Federal election 2022: Morrison Government showers marginal WA seats in cash

Headshot of Josh Zimmerman
Josh ZimmermanThe West Australian
Scott Morrison.
Camera IconScott Morrison. Credit: Asanka Ratnayake/Getty Images

The Morrison Government has unleashed a wave of last-minute sweeteners across three key WA seats – valued at nearly $25 million in total – as it scrambles to shore up votes just days from the election.

The commitments are in Pearce, Swan and Halsuck – all electorates being targeted by Labor as Anthony Albanese seeks to make in-roads in WA for the first time decades.

In Pearce, where Liberal candidate and clinical nurse Linda Aitken is taking on Labor’s Tracey Roberts – the Wanneroo Mayor – the Coalition is pledging $20 million for the realignment of Gnangara Road to intersect with Whitfords Avenue, including the construction of a new roundabout.

Just over $200,000 would also be spent improving CCTV, lighting and fencing at the Shree Jalaram Mandal Hindu temple, also in Gnangara.

Swan – held by the Liberals on a margin of 3.2 per cent and viewed as the most likely Labor gain – has been promised $2.4m for the upgrades to George Burnett Park, including a new youth-focused park and improvements to the existing criterium track and lighting.

An additional $300,000 would also be spent upgrading lighting towers at Middleton Park in Cloverdale.

The CCTV network stretching from Belmont Shopping Centre to Kewdale Industrial Area and The Springs and Ascot Waters housing estates would also be enhanced through a $500,000 commitment.

Liberal candidate Kristy McSweeney is locked in a tight race with Labor’s Zaneta Mascarenhas for the right to replace retiring Liberal MP Steve Irons in Swan.

In Hasluck – held by Minister for Indigenous Australians Ken Wyatt – $1.3 million has been set aside to upgrade sporting facilities at the Sikh Gurdwara Perth Sporting Complex in Bennett Springs.

The works would include upgrades to the outdoor basketball courts, the installation of cricket nets and creation of a new soccer field.

A BMX track in South Guildford – currently closed due to asbestos contamination – would also be replaced at a cost of $100,000.

The cash splash comes days after Utting Research polling commissioned by The Sunday Times placed Labor on track to narrowly win both Swan and Pearce and after Opposition leader Anthony Albanese spent two days campaigning in WA to start the final week of the campaign.

Labor’s candidate for Hasluck Tania Lawrence appeared alongside Mr Albanese at the Alstom train plant in Midland on Tuesday, where the Labor Leader committed to spending $1.5 billion to establishing medical manufacturing industries across the country.

The seat of Pearce has never been won by Labor in its 31-year existence while Swan has been in Liberal hands since 2007.

The retirements of former Attorney-General Christian Porter in Pearce and Liberal MP Steve Irons in Swan have created openings for Labor – although a WA Liberal Party spokesman insisted the contest was far from over.

“We will continue to fight hard in all seats in WA right up to the close of polls on Saturday,” he said.

“Our candidates are making commitments that will be fulfilled under a re-elected Morrison Government.

“Key road infrastructure and other community projects are all part of our commitment to a better Western Australia.”

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