A university in Perth's eastern suburbs will be built even if the federal government does not fund its medical program, West Australian Premier Colin Barnett has promised.
On Tuesday, the Liberals pledged $22 million and land to help Curtin University establish a campus at Midland but the project still required the federal government to approve funding for places to run the university's medical school.
A similar idea for a university in the eastern suburbs was suggested 17 years ago but went nowhere, which has prompted critics of the premier's election pledge to express disdain for the plan.
"It seems that this promise is little more than cheap electioneering," AMA WA president Dr Richard Choong said on Tuesday.
Mr Barnett said he was disappointed by Dr Chong's comments because the AMA had a responsibility to support public health and the training of medical staff.
"Midland needs a university. There are universities to the north, in the central western suburbs area and to the south of Perth," he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
"Thirty per cent of the people live in the eastern suburbs and the level of participation and achievement in tertiary education is significantly lower."
The premier said while most states in Australia had two medical universities, WA was lagging behind despite its rapidly growing population.
"We have a shortage of doctors and at the moment we're getting by by recruiting doctors from overseas, particularly Africa," he said.
Mr Barnett said he was confident the federal government would fund the places needed for the medical program to run at the university.
He said while the viability for Curtin University depended on having a medical school, he was taking "a positive attitude" towards the issue.
"We are determined to see this university go ahead," he said.
"I have no doubt that campus will be built ... with or without medicine," he said.
"It is long overdue."