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Angry unionist knock on Premier s door
AMWU, CEPU, CFMEU and MUA march on Hale House. Picture: Mogens Johansen/The West Australian

Thousands of angry unionists knocked on Premier Colin Barnett’s office door to voice their frustration at overseas recruitment - only to find he was out campaigning thousands of kilometres away.

The massed ranks of WA’s union movement marched through Perth’s main business district today, continuing a long-term protest against mining and construction companies using guest workers over Australians.

“We are a State that relies on trade, so we will not mandate local content,” WA Commerce Minister Simon O’Brien said in response to today’s well-attended rally, which was led by construction and maritime union members.

Far away in the Kimberley, Mr Barnett was campaigning to raise his party’s environmental credentials.

In their fourth announcement about the Kimberley in a month, the Liberals laid out a plan to create one of Australia’s biggest national parks in the State’s north.

The Class A Wanjina National Park, stretching from Walcott Inlet in the south to the Lawley River in the north, would provide the highest level of protection to the internationally recognised environment, rock art and cultural values, including those of the Wanjina people.

The park could cover up to 20,000 sq km - 2000 sq km bigger than Kakadu.

Planning minister John Day announced today that if re-elected at the March 9 poll, the Government would build 500 affordable homes on big State-owned blocks within three years and loosen laws on granny flats to address WA’s housing crisis.

Families and social welfare remained the focus for WA Labor, with a promise of more childcare services at schools and a new mental health facility north of Perth.

Leader Mark McGowan revealed a 10-point plan to tackle mental health, providing 50 extra community liaison officers and building a $95 million mental health facility at Joondalup Health Campus.

Mr McGowan claimed some of WA’s most vulnerable had been let down by the Government.

“Our mental health system is not working and too many patients are falling through the cracks,” he said.

Labor also promised childcare facilities at all new primary schools and help for schools to set up out-of-school care.