The West

Labor's strategy of shoring up marginal seats continued yesterday as Opposition Leader Mark McGowan committed $18 million to fix blackspots on the Coalfields Highway around Collie.

The highway, a 125km east-west route that links the South Western and Albany highways, runs through the heart of the Collie-Preston electorate, held by Labor's Mick Murray by a 3.8 per cent margin.

After six deaths in six months in 2010, the Barnett Government committed $25 million over two years to improve the road. Mr McGowan said yesterday's commitment, which would be funded from Royalties for Regions, was in addition to that money.

"I have said all along that one of the important things Royalties for Regions should be doing is fixing dangerous country roads that are killing people," Mr McGowan said. "The Coalfields Highway is one of those."

Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the announcement would be treated with scepticism by local people given that Labor failed to spend a single dollar improving the road when it was last in power.

"The people of Collie-Preston should be asking what did local member Mick Murray do to improve the highway when Labor was in power? The answer is nothing," Mr Buswell said.

"It is only in Opposition that he has become interested in the road."

The West Australian

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