With just over a week until the NSW Election, Opposition Leader Chris Minns is remaining “hungry but humble” as he works to secure the state’s top job.
Starting last Saturday by taking part in the Nepean River Parkrun, the Labor leader spoke with the Weekender at Nourishmint Café within Lennox Village at Emu Plains while refuelling with an omelette.
Favoured to be the next Premier according to polls conducted by Roy Morgan Research, Minns believes there is a real mood for change in the community, but acknowledges the challenge of making voters aware of what his party will do differently.
“We believe we can rebuild essential services without selling off essential assets and there is a sharp difference between our platform, particularly in relation to schools and hospitals compared to what you are seeing inside the government,” Minns said.
“There are a few distinctions I would point to. The discipline of the team, the focus on issues effecting regular people in the community and no privatisation.”
Labor wants to remove the wage cap to keep essential workers, instate safe staffing levels in hospitals and look at encouraging more people to teaching to improve the education system.
Committing $485 million to help lower power bills and fight inflation and over $100 billion towards infrastructure over the next four years, Minns maintains spending will be sensible and some sacrifices made.
With $300 million allocated in the NSW Budget for a stadium in Penrith, Minns said he would need to think carefully about signing off on anything above that amount.
“If you are going to run for re-election and you have plans either involving Paceway, the current site, expansion beyond that, that’s north of $300 million and if he [Stuart Ayres] does have plans for that, well where is the money?” he said.
“Will it be funded by the future privatisation of assets? I suspect that they’re deliberately opaque about where they’re up to in terms of the process, hoping to get over the election campaign.”
Penrith MP Stuart Ayres rejected the claim that privatisation would fund the project when questioned by the Weekender.
“The most important thing here is that we are working with the Paceway, the Valuer-General will be determining what that relocation cost is and we will let the independent valuer make that determination,” Ayres said.
“We think it is an appropriate investment for this community and we think it’s more than affordable within our budget.”
Confident in Prue Car for Londonderry, Garion Thain for Badgerys Creek and Karen McKeown for the marginal seat of Penrith, the Opposition Leader wants locals to think long and hard about how their future can look.
“After 12 years this government’s best days are behind them and their most experienced, respected leaders have left,” Minns said.
“Unlike many other seats in the state it could come down to Penrith, so the votes in this community will have a big decision about whether we get a government whose best days are behind them or a new group of people who are looking at these problems in a different way.”
A graduate of Western Sydney University, Emily covers Local, State and Federal politics for the Weekender, as well as crime and general news.