NSW election questions reveal vote could come down to three key issues

Posted March 23, 2019 06:16:00

The NSW election would be decided on issues of environment, transport and housing — in that order — if it was up to ABC readers.

Those priorities were revealed by crunching your election questions, which were submitted as part of an ABC campaign called “You Ask, We Answer“.

Over seven weeks, we asked people what they wanted to know ahead of Saturday’s vote.

We received more than 2,000 questions, and in the process, you actually told us something — so here goes.

Environment

We received over 270 questions relating to waste reduction, climate change, renewable energy and the protection of native animals and parks.

While it’s traditionally seen as problem which needs to be tackled at a Federal level, both Labor and Liberal polling shows it’s now on NSW’s political agenda.

Labor’s numbers have consistently put environmental concerns among the top three issues for voters this campaign.

What you asked about the environment:

  • Who has the best climate change policy out of Labour and Liberals? Who has the best solar battery solution?
  • I want to know what the Government is doing to get rid of all forms of plastic, not just plastic bags.
  • Where does NSW Labor stand on the brumby bill? Will it be repealed under their leadership?

The intensive media and social media attention on the Murray-Darling Basin and the fish kills in Menindee also brought water sustainability to the front of voters’ minds.

The data suggests it is a defining issue among our respondents, irrespective of their electorate or age.

It was the most asked about topic in the seat of Coogee, which is held by the Liberals on 2.9 per cent and will be one of the more important electorates to watch tonight.

Voters in dozens of seats appear to be signalling to parties that without a clear plan to address climate change they will be punished at the polling booth.

Transport and roads

As Sydney continues rapid growth, readers were worried about how they would get from A to B.

While billions of dollars had been pledged for investment into public transport and roads, respondents wanted to know if the Berejiklian Government can deliver cost-effective transport given the overblown costs of the light-rail.

Mapping reader questions by postcode revealed, people who lived closer to Sydney’s CBD were more likely to ask about buses and bike lanes.

Questions you asked about transport and roads:

  • What are the parties prepared to commit to the Hunter Valley? Is either party prepared to extend the light rail in Newcastle to Lake Macquarie?
  • Fix up our roads in the Shire to cope with the overdevelopment. We need serious road widening, more than what is being attempted now.
  • Is there a way that a disabled pensioner can use the motorways without paying the excessive tolls? I travel from the Blue Mountains to see doctors.

Respondents outside the inner-city were interested in learning about plans to expand the rail network.

Toll roads were a major concern, especially for readers who did not live on a rail corridor, and focused on the rising costs of commuting.

Transport was a popular subject for people living on the Central Coast and in Lismore.

In short, respondents felt travelling was expensive and difficult due to the lack of options available to them.

Housing and infrastructure

We received more than 260 questions about infrastructure and housing, with a lot of them focussing on major development projects such as the Sydney Football Stadium (SFS).

Voters asked plenty of questions about long-term planning solutions.

Many respondents, across Sydney, were also interested in policies to support medium-to-high density living, changes to stamp duty and regulation of private developers.

Plenty of questions centred around sustainable development policies and the preservation of heritage buildings.

Most of the questions came from electorates with development hotspots such as Summer Hill, Ryde and Parramatta.

Questions you asked about housing and infrastructure:

  • What were the budget estimates for major infrastructure projects? How much have they really cost so far?
  • What will the Government do that is different to turn around closures and assist in the viability of live music venues and theatres?
  • Has the privatisation of the Land Titles registry by the NSW Liberals been an overall positive or negative so far?

Infrastructure questions were not confined to Sydney — many came from regional areas and were about specific problems and projects.

In the seat of Ballina, many questions were about the $582 million construction of the Tweed hospital, which has been mired in controversy.

The Greens hold the electorate on a slim 3.1 per cent margin after inching ahead of the Nationals and Labor in a three-way race in 2015.

In the rural electorate of Orange — held by the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers on a margin of just 0.1 per cent — a $25 million sporting precinct had been promised by the NSW Government if the seat returned to the Nationals.

While the You Ask, We Answer snapshot is statistically small, the topics have been reflected in the campaign.

Tonight voters will give their final answer.

Topics: housing-industry, government-and-politics, housing, business-economics-and-finance, state-elections, elections, rail-transport, road-transport, transport, public-sector, environmental-impact, environment, environmental-management, environmental-policy, environmental-health, environmentally-sustainable-business, nsw, sydney-2000, north-sydney-2060, ballina-2478, lismore-2480, newcastle-2300, parramatta-2150, menindee-2879

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