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‘Buy now, pay stamp duty later’

NSW Premier Mike Baird, Channel 7’s Mark Ferguson and Opposition Leader Luke Foley at the second debate on Sunday. Photo: Dominic LorrimerOpposition leader Luke Foley says he wants to examine possible changes to the way stamp duty is paid on property purchases in NSW to help improve housing affordability.

During the second debate of the election campaign on Sunday night, Premier Mike Baird and Mr Foley were asked what they would do about stamp duty to help young people purchase their first home.

Mr Baird pointed out that his government had offered stamp duty concessions to first home buyers who purchase new dwellings worth less than $750,000. He said the government was “looking at other opportunities”.

But Mr Foley said he wanted “to look at a scheme where people rather than being charged 100 per cent of their stamp duty up front, could pay it back in instalments over several years”.

The suggestion came as the Liberals unveiled their first attack ad of the election campaign, which asks how Mr Foley can run NSW if he has never run a government department or been a minister.

Mr Foley worked as a telemarketer for the Guide Dogs Association of NSW to put himself through university.

He later worked as secretary of a trade union representing low paid community sector workers and as a Labor party official.

Mr Baird worked in investment banking before politics.

Asked about this, Mr Foley countered that he “ran an organisation with a turnover of several million dollars a year” and was in politics to make a difference and provide “a fair go for all”.

The leaders answered questions from the media and an audience of uncommitted voters at the Penrith campus of the University of Western Sydney.

Mr Foley opened the debate with an immediate mention of Labor’s commitment to schools and hospitals, while Mr Baird went straight to the importance of the economy and jobs.

Asked why he was opposed to Mr Baird’s plan to partially lease the NSW electricity network businesses, Mr Foley said the state would lose billions of dollars in dividends it currently receives.

But Mr Baird said the revenue would be replaced by boosting the economy from building infrastructure using the anticipated $20 billion in proceeds.

Mr Foley asked Mr Baird if he would proceed if he doesn’t get the $13 billion price he has nominated.

Mr Baird is counting on the $13 billion plus $2 billion from the federal government and $5 billion in interest to reach his total. He told Mr Foley the government would “without question” get $20 billion.

Mr Baird was also challenged by gang rape victim Katrina Keshishian about cuts his government made to the victims’ of crime compensation scheme. The cuts saw her paid $50,000 compensation reduced to $15,000.

Mr Baird said he was “sorry” for what Ms Keshishian had gone through but said the scheme inherited by the Coalition was unsustainable. He said the government was “looking at doing more”.

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