Labor pledges $8m to Foodbank as families go hungry
Enthusiastic school children waving flags and hollering have given NSW Labor leader Chris Minns a rockstar welcome that briefly enlivened a muted election campaign trial.
The rousing reception in the crucial western Sydney seat of Parramatta comes just 10 days out from polling day March 25.
Mr Minns walked into school assembly on Thursday at the Maronite College of the Holy Family to spruik the opposition's promise to invest in the education sector.
"The best thing to do for the future generation of young Australians is to invest in the education system. That's Labor's focus," he said.
He also pledged $8 million to food relief charity Foodbank for the delivery of more than 1.5 million healthy breakfasts to 1000 NSW public schools.
"We want kids to have a full belly so they can have a full mind in the classroom," he told reporters at the charity's warehouse in Glendenning in the Labor-held seat of Blacktown.
Nearly 25 per cent of NSW households suffer from food insecurity, meaning three meals a day are not guaranteed.
"We know the family budget has never been under more pressure. This at least gives some parents some peace of mind ... because they know the kids are going to get a nutritious meal before that first bell," Mr Minns said.
After facing off against Premier Dominic Perrottet in an election debate on Wednesday, Mr Minns lambasted the Liberal Party's signature Kids Future Fund.
The fund would set up an account for every child 10 years and under to receive $400 a year from the coalition government until they turned 18.
The policy is projected to cost $850 million over the next four years and $525 million a year at its peak.
The Liberals have faced scrutiny over who qualifies for the nest egg scheme, which has been criticised for widening economic inequalities.
"It doesn't look like the treasurer and the premier understand their own policy when it comes to the future ... so how are the rest of us supposed to understand it?," Mr Minns said.
The premier has said children whose parents were NSW residents but not citizens will be excluded, as will children born in NSW to interstate residents.
Mr Minns also attacked the coalition over its past privatisation of public assets to raise funds for infrastructure projects.
"We've got to be honest with the people of NSW about what can build and where we can build it. Our plans are realistic and not predicated on privatisation," he told AAP.
"They (the coalition) don't have a strong record when it comes to economic management. Tolls are up, taxes are up, fees are up, fines are up. NSW is the highest tax jurisdiction in the country."
Mr Minns claimed NSW would be plunged into a further $50 billion of debt, on top the $187 billion so far, to fund more infrastructure (mostly transport) projects because the government had not costed them.
"To say to the people of NSW, here's an additional $50 billion worth of infrastructure but we've got no way ... to explain how that is paid for, as Dom Perrottet is attempting to do in this election campaign, is dishonest," he told reporters.
"The government has repeatedly told western Sydney families: new schools, new hospitals, new transport infrastructure will arrive and it never arrived," he said.