Seat of Swan on the line as candidates make final pitch to voters

Rod Henderson (Member for West Swan) and Frank Alban MLA (Member for Swan Hills). Picture: David Baylis       d466105
Rod Henderson (Member for West Swan) and Frank Alban MLA (Member for Swan Hills). Picture: David Baylis       d466105

TRANSPORT, education and crime are shaping up as the big issues for Swan Hills in this weekend’s State Election.

The seat, held by Liberal incumbent Frank Alban for eight years, could be in jeopardy over the Liberal party’s failure to commit to a rail line connecting Ellenbrook’s town centre to the CBD.

The Labor Party announced last month its $863 million plan for a rail line from Ellenbrook to Morley as part of Metronet.

Mr Alban said Ellenbrook had moved away from the 2008 promise of a rail line and the Liberal Government’s plan for the bus rapid transit project was more appropriate.

“When the time comes for rail in Ellenbrook, it will have to also service Bullsbrook,” he said.

“Whatever train you have in Ellenbrook will only take people into the CBD, there’s only one avenue, where our bus service takes people in four different directions.”

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Mr Alban said his concern with having a train line in Ellenbrook was increased crime and creating another “Midland or Armadale”.

However, Labor candidate Jessica Shaw said she believed some of the crime was linked to a lack of youth services and a train link to external recreation youth facilities and services would help reduce crime.

“Labor has committed to open Ellenbrook police station 24/7 if elected, to improve community safety,” she said.

“There is also a well documented mental health and suicide issue and nothing for kids to do, so we have committed $2 million towards services and a dedicated youth facility.”

Mr Alban said he had been assured by local police crime was not a significant issue in the suburb.

“Crime will always be there with a growing population, but police have assured me it is under control,” he said.

“I’ve been warned that a train line will create further antisocial behaviour.”

According to a new redistribution of electoral boundaries, the marginal Liberal seat has a 3.7 per cent swing, but could be winnable for Labor.

Ms Shaw said if elected, she would be the first member for Swan Hills in decades who had lived in the area.

“I feel really positive and I’ve had a fantastic response, people in the area have an appetite for change and a fresh approach,” she said.

Mr Alban said it would be interesting to see how the election played out.

“I’ve shown people what I’ve done and it’s up to them if they want me here and if they do that’s great.”