Change is a risk, Barnett tells voters
ALERT: CAPTION: Premier Colin Barnett announces the election day and the dissolving of Parliament. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Premier Colin Barnett says voters will have a choice between a "respected, responsible and decisive" Government and a Labor party which brought "shame" on WA.

In a pitch to voters ahead of the issuing of the writs this morning Mr Barnett described the March 9 poll as one of the most important in WA's history.

"If you change the Government, you change the State and the risk of changing to Labor is a risk that Western Australia should not take," he said.

Mr Barnett said that under his Government WA had experienced massive economic growth.

He said only a Liberal-led government could could continue to ensure the State prospered.

"This is one of most important decades we will ever have on our history with the growth of China and the growth of Asia," he said.

"We have one chance to get it right. One chance to make sure that this State and its people benefit from that economic opportunity.

"This is our chance with the growth of Asia to secure the long-term future of Western Australia for decades to come."

Mr Barnett highlighted mining and agriculture projects such as the Ord expansion, Wheatstone and Gorgon projects as well as iron ore projects in the north and Mid West.

He said the independent public schools program was the "envy of the nation" and his Government had overseen the rebuilding of the public hospital system.

Me Barnett said the city was going through a one-in-100 year transformation with projects such as City Link and the Burswood stadium.

However it had also been a "compassionate Government" with it's focus on mental health and historic increase in funding to community groups.

Taking aim at Labor, Mr Barnett said only a Liberal Governent would stand up to Canberra on issues such as the mining tax and a fairer share of the GST.

He said he led a respected Government, which was in sharp contrast to the former Labor government.

"The Labor Government was discredited," Mr Barnett said.

"It was not trusted and it embarrassed this State with five ministers forced to resign or resigning or being sacked because of inquiries between the Corruption and Crime Commission."

Premier Colin Barnett announces the election day. Picture: Sharon Smith/The West Australian

Mr Barnett, who "thanked" the people of WA for their "energy and hard work" in growing the State, said there was "more to do".

He acknowledged the State's growth had created growing pains with pressures on schools, housing and rents and transport.

He singled out agriculture, mining and petroleum as key industries in WA's future growth and said if he were re-elected science would be an area in which he planned to take direct responsibility.

He said the State's new advantage was the "rising wealth, urbanisation and population to our north".

Mr Barnett, who directed that his department put the Government into caretaker mode, said the Liberal Party's campaign would begin today.

"I'm confident that people do acknowledge that this has been a successful Government," he said.

"I'm optimistic, I'm never confident. I don't take anyone's vote for granted."

The West Australian

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