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Victorian election 2022: What could bring Daniel Andrews unstuck

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The pandemic saw Victorians who previously had little interest in politics passionately dividing themselves into “anti-Dan” and “I stand with Dan” camps.

And while the handling of Covid over the past couple of years is front of mind for many voters, there are other issues that have become hot topics in the lead up to the election tomorrow.

Mr Andrews has been vocal about “Victoria’s Big Build”, which includes one of his favourite topics, level crossing removals, and the suburban rail loop.

“Victoria is investing more into infrastructure per person than any other state,” he tweeted on Thursday.

Mr Andrews told 100 undecided voters in the audience of the only leaders’ debate ahead of the election on Tuesday that soon Melbourne was going to “the biggest city in the nation”.

While the idea is intended to get voters on side, some have seen it as a reason to place their vote elsewhere. The big concern being debt.

A retired member of the public at the leaders’ debate said it worried him how “the government debt issue” will affect his grandkids.

“Just as some of those repayments will be made by generations to come so will the benefits,” Mr Andrews told him, listing the metro tunnel project, north east link program and suburban rail loop.

“If you borrow to build and make the economy bigger, that’s money well spent,” he said.

“If you borrow in emergencies (Covid) because there’s simply no choice, that’s using the state’s balancing sheet and budget to support families and businesses, and that’s exactly what we did.”

Another issue Mr Andrews faces criticism for, which is also being honed in on by the Opposition, is the state of Victoria’s healthcare system, especially ambulance wait times.

A review by Emergency Management Inspector-General Tony Pearce identified 40 “potential adverse events” between December 2020 and the end of May this year where seriously ill and injured patients had to wait for an ambulance while their triple-0 calls were delayed. From those incidents, 33 people died.

His report found the speed the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA) was answering calls at had “fallen below community and government expectations”.

One call to Victoria’s triple-zero service in January took 76 minutes to be answered.

The government released the report in September and at the time Mr Andrews said “the extent to which the system was overwhelmed was not foreseeable”.

However, Mr Pearce later told ABC Mornings the ESTA was able to “forecast accurately what was coming down the pipeline for their business”.

“They just didn’t have the resources in place and they didn’t have the funding model,” he said.

When given the opportunity to ask one question of his opponent during the leaders’ debate, Mr Andrews accused Matthew Guy of running commentary on the health system that “discounts the fact we’ve had a pandemic”.

Mr Guy fired back: “Your government has broken the health system. You’ve had eight years. I intend to fix the damage you’ve done to it.”

He has vowed to shelve the $34.5 billion dollar Cheltenham to Box Hill rail line project and redirect the funds into the health system.

One of Mr Andrews big health promises is free university for students enrolling in nursing and midwifery.

Mr Andrews led Labor to a landslide victory in the last state election in 2018, but this time it’s expected to be a tight race with some predicting a hung parliament could be on the cards.

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