Local issues frame Murray Race

Fire serviced: Much of the ground fought over in Murray-Wellington has related to the debate over the need for a fully independant rural fire service in WA.
Fire serviced: Much of the ground fought over in Murray-Wellington has related to the debate over the need for a fully independant rural fire service in WA.

With the state election on this weekend, candidates in the electorate of Murray-Wellington have made a last push to remove the incumbent Liberal member Murray Cowper.

However Mr Cowper, who has represented the electorate in its forms since 2005 on the back of a policy of representing locals and staunch individualism in government policy, has spent two weeks travelling around the electorate.

He has also challenged Labor candidate Robyn Clarke on fire policy, arguing Labor leader Mark McGowan’s pledge for a Fire Mitigation Summit posed a major problem for local constituents.

“They know from their travels throughout Waroona, Harvey, Pinjarra, Bunbury and Yarloop that the volunteer fire service, local shires, farmers and businesses are entitled to a new independent country fire authority, - and will settle for nothing less,” Mr Cowper said.

“Yet Labor is obviously now ready to ignore the Ferguson Report and the volunteer brigades and communities that strongly supported it, to bow to pressure from DFES and its union-owned city workforce to uphold the flawed status quo in country fire control.”

While Ms Clark has backed her leader’s comments, her priorities leading into the election have focused on community development, including revamping town centres, the National Disability Insurance Scheme and the privatisation of Western Power – a common theme among Labor candidates.

“I'm running in this election for all the locals who rely on Labor to protect Western Power, put local workers first, and invest in our schools,” Ms Clarke said.

Part of Ms Clarke’s campaign platform includes upgrades to amenities in Lake Clifton, Lake Preston and Ravenswood.

Nationals candidate Paul Gillett has taken the front foot on Royalties for Regions, mirroring Nationals state leader Brendon Grylls in stating its vulnerability among the major parties.

“This election isn't about Perth politics, it's about choosing someone who can deliver long-term results for the people of Murray-Wellington and regional WA,’ Mr Gillett said.

“The Nationals are the only Party who have delivered for the regions and I'm ready to take up the fight for our communities.”

Though Royalties for Regions has also become a sticking point, with Labor pointing out Peel has only received $1153 per person in royalties funding since 2008.

“The Liberals and Nationals have taken our communities for granted for too long. Only a McGowan Labor Government will spend R4R more equally, wisely, and on job-creating, community-building projects,” Ms Clarke said.

Greens candidate Callum Burwood, a fire mitigation officer himself, agreed with Mr Cowper’s comments, stating a mitigation summit would be at the cost of serious thoughtn on an independant Rural Fire Service.

“With the balance of power in the upper house we will also be pushing our detailed policy plans for greater funding for services in general health, mental health, disability, aged care and more,” Mr Burwood said.