Victorians head to the polls as race tightens over final days

Weary Victorians have every right to feel relieved that the finish line is in sight. 

Weary Victorians have every right to feel relieved that the finish line is in sight.  Image: AAP, Getty, TND

Victorians head to the polls today to cast their votes in the state election.

It has been a hard fought and, at times, nasty campaign in a state that has endured much over the past three years.

Weary Victorians have every right to feel relieved that the finish line is in sight.

Although Premier Daniel Andrews has consistently been ahead in the polls, the race has tightened over the past few days with Opposition Leader Matthew Guy making up lost ground.

On Friday, the pair made their final pitches to undecided voters.

Mr Andrews spent time in Northcote, an inner-city Melbourne seat at risk to the Greens, while Mr Guy had to defend his would-be treasurer.

Labor promised to build six tech schools for $116 million to train engineers and electricians working for a State Electricity Commission, if it wins Saturday’s poll.

Mr Andrews also announced a $24 million kindergarten package including cash grants to be sprinkled across the state.

The Premier was keen to focus on Labor’s big road and rail promises in his final comments before election day.

He also criticised the Opposition’s policy costings.

“They will cut it all, they’re auditing everything,” he told reporters on Friday.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews arrives at Westgarth Kindergarten on Friday. Source: AAP

“You can cut bills by voting Labor or cut jobs by voting Liberal.”

Further afield, Mr Guy on a tour of Sovereign Hill in Ballarat declared shadow treasurer David Davis would keep his post if the Coalition were elected.

Mr Davis did not initially supply a total estimate for new commitments when releasing election policy costings.

A Liberal spokesperson later confirmed they would cost about $28 billion, but stressed the budget would be roughly $10 billion better off under their plan.

Asked why Victorians should trust Mr Davis to run the state’s economy, Mr Guy remained adamant the Coalition were a safe pair of hands.

“I can only say this … our commitments that David presented yesterday add up,” he told reporters on Friday, describing the promised savings as “sensible and responsible”.

Victorian Opposition Leader Matthew Guy and Victorian Liberal MP for Eildon Cindy McLeish tour Sovereign Hill on Friday. Photo: AAP

Victoria’s major parties left voters little more than 48 hours to crunch the numbers on their policy costings before polls close.

Labor’s financial statement shows its election initiatives tally about $11.7 billion, but at least $5.86 billion of those initiatives have no start date.

Labor forecasts an improved budget surplus of $1 billion for the 2025-26 financial year, while the Coalition is flagging a $2.1 billion surplus in 2024-25.

A Newspoll published on Friday night showed Labor on track to return despite a swing of almost three per cent.

Labor leads the coalition 54.5 per cent to 45.5 per cent on two-party preferred, according to the poll published by The Australian.

Labor starts on 55 lower house seats and would need to shed 11 to lose its grip on power. Newspoll has it on track to keep 45 to 50 seats.

The coalition has 27 seats and must pick up an extra 18 to govern outright.

The latest Resolve Poll indicated Labor could lose between eight and 12 seats, putting it in danger of slipping into minority government.

Independent consultancy RedBridge Group forecasts Labor to end up with between 41 to 48 seats, with the coalition finishing in the range of 27 to 33 seats.

Newspoll reported that Mr Andrews is well ahead as preferred premier at 51 per cent compared with 35 per cent for Mr Guy.

The Victorian Electoral Commission is expecting a slower than usual vote count, possibly delaying results on election night.

The commission’s Sue Lang said nearly 4.4 million Victorians were enrolled to vote, and about 1.93 million people had voted early, which could slow counting.

The electoral commission is aiming to count 75 per cent of votes over the weekend, with absentee votes counted next week.

Mr Andrews broke with tradition to vote outside his electorate and to cast his ballot early, alongside his wife Catherine and two of his children.

Policy promises and pledges from the major parties have come thick and fast throughout the campaign. Here are some of the major parties key promises.

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