Victoria Park member Ben Wyatt set to become first indigenous treasurer after State Election win


Ben Wyatt was overwhelmed by the result in Victoria Park
Ben Wyatt was overwhelmed by the result in Victoria Park

BEN Wyatt is set to be the nation’s first indigenous treasurer after Labor’s triumphant result in the State Election.

“That’s ultimately up to Mark,” Mr Wyatt told the Southern Gazette at his Balmoral Hotel function on Saturday night, but added, “I’ve been in the role a long time; I hope so because it’s a role in an area I’m very keen to be in”.

Victoria Park residents rewarded their member of 11 years with a swing of 12.6 per cent (at 64 per cent counted) and 51.2 per cent in first preference votes.

Mr Wyatt said he had not expected Labor’s momentous win and was “completely overwhelmed” by the local result.

“I’m actually quite a bit emotional about the result in Victoria Park, it’s an area I’ve lived in for nearly 30 years,” he said.

“I love my community and it’s wonderful to get such a strong result locally.”

He admitted to being concerned with the state of WA’s budget but said Labor had been honest in what needed to be done and how long it would take.

“West Australians get it, if you’ve got a debt problem it’s a long term issue,” he said.

“You’re not going to have a quick solution, it’s going to be a long term solution, just getting to those basics of spending less than you earn, which is what we haven’t done under the Barnett years, getting back to that and then over time reduce the debt.”

He said voters did not want to have public assets sold to fix a problem created by the government.

“(Labor’s) solution was realistic and our solution was honest, we were honest with people,” he said.

Honesty was something the Liberal campaign had lacked, he said.

“The Government tried to sell a fairytale and solve the financial issues overnight and nobody bought it,” Mr Wyatt said.

He said the Liberal’s had forgotten whom they were elected to represent.

“The Barnett Liberal Government, and inevitably in any long term government, they get caught up in their own agenda and not the agenda of the people,” he said.

“I think what we managed to do, Labor and Mark (McGowan) and me, is we actually managed to understand.”

Mr Wyatt said being in opposition meant spending more time with people.

“You understand what people are worried about and try and set an agenda to take people from their concerns into a position of hope, and that’s what WA needs,” he said.