.
This is the fourth edition of our New South Wales Election 2023 newsletter series, featuring analysis of campaign activities, policy announcements, polling and other political developments. For more information about the Election, or to enquire about our services in New South Wales, please contact a senior member of our team on the details below or our Sydney office on +61 2 8353 0400 or at [email protected].
Jaimi Greenspan, Director – Public Affairs
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