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

Foley uses hospital and hwy funds to entice central coast

THE Labor campaign mothership has left the north coast and is gradually working its way south, so even its plot on the atlas is in opposition to the Coalition.

Labor leader Luke Foley spent Monday trying to reclaim the central coast, announcing $568 million to upgrade Wyong and Gosford hospitals.

The push follows an ICAC investigation into alleged donations rorting, which led to the early retirements of central coast Liberal MPs Chris Hartcher, Chris Spence and Darren Webber.

Swansea MP Garry Edwards was expelled from the Liberal Party and is running as an independent.

Mr Foley smells an opportunity to salvage what was once a Labor heartland, promising $100 million for Pacific Hwy upgrades, a $12 million upgrade to the Gosford Performing Arts Centre and a range of other expensive projects.

"The coast has been let down by the Liberals over the last four years and Labor will bring a new approach to the central coast," he said.

Today, Mr Foley was at St George Hospital in Sydney's southern suburbs to announce Labor would employ an extra 840 nurses in New South Wales hospitals, including new pediatric nurses at Lismore and Tweed. He also promised a $307 million upgrade for the St George Hospital.

Meanwhile, the LNP is yet to hold its official campaign launch.

But that has not meant Premier Mike Baird has kept quiet.

Mr Baird so far has focused most of his attention on Sydney and the state's south.

He started on Monday with a pledge to spend $100 million upgrading the Parramatta River ferry services and $70 million for 10 new peak-hour trains from Parramatta to Central Station in Sydney.

Transport Minister Gladys Berejiklian said the services, coupled with the construction of a second Sydney Harbour crossing and Western Sydney rail upgrades, would move an extra 100,000 people per hour in the notoriously gridlocked city.

Liberal Party MP Geoff Lee holds the Parramatta seat by a 12.5% margin.

The Coalition campaign today rolled into the Southern Tablelands seat of Monaro - one of the most hotly contested electorates of the last election.

Mr Baird used Queanbeyan, a town with a population of about 38,000, as his setting to announce $224 million funding to allow the state's top teachers to train younger colleagues in the time-honoured art of good education.

The money could be spent to pay casual teachers to stand in during the tutoring, Education Minister Adrian Piccoli said.

Monaro is considered a "bellwether" seat, with its result generally in line with the outcome for the entire election.

Nationals' John Barilaro won the seat from Labor's Steve Whan in 2011.



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