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Labor promises to free up Pilbara land
The West Australian Campaign trial: Labor Kimberley candidate Josie Farrer and Opposition Leader Mark McGowan at Town Beach in Broome. Picture: Glenn Cordingley/ The West Asutralian.

Opposition Leader Mark McGowan will today put Pilbara's land supply shortage at the centre of Labor's pitch to retain the seat, promising a new redevelopment authority backed by legislation to combat "bottlenecks".

The pledge will put the spotlight on the record of Lands Minister and WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls in freeing up land for development in the northern seat he hopes to steal from Labor at the March election.

Last week, Mr Grylls admitted chronic land supply shortage, resulting in $2000-a-week rents in the Pilbara, had been "very damaging for the local community".

Mr McGowan has repeatedly promised to retain the regional development portfolio if elected, claiming problems besetting regional WA require political will at the highest levels of office to fix.

Today in Karratha, Mr McGowan is poised to promise a Pilbara redevelopment authority with the brief of addressing the Pilbara's unaffordable housing market.

Intended to sit separately from the Pilbara Development Commission, Mr McGowan said the redevelopment authority would succeed where Mr Grylls' Pilbara Cities office had struggled because of a lack of legislative teeth.

"The authority will have the statutory powers to address development bottlenecks," he said.

"It will be run by a chief executive, based out of a Karratha office, with the planning function overseen by a regional-focused WA Planning Commission staff member, who would provide technical expertise.

"Their priorities will also be guided by a five-member board, consisting of community, local government and development commission representatives."

The Labor leader promised to re-establish ministerial portfolios for each of the nine regions, which existed under the Carpenter government but were scrapped under Colin Barnett.

Mr McGowan spent the day in Broome and Port Hedland yesterday, rolling out $90 million of commitments for the seat of Kimberley - held by Labor but also being eyed by the Nationals.

He pledged $12 million for early intervention centres in Broome and Derby.