Daniel Andrews and Matthew Guy have clashed over the North Richmond supervised injecting centre.On the same day Labor announced plans to borrow $25.6 billion and double the state’s net debt to pay for some of its big-ticket election promises, polling indicates the party will retain power in Victoria.
Daniel Andrews’ first-term government will be returned on Saturday, according to a uComms/ReachTEL poll showing Labor has a 54 to 46 per cent two-party preferred lead over the Liberal-Nationals coalition, based on a survey of 1239 voters and published by The Age.
Labor is also ahead in a second poll published by News Corp and conducted by YouGov Galaxy, with a 53-47 two-party preferred outcome.
The results follow news on Thursday from Treasurer Tim Pallas that the North East Link road, airport rail and removal of 25 rail level crossings will require the doubling of net debt to 12 per cent of gross state product.
Both he and opposition counterpart, Liberal Michael O’Brien, revealed their policy costings two days out from the state election.
The Liberal-Nationals funding model includes leasing Melbourne’s sewage system to pay for their promises and keep debt down.
Labor’s 10-year loan would only be spent on the three roads and rail program, Mr Pallas said.
“Intergenerational contributions to what are intergenerational pieces of infrastructure is highly important,” he told reporters.
“They won’t get built unless we are prepared to play the long game.”
Labor is confident the loan will not threaten the state’s AAA credit rating.
But the Liberal-Nationals believe more debt could hurt Victoria’s credit and there is no reason for multiple generations to pay.
“If you blow the budget on debt, what that means is not only are you paying for that, but your kids and your grandkids will be paying the bill because other political parties can’t fund their promises,” Mr O’Brien told reporters.
A Liberal-Nationals government would spend $17.6 billion over four years delivering its election promises and lease the sewage system for 50 years for at least $5 billion.
The funds would be used on high-speed regional rail, construction of the East West Link and North East Link roads, extension of the metro rail lines to Clyde and Baxter and upgrades for hospitals and police stations.
On the penultimate day of campaigning, both leaders boarded their branded buses to make more promises after facing-off during a morning debate.
Opposition Leader Matthew Guy went to Ballarat to match Labor funding for expanding the local hospital and to declare he would retrain police cell custody officers to become protective services officers so they can take on higher duties and take pressure off the force.
Premier Daniel Andrews went to Greensborough promising to to kick-start work on Melbourne’s $15.8 billion North East Link toll road on day-one back in office.
The pair debated in ABC Melbourne’s studio for half-an-hour, clashing over the North Richmond supervised injecting centre, infrastructure plans, TAFE funding, youth crime, and law and order.
Mr Guy has vowed to shut down the medically-supervised facility as a priority if he wins government.