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Dutton’s absence from NSW election ‘remarkable’: PM

Perrottet pledges $10m for financial counsellors

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has launched a series of bombs at the Liberal Party while joining NSW Labor Leader Chris Minns on the campaign trail, days out from the state election.

“There comes a time when a government reaches the end of its life,” Mr Albanese said from the Sydney seat of Balmain on Friday.

“This government in NSW is showing all of those signs.”

Mr Albanese said it was “remarkable” that federal Liberal leader Peter Dutton had not joined Premier Dominic Perrottet during his campaign for re-election.

“What we’ve seen though, is that Peter Dutton wasn’t even at the campaign launch for Dominic Perrottet, and hasn’t been seen with Perrottet since last October,” he said.

“The truth is that the Liberal Party are a dysfunctional party.

“They’re riven by division. They’re not fighting for the people of NSW because they’re too busy fighting each other.

Mr Albanese also said he did not approve of Mr Perrottet’s key election pledge to launch a superannuation-style fund for the state’s children, saying it would create a greater divide between rich and poor.

The Kids Future Fund, which calls on parents to make contributions to an account, with the government matching payments up to $400, could lead to funds of up to $49,000 for some.

“It’s certainly not a progressive policy, from what I’ve seen,” Mr Albanese said on Friday.

“It just reinforces inequality rather than addressing what is needed.

“A Labor policy would be giving support to the most disadvantaged and the most vulnerable.”

Meanwhile, a lunchtime walk through Chatswood Mall was on the cards for Mr Perrottet and Willoughby MP Tim James.

The area was Liberal heartland until Gladys Berejiklian resigned as premier in 2022 and independent Larissa Penn almost grabbed victory in the subsequent byelection.

Labor leader unveils school breakfast club plans

Earlier, Mr Perrottet declared the governing Coalition the party of the tradies, warning the future of 4000 apprentices was at risk if Labor won government.

Labor has not committed to building two Sydney Metro lines – Westmead to Western Sydney Airport and Bankstown to Glenfield – until it has clarity on the cost blowouts that have occurred during the construction of current lines.

Cutting two lines would leave up to 4000 apprentices “high and dry” and break the pipeline of work across the city, the government said on Friday.

“[Labor’s] decision to scrap those business cases … has real consequences,” Mr Perrottet said.

“Those projects take time to get off the ground.

“Good governments … build today and plan for the future.”

He reiterated that only his government had a “long-term economic plan” for the state, while defending NSW’s debt pile, which is forecast to continue to rise beyond 2026.

It came as Labor pledged to sharply increase the funding for nature restoration charity Landcare to $59 million over the next four years, if it wins the March 25 election.

Mr Minns, meanwhile, faced questions about reports that Labor’s candidate for the marginal Liberal-held seat of Penrith, Karen McKeown, used her position as Penrith mayor to vote in favour of a Mirvac development in Glenmore park.

Her vote was cast while she served as director of a superannuation fund with a financial interest in Mirvac, The Daily Telegraph reported.

Mr Minns rejected assertions of a conflict of interest, saying it was nothing like former finance and employee relations minister Damien Tudehope.

He resigned his portfolios in February after it was revealed he had not disclosed his family’s superannuation fund-owned shares in Sydney toll road company Transurban. He remains a candidate in next Saturday’s election.

– AAP

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