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Labor’s lead narrows a month out from NSW election

The polls say Labor's Chris Minns is leading Dominic Perrottet and widely tipped to lead a minority government. <i>Photo: AAP</i>

The polls say Labor's Chris Minns is leading Dominic Perrottet and widely tipped to lead a minority government. Photo: AAP

Two new polls suggest the NSW Coalition government has closed the gap on Labor, putting the state on track for minority government.

The Newspoll survey of 1014 voters published in The Australian on Monday showed primary support for Labor has fallen by four percentage points since September to 36 per cent, while the Coalition has gained two points to 37 per cent.

Labor leads the two-party preferred vote 52-48.

If replicated uniformly on March 25, both major parties would fall short of the 47 seats needed for majority government and be forced to rely on cross bench support.

A second poll published on Monday painted a somewhat rosier picture for Labor but indicated the fine line Opposition Leader Chris Minns must walk to topple Premier Dominic Perrottet.

The Australian Financial Review survey of 1247 voters put Labor on a 53-47 two-party-preferred basis, backed by a primary vote of 39 per cent.

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However, Mr Perrottet enjoyed a double-digit lead in the preferred premier stakes in both polls and a positive net approval rating in Newspoll.

The AFR poll shows the living costs and standards (71 per cent) and housing and accommodation (45 per cent) are at the forefront of voters’ minds.

Meanwhile, Mr Perrottet denied secretly sneaking through an energy tax after notice of a $138 million levy for the year to June 2024 on electricity network providers was published on Friday afternoon.

The cost equates to about $37 per bill.

Mr Perrottet said the fee was part of the 2020 law that enabled the government’s 20-year $30 billion Electricity Infrastructure Roadmap, which would eventually bring electricity bills down an average of $130.

“Our roadmap sets up long-term reliable energy and affordable energy for the people of our state,” he told Sydney radio 2GB on Monday.

Labor’s energy spokesman Jihad Dib accused Energy Minister Matt Kean of a cover-up.

“We are in a cost of living crisis compounded by an energy crisis,” he said.

“Not only is Matt Kean making it worse, he doesn’t want you to know about it.”

Labor has also attacked Mr Perrottet’s expansion of a signature housing affordability policy.

The plan revealed by Mr Perrottet on Sunday would enable first home buyers to continue choosing between an up-front stamp duty payment or an annual land tax on their family home for life.

They could also apply the land tax to one investment property.

“Stamp duty is a terrible tax,” Mr Perrottet said.

But the announcement was seized on by Labor as a clear indication the premier could further expand the scheme to all homes.

“[Mr Perrottet] is indicating to the people of NSW that he wants to expand the land tax on the family home – something that we’ve never had in NSW before,” Mr Minns said.

Labor has proposed raising the stamp duty concession for first home buyers buying property to $800,000 and offering a discount rate for homes up to $1 million.

-AAP

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