Premier Mark McGowan has paid tribute to Speaker of the Legislative Assembly and Member for Albany Peter Watson, who today announced he would not re-contest his seat at the 2021 State election.
Mr Watson was elected to the Western Australian Parliament in February 2001. He was successfully re-elected in 2005, 2008, 2013 and 2017.
During his Parliamentary career, Mr Watson served in numerous Parliamentary Secretary and Shadow Minister roles.
Since the election of the McGowan Government in March 2017, Mr Watson has served as the Speaker of the Legislative Assembly.
As the Member for Albany, Mr Watson has led an incredible transformation of the town, in particular through his work to deliver on infrastructure projects such as Albany Waterfront, Albany Entertainment Centre and Albany Justice and Great Southern District Police Complex.
Mr Watson fought for justice on behalf of the survivors of horrific sexual abuse at Katanning’s St Andrew’s Hostel, which led to a Special Inquiry by former Supreme Court Judge Peter Blaxell.
Following Mr Watson’s advocacy, in 2018 the McGowan Government passed laws that removed limitation periods for all child sexual abuse actions, allowing survivors of historic child sex abuse in Western Australia will finally be able to seek justice and compensation in our civil courts.
Since the election of the McGowan Government, Mr Watson has delivered, or is in the process of delivering a suite of important commitments including the long awaited Albany Ring Road, a new facility to house radiotherapy services at Albany Health Campus, a $30 million upgrade of its South Coast Highway and millions of dollars in upgrades to local schools including the $15.2 million new Mount Lockyer Primary School.
As stated by Premier Mark McGowan:
“I congratulate Mr Watson, or ‘Watto’, on his outstanding service to his electorate and the wider community over the past 20 years.
“During his time as Speaker, Mr Watson has maintained high standards in the State Parliament, and has dutifully overseen historic and often complex debate on important issues facing Western Australians.
“The role of Speaker is one of great importance in our democracy, and Peter has performed the role admirably.
“Peter is one of the WA’s most loved and recognised Members of Parliament and is highly respected, particularly in Albany. He has been truly embedded within the Albany community for the past 20 years, and has advocated fiercely for his electorate.
“Peter has a reputation for getting things done and the people of Albany know that Peter will always fight for his community. He has assisted countless local families over the years, and has delivered improvements to important local services and infrastructure.
“His dogged work to assist the survivors of abuse at St Andrew’s Hostel will never be forgotten.
“I thank Peter for his years of service to his electorate and Western Australian and wish him and his family well for the next chapter of his life.”