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McGowan declares end to phoney campaign
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan with sons Samuel and Alexander and wife Sarah at Galleria Shopping Centre. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Mark McGowan today said the election would be "a referendum on priorities" as he fronted media to declare Labor's campaign "officially on".

Flanked by his wife Sarah and three children as they walked up Harvest Terrace to Parliament House, Mr McGowan said WA was a "great place" and the strongest State in the Commonwealth but he wanted to make it "a better place into the future".

"The time for the phoney campaign is over," he said. "The time for the real campaign has now begun."

"This election will be a referendum on priorities. It will be about who has the right priorities for the future of Western Australia. It will be about who has the right priorities for the towns, suburbs and communities across our State."

Though announcing no new policies, Mr McGowan said a Labor Government "will build Metronet", which was a "fully funded, fully costed plan", to fix the congestion crisis "once and for all".

But he refused to give details today, saying it would be announced during the campaign while hinting that decisions on other capital works projects would be announced.

"We'll make some hard decisions, we'll prioritise differently," he said. "You'll see some dramatic decisions, some dramatic points of difference."

Mr McGowan also said relieving cost of living pressures, congestion on freeways and expanding industries outside mining such as tourism, manufacturing, science, universities and hospitality were key planks of Labor's campaign.

He also pledged to focus on health and "fix the waitlist", literacy and numeracy in education and community safety through more police officers and police stations.

Under Labor, Royalties for Regions would be retained but "enhanced" to reflect priorities in the regions, he said.

"Everyone deserves a fair go in Western Australia and I want to make sure that that happens if elected Premier on March 9," he said.

"We'll make sure that the Government's priorities reflect the priorities of the people of Western Australia," he said.

Mr McGowan said in contrast Premier Colin Barnett's "priorities and his instincts are all wrong".

As examples, he said that under the Barnett Government State debt had increased from $6.3 billion to a forecast $25billion in 2016, families were paying an average $1100 more in household fees and charges, congestion on roads had increased without a plan to fix it and the Homeswest waitlist had "blown out" to almost 50,000.

Land supply had declined by 40 per cent, rents were "out of control" to an average $470 in Perth and $2300 in Port Hedland, while ambulance ramping times had increased by 250 per cent, the hospital waitlist was 40,000, education standards had declined and there had been growth in crime.

"Mr Barnett's priorities are all about the central business district of Perth, putting up cost of living pressures for families and increasing the State's debt to such a level that our grandchildren will be paying it off," he said.

Mr McGowan said his life experiences had led him to this point, highlighting his basic principles as working hard, looking after others and family.

Meanwhile, he said, Mr Barnett was "out of touch" and "arrogant".

"Mr Barnett is someone who scolds the citizens of this State for having air-conditioning, he attacks people for having the internet, he mocks pensioners who dare to complain about cost of living pressures," he said.

"He attacks the senior law enforcement officer of this State, the Police Commissioner, and says he deserves a clip around the ear."

While today's launch was for media, a campaign launch to party faithful would take place in coming weeks.

The West Australian

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