Labor and Liberals at odds over education and health plans for Hunter

Friday, June 21, 2019

The state government has hit back at Labor’s education and health plans for the state after opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery said the measures would make a positive difference for the region’s families.

Opposition spokeswoman for the Hunter Sonia Hornery.

Ms Hornery said the opposition could fund its plan to improve education and health without leasing state-owned electricity assets.

She said the policies announced by opposition leader Luke Foley at Labor’s campaign launch on Sunday would benefit the Hunter.

“I’ll be campaigning on them right up to election day,” she said.

“Labor will improve the hospitals and schools that people rely on every day.

“We will hire new nurses and teachers and upgrade local facilities that are falling down – without privatising the electricity network.”

But Minister for the Hunter Gladys Berejiklian said the Baird government had already committed more than $1 billion to Hunter infrastructure.

She said the Hunter would also benefit from $600 million that the government had earmarked for regional schools and hospitals across the state.

“Labor did nothing in education for 16 years and their recent announcements merely back-in what this government is already delivering,” Ms Berejiklian said.

Ms Hornery said Labor’s $1.3 billion investment to build and improve schools and TAFE facilities, on top of the existing capital works budget, would benefit the Hunter.

She said Labor had also earmarked $1.7 billion in additional hospital funding on top of the capital works budget.

At the weekend’s campaign launch, Labor announced that every new public school would include either childcare facilities or before and after school care and $9.5 million would be invested to train 200 specialist maths and science teachers for primary schools across NSW.

Ms Berejiklian said the government was delivering record funding for improved classrooms and better training for teachers.

She said Hunter schools had received more than $65 million from the government’s new funding model so far this year.

“In health, the construction of a new state-of-the-art hospital for Maitland is a priority for this government,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The new Maitland Hospital will provide free public health services to public patients.”

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