08/02/2017 - 12:37

Northern suburbs hold election key

08/02/2017 - 12:37

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ANALYSIS: The state election battleground has now moved to Perth’s northern suburbs, with three Liberal-held seats previously thought impregnable now in play.

An artist's impression of the Ocean Reef marina.

ANALYSIS: The state election battleground has now moved to Perth’s northern suburbs, with three Liberal-held seats previously thought impregnable now in play.

Those seats are: Joondalup, held by parliamentary secretary Jan Norberger with a margin of 10.3 per cent; Local Government Minister Paul Miles’ seat of Wanneroo (margin 11 per cent); and Burns Beach, held by Environment Minister Albert Jacob (margin 11.3 per cent).

On paper, the seats look safe for the incumbents. But polls on voting intentions point to a healthy swing to Labor, and the Liberals know they must blunt that swing to win a third term in power.

The opposition kicked off the play for the northern suburbs last month with a commitment of $40 million towards a new marina at Ocean Reef. Labor leader Mark McGowan reinforced that push this week with a $386 million promise to extend the rail line from Butler to Yanchep.

The Liberals’ promises have been impressive, too. Last month, Premier Colin Barnett committed $140 million to the expansion of the Joondalup Health Campus, and has now allocated $105 million towards the Ocean Reef marina plan ($65 million more than Labor).

And it is likely that both parties will promise to shower further largesse on Perth’s north before polling day on March 11.

Following the 2015 redistribution of electoral boundaries, Labor needs an extra 10 seats with a uniform swing of 10 per cent to win power. Joondalup, Wanneroo and Burns Beach had been outside the initial list of electorates thought to be the focus of fierce tussles.

There is now general agreement the swing to Labor is on. What is unknown is the size of that swing or whether it will be uniform. There is also the growing support for Pauline Hanson’s One Nation party and uncertainty over how its preferences, which could be crucial, will be distributed.

Whichever side wins the northern seats could also win the jackpot.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

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