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NSW Labor hosts subcontinental media at parliament house

NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has affirmed Labor’s bond with Australians of subcontinental background – promising to oppose any watering down of Anti Racial Discrimination protections and develop a bold policy agenda for hospitals, schools, transport infrastructure and jobs.

On the 19th March, Mr Robertson hosted a special NSW Labor roundtable at Parliament House with members of the subcontinental media, including Indian, Fijian, Bangladeshi and Nepalese outlets.

He was joined by Shadow Minister for Citizenship and Communities Guy Zangari and numerous Shadow Cabinet colleagues.

With just 12 months to go until the 2015 state election, Mr Robertson told the forum Labor was moving to finalise its range of policies.

In recent months, John Robertson has

  • Announced Labor’s support for a second Sydney airport at Badgerys Creek;

–          This will create 30,000 jobs in the airport precinct and turn areas such as Parramatta, Liverpool, Blacktown, Campbelltown and Macquarie Park into major employment hubs;

  • Released Labor’s comprehensive policy to tackle Sydney’s alcohol violence;

–          Key measures include late night trains from Kings Cross to Town Hall and Central, expanded late night police presence and new rules for late night venues;

  • Proposed the creation of a NSW Jobs Commission

–          Designed to stem the State’s rising unemployment rate and offer workers hope after a spate of major job losses and Liberal Government TAFE cuts.

  • Committed to offer 800 new scholarships to high-achieving students to become maths and science teachers

–          Ensuring NSW can develop a highly-skilled and competitive workforce;

  • Committed to invest in NSW hospitals

–          Labor will stand firm against the Liberal Party’s proposed $6 tax to visit the doctor – a tax which will intensify pressure on hospitals already suffering the longest elective surgery waiting times in Australia.

“This is an exciting period for Labor as we move to develop and finalise policies that will make NSW a better place,” Mr Robertson said.

“Over the last three years, it is clear that the Liberal Government led by Barry O’Farrell has not delivered the action that people expect.

“We now have Liberal Party control in both Sydney and Canberra.

“Both Tony Abbott and Barry O’Farrell are cutting money to health and education. We need a Government that invests in these key areas.

“At a time of rising unemployment – and major layoffs including Toyota, Holden, Qantas, Sensis and Alcoa – it is also essential that the Liberals reverse their damaging cuts to TAFE and focus on growing jobs in NSW.

“We are not seeing any sort of plan from Barry O’Farrell.

“The Premier is not moving quickly enough – and he needs to do better.”

Mr Zangari said that Labor had deep respect for the contribution of the State’s diverse communities. He contrasted this with the Liberal Party which has taken several damaging actions.

These include

  • Moving to water down Anti Racial Discrimination provisions;
  • Eliminating the State Government’s responsibility to provide a comprehensive English as a Second Language (ESL) curriculum ;
  • Cancelling the Building Multicultural Communities Program – killing funding to 130 multicultural projects across NSW.

“If the Liberal Party truly respected subcontinental communities, it would not make it easier for people to hurl around racial abuse,” Mr Zangari said.

“It would not refuse to honour contracts that subcontintental community groups such as the Afghan Community Support Association signed in good faith before the election.

“Barry O’Farrell and Tony Abbott – this is no way to treat subcontinental communities and you need to put that funding back.”