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MacTiernan backed to return to WA politics

AAP logoAAP 18/08/2016

WA Labor leader Mark McGowan has backed former federal ALP member Alannah MacTiernan to return to state politics after veteran MP Ken Travers announced his retirement.

Ms MacTiernan, who did not recontest the federal election for the seat of Perth last month, told reporters on Thursday she was pleased to be part of the state team.

"I've been out there campaigning with my colleagues since I retired from federal parliament," she said.

"Now I have an opportunity to do it with even greater engagement."

Mr McGowan said he was confident the party would support his decision to endorse Ms MacTiernan for the March poll, but denied it was a captain's pick, saying "leaders have to lead".

He described Ms MacTiernan as a fitting replacement for Mr Travers because she worked hard and was popular.

"Alannah is like Madonna, you only have to say her first name and everyone knows who you're talking about," he said.

"I think she'll be a great campaigner on behalf of Labor across the seats, in particular the marginal seats."

Ms MacTiernan said many colleagues had asked her to campaign with them so she was also confident she had support.

The 63-year-old was the WA minister for planning and infrastructure from 2001-2008, and oversaw the construction of projects such as the Perth to Mandurah railway line.

Mr Travers, who stepped down as the Opposition's transport spokesman last year citing health concerns, expects to formally resign next week.

City of Vincent councillor Laine McDonald is likely to fill Mr Travers' spot for the remainder of this term because she is the next candidate on the North Metropolitan ticket.

Mr Travers said it was up to the party who should succeed him but there were a lot of good candidates.

"I've absolutely thoroughly enjoyed the honour and the privilege that I've had over the last 19-and-and-half years to be a member of parliament," he said.

"I want to move on, let the next generation take over, pass that baton and that's why I think it's the right time."

Mr McGowan said Mr Travers had been a passionate advocate for transport and planning, including his key role in the creation of Labor's Metronet plan.

"Ken gained respect from across the political divide and from a wide range of community and stakeholder groups because of his sincerity and commitment to pursuing positive policy outcomes," he said.

Mr Travers was elected in 1996 and was a parliamentary secretary in the Gallop and Carpenter governments.

In Opposition, Mr Travers was spokesman for portfolios including transport, agriculture and food, and infrastructure.

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