Daniel Andrews continues pitching for women; Matthew Guy promises to bring forward the $2 public transportation fare

“While many of these women initially parked their vote with the Greens and Independents as a protest, they are now increasingly switching or aligning their preferences with the coalition,” Reed said.

“They’re not the only group to abandon Labour, but the campaign has clearly probed that they can be more easily attacked and brought back with targeted policy calls and attacks on Guy.”

Catherine Andrews said she had stood by her husband for the past 30 years and described him as “thoughtful, kind, intelligent”.

“His vision for Victoria… backed by his incredible track record, I’m thrilled,” she said.

The Prime Minister also announced a $32 million two-year package to encourage more doctors to become general practitioners.

If re-elected, the Labor government will pay an additional $30,000 for first-year trainee GPs to ensure they do not take a significant pay cut to become a GP, and to cover the cost of the $10,000 GP exam. According to the Royal Australasian College of General Practitioners, less than 14 percent of prospective doctors choose general practice as their specialty.

“We want to ensure that more and more of our junior doctors are choosing general practitioners because we know and understand that this is a real priority,” said Andrews. “This is not traditionally the job of the state government, but we think this is a practical, sensible reform that we are making.”

The college welcomed Labor’s pledges to invest in the GP training pipeline, but warned against allowing pharmacists to write scripts for the contraceptive pill or to treat urinary tract infections.

Danielle McMullen, vice president of the Australian Medical Association, said it was hugely disappointing that the “positive announcement” for GP trainee incentives came along with news of the pharmacist prescribing trial, which she said would “completely undermine quality GP care” .

“Prescribing a drug is much more complex than clicking a print. For every drug we choose for people, including repeat medications, we use our years of medical training to consider whether it’s still the most appropriate drug,” McMullen said.

The leaders debate.

The leaders debate.Credit:Pool/Tony Gough

“Sometimes that’s visible to patients, and there are a lot of questions that need to happen and sometimes they don’t.”

The Victorian president of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, Anthony Tassone, who was at the press conference with Andrews, said top medical authorities sometimes acted like “they are the umpires of the league and get to dictate how the game is played”.

“Pharmacists prescribing drugs may be something new to Victoria, with regard to antibiotics for urinary tract infections and the re-issue of oral contraceptives, but by international standards it is not new,” Tassone said. “It’s been happening for several years in New Zealand, the United Kingdom and parts of Canada.”

While Andrews was in St Albans and fully focused on the healthcare system, Guy headed to Cranbourne to revisit the Coalition’s most popular announcement of this election campaign: $2 public transport.

The coalition announced last month that public transportation fares would be capped at $2 per day and $1 for concession card holders, to help reduce the cost of living. Guy announced on Wednesday that he would bring forward the timeline to cut rates by six months to January 1.

“Hard-working families now need a cost-of-living relief, and advancing our $2 flat rates accomplishes just that,” Guy said.

With just three days until election day, the government faced intense scrutiny into one of its signature infrastructure policies, the Suburban Rail Loop, which Guy said he would suspend and redirect austerity to funding health care pledges.

Transport Infrastructure Minister Jacinta Allan released the business and investment case for the mammoth project last year, which revealed that the first two phases of the project from Cheltenham to Melbourne Airport would cost between $30.7 and $50.5 billion. The government has said the first leg from Cheltenham to Box Hill will cost between $30 and $34 billion.

The government has disputed the independent parliamentary budget office’s analysis of the project, which suggests the first two phases of the SRL would cost $125 billion.

But Andrews has repeatedly refused to say officially what the second phase would cost, saying it is a matter for future governments and giving a concrete figure would be impossible. This is despite the fact that the business and investment case assessed the first two phases of the project to determine whether the project was piling up.

“I’ve given you all the details of the facts of the case, we just can’t seem to agree and that’s fine,” Andrews said.

Guy said there was still a possibility the coalition would build the rail loop – after it has been audited to determine its value – but probably not in the next term. “I think that’s unlikely in the next term because I don’t think our financial position allows it,” he said.

Former federal economist Stephen Anthony described the Suburban Rail Loop as the “worst infrastructure project of all time”. “It’s a shame,” Anthony told 3AW on Wednesday morning.

Meanwhile, Labor has vowed to install air conditioning in all 42 high-rise public housing towers in Melbourne if it wins office on Saturday, at a cost of $141 million. The towers span parts of Melbourne’s suburbs, including in Brunswick, Flemington, Prahran, Footscray, Richmond and Carlton.


There have been repeated calls for air conditioning to be installed in the towers, which can reach sweltering temperatures in the warmer months.

Independent MP for the House of Lords Catherine Cumming says she will increase the wages she initially offered for how-to-vote card distributors on Election Day after first advertising sub-minimum rates in a vacancy .

Cumming posted on Facebook on Monday that she was looking for 150 people to hand out voting cards in Melbourne’s western suburbs from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday for $27 an hour. The minimum wage for Saturday casual workers (for which penalty rates apply) is about $31 per hour.

When contacted by The age, Cumming said she was told $27 an hour was the correct rate, but would now update her job posting to reflect the correct wage. “I didn’t pay anyone. Next week they get paid. I will pay people whatever the right wages and rewards are,” Cumming said.

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