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Premier�s big science pitch
Setting out his stall: Colin and Lyn Barnett at the Liberals campaign launch. Picture: Michael Wilson/ The West Australian

Colin Barnett put science and children's health at the forefront of the Liberals' State election campaign yesterday at a launch rally that doubled as an attack on Julia Gillard's Federal Government.

The Premier promised every preschool child in WA would get a health check and pledged $15 million towards moving Scitech from City West to Burswood.

Mr Barnett said he intended to develop a "science culture" in the State's economy, based on mining, petroleum and agriculture.

And he promised to take personal responsibility for the science portfolio if he was re-elected.

Before an audience of about 500 party faithful including former premier Richard Court and the Liberals' Federal leadership duo of Tony Abbott and Julie Bishop, Mr Barnett said he had led a "good, ethical" Government that had taken strong positions on schools, health and law and order.

Mr Barnett said he was proud to appear with Mr Abbott, using his appearance as a point of attack on Labor, which has asked the Prime Minister to stay away.

"I say this: a Labor Party that does not believe in itself is not fit to govern the great State of Western Australia," Mr Barnett said.

"I say to the people of Western Australia - if you change the Government, you change the State. And I urge you not to risk Labor and not to risk our future."

Mr Abbott praised Mr Barnett in his speech, saying the Premier had been a "beacon of hope" when he won the 2008 election against Alan Carpenter at a time when the Liberal Party was "at its lowest ebb" having been turfed out of every government in Australia.

Mr Abbott used the speech to goad the Prime Minister, saying she needed to come to WA to justify the carbon and mining taxes.

In a pitch to parents, Mr Barnett promised to spend $57 million to appoint 155 child health nurses to be stationed in Government schools.

"What it will mean is that every child in WA, every single girl and boy in government and non- government schools in their pre-primary year, will have a full health assessment," he said.

"And if they have problems in eyesight, in hearing, in speech, in their motor-skills, in their social, intellectual development, it will be identified and we will help."

The Scitech promise would see the not-for-profit children's science and technology learning centre moved from City West to the Burswood peninsula by 2018.

A re-elected Liberal government would give Scitech 9500sqm for a peppercorn rent and $15 million towards a new building.

The announcement aims to build on Mr Barnett's vision of a riverside precinct at Burswood, anchored by the new football stadium.

Scitech chairwoman Erica Smyth said the organisation had put various proposals to the Government about a new site for "quite a long time".

She said $15 million would not be enough to build a new building but it was "a very firm base".

At Scitech yesterday, visitor Anna Thompson welcomed the plan to further improve the "fantastic" centre.

"It's difficult to find things that entertain little kids but this has been superb and it's really educational," she said.

Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt said the Premier had run out of ideas.

"We still haven't seen any tough decisions from Mr Barnett," he said.