Swan councillor Rod Henderson takes on Rita Saffioti for seat of West Swan

Rod Henderson.
Rod Henderson.

CITY of Swan councillor Rod Henderson is ready to take on local Labor MP Rita Saffioti.

He has been endorsed as the Liberal party’s candidate for West Swan ahead of the State election in March.

It is the second time he has run for the seat and the second time he will battle it out with incumbent Ms Saffioti.

She has held West Swan since its establishment in 2008, when she defeated Mr Henderson by more than 6 per cent.

“In 2008 when the seat was established, it was a very safe Labor seat,” Mr Henderson said.

“It was impossible to win.

“In 2013, (former candidate) Natasha Cheung came really close and made up a lot of the margin.

“And I think this election we should be even closer.”

Boundary changes to West Swan mean it has swung from a Labor seat to a marginal Liberal seat by 0.9 per cent, according to figures from the last election.

The changes include losing Ellenbrook to Swan Hills, while gaining Herne Hill and parts of the upper side of the Swan Valley.

West Swan will also extend north to incorporate Banksia Grove.

“It’s changed the demographic of the seat,” Mr Henderson said.

“It’s now notionally a Liberal seat more than Labor. But Rita is incumbent and I will be the underdog.”

The Swan Valley and Gidgegannup ward councillor has been at the City of Swan since October last year, after knocking off former Mayor Charlie Zannino.

The father of two has lived in the suburb of West Swan for 26 years. He has a keen interest in business, but said he was now “pretty much retired”.

“I am a director of an electronics manufacturing company,” he said. “I still work because it gives me time to connect with people and to find out what their needs are.”

Mr Henderson said his priority was to ensure local infrastructure kept up with growth in the area.

“This issue has been problematic before,” he said. “So I want to make sure it works better than it has in the past.”

Mr Henderson also praised the work Swan Hills MLA Frank Alban had done for the area, including securing $49 million in last week’s State Budget for transport links to the Ellenbrook area.

“He has done a huge amount for the north-east sector of Perth, and has had hundreds of millions spent (on infrastructure) when previously there was nothing spent in the area,” Mr Henderson said.

The Swan Valley was also on the agenda.

“There are urban areas that need facilities, and there’s also the Swan Valley tourism precinct that I’m passionate about,” he said. “I’d like to see a lot more done for Swan Valley tourism.”