LABOR has sought to draw state Member for Bathurst Paul Toole into the controversy that has followed Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s visit to Orange this week.
Ms Berejiklian made a commitment to the voters of Orange to build a $25 million sporting precinct for the city, but only if the Nationals’ candidate Kate Hazelton was elected to replace the sitting Shooters, Fishers and Farmers MP Phil Donato.
“This will only happen if Kate’s the member … we want to make sure Orange gets its fair share,” Ms Berejiklian said.
Mr Donato has called the pledge “blackmail” and says he will refer Ms Berejiklian to the NSW Electoral Commission.
Labor’s candidate for Bathurst, Beau Riley, on Friday called on Mr Toole to make it clear whether he agreed with the sporting precinct ultimatum.
Mr Riley described it as the Premier’s “tactic of threatening to withdraw funding from communities which don’t vote for her candidates”.
“When former Queensland Premier Campbell Newman made a similar threat in 2015, he was referred to Queensland’s electoral commission for the alleged blackmail,” Mr Riley said.
He said Mr Toole needed to guarantee the Nationals would deliver on their promises, even if Mr Toole didn’t win the election.
Mr Toole was asked about Mr Riley’s comments when the state member took the media through Bathurst’s new ambulance station on Friday morning.
Mr Toole said he would not be lectured by a Labor candidate who he described as being out of touch.
Mrs Hazelton said on Wednesday that she would be “proud” to deliver the funding "should I be elected to parliament”, and she reaffirmed that sentiment on Friday.