Welcome to the NSW Nationals

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Our Policies

No other Party comes close to the level of investment we have planned for regional NSW

Economy

Economy

keeping NSW
#1

Community

Community

stronger regional communities

Primary Industries

Primary Industries

supporting primary producers

Education

Education

a fair share for regional kids

Health

Health

more staff, better facilities

Environment

Environment

protecting our regions

Roads

Roads

safer roads and shorter travel times

Roads

Law & Justice

protecting regional NSW

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Economy

What's happened since 2011
Rebuilding NSW

What's happened since 2011

When The Nationals came to government in 2011, Labor had left the economy in a disastrous state after 16 years of appalling mismanagement.

In July 2011, according to the CommSec’s State of the States we were ranked eight, the weakest economy in the nation.

In January 2015, NSW was reinstated as the strongest economy in Australia.

The Nationals have turned around the state’s finances, meaning there is more to invest in our schools and hospitals, into our roads and bridges, and our small businesses – not to mention being able to provide support to our farmers during times of drought. We’ve put regional NSW back where it belongs – at the heart of the government.

We have:

We are committed to enhancing and investing in regional NSW, giving you the hospitals and education you deserve. We want more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.

Let’s keep NSW working.

Rebuilding NSW

We are committed to investing in regional NSW, giving you the best hospitals and education, more jobs, safer roads and faster, more reliable services.

Unlike Labor, who sold off NSW electricity retail assets in a midnight fire-sale, our leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

We will keep Essential Energy publicly owned and controlled, and we are committed to ensuring regional NSW does not get left behind.  The lease comes with the following guarantees:

  • All net proceeds will be invested in schools, hospitals, water security, roads, tourism and the environment, through Rebuilding NSW;
  • The transaction will have no adverse impact on electricity reliability;
  • The regional presence of the network businesses will be maintained; and
  • Essential Energy, which owns and operates 95 per cent of the regional poles and wires network, will remain 100 per cent in public ownership.

Independent modelling undertaken by Deloitte Access Economics has found that the plan will boost the economy by almost $300 billion in just over 20 years and create more than 100,000 jobs across NSW.

We have identified key drivers of regional economic growth in the coming years, and we are committed to ensure that regional NSW does not once again fall behind as it did during Labor government.  We will continue to get results in our regions and keep them strong by investing in:

  • Water security and productivity – increasing the availability and capacity of water sources to support more production and new developments in agriculture and mining such as:
    • The Water Supply augmentation in Narrabri, supplying new water supply bores.
  • Freight productivity – lower costs to and from markets to increase the competitiveness of NSW producers with projects such as:
    • Mine Affected Roads Package for the Muswellbrook Shire Council.
  • Attracting new industries – eg professional services, health services,  education, new intensive agriculture – by investing in the water, roads and rail for new logistics centres;
  • Increased tourism potential with projects such as:
    • Airport upgrades;
    • Increased funding for conferences in regional centres; and
    • The North Coast Rail Trail.
  • Lower travel time, reducing reliance on drive-in or fly-in-fly-out workers; and
  • Health outcomes – introducing new models of care, lower patient costs and minimising travel to other referral hospitals.

Community

Rebuilding NSW
Sports and Tourism
Social Housing
Supporting Our Seniors
Disability Inclusion Plan

Rebuilding NSW

We are investing in regional NSW, bringing you the best schools and hospitals, more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.
The leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. We have ensured regional NSW gets its fair share of the proceeds of this long-term lease.  For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

As part of Rebuilding NSW, a $300 million Regional Environment and Tourism Program will be set aside to invest in regional NSW.

Sports and Tourism

Community Sportsgrounds

Sports play a large role in Australian culture, and regional NSW should not be using second rate facilities. Our future sporting legends should not have to develop their skills on dusty hard ovals, overgrown out-field and crumbling courts. That’s we have committed $32 million to the ClubGRANTS program, a state-wide fund specifically for community sportsgrounds and sporting facilities. This is on top of the $90 million provided in 2013.

Regional Conferences

Conferences in regional NSW can boost economic activity, bringing people to regional centres which will benefit business for local hotels, motels, restaurants and cafes. We want regional centres to be a first-choice location when organisations are deciding where to hold their next conference. That is why $6 million has been dedicated to implementing a regional conference strategy that would attract more conferences to regional centres, delivering an estimated $24 million in economic benefits across NSW.

Social Housing

Labor left a social housing system that was unfair and unsustainable, with spiralling wait lists, a massive maintenance backlog and housing that was not fit for purpose. Despite improvements since 2011, there is still much to be done to make the social housing system sustainable and fair. We are committed to develop a social housing system that gives opportunity and pathways to client independence, by providing assistance in a way that contributes to better education, health and employment outcomes. We want it to be fair, providing a safety net for vulnerable people in the community, to those who need it, while they need it, and where they need it.

Finally, we need a sustainable system that provides appropriate housing assistance to vulnerable people now, and into the future. Underpinning this objective is the requirement that the system also be financially viable. This means a system in which the stock of housing meets requirements, is adequately maintained over time and efficiently managed within the Government's existing funding envelope.

Supporting Our Seniors

Tech Savvy Seniors

The NSW Government has committed to doubling the funding for the Tech Savvy Seniors program. Launched in 2012, the program has been a great success, providing low coast training for seniors to learn to use computers, smart phones, and tablets. In addition to the $500,000 already provided annually, we will provide $2 million more. This will enhance the program by:

  • Adding 3,500 places per year across 30 regional and metropolitan community colleges and libraries;
  • The addition of a Tech Savvy Seniors Regional Road Show which will reach 40 regional locations; and
  • The introduction of online banking courses for seniors.

The program has been a great success, and an independent evaluation by the University of Melbourne identified that for every $1 invested in Tech Savvy Seniors to date, $10.98 is returned in social value. This means that more than $17 million in social value has been provided by Tech Savvy Seniors in NSW in the past three 3 years.

Disability Inclusion Plan

No one should be excluded from the opportunities that are available to us in NSW, but unfortunately everyday people with disability face barriers to participation. This issue is even greater in regional NSW, and we are working hard to tackle the sometimes difficult and slow process of change and set an example in access and inclusion. We are setting up a system that will allowing government departments, local councils and other public authorities work together to provide better support and services to people with disability. The Plan includes:

  • Providing accessible toilets in all public buildings;
  • Training for staff to learn about better accessibility and inclusion for people with disability; and
  • Ensuring job advertisements encouraging people with a disability to apply.

This will allow services to be more accessible and communities to be more inclusive. The plan will be designed with complete consultation with the community including people with a disability. We will not allow any person to be left behind in regional NSW.

Primary Industries

What's happened since 2011
Drought package

What's happened since 2011

When we were elected to office in 2011, we inherited broken regional services, with land use and aquifer interference policies that were in shambles and absolutely no vision for the future of primary industries in NSW.
Labor had been mismanaging and neglecting primary industries in NSW for 16 years.

The Nationals recognise the importance of primary industries to the NSW economy, which is why we immediately appointed a sole Minister for Primary Industries and re-established the standalone Department of Primary Industries.

Agriculture

The Nationals in government have restored the vision for primary industries in NSW.

In 2014 we released the NSW Agriculture Industry Action Plan - which is a first-of-its-kind strategic ‘roadmap’ to expand the state’s $12 billion primary industries sector.

The development of this plan represented the first time that the NSW Government had sat down and worked with industry to map out a pathway to prosperity.

The Nationals have also implemented the most significant reform to regional service delivery in NSW since the 1940s, with the development of the Local Land Services.

This merger of the Catchment Management Authorities, Livestock Health and Pest Authorities and some DPI agricultural advisory services was delivering better frontline services to our farmers.

The Nationals have this year allocated $1.3 billion to the DPI, which is one of the largest providers of primary industries research and development in the country. That funding supports about 2600 staff located at more than 200 sites in NSW, with more than 1000 active R&D projects. We have forged partnerships with every university in NSW and others interstate, undertaking trials with cooperative research centres, and research and development corporations to be at the forefront of scientific agricultural endeavour.

We have also introduced the most stringent regulation and policies in Australia to try to restore the balance between mining, CSG and prime agricultural land and water. For the first time, the NSW Government is introducing a system to protect agricultural land and water resources while creating jobs and investment for regional communities.

Biosecurity

Biosecurity is the protection of the economy, environment and community from negative impacts associated with pests, diseases and weeds. In May 2013 the NSW Government released the NSW Biosecurity Strategy 2013-2021 and in May 2014 the Minister for Primary Industries released a new biosecurity framework, which underpinned development of a NSW Biosecurity Act, which is currently before the NSW Parliament.

The Nationals in government have also launched a $9.8 million Biosecurity Information Management System. This system allows surveillance teams to submit crucial, real-time data so labs and control centres can be continually informed, drastically reducing work-hours and errors.

We have also developed the nation-leading Farm Trespass Policy, which is designed to stop people from trespassing onto our intensive farms and causing biosecurity risks.

Animal welfare

The Nationals in government have delivered $7.5 million for the rebuilding and refurbishment of the Yagoona animal centre in December 2011. We also passed crucial amendments to the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act 1979, which significantly benefit the welfare of stock animals and regional communities.

Fisheries

Every year, the NSW Government invest millions of dollars from the sale of NSW fishing fees into projects and initiatives which directly benefit recreational anglers. In March 2013, following the Independent Scientific Audit of Marine Parks, a new approach was introduced ensuring balanced, evidence-based decisions are made in relation to the marine state, which considers environmental, social and economic impacts.

The NSW Government is also reforming the commercial fisheries industry to ensure its long-term viability, as well as running many stocking programs and building artificial reefs.

Drought package

In February 2015 The Nationals announced the NSW Drought Package, which includes an extensive suite of innovative measures to help the agriculture sector prepare for and deal with drought.

This evidence-based, transparent and long-term package will see more than $300 million in assistance measures allocated during the next five years to support our farmers and regional communities prepare for and deal with drought when it strikes.

This strategy will support farmers to become more resilient and better prepared for future drought. The strategy is based around:

  • Supporting farmers to prepare for and manage drought;
  • Committing to a transparent and accountable system of drought assistance; and
  • Helping our primary producers and regional communities build resilience.

It provides short-term assistance for those in need while also putting in place a long-term, fully-funded strategy to enable primary producers to become more resilient and productive, which will lead to greater output from our regional economies. The package includes:

  • $250 million in long-term, low-interest loans to continue the Farm Innovation Fund;
  • $45 million in scholarships for farmers to undertake vocational training and farm business planning to prepare for future droughts;
  • $5 million to provide transport assistance for animal welfare and donated fodder within NSW;
  • $2.5 million to work the BoM to develop enhanced network of weather stations across NSW;
  • A commitment to work with the Commonwealth Government and farming communities to develop a commercial multi-peril insurance product for the cropping sector; and
  • Ongoing investment in research and development through the Department of Primary Industries.

The Nationals will help our farmers to be better prepared for future droughts; to enable them to upskill, get their books in order and to install fodder sheds, pipelines, troughs and the fencing they need to survive through tough times. Our rural and regional communities will have the support services they need available, while ensuring a transparent and accountable system of assistance.

Education

What's happened since 2011
Gonski
Rebuilding NSW
Innovative Education, Successful Students
Preschool funding
Smart and Skilled
Reskilling NSW

What's happened since 2011

When we were elected to government in March 2011, regional NSW had suffered 16 years of neglect under Labor. We have focused on bringing our communities the facilities, teachers and support they deserve, and much has been accomplished:

  • Local Schools, Local Decisions: We provided an extra $40 million for maintenance needs and gave public school the power to manage 70 per cent of their budgets as opposed to 10 per cent in 2012.
  • Great Teaching, Inspired Learning: Strengthened and enhanced the quality and performance of teachers through professional development and support.
  • Literacy and Numeracy Action Plan: $261 million to support students at most risk of poor literacy and numeracy in the earliest years of school.
  • Connected Communities Strategy: Positions schools as community hubs that will deliver a range of services from birth through school to further training, study and employment. This strategy addresses the educational and social aspirations of Aboriginal children and young people living in a number of complex and diverse communities across NSW.
  • $2.3 billion on vocational education and training in 2014-15, an 11 per cent increase compared to the last Labor government.
  • More than 60,000 additional training places in 2015 as a result of the NSW Government’s Smart and Skilled reforms.
  • $1.86 billion for TAFE NSW in 2014-15 to deliver quality training across the state.

If The Nationals are re-elected to government on March 28, we will increase funding and support for the education system in NSW.

Gonski

In 2013, the NSW Government was the first to sign up to the Gonski school funding agreement, which delivers an additional $5 billion to NSW schools. The Gonski system ensures that a student’s success is determined by their ability, application and willingness to learn, rather than where they live, their family background or whether they are indigenous or have a disability.

Already NSW public schools have started to see the benefits with an additional $197 million invested in 2014 and 2015 directly into the classroom to assist students needing extra help.

  • A full breakdown of funding directed to individual schools can be found here.

In 2015, the Resource Allocation Model, based on the Gonski Recommendations, supplies funding to improve education outcomes:

  • $253 million for students from low socio-economic backgrounds;
  • $240 million for students with low-level disability;
  • $104 million for students still developing English language proficiency;
  • $50 million to support students from Aboriginal backgrounds; and
  • $17 million for remote and isolated school communities.

With this funding, 84 per cent of NSW public schools will receive increased needs-based funding, meaning regional schools will benefit the most, with 658 schools receiving an increase of more the $50,000. Combined with the Local Schools, Local Decisions, it will be the principals, teachers and parents who decide how this additional funding can best be used to support learning needs in their schools.

Rebuilding NSW – Building the schools we deserve

Only The Nationals are committed to enhancing and investing in regional NSW, bringing you the best schools and hospitals, more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.
The leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. We have ensured regional NSW gets its fair share of the proceeds of this long-term lease.  For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

As part of the Rebuilding NSW we have secured $300 million for new and upgraded schools. One project already announced is a $40 million new high school in Ballina. This funding will be rolled out through Innovative Education, Successful Students and more regional centres will benefit.

Innovative Education, Successful Students

For 16 years under Labor, schools in regional NSW were neglected. Our children’s education is too important and we can’t afford for them to fall behind those in the cities. Since elected into government in 2011, we have been working hard to bring regional NSW up to standard.
As part of the Rebuilding NSW program, $300 million will be allocated for 1600 new or refurbished classrooms and learning spaces including throughout regional NSW.
To succeed in the future, our students will require research, problem-solving and critical thinking skills. They will need to be able to work independently and together with groups of other students. The spaces our children learn in have to be more flexible with the innovative integration of new technology and better opportunities for student/teacher collaboration.
This is on top of the The Nationals’ commitment of $2.7 billion in investment into school facilities over the next four years. This additional money will ensure there is a focus on innovative uses of technology and flexible learning spaces in our schools.
What does this mean for you? Some projects have already been announced:

  • New school in Dubbo for students with special needs;
  • Major upgrade to Pottsville Beach Primary School in the Tweed;
  • Upgrades to the boarding facilities at Farrer Agricultural High School in Tamworth;
  • A new purpose-built distance education facility in Queanbeyan; and
  • Major upgrades to 14 high schools in regional areas

Preschool funding

We have committed to a new funding model that will make $150 million available for community preschools across NSW. Under the Preschool Funding Model:

  • 95 per cent of preschools will see an increase in their base funding rate;
  • The highest base funding rate will increase from $2,950 to $5,270;
  • The minimum base rate will increase from $1,250 to $1,805;
  • Loadings for Aboriginal children aged three years or older will increase from $3,300 to $5,270;
  • Preschools in remote areas will have a 45 per cent increase in service loadings; and
  • No service will receive less funding in the first two years.

The model directs the highest increases to children from disadvantaged families, giving operational support allowing these services to increase their enrolments and benefit from a new, fairer funding system.

Smart and Skilled

Our Smart and Skilled reforms make it easier for people to take up training, giving them more choice over training and the training organisation that best meets their needs by:

  • Linking the NSW Government’s investment in training with the jobs the NSW economy needs through the NSW Skills List – courses are defined based on industry consultation and labour market trends so that students are more likely to gain employment after they graduate;
  • Enabling choice of training providers based on strong quality criteria; and
  • Establishing new fee and student eligibility arrangements for government subsidised courses from January 2015. All approved training organisations delivering government subsidised training, including TAFE NSW, will charge the same fees.

This will allow 60,000 more students to undergo vocational education training (VET), while allowing TAFE to become locally responsive and autonomous, supported by a secure and transparent budget.

Reskilling NSW

We have committed a further $86 million to the Reskilling NSW Plan, which will greatly enhance the vocational training and education of young people across NSW. The plan consists of:

  • $48 million for 200,000 fee free scholarships for in-need 15-30 year olds to undertake vocational education and training certificate courses;
  • $27 million for 40,000 school students per year to enrol in a VET course as part of the HSE in order to make the transition from school to further employment easier;
  • $8 million to target support for disengaged young people in regional areas with high youth unemployment and provide additional funding for specialist Aboriginal and disability training providers for targeted government subsidised training;
  • $3 million to provide support for equity and diversity, particularly to support specialist Aboriginal and disability training providers to deliver government subsidised training and develop capacity in competitive environment; and
  • An historic agreement between the NSW Government and peak industry and employer groups to encourage more business to take on apprentices and trainees.

We are delivering the skills required to make it easier for 240,000 young people to capitalise on the many opportunities available in the fastest growing economy in the country.

Health

What's happened since 2011
Rebuilding NSW
Protecting Remote Patients
Hospital in the Home
Banning E-Cigarettes

What's happened since 2011

We have brought a focus to health that had been non-existent under the Labor government for 16 years. For so long new country hospitals were promised, but never delivered. We have replaced hollow words with action, investing more than $2 billion since 2011 to rebuild our hospitals, including:

  • Wagga Wagga Hospital – the $282 million upgrade is underway;
  • Tamworth Hospital – $211 million for a new hospital;
  • Bega Hospital – $187 million for a new hospital, construction underway;
  • Port Macquarie Hospital – the $104 million upgrade was completed in 2014;
  • Dubbo Hospital – a $91 million upgrade is underway;
  • New Byron Hospital – works are underway on a new $80+ million hospital;
  • Parkes Hospital – construction is underway on new $72 million Parkes Hospital;
  • Forbes Hospital – a $41 million upgrade is underway;
  • Kempsey Hospital – an $80 million upgrade is underway; and
  • Lismore Hospital – an $80 million upgrade is underway.

We have also:

  • Created 9 Regional Health Districts governed by Local Health District Boards to return decision making to our communities;
  • Added 1600 more nurses and 350 more doctors, 44 more paramedics and 980 more hospital support staff;
  • Increased the recurrent health budget by 20 per cent – with $18.7 billion allocated this financial year;
  • Provided $300 million to meet increased demand at hospitals and emergency departments; and
  • Invested $200 million for medical research across NSW and the establishment of the Office for Health and Medical Research.

Regional NSW has been a big winner from funding secured by the NSW Nationals in government. If re-elected, we have committed to more hospital upgrades that will allow the NSW regional health system to become the best in Australia, including:

  • Dubbo Hospital – $150 million commitment to the next stage of the major redevelopment;
  • Manning Hospital – $20 million to deliver a significant enhancement of cancer care and renal services;
  • Armidale Hospital – $60 million for a new emergency department, critical care unit, in-patient ward, operating theatres and sterilising unit;
  • Inverell Hospital – $30 million for a new emergency department, operating theatres, acute care facilities, maternity Unit, paediatrics facilities and a new renal dialysis unit;
  • Macksville Hospital – $50 million will enhance patient care at Macksville Hospital while also improving ambulatory care and outpatient treatments; and
  • Tweed Hospital – $48 million investment will upgrade the emergency department, enhancement wards and specialist units and build a new multi-storey car park.

Rebuilding NSW – Building the hospitals we deserve

The Nationals are investing in regional NSW, bringing you the best schools and hospitals, more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.
The leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. We have ensured regional NSW gets its fair share of the proceeds of this long-term lease. For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

After being neglected for 16 years under Labor, we’ve given regional health the injection it needed but it deserves more. We dedicated $300 million to rebuilding and expanding hospitals in regional NSW. This investment will secure the sustainability of smaller facilities by integrating healthcare services, with a focus on innovation and flexibility in service delivery. Locations prioritised for new investment will be those with smaller populations that may not be able to sustain separate hospital, residential care, community health and home care services. No longer will regional NSW suffer due to second rate medical facilities.

Protecting Remote Patients

The Isolated Patients Travel and Accommodation Assistance Scheme which helps patients who require travel from remote, rural and regional areas for medical treatment will be boosted even further if we are re-elected to government on March 28. We will:

  • Increase petrol reimbursement rate from 19c to 22c per km;
  • Increase commercial accommodation subsidy rates for 8-14 night stays:
    • From $43 to $80 (single) and from $60 to $120 (double) per night.
  • Increase commercial accommodation subsidy rates for 15+ night stays:
    • From $43 to $105 (single) and from $60 to $120 (double) per night.
  • Reduce the patient co-payment from $40 to $30;
  • Make claims for prosthetic services eligible under the scheme;
  • Make claims for some specialist allied health services eligible under the scheme;
  • Simplify forms and making online claims easier;
  • Reduce the time taken to process claims and reimburse patients;
  • Establish a dedicated 1800 number to streamline enquiries; and
  • Make small claims under $100 easier to lodge.

This policy represents a strong commitment from the NSW Nationals to deliver on our promise of greater assistance and access to health services for those living in regional, rural and remote areas.

Hospital in the Home

As our population ages, it is vital that people receive the highest of standards care no matter where they are in NSW. We are increasing services by working in partnership with the non-government sector to expand the use of telemedicine and community nursing services, while $35 million will be invested in palliative care.

Banning E-Cigarettes

The health consequences of smoking e-cigarettes is still not fully known, and we believe that it is not acceptable for minors to be freely able to purchase them. The Nationals will introduce a Bill into the NSW Parliament to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

The move is supported by organisations including Heart Foundation NSW, Cancer Council NSW and Australian Medical Association. The World Health Organization has also called on governments to ban the sale of electronic cigarettes to minors.

Environment

What's happened since 2011
Rebuilding NSW
Coal Seam Gas
Cash for Cans
Renewable Energy
Energy Efficiency Action Plan

What's happened since 2011

The Nationals understand how important it is to protect our environment for future generations. Over the past few years, much has been done to impose more stringent regulations on our resources industry and improve recycling facilities. We have:

  • Re-established the Environment Protection Authority (EPA) as an independent environmental regulator, while increasing its budget by 28 per cent;
  • Implemented stronger penalties for environmental offences;
  • Strengthened the regulation of coal seam gas, reducing the footprint of the industry from 47 per cent of the state in 2011 to 15 per cent in 2015; and
  • Improving recycling and reduced waste with more than $450 million to enhance infrastructure, creation of illegal dumping squads and campaigns to prevent and reduce litter.

If re-elected, the NSW Nationals are committed to continuing this strong commitment to protecting the environment and our communities.

Rebuilding NSW

We are committed to enhancing and investing in regional NSW, bringing you the best schools and hospitals, more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.

The leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. We have ensured regional NSW gets its fair share of the proceeds of this long-term lease.  For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

As part of the Rebuilding NSW we have secured $300 million to invest in our Regional Environment and Tourism Program.

Coal Seam Gas

The Labor government, when in office, handed out 37 Petroleum Exploration Licences (PELs) covering almost 50% of the state without any concern for regulation. Since being elected, we have introduced a number of measures to protect the environment and our communities. These measures include:

  • Introduced tough new measures to protect our water resources, through our Aquifer Interference Policy;
  • Banned the use of evaporation ponds and BTEX chemicals;
  • Banned CSG activities near homes and critical industries – with 2km exclusion zones now in place;
  • Mapped and protected more than 2 million hectares of prime agricultural land – the first time this has been done in the State’s history;
  • Appointed a Land and Water Commissioner to oversee CSG exploration, and assist landowners in negotiations over land access agreements;
  • Introduced two new Codes of Practice, independently peer-reviewed by Professor O’Kane, that require world’s best practice for hydraulic fracturing and well design for CSG production. Failure to comply with the Codes can result in prosecution and title cancellation;
  • Increased the fee for lodging a PEL application from $1,000 to $50,000;
  • Put a freeze on PEL Applications and Petroleum Special Prospecting Authority applications for a further 12 months, until September 2015.
  • Bought back licences across NSW, bringing coverage from 50% to 15%;
  • Increased buy-back deadline so the government can continue buying PELs; and
  • Adopted all 17 of Professor O’Kane’s recommendations from her report on Coal Seam Gas activities.

If re-elected, the NSW Liberal & Nationals Government will continue to implement the NSW Gas Plan, which adopts all recommendations by Professor O’Kane into Coal Seam Gas activities in NSW. The Plan provides strategy over five key areas:

  • Better science and information to deliver world’s best practice regulation;
  • Pause, reset and recommence gas exploration on our terms;
  • Strong and certain regulation;
  • Sharing the benefits; and
  • Securing NSW Gas supply needs.

The NSW Gas Plan will introduce a new Strategic Release Framework to allow the Government to identify the most appropriate areas for gas exploration after a careful assessment of economic, social and environmental factors, with community consultation conducted up-front.

The NSW Liberals & Nationals are committed to ensuring any growth in the State’s gas industry is done safely and sustainably to world’s best practice standards, while ensuring the protection of our communities.

Cash for Cans

Drink containers make up one third of litter and are often found in parks and waterways, including dams, lakes and rivers, while also polluting our beaches and regional highways. The most efficient and cost effective method for dealing with this issue is a Container Deposit Scheme.

We have committed to installing 800 reverse vending machines in parks and public spaces across NSW by 1 July 2017.

Over the next year there will be consultation with the community on the key aspects of the scheme, including:

  • The incentives for the community to participate in the scheme;
  • The scope of containers to be redeemable under the scheme;
  • The location of reverse vending machines; and
  • The role of our local councils and the recycling industry in contributing to the scheme.

Similar schemes have proven to assist in removing litter in other states and overseas. Through this program, everyone will be able to contribute to keeping our State clean.

Renewable Energy

The NSW Liberal & Nationals Government is committed to a secure, reliable, affordable and clean energy future for households and businesses in NSW. The NSW Renewable Energy Action Plan supports a national target of 20% renewable energy by 2020. Key outcomes achieved through $61.5 million in investment include:

  • The Renewable Energy Advocate has facilitated the development of 15 large scale renewable energy projects totalling 3,600MW;
  • NSW has utilised over $582 million of Commonwealth funding for 104 renewable energy projects in NSW;
  • Construction has commenced on AGL’s $450 million, 155MW Solar Flagships projects in Nyngan and Broken Hill;
  • The Regional Clean Energy Program has been improved and expanded to support early and effective engagement in renewable projects and the development of community-owned NSW renewable energy projects;
  • The Government Resource Efficiency Policy has been released, introducing measures to identify solar leasing opportunities and require Government agencies to purchase GreenPower;
  • The first NSW Energy Innovation Knowledge Hub has been established in Newcastle to foster research and innovation in renewable energy; and
  • A patent application has been developed for the new technology of geothermal assisted power generation.

Our commitment is to achieve a reliable, affordable and clear energy future at least cost to the energy consumer and with maximum benefits to our State.

Energy Efficiency Action Plan

In 2013 the NSW Government launched it Energy Efficiency Action Plan, which set a new direction for efficient energy use in NSW. Its objectives of the plan are to deliver bill savings to those most impacted on by prices and investigate policy options for new measures that will further reduce pressure on future prices.  It includes targets and actions to:

  • Assist businesses and households to realise annual energy savings of 16,000 gigawatt hours by 2020;
  • Support 220,000 low income households to reduce their energy use by up to 20%; and
  • Deliver high-standard building retrofit programs so 50% of the commercial floor space of NSW achieves a 4-star NABERS energy and water rating by 2020.

This plan helps households and businesses to save on bills now, while putting the right structures in place to grow the energy efficiency products and services sector in NSW. These actions will ensure that energy savings are sustained, that there is growth in energy efficiency investment and that the NSW community continues to improve in energy productivity into the future.

Roads

What's happened since 2011
Rebuilding NSW – Upgrading Roads in Regional NSW
School Zone Safety
Fixing Country Roads
Bridges for the Bush
Resources for Regions
Annual Roads and Freight Budget
Funding for council-owned roads (local and regional roads)
The Pacific Highway

What's happened since 2011

We need to ensure our roads are safe and want to give businesses who use regional roads opportunity to reduce time spent travelling and hauling freight to market.
After roads in regional NSW were neglected for 16 years under labor, and the Pacific Highway funding cut again and again, we have been busy delivering improvements to regional roads:

  • Bridges for the Bush – In October 2012, we committed an historic $290 million towards 17 projects in key locations in regional NSW, including:
    • $55 million to build a new Kapooka Bridge on the Olympic Highway near Wagga Wagga (50:50 funding arrangement with the Commonwealth) – construction underway.
    • $32 million to build a new road over rail bridge on the Oxley Highway at Gunnedah – planning and design well advanced.
    • $16.4 million to build a new Holman Bridge over the Lachlan River at Gooloogong – completed.
    • $12.2 million to build a new bridge over the Namoi River at Tulladunna near Wee Waa – construction underway.
    • $8.3 million to upgrade Bemboka River Bridge on the Snowy Mountains Highway at Moran’s Crossing – construction underway.
  • Fixing Country Roads - We have $42.95 million towards 77 regional projects (co-funding from regional councils and the Commonwealth brings the total package of works to $89 million). This program provides vital upgrades and repairs to roads and bridges across regional NSW, such as:
    • $600,000 grant to help Bathurst Regional Council replace the Carrs Creek Bridge;
    • $320,000 grant to help Cobar Shire Council install a large culvert and high level causeway at Acres Billabong on the Tilpa Road;
    • $800,000 grant to help Inverell Shire Council replace the Tin Tot Bridge between Graman and Ashford;
    • $1 million grant to help Walcha Council to widen Bergen Bridge on Thunderbolts Way; and
    • $1.1 million grant to help Young Shire Council upgrade Milvale Road.
  • Resources for Regions – We invested in a $217 million program to support regional NSW communities affected by mining by addressing local issues including building better roads such as:
    • $3.5 million was allocated to replace the Black Bridge at Wallerawang, near Lithgow;
    • Roads and Safety Improvements in Musswellbrook; and
    • Cope Road Upgrade in the Mid Western Regional Council in Dubbo/Upper Hunter.
  • Pacific Highway Upgrade
    • In 1996, NSW Labor promised to upgrade the entire length of the Pacific Highway by 2006.
    • In 1998, NSW Labor revised its promise and shifted the completion date to 2012.
    • In the infamous 2008 NSW Mini-Budget, Labor stripped $300 million from the highway, and again shifted completion of upgrades to 2016.
    • In 2011, Federal Labor abandoned the 80:20 funding split, essentially ending any chance of completing the upgrade by the end of the decade.
    • In 2013, the Abbott/Truss Federal Government restored the 80:20 funding split ratio with NSW, meaning an extra $5.6 billion in Commonwealth funds to help complete the full duplication of the highway by the end of the decade.
    • The Nationals are the only party that has consistently stood up to keep funding going, and since 2011, The NSW Liberals and Nationals restored funding. Under a Nationals government, the Pacific Highway upgrade will be completed by the end of the decade.
    • This renewed funding led to the completion of:
      • The 12km Ballina Bypass;
      • The 25km Sapphire to Woolgoolga upgrade in Coffs Harbour;
      • The Banora Point upgrade in Tweed;
      • The Glenugie and Devils Pulpit upgrades in Clarence; and
      • The 14.5 Kempsey bydpass in Oxley.

Sixty per cent (or 397 kilometres) of the Pacific Highway duplication is now complete, another 123 kilometres are under construction, with a further 26 kilometres under contract to start construction in the first half of 2015. The remainder of the upgrade is either under planning or preconstruction activities.

We are the only party that truly cares and works hard to ensure that regional NSW receives the roads it deserves. For too long regional roads were neglected under Labor, and that neglect will return if we are not re-elected.

Rebuilding NSW – Upgrading Roads in Regional NSW

We are the only party committed to continuing to enhance and invest in regional NSW.  Regional NSW deserves the best hospitals and education, more jobs, upgraded roads and faster, more reliable services.

The leasing of the big-city poles and wires will unlock $6 billion dedicated solely to rebuilding regional NSW after 16 years of neglect. Essential Energy – which owns the poles and wires in most of regional NSW – will remain fully in public ownership and control. The Nationals fought strongly for this, and it is non-negotiable. We have ensured regional NSW gets its fair share of the proceeds of this long-term lease.  For regional NSW, this funding will be split into:

We have secured $4.1 billion for regional transport, including:

  • $2 billion for a Regional Road Freight Corridor Program, including $500 million to fast track major upgrades to the Newell Highway;
  • $1 billion for Regional Growth Roads, including for the Central Coast, the Lower Hunter, the far North Coast and the Southern Illawarra regions;
  • $500 million to expand the successful Fixing Country Roads initiative;
  • $200 million to expand the successful Bridges for the Bush program; and
  • $400 million for Fixing Country Rail – a funding initiative to dramatically improve the efficiency of rail freight in regional NSW; including the continued upgrade of grain lines.

These programs will not go ahead under a Labor government, and regional roads will return to disrepair.

School Zone Safety

We have committed to, by the end of the year, each school having flashing lights. And an extra $10 million will be added to improve safety around schools:

  • $5 million for flashing lights outside 400 schools with multiple entrances; and
  • $5 million more will go towards delivering vital school zone safety works across the state, like raised zebra crossings, safe drop off zones, pedestrian refuges, and better signage.

The safety of our children when going to and from school is extremely important, and we are committing to ensuring the best safety facilities are available to every school across regional NSW.

Fixing Country Roads

The Nationals have committed a further $42.85 million to the Fixing Country Roads program. Fixing Country Roads is about better connecting local and regional roads to state highways and key freight hubs such as silos, saleyards, rail heads, super market distribution centres, industrial parks and depots to make it easier to move regional freight from paddock to port.

With co-funding from regional councils, Australian Government and industry, the Fixing Country Roads initiative is delivering a total works package of more than $89 million.

This funding is separate to the $500 million set aside by the Rebuilding NSW Plan, funding that will not come under a Labor government.

Bridges for the Bush

Due to Labor mismanagement and neglect, many regional bridges have been identified as needing serious attention. Since 2011, the NSW Nationals have secured $210 million to replace or upgrade five large higher mass limit restricted bridges and 12 timber truss bridges. There are still many more bridges that need upgrading, and only the Nationals have a plan to fix regional bridges.

Due to our Rebuilding NSW Plan, we have secured an extra $200 million to expand Bridges for the Bush, ensuring you and your families get home safe, while easing congestion and improving freight travel times and distances.

Resources for Regions

Resources for Regions is a program within Restart NSW, the NSW Liberals & Nationals Government’s fund for infrastructure to support economic growth and productivity. $217 million over the next 5 years has been secured as part of the 2014-15 budget to continue this program, supporting more projects that will drive investment in priority regional infrastructure, stimulate jobs growth and advance services in the regions.

We are striving to ensure the safety of all people in NSW, no matter where they live, by providing suitable roads to safeguard you and your family, making your life that little bit safer and easier.

Annual Roads and Freight Budget

Before March 2011, regional roads were neglected. Since the NSW Liberals and Nationals were elected into the government, the annual roads and freight budget for regional NSW has never been so good. It’s averaged $3.85 billion each year since March 2011 – a 59 per cent increase in average annual funding compared to past Labor governments – and is delivering numerous new or upgraded roads and bridges across NSW. We have funded some huge projects, but we haven’t forgotten about Regional NSW:

  • The 2014-15 NSW Budget includes an investment of $44 million to maintain and upgrade grain rail lines in country NSW. This is part of an overall five-year $277 million program of works (2012-13 to 2016-17) to refurbish grain rail lines in NSW;
  • The 2014-15 NSW Budget includes an investment of $283 million ($99.4 million from NSW and $183.5 million from the Australian Government) to continue work on the Northern Sydney Freight Corridor to improve rail freight access through the Sydney-Newcastle rail corridor between Strathfield and Broadmeadow;
  • A historic $785 million to upgrade and maintain the Princes Highway (including Restart NSW funding of $170 million towards the Foxground and Berry Bypass)  – a 65 per cent increase in funding compared to NSW Labor’s spend on the highway in its last four years in office (i.e. 2007-08 to 2010-11);
  • A historic $569 million to upgrade and maintain the Great Western Highway –a 30 per cent increase in funding compared to NSW Labor’s spend on the highway in its last four years in office (i.e. 2007-08 to 2010-11);
  • A historic $43 million to provide additional overtaking lanes on the Bells Line of Road, with more Restart NSW funding to be delivered as part of the $200 million Regional Freight Pinch Point and Safety Program (which was reserved in the 2014-15 NSW Budget);
  • $5 million has also been allocated to advance the reservation of a road corridor for any future Bells Line of Road ‘Expressway’ (i.e. $43 million + $5 million = $48 million total investment to date);
  • $6 million to commence a program of rail infrastructure upgrades at key sites on the Country Regional Network to improve freight train loading rates for grain;
  • $16.4 million to help Port Macquarie-Hastings Council replace the Stingray Creek Bridge (bridge contractor to commence works in mid-2015). Total cost of project = $26 million;
  • $8.35 million to build a new bridge over the Bogan River at Beemery on the Kamilaroi Highway, 43 kilometres east of Bourke (opened December 2012);
  • $3.5 million to help Uralla Shire Council construct a new bridge at Emu Crossing near Bundurra (under construction). Total cost of project = $4 million;
  • $844,000 to help Temora Shire Council replace Grogan Bridge. Total cost of project = $1.5 million; and
  • $600,000 to help Upper Hunter Shire Council replace the bridge at Broads Crossing on Glenbawn Road near Glenbawn Dam (completed November 2013).

We are committed to this program of enhancement and improvement to roads in regional NSW, and we are the only party that will continue to deliver.

Funding for council-owned roads (local and regional roads)

More than $1.5 billion in grants to help country and city councils upgrade and maintain their roads, bridges and culverts.

This is the highest level of funding for local and regional roads in the state’s history, dwarfing Labor allocations in its last four financial years in government (i.e. 2007-08 to 2010-11) by more than 40 per cent.

The 40 percentage increase is equivalent to an extra $450 million in government grants for council-owned and managed local and regional roads since March 2011.

It is estimated NSW Labor left a backlog of critical council road infrastructure of more than $4 billion; notably hundreds of decaying timber bridges across the length and breadth of rural and regional NSW.

The Pacific Highway

Upgrades to the Pacific Highway started in 1996 under a Labor government, however funding got slashed again and again, slowing down construction and causing congestion. Since 2011 we have boosted investment and sped up construction. In October 2014 we committed a further $415 million and secured another $415 million from the federal government.

Since 2011, the NSW Nationals have invested an additional $2 billion (including $403 million from the state’s dedicated infrastructure fund, Restart NSW) to fast track upgrades of the Pacific Highway. This historic investment honours the 20 per cent NSW contribution to the continued duplication of the highway.

On coming into office, the Abbot/Truss Federal Government restored the traditional 80:20 funding split ratio between the Australian and NSW governments. This equated to a Federal Government commitment of more than $5.6 billion allowing the duplication to be completed by the end of the decade (2019-20).

This extra funding means that the construction works:

  • Currently employ approximately 1,900 workers across upgrade sites; and
  • Will employ approximately 2,500 people directly and 6,500 people indirectly during peak construction times.

The continuation of this increased funding will ensure completion by the end of the decade. Completion will mean:

  • Reduce travel times and improves safety along the key route between Sydney and Brisbane;
  • Increase freight efficiency through reduced cost for transport operators and providing local benefits through enhances amenity for townships that will be bypassed;

Law & Justice

What's happened since 2011
Policing
Safety of our children
Anti-social behaviour in social housing

What's happened since 2011

Country people should feel safe on their streets and in their houses. Since 2011 we have accomplished a lot, including;

  • More police: We have increased police numbers to record highs by recruiting 679 new officers, established the Traffic and Highway Patrol Command and added 100 officers to its ranks and 50 new Highway Patrol Cars to its fleet;
  • Over $280 million in new or upgraded courthouses;
  • Tougher bail laws in order to keep the state’s most dangerous criminals off the streets to better protect our communities;
  • A crackdown on anti-social behaviour through state wide prohibition on take-away liquor sales after 10pm;

Policing

Police

Crime is at its lowest ever recorded in NSW according to the independent assessor, the NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research (BOSCAR), with 10 of the 17 major offence categories falling and seven remaining stable. But we know we can do more for regional communities. So the regional NSW Police Force has been bolstered with additional numbers, facilities and equipment:

  • Police numbers are now at record highs. Authorised strength is at 16,485, and we have committed to 310 additional officers including:
    • 50 detectives to the Counter Terrorism and Special Tactics Command;
    • 50 investigators to the Child Abuse Squad;
    • 70 officers to the firearms and organised crime related squads;
    • 20 officers and 5 new analysts to the Real Time Intelligence Response Centre targeting public shootings;
    • 30 specialist investigators and 6 analysts to the Cybercrime and Fraud Squad;
    • 42 domestic violence specialist police officers; and
    • 6 officers on the new Serious Sex and Violent Offenders Investigation Unit.
  • $100 million for the Policing for Tomorrow Fund – equipping NSW Police with the latest technology;
  • More than $100 million for new and upgraded regional police stations including:
    • $19.8 million to complete a new station in Coffs Harbour;
    • $396,000 towards renovating Tenterfield Station;
    • $7.239 million towards a new Tweed-Byron Station;
    • $3 million to renovate the Gunnedah Station; and
  • A new counter terrorism helicopter and fixed wing aircraft were commissioned late 2014;
  • We are providing police with the powers required to tackle organised crime and gun-related matters; and
  • $17.1 million invested in the Police Force Wellbeing Program to prevent injury, support injured officers return to work, as well as supporting former officers and families.

The results are evident, with Operation Talon and Strike Force Raptor arresting more than 500 people. NSW has one of the best police forces in the world, and we are delivering the personnel, facilities and equipment to keep protecting the people of regional NSW.

Police oversight

If re-elected, we will improve efficiency and effectiveness of police oversight. We recognise that the police face difficult choices every day. In the line of duty they must frequently make quick decisions that carry serious consequences. However it is important to ensure adequate accountability mechanisms.

Successful frameworks around the world will be evaluated, including the UK Independent Police Complaints Commission, and effective features will be adopted. Recommendations will be guided by the following terms of reference:

  • Options for establishing a single civilian oversight model for police in NSW;
  • Clarifying gaps in the current police oversight system and identifying measures to improve efficiency and effectiveness of oversight;
  • Identifying and addressing functional overlap between respective oversight bodies; and
  • Consideration of best practice models from around the world.

The review is expected to be completed by August 2015, to ensure that there is appropriate accountability for powers and discretions exercised by police in regional NSW.
We will ensure that the NSW Police Force has the facilities and equipment to enforce the law and protect all people across the State.

Courthouses

It is important that we make sure the particular challenges associated with servicing rural and remote areas of the state are met. Almost 80 per cent of court locations are in rural and regional areas. We have committed to upgrading courthouses and facilities across regional NSW, including:

  • $40 million into court videoconferencing technology, which reduces the need for accused and convicted people to be relocated for court appearances;
  • Upgrades to the Wagga Wagga Courthouse;
  • Funding the Small Courts Upgrade Program;
  • Building the Coffs Harbour Justice Precinct; and
  • Developing the new Central Children’s Court Assistance Program.

Organised Crime

Organised crime in NSW is a serious issue, leading to raised drug and gun levels, increased violence and general anti-social behaviour. We will further to strengthen police powers to crackdown on organised crime and disrupt criminal activity. We will:

  • Create tough new organised crime laws by introducing Serious Crime Prevention Orders to restrict the activities of serious criminals and businesses;
  • Empower police to stop violent crime before it happens by issuing Public Safety Orders to would-be violent troublemakers; and
  • Improve our ability to confiscate the assets of serious criminals.

These reforms will mean property used to commit serious crimes will be confiscated, disrupting criminal activity, while the assets can be sold off with half the proceeds allocated to the NSW Victims Support Fund.

Domestic violence and sexual assault

Moving towards the eradication of domestic violence and sexual assault is a commitment of the NSW Nationals in government. We will appoint a Minister for the Prevention of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault who will be the state’s first dedicated ministerial voice on the issue.

We also believe people should be given the power to ask police for information if they have a concern that their partner may pose a risk to them. This is why we will create a disclosure scheme where people can request information on their partner’s potential record of domestic violence and sexual assault.

We have also committed to:

  • Continuing the roll-out of the specialised victim-focused It Stops Here: Safer Pathway program to regional locations like Tweed Heads; and

Increasing domestic and family violence policy capability with 24 domestic violence specialist police officers, who will assist domestic violence liaison officers.

Safety of our children

Child sexual assault

We are committed to ensuring that victims of child sexual assault are provided greater support. We will:

  • Employ additional, specialist judges to deal with child sexual assault cases (initially two);
  • Introduce qualified experts known as Children’s Champions to support child witnesses  through the trial process; and
  • Keep child witnesses out of the courts by allowing cross examination to be pre-recorded.

We will ensure that sentences against perpetrators meet community expectations:

  • Offenders who commit the crime of sexual intercourse with a child under 10 will face life behind bars; and
  • Thirteen additional child sexual assault offences will be included in the standard
    non-parole period scheme.

Child sexual assault victims are among the most vulnerable in our society, and deserve as much support as the state is able to give. Labor spent years promising family violence courts and working groups, but never delivered. We have listened to the horrific stories from the Royal Commission, and recognise the imperative to meet the needs of victims through additional measures and appropriate sentencing.

Anti-social behaviour in social housing

The NSW Nationals in government will ensure social housing is safe for tenants and neighbours. Our anti-social policy includes:

  • Introduction of a One Strike policy for those who seriously breach their tenancy agreement, so that the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal must terminate a tenancy where it is proven that the individual has committed certain serious criminal offences – including serious drug crimes;
  • Implement a Three Strike Policy so that Department of Family and Community Service officials can issue a Notice of Termination in a tenant has received three Breach of Tenancy Agreement notices in a 12 month period;
  • Introduce 12 month probationary leases for public housing tenancies of longer than two years;
  • Introduce confidential Neighbour Impact Statements so the Tribunal has to take account of the impact of bad behaviour on neighbours and neighbours are protected from recriminations; and
  • Change the law to ensure that tenants that do not pay rent can be evicted.

If re-elected, we have committed to deliver $20 million to the Social Housing Community Improvement Fund to improve the liveability and amenity of social housing communities.