Second year Journalism and International Studies student with interest in local journalism.
With climate change, transport, and nightlife policies at the forefront of NSW voters' minds, what are some of the major parties’ guaranteed back-seat pledges, and some of their less talked about election promises?
A NSW Labor government would provide grants for the opening of five 24 hour pharmacies if elected - in a bid to reduce patient numbers in hospitals' emergency waiting rooms. Grants amounting to $5 million will be distributed to yet-to-be-determined local government areas that do not currently have a 24 hour pharmacy - helping to employ pharmacists, assistant pharmacists, and security guards.
24/7 pharmacy co-owner Catherine Bronger, said despite potential difficulties for employers, including paying late-night penalty rates, "being able to provide this service to the community [would be] phenomenal."
I've got little kids myself…often, people like young mums feel they've got no other option than to go to the emergency department in the middle of the night.
Mudgee resident Teeka Galway said she has had to "travel to access a chemist" late at night, multiple times, recently travelling more than two and a half hours for medicine for her children.
"After missing the chemist [opening hours] on a Sunday here in Mudgee I went to one in the main street in Penrith which is 24 hours...I wish we had something like this locally," she said.
While some travel to access pharmacists for medical help and advice, others turn to hospital emergency departments.
According to the Bureau of Health Information, of the almost 2.8 million NSW residents who presented in emergency departments in 2018, over 1.4 million were classed as triage category four or five, meaning they were semi-urgent or low urgency cases respectively.
Category four and five injuries and illnesses include minor cuts and ear aches.
NSW Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord said in a media statement, that late-night pharmacies would be able to provide advice and assistance to patients in the lowest triage categories, taking strain off busy emergency departments with wait-time blowouts.
The Berejiklian Government has committed $3.5 million to water infrastructure on NSW's South Coast, bringing the Government's Safe and Secure Water Program to regional communities.
The South Coast town of Nelligen, which has a population of just over 300 including its surrounding areas, will receive part of that investment for new water treatment and sewerage systems, with the Eurobodalla Shire Council contributing remaining funds.
Nelligen-based oyster farmer Rick Christensen says a lot of people run out of water: "…you rely on rainwater so much.
We’ve all grown up on tank water so we know how precious water is, when you brush your teeth you never run the tap.
Nelligen and nearby towns gather their water supply from rainwater tanks and backyard water bores, according to the Eurobodalla Shire Council, and are able to purchase potable water from the council during times of drought.
Eurobodalla Shire Council's Director of Infrastructure Services Warren Sharpe, described the funds as essential to improving the quality of life in regional NSW, and to providing water security.
"The new scheme will provide residents with a low pressure sewage solution with discharge to Batemans Bay Sewage Treatment Plant," he said.
"The project will save residents, and Council... having to cart water and septic effluent away from Nelligen via truck."
Rick Christensen said Nelligen residents had been campaigning for improved water infrastructure for over a decade, and hoped the secured funding would assist in all aspects of community life, from safeguarding the waters of the Clyde River against pollution to ensuring the availability of water for firefighters.
A spokesperson for the NSW Department of Industry agreed that benefits would extend to both the community and environment.
A Michael Daley-led Labor government would assist in funding the expansion of the Sydney Writers' Festival (SWF) outside of city-centre hubs as part of a new Arts and Cultural policy for NSW.
The extension would see SWF children's literary activities pop up in Western Sydney and regional areas, which currently receive limited programming.
Author and past SWF guest Rawah Arja, who hails from Western Sydney's Punchbowl, says many people in that community don't feel heard.
"Festivals like these, give us a chance," she said.
"Children would be more inclined to write and read if they know there's...a place where they feel safe to share their stories and express themselves... it's the foundation to all learning."
Most children do not describe themselves as frequent readers, with 76 per cent thinking they should read more often, according to a 2019 Scholastic Australia Reading Report.
The Sydney Writers’ Festival presents around 300 events each year, with 21 located in Western Sydney in 2019.
While several Young Adult events are scheduled in Parramatta, all children’s activities are located in Eveleigh in the inner-city.
NSW Labor plans to invest $300,000 over three years in support of kids' programming, including the existing "Book Van" program.
Ms Arja said NSW Labor's extension was a positive step in the direction of inclusivity, but that it was essential for the SWF to be further expanded to even more diverse localities.
"The more access people have to the Festival the more connected people could feel. It is a bridge between two worlds," she said.
The NSW Liberal government has dedicated funding to the upgrade of Western Sydney sports facilities to foster sport involvement and the sporting economy.
The Western Sydney motorsport precinct, which includes Eastern Creek's Sydney Motorsport Park (SMP), will receive an investment of $33 million.
Australian Racing Drivers’ Club President Andrew Leithhead, said upgrades such as the installation of circuit lighting would open the doors “to further grow the Western Sydney night economy".
A refreshed and refurbished SMP would allow for the expansion of "existing on-site programs targeting performance engineering education and training," he said.
Some motorsport spectators have expressed doubts as to whether the proposed upgrades will draw in crowds.
SMP attendee Malcolm New said "greater spectator viewing facilities" were needed for the venue to become a true success and benefit to the local economy.
Motorsport competitor Steve James said that lower ticket prices could be necessary to pull in larger crowds, but remained hopeful that more competitors would be attracted to the upgraded Park, allowing the sport to grow locally.
Mr James described the sport as a gateway for the community to come together.
"Motorsports is actually a family activity... that usually becomes a lifelong passion. The friendly atmosphere is great," he said.
He praised the upgrades geared towards night races, which he said would give competitive drivers who "have to work during the day" greater opportunity to participate.
Motorsports have become increasingly popular in Australia in recent years, with the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport experiencing a 36 per cent increase in membership and affiliation revenue between 2013 and 2017, according to annual reports.
The Government has also committed to investing in local children’s sports in the west, with Penrith facilities and ovals to be upgraded under a Community Sports Package. - Story and research, Meg Kanofski @MegKanofski