NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley (centre).
NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley (centre).

Foley commits to banning CSG on north coast

NEW South Wales Opposition leader Luke Foley has re-committed his party to permanently banning coal seam gas mining on the north coast.

Speaking at the NSW Labor election launch, Mr Foley further vowed to stop CSG activity in areas of the Sydney drinking water catchment.

"It is just wrong for local communities to be trampled in a scramble for gas that will only ever be exported overseas," he said.

"It has to change now. Only Labor will do it."

The party leader said he would impose a statewide moratorium on all CSG activity, but did not indicate how long the freeze would last.

Deputy Opposition leader Linda Burney yesterday said the halt would persist until all 16 of the NSW Chief Scientist's recommendations were implemented.

"Labor has been campaigning for a national gas reservation policy to be put in place to keep gas prices affordable for domestic consumption," she added.

Ms Burney said the ban on CSG mining on the north coast would be a permanent fixture.

"The north coast is a unique region that is underpinned by its reputation as a pristine environment," she said.

"Labor will not allow any activities to be undertaken that may threaten that reputation and the industries and jobs it supports."

Mr Foley was adamant Labor could win the March 28 election. "Anyone who has lived through the last 10 years of Australian politics and says an election is unwinnable is a fool. This thing can be done," he said.

He unveiled new policies for health and education, including a promise that every new school would have childcare or before and after school care facilities on site.

"I will not have our schools designed as if they are 19th century buildings, locked up from 3pm-9am," he said.

Labor pledged $9.5 million in funding to train 200 specialist science and maths teachers for NSW primary schools, with the first 100 teachers due to start in 2016.

Mr Foley also announced an extra $1.3 billion to schools and TAFE colleges, as well as $1.7 billion for health infrastructure.

The commitment included ending the $180 co-payment for chemotherapy services introduced by the current government.

Premier Mike Baird took to Twitter to respond to Labor's plans.

"Things he did not mention once: commuters, trains or buses," he tweeted.

Mr Baird said a re-elected LNP government would have spent $10 billion on health between the 2011 and 2019 elections - more than Labor during its preceding 16 years of incumbency.

"If re-elected, we will make a record investment of more than $5 billion to make our health system the strongest in the country, which will result in total spend reaching almost $10 billion over an eight-year period," he said.

"Put simply, we will spend more in eight years than Labor spent in the entire 16 years it was in government.

"Labor can't be trusted to invest in our health system, nor can it deliver the funding our health system needs."

The $48 million upgrade of Tweed Hospital was included in the 60 capital projects earmarked to share in more than $5 billion of health funding under a re-elected Baird government.


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