While championing the delivery of a 2017 State election commitment for Albany, Premier Mark McGowan dismissed the notion he was already on the campaign trail. In his first public appearance in Albany since bringing his Government’s entire Cabinet in late February, Mr McGowan unveiled Flinders Park Primary School’s $2.5 million early childhood centre on Tuesday. The Premier’s most recent appearance makes him the fourth leader of a WA political party to visit the south-coast city in a fortnight. Opposition Leader Liza Harvey, the Nationals WA’s Mia Davies and One Nation head Colin Tincknell have all shown their faces in what is tipped to be one of the most fiercely contested seats leading into March’s State election. Speaking at the school on Tuesday, the Premier said the State Government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic took priority over all else. “Dealing with the coronavirus pandemic has occupied virtually all of our waking hours for the last three months, and making sure we’re kept safe, making sure our economy manages as best it could and ensuring we had properly funded health and other services has been the priority,” he said. “That’s our priority at the moment. “The election campaign will happen next year.” The Premier would not be drawn into speculation about whether Upper House MP and senior minister Alannah MacTiernan would run on Labor’s ticket for the South West electoral region, which covers Albany. Mr McGowan said he expected pre-selection for those tickets to take place within a month, saying the process “always has its controversies”. Flinders Park principal Richard Bushell paid tribute to Mr McGowan during the school’s early childhood centre opening, thanking him for guiding the State through the COVID-19 crisis. “I’ve been to Perth because my eldest daughter had another child, and as we were sitting around as a family in the house we were renting, I said ‘I’m going to meet the Premier tomorrow — what would you like me to say?’,” Mr Bushell said. “My eldest daughter, who’s actually just had the baby, said to me ‘well, I would like you to sincerely thank the Premier for the great job he’s done in looking after myself and my baby and my family’.” Speaking alongside Liza Harvey last week, Liberal candidate for Albany Scott Leary did not hide the fact he was in campaign mode. Mr Leary said his party had the financial credentials to lead WA through the post-pandemic recovery, focusing on economic management and job creation. As WA moves from lockdown into recession, those are the issues Mr McGowan and his Albany candidate, Rebecca Stephens, will have to confront.