NSW Labor has promised to raise the bar on weed and pest control in NSW with a $50m boost to new control programs with a new Weeds Committee and chair if it wins government.
Shadow Primary Industries Minister, Mick Veitch, said Labor had listened to a range of stakeholders and were ready to act if elected in March.
“We have heeded calls to action by groups like the NSW Farmers and the Invasive Species Council, who have called for greater action of weeds and pests. For the first time NSW will have a co-ordinated approach to weed and pest control. Labor’s approach will be a real game changer.”
Labor said it would implement key recommendations of the Natural Resources Commission’s Weeds review by establishing:
- An independent NSW Weeds Committee and Chair which would report to Parliament on Government agencies efforts to tackle weeds; and
- A ‘permitted list approach’ to species management in NSW.
NSW Labor leader Michael Daley said “by boosting expenditure on public land management agencies like National Parks, Crown Lands and Local Land Services, we are fixing the environment, boosting productivity, and creating jobs in the regions to wage war on weeds and pests.”
The Invasive Species Council said: “This is a significant announcement and is the right response to the growing weed problem. It will ensure more accountability and a far more cautious approach to stop the spread of new weeds.
Meantime, at the Country Labor launch on the weekend, Mr Daley said Labor will mandate a target of 50 per cent local content for major state government contracts.
Labor says it will start by creating a new act that will require local jobs and content be written into all government procurement documents for the first time – ensuring that the local economy is at the heart of major projects.
Labor said it will also empower a minister to declare any government project valued at more than $50 million “Jobs Significant” – the trigger for the 50 per cent mandate to kick in.
“After eight years of the Liberals and Nationals sending jobs and contracts overseas, Labor is putting local businesses and workers first. Currently there is not a single mention of jobs in Berejiklian-Barilaro government procurement framework documents.”
Announcing Labor’s Local Jobs First plan at the Country Labor launch in Nabiac, Mr Daley said it was time that government looked after workers and businesses in NSW.
“Labor can and will do so much more to help local workers and industry. After years of seeing jobs and work going overseas Labor will reverse that trend. A government I lead will put local jobs and industry first.
“I want to support the people who are putting their faith in this state, who want to live and work in NSW,” he said.
“The Berejiklian and Barilaro Coalition government has not just ignored regional NSW - it has insulted them. Not only has it spent $2.2 billion on Sydney stadiums, it has signed contracts for trains and buses to be made in China, Spain and South Korea resulting in the loss of more than 1500 manufacturing jobs.”
The Nationals NSW Leader John Barilaro took a swipe at Labor’s regional agenda, saying it was just copying what the Coalition was already doing.
Mr Barilaro said Country Labor was just endorsing Liberals and Nationals policies.
“After neglecting the state’s regions for 16 years in office, Country Labor offered no new ideas on its vision for the next four years, and the decision to match some of our key policies only demonstrates Labor’s support for what we’re doing in the regions,” Mr Barilaro said.
“If imitation is the best form of flattery, I can only say that after country Labor’s event, I’m blushing.
“Even for ‘the grandson of a Kempsey dairy farmer’, one trip to Broken Hill does not make Michael Daley an expert on regional NSW, and he’s proven that. There was no talk of a North coast strategy and nothing on regional youth.
“Despite Labor having already spent the funds from the Snowy Hydro Legacy Fund several times over, Mr Daley couldn’t bring himself to mention that either, perhaps because Country Labor is broke,” he said.
“Their aspiration to mandate 50 per cent local content in all major government infrastructure projects is unrealistic and would jeopardise key hospital and school projects like Tweed, Coffs Harbour, Manning Base, Griffith Base and Wagga Wagga Base hospitals and Jindabyne Central and Monaro high schools.“
“NSW Labor leader Michael Daley claims he’ll match the government’s historic announcement on 5,000 extra nurses and midwives for the state’s hospitals, but doesn’t even know what he’s promising or how he’ll pay for it. “This is typical Labor, blowing up the budget in their desperation to match the Liberals and Nationals government’s fully funded commitments.
“The NSW Liberals and Nationals government more than doubled that infrastructure spend – reaching over $50 billion - which has supported jobs and training opportunities for our youth.
“Country Labor offers little more than a pale imitation,” he said.