The countdown is over, and now it’s your say ...
So, here we are. After all the promises and pledges, North West electors will finally get their chance to cast a vote and decide who will be their voices in State Parliament for the next four years.
In case you’re been sunning yourself on foreign shores for the past five weeks or otherwise busy with life’s other pressures and distractions, here’s what you may have missed . . .
We’ll start with the names of the candidates you’ll see on the ballot papers and what have been the big issues . . .
Nationals: Brendon Grylls
Labor: Kevin Michel
Liberals: Mark Alchin
Greens: Brent McKenna
One Nation: David Archibald
Flux: Mark Dunn
Micro Business Party: Davyd Hooper
Shooters and Fishers: Fiona White-Hartig
Incumbent Pilbara member and WA Nationals leader Brendon Grylls has staked his political future on a controversial plan to lift the 25¢ special lease rental for iron ore paid by Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton to $5 a tonne, arguing the rate has not been changed since the 1960s.
Many of the Nationals policies such as payroll tax relief for small business, tax relief for companies which choose to employ residential staff over fly-in, fly-out workers and cutting the cost of regional airfares hinge on the special lease rental becoming a reality. It has been strongly opposed by the Labor and Liberal parties and the mining industry.
The Liberal Party has promised to nominate Murujuga National Park for World Heritage listing after a sustained campaign from environmental, archaeological and indigenous groups.
Pilbara candidate Mark Alchin is confident of getting party support for his $42 million airfares subsidy card pitch. He wants to see Royalties for Regions funds focused more on attracting residents and businesses to the Pilbara.
Labor has announced a suite of small scale projects for each Pilbara town and is promising to close loopholes in tenders to get more local businesses involved on government projects. They have also pitched an inquiry into regional airfares and $50 million to seal the next stage of the Karratha to Tom Price road.
The Liberal and Labor parties have gone tit-for-tat with tough strategies to combat meth use.
Wickham resident Fiona White-Hartig threw her hat in the ring for the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. She wants to see a stronger focus on health and education, more resources for police and the creation of drug and alcohol detox centres in the region.
One Nation chose to run climate change sceptic David Archibald in the Pilbara seat. Mr Archibald has been absent on the key Pilbara issue of airfares, instead focusing on plans to reduce port fees at Point Samson, gut the Environmental Protection Authority and build a dam at Doolena Gorge near Marble Bar.
The party has taken a tough stance on “prohibition era” laws proposed which would see the sale of full-strength alcohol banned in South Hedland in an attempt to curb antisocial behaviour.
There has been some controversy around the Greens campaign thanks to Pilbara candidate Brent McKenna, who was charged after an alleged graffiti campaign around the City of Karratha.
Greens upper house member Robin Chapple has been around for a long time now and is one of few politicians with the respect of indigenous people. The party wants to stop uranium mining, fracking and privatisation of Utah Point.
Flux and Micro Business Party arrived late on the scene, only being revealed when the ballot paper draw was done.
MBP’s Davyd Hooper and the party itself has been quiet in the Pilbara while Flux has at least got some placards and advertising up around town to promote their app-based solution to politics.
Nationals: Rob Houston
Labor: Josie Farrer
Liberals: Warren Greatorex
One Nation: Keith Wright
Greens: Liz Vaughan
Flux: Ryan Albrey
Independent: Kai Jones
Independent: Graham Chapman
The Kimberley election campaign has been muddy and wet as candidates have braved flooding and stormy weather to get their message out to the most remote corners of the electorate.
A major talking point has been the Liberal Party putting up their first Aboriginal candidate for the seat, in the form of Derby’s Warren Greatorex, to take on incumbent Labor member Josie Farrer in a region with a large indigenous population.
The Liberal team has obviously thrown some money behind Mr Greatorex’s campaign, with visits to the biggest Aboriginal communities for mobile polling by plane to combat Labor's grip on the remote vote.
It’s Ms Farrer’s election to lose with strong support and Labor polling a big swing Statewide, offering the opportunity for the one-term politician to work for the region with her party in power.
Both majors have promised $20 million for Broome District High School, the biggest spend for the region, while Labor has offered East Kimberley sweeteners of swimming pools in Kalumburu and Balgo and a water park in Kununurra.
This week, Mr Greatorex forked out a further $2 million pledge for the construction of a new visitors centre in Kununurra.
The Nationals are realistically looking at their last shot at the seat despite the second-biggest sum of Royalties for Regions funding pouring into the region in the past eight years.
The party has made big promises based on winning the balance of power and the last minute revelation of the Liberals wanting to fund some regional services through RFR may give the Nationals a boost.
There are no guarantees about who will win tomorrow's election in the Kimberley. The last one was a tight contest which was not decided for days and a degree of unknown hangs over this one too.
It’s the unknown of whether the Liberals can get more votes from Aboriginal voters, if the Greens can repeat their strong showing in 2013, and what factor will Pauline Hanson’s One Nation have with a disillusioned voting populace.
North West Central candidates:
Nationals: Vince Catania
Labor: Shane Hill
Liberals: Julee Westcott
Greens Carol Green
Flux: Adrian D'Cunha
Micro Business Party: Angela Hooper
Independent: Dane Sorensen
Independent: Sandy Davies
We will have live coverage of all of tomorrow’s fun and frivolity from across the North West from 6pm.
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