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Irate mayors plot Barnett fall
Irate mayors plot Barnett fall

High-profile independents are targeting the Barnett Government's heartland amid growing disquiet in the golden triangle.

Cottesloe and Nedlands mayors Kevin Morgan and Max Hipkins are to take on Premier Colin Barnett and Environment Minister Bill Marmion in their safe Liberal seats, motivated by "fear, anger and alienation" in the western suburbs.

Both will argue that the Government's proposed council amalgamations, "draconian" planning laws and moves to create higher-density, high-rise developments in the western suburbs ignore the wishes of local communities.

The two mayors are members of the Western Suburbs Alliance and the City Gatekeepers lobby group, which opposed the Elizabeth Quay foreshore development.

Fellow alliance member and environmentalist Wayne Monks will run as an independent in Churchlands, which is being vacated by former education minister Liz Constable. Former marketing manager and road train driver Greg Ross will contest Planning Minister John Day's Kalamunda seat.

The alliance was formed in July and consists of high-profile professionals and community groups.

Mr Hipkins said the Government's development assessment panels - which determine applications for big projects instead of local councils - were increasingly seizing power from councils.

"We can't match the Liberal Party in spending but we can hopefully get grassroots support, and show the Government that they've got to listen to their electorate," he said.

Mr Morgan, who is engaged in a long-running stoush with Mr Barnett over increased height limits along the Cottesloe beachfront, said he had been heartened by the community response since announcing his intention to run in the blue-ribbon seat.

"There is a sense of disquiet in the western suburbs over the way Mr Barnett has treated their interests," he said.

"This is about a belated recognition that the western suburbs get nothing, because the Liberals figure they can't lose. We are saying that a vote for the independents is the only way to change that."

Political commentator Harry Phillips said though taking on a premier or minister would be tough, local mayors were best placed to mount such a challenge.

"If both mayors could get the bulk of preferences from Labor, and the Greens, then you'd have to believe that with a good campaign they might be in with a chance," he said.

Mr Day said he and Cabinet colleagues were aware of the views of the alliance, and took them seriously, but he believed there had been an overreaction to both the Elizabeth Quay development and increased height limits in the western suburbs.