AS WA Labor leader Mark McGowan stepped up his war of words on an airport rail link, he had no time to rub shoulders with Bill Shorten.Mr Shorten made a flying visit to the west yesterday to address the Maritime Union of Australia's conference in Fremantle. But the federal employment minister left immediately after his speech without taking questions from the media.
WA's Liberals and federal coalition leader Tony Abbott have made much of the fact that Prime Minister Julia Gillard and her ministers have kept their distance from WA during the campaign for the March 9 poll - reportedly at the insistence of Mr McGowan.
Mr McGowan sought to keep the focus firmly on local issues yesterday, claiming Premier Colin Barnett had spread misinformation about Labor's planned new rail line to Perth Airport.
He said claims by Mr Barnett that under Labor's plans there would be no Metronet station at the airport, were simply untrue.
Shadow treasurer Ben Wyatt confirmed Labor would submit its costings for the Metronet rail link to Treasury late yesterday - figures which are likely to be one of the main points of interest of the campaign.
The Labor opposition faces huge embarrassment if its $3.8 billion cost estimate is proven to be too low.
"If Labor expects to be taken seriously as an alternative government, it needs to confirm whether it will include all of its election policies for costing so that Western Australians can be assured Labor is as fiscally responsible as it claims," the office of Treasurer Troy Buswell said.
The Liberals rolled out two major election promises yesterday.
Mr Buswell revealed WA's payroll tax threshold would be lifted from $750,000, where it has sat for some 10 years, to $800,000 in 2014/15 and $850,000 in 2016/17.
But WA's Chamber of Commerce and Industry said the move did not go far enough and was unlikely to persuade small business to hire more workers.
Mr Barnett unveiled a $196 million promise to start work on the Perth-Darwin National Highway (PDNH), building 37km of road to join the Tonkin Highway and the Great Northern Highway.
A re-elected Liberal government would also fund a $4.2 million renal dialysis service for the Wheatbelt region, and lift support to palliative care patients in regional areas with a $3.8 million increase over four years.
Mr Buswell said costings for all the Liberal Party's election commitments would be submitted to treasury in coming days.