Bat­tle for Pil­bara seats a hot con­test

Pilbara News - - State Election 2017 - Tom Zaun­mayr

The Pil­bara is shap­ing up as one of the most hotly con­tested re­gions for the State Elec­tion with in­cum­bent MP and WA Na­tion­als leader Brendon Grylls and his spe­cial lease rental at the fore­front of po­lit­i­cal de­bate.

As Mr Grylls put it when asked in Kar­ratha last week, the Pil­bara is the most im­por­tant elec­torate in WA be­cause of its con­tri­bu­tion to the State’s econ­omy.

The se­lec­tion of New­man­based Mark Alchin to take on Mr Grylls for the Lib­eral Party raised ques­tions be­cause of a lack of pro­file orig­i­nally, but he has proved a well-in­formed voice for the party’s an­ti­min­ing tax stance.

Mr Alchin has been a strong critic of the spe­cial lease rental and a sup­porter of the Cre­ate Ranger Parks plan. He has skin in both ar­eas, be­ing an em­ployee of BHP and hav­ing done some of the orig­i­nal re­search for the ranger parks.

It was WA La­bor which was first to hit the cam­paign trail, with the party an­nounc­ing Shane Hill as can­di­date for North West Cen­tral in Septem­ber last year.

Mr Hill has been joined by Pil­bara can­di­date Kevin Michel run­ning for the Lower House where they are talk­ing big on health, ed­u­ca­tion and lo­cal job pri­or­i­ties.

North West Cen­tral’s in­cum­bent Na­tion­als MLA Vince Cata­nia will hold his of­fi­cial cam­paign launch on Valen­tine’s Day, and is con­fi­dent his con­stituents will show him enough love to re­main at the helm of the largest seat in play.

La­bor’s big name is in the Up­per House, where op­po­si­tion men­tal health, child pro­tec­tion and dis­abil­ity ser­vices min­is­ter Stephen Daw­son will be seek­ing a sec­ond term rep­re­sent­ing the Min­ing and Pas­toral re­gion from his base in Hed­land.

Kar­ratha-based union rep­re­sen­ta­tive Kyle McGinn and Tom Price coun­cil­lor Peter Fos­ter join Mr Daw­son on La­bor’s Min­ing and Pas­toral ticket.

For the Greens, Up­per House mem­ber Robin Chap­ple has been vo­cal about the short­com­ings of gov­ern­ment in the ar­eas of in­dige­nous af­fairs and ura­nium min­ing in re­cent years.

The Greens are run­ning can­di­dates in North West Cen­tral and Pil­bara who want to see leg­is­la­tion in place to stop frack­ing be­fore it starts.

Of the smaller par­ties the Shoot­ers, Fish­ers and Farm­ers Party have long-term Wick­ham res­i­dent Fiona WhiteHar­tig.

The big un­known is One Na­tion.

The North West has a strong in­dige­nous cul­ture which is an area One Na­tion has a con­tro­ver­sial track record in, but with a per­ceived high level of po­lit­i­cal dis­sat­is­fac­tion, the party is talk­ing up its chances.

Pic­ture: Tom Zaun­mayr

La­bor Mem­ber for Min­ing and Pas­toral Stephen Daw­son and Pil­bara can­di­date Kevin Michel.

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