LABOR’S chances of winning Bicton — a crucial seat in the March state election — were dealt a blow last weekend when premier Colin Barnett committed to tunnelling under White Gum Valley for the next stage of the Perth Freight Link.
Labor candidate Lisa O’Malley had campaigned hard on the prospect of Palmyra residents in Moody Glen and Hird Place having their houses demolished to make way for an overland route.
To win Bicton, Labor needs a 10 per cent swing, which mirrors what it’ll need state-wide to pull off victory on March 11.
Despite the tunnel announcement, bookies are still showing Ms O’Malley slightly ahead of her Liberal opponent Matt Taylor.
“After two years of uncertainty over the PFL, voters in Bicton are cynical about the Barnett government’s ability to deliver on anything they promise,” Ms O’Malley says.
“Only a few weeks ago Mr Barnett told residents of Moody Glen, Palmyra they shouldn’t spend any money on their homes.”
In recent months Roe 8 has become a political supernova, consuming all political issues in its path, but Mr Taylor says he has also been dealing with local issues raised by voters.
“I’ve been looking at environmental issues, including upgrading the nature reserve at Alfred Cove and the foreshore at Bicton Baths, and also removing the invasive casuarina glauca which is damaging several foreshores along the Swan River,” he says. “Law and order has also been an issue and this Thursday [January 19], along with [police minister] Liza Harvey, I will meet with local residents to discuss their problems.
“I’ve been busy meeting with several community groups and organisations, and I’m keeping an eye on the Wave Park proposal and the redevelopment of East Fremantle Oval.”
Mr Taylor is the member for Bateman, but has to introduce himself to a new swag of voters following a redistribution of his blue ribbon seat and a bruising preselection battle he lost to former transport minister, Dean Nalder, who’ll be shifting over from Alfred Cove.
by STEPHEN POLLOCK