All eyes will be on western Sydney when Australia votes on September 7 for who we believe should run the country.
Over the coming weeks, the Sun will be exploring issues that matter to local community.
This week we look at the cost of childcare and education and cost of living.
The Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of NSW metropolitan vice-president Naomi Hammond said political policy needed to focus on appropriate funding that allowed schools to finance repair projects and maintenance, as well as improving resources.
She said there should be a commitment to the Gonski initiative.
"And we definitely need more resources for students with special needs," Ms Hammond, from western Sydney, said.
She believes education policy should also look at incentives to keep kids in school for longer and is disappointed the school laptop program for years 9 to 12 was discontinued.
She said future policy based on technology needed to ensure students from lower-income families weren't unfairly disadvantaged.
She feared the "bring your own device" program — where students bring their own laptop or tablet to school — could do this, especially for families with several children.
"Politicians need to stop putting themselves first and start focusing on our kids," Ms Hammond said.
"Without that support we're not setting ourselves up for the best future possible."
What the Chifley candidates said:
■ Ed Husic, The Labor Party:
"A re-elected Rudd Government will remove the carbon tax, saving families an average of $380 each year.
This will ease cost of living pressures for families.
The Direct Action Plan outlined by the Coalition has taxpayers paying polluters, which isn’t fair."
■ Isabelle White, The Liberal Party:
"Our first priority is to deliver a strong and prosperous economy with more jobs, lower taxes and real help for families and small businesses so that the people of Chifley and the wider community can get ahead.
People in Chifley are struggling with the cost of living due to the carbon tax, which is why I’m proud that the first thing a Coalition Government will do is scrap the carbon tax.
This will not only help families struggling to find the extra money for electricity bills but also small businesses.’’
■ Ben Hammond, The Greens:
"Despite having one of the strongest economies in the world our housing system is failing many of us.
The Greens believe that a quality social housing system, where governments and not-for-profit organisations rent affordable housing to low income households, remains vital to a fully functioning housing market.
That is why we would build 122,000 social dwellings over the next 10 years.
We would also move to increase the Newstart and Youth Allowances by $50 a week at a minimum, as well as increasing the minimum wage."
What the Greenway candidates said:
■ Michelle Rowland, The Labor Party:
’’As a parent, raising a young family and paying off a mortgage in Glenwood, like the many other families in our community, I am acutely aware of the cost of living pressures people face.
‘‘Kevin Rudd and Labor have delivered more help to families than ever before — with Paid Parental Leave, the increase in the child care rebate, the Schoolkids Bonus and expanded before and after school care.
‘‘Families with an average mortgage now pay $6000 a year less on their mortgage compared to when the Liberals left office, but there is always more to do.
‘‘A vote for Kevin Rudd is a vote for Australian families getting the help they need with costs of living and being prepared for future challenges we face.’’
■ Jaymes Diaz, The Liberal Party:
‘‘The Coalition understands that our child- care system should be more responsive to the needs of today’s families.
‘‘A coalition government would also task the Productivity Commission with an inquiry into how the childcare system can be made more flexible, affordable and accessible.
‘‘Our approach will ease the financial burden placed on local child care centres and local families, without compromising the standard of care that must be provided.
‘‘The Coalition will continue current levels of school funding – which means certainty for school communities here in Greenway.
‘‘The Coalition also has a plan to improve the quality of new school teachers who are just starting their careers, as well as improving the performance of current teachers.’’
■ Chris Brentin, The Greens:-
‘‘Education is opportunity, for people and the nation. It is central to a caring and prosperous society.
‘‘It must be funded from early childhood, through to tertiary and life-long learning.
‘‘The electorate of Greenway has many young families and this is a primary issue that they have identified.
‘‘Families should be able to access high-quality, affordable childcare. The Greens are calling for increased and targeted funding for community-based and not-for-profit child care facilities.
‘‘Furthermore, The Greens backed the Gonksi school education reforms which will fund schools on the basis of need.
‘‘Our public schools educate Australia’s most disadvantaged kids.
‘‘Our teachers need more support and professional development and our children need quality education.
‘‘With a proper mining tax, the Greens would boost school funding.
‘‘However unlike the other major parties, we want there to be options for further study for all students after their schooling years.
‘‘Instead of cutting funding, The Green’s are proposing to increase funding of universities by 10% as an investment in our nation’s future.’’
■ Anthony Belcastro, Katter’s Australian Party:
‘‘As a parent the greatest achievement for us is to ensure that we can provide our children with the best education.
‘‘Their future and that of our country depends on it, so how do we achieve this.
‘‘Does throwing money at the schools make for a better education or are we paying for a Ferrari and end up with a push bike.
‘‘Teaches have told me that at time they feel more like riot police than teacher and politicians love telling us how many billions of dollars of our money they have thrown at education.
‘‘Has all this money made any impact on improving the system?
‘‘As a parent all I need to know is how my child compares to other students and how the school is dealing with advancing the needs of the brighter students and helping the ones that are struggling to achieve higher grade.
‘‘Politician’s should ask us what we need not what they think we what that will make a difference.’’
■ Jodie Wootton, Palmer United Party:
‘‘I have experienced the high costs associated with childcare including full day care and Before/After School care.
‘‘ I believe we should be encouraging and rewarding businesses that provide approved onsite child care services.
‘‘ Better rates of pay are needed to keep qualified staff in the industry longer and we should definitely not turn away mothers and grandmothers who wish to volunteer their time.
‘‘Education standards must improve as highlighted by Gonski, but we should not take money away from Universities which generate over $18 billion, thanks to international student enrolments as well as employ over 100,000 staff.
‘‘ I believe social behaviour has lost its place in today’s youth and should be introduced at primary level as a core learning area.
‘‘ School funds should not be confiscated by the State Government but instead invested by the school to benefit teachers and students.’’
■ Allan Green, The Christian Democratic Party: did not respond to our request in time for publication.