Belmont pollies gear up for battle

Belmont MLA Cassie Rowe.
Belmont pollies gear up for battle
Belmont MLA Cassie Rowe.

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, mail-outs and door-knocking 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 Belmont 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.