Bel­mont pol­lies gear up for bat­tle

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - NEWS - Joel Kelly

BAT­TLE­LINES have been drawn for the marginal seat of Bel­mont ahead of the State Elec­tion next March.

Bel­mont is the most marginal Govern­ment-held seat in the state. It is held by Glenys God­frey by a mar­gin of 0.9 per cent since Lib­eral’s land­slide vic­tory in 2013.

WA La­bor an­nounced last week it had en­dorsed Ms God­frey’s for­mer op­po­nent, Cassie Rowe, to re­con­test the tightly held seat in 2017.

Ms Rowe, the sis­ter of East Metropoli­tan MLC Sa­man­tha Rowe, set up Bel­mont Com­mu­nity Group af­ter her de­feat in the 2013 elec­tion.

The group came un­der fire in re­cent years from lo­cal Lib­er­als in State and Fed­eral par­lia­ments who la­belled it a La­bor “Tro­jan Horse”.

But Ms Rowe said the group en­abled her to launch grass­roots cam­paigns, par­tic­u­larly around lo­cal crime preven­tion through her com­mu­nity group in­volve­ment.

“Not a great deal has changed since the last elec­tion,” she said.

“We have found over­whelm­ingly with all our pe­ti­tions, mailouts and door­knock­ing that peo­ple feel there are in­ad­e­quate re­sponse times to crime.

“It’s at the stage now where they’re not, in some in­stances, ac­tu­ally re­port­ing the crime be­cause they are not con­fi­dent it will even be at­tended to.”

Like 2013, next year’s cam­paign for the seat of Bel­mont is likely to fo­cus on the key is­sues of crime preven­tion, em­ploy­ment and de­vel­op­ment around the air­port rail line.

Ms Rowe said Ms God­frey had “not done a great deal to ad­vance the in­ter­ests of Bel­mont”.

But Ms God­frey hit back, say­ing Bel­mont could not af­ford to go back to its old ways.

“Un­til 2013, this elec­torate was taken for granted by the Mem­ber who rep­re­sented it and we can­not go back to the old ways where Bel- mont was con­sid­ered noth­ing more than dump­ing ground for prob­lem fam­i­lies in State hous­ing,” she said.

“Peo­ple in Bel­mont know how hard I have been work­ing on the is­sues that they elected me to tackle, such as State hous­ing con­cen­tra­tion, the As­cot kilns de­vel­op­ment and in­fra­struc­ture projects to im­prove our elec­torate.

“We have reached im­por­tant mile­stones in each of th­ese ar­eas but there is much more yet to be achieved, so I want to make sure we keep mov­ing in the right di­rec­tion,” she said.

Cassie Rowe.

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