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Election campaign switches to Melbourne as costings debate continues -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The Prime Minister and Opposition leader will both be campaigning in Melbourne today, as a dispute over election costings continues.

The Opposition has rubbished the Government's claim that its promises amount to a 67 billion-dollar black hole.

But the Government says it's up to Labor to prove them wrong.

MPs holding marginal seats for either side say voters do care about jobs and the economy, but holding their attention in the long campaign is the challenge.

From Canberra, Naomi Woodley reports.

NAOMI WOODLEY: In a state where Labor needs to pick up seats to gain government, Rob Mitchell has the task of making sure the Opposition doesn't lose ground in Victoria.

He holds the seat of McEwan to Melbourne's north and north-west by just 0.2 of 1 per cent - making it Labor's most marginal.

ROB MITCHELL: It's not an honour that I like to hold, I must say, but we're feeling pretty good.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Rob Mitchell says many voters are already paying attention, despite the eight-week campaign.

ROB MITCHELL: I think people have been and it would be fair to say there are people who are tired of it already. They know it's a long way to go and I think the Prime Minister will probably regret making such a long campaign.

NAOMI WOODLEY: And many voters don't always like the attention that comes with being in a marginal seat.

ROB MITCHELL: Sometimes you need to work a bit to get people to have a chat to you about what issues are impacting them, but it's worth it in the end.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Rob Mitchell nominates the cost of health care, education, and concern about the declining automotive industry as key issues for his voters.

He says Labor's economic record is brought up, but not necessarily as a negative.

ROB MITCHELL: Yeah we get that but the thing that people raise with us is they are very, very interested in what Labor's doing, and one of the things that's really come up trumps is that people are saying we can't afford $50 billion of tax cuts to small and large businesses, so they're appreciating what Labor is doing is saying no to big business tax cuts but yes to health and education.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Coalition has sought to swing attention back onto economic management, claiming Labor has a $67 billion hole in its costings.

Although the Treasurer conceded almost immediately that it might be $32 billion.

The Coalition's most marginal seat holder in Victoria, Michael Sukkar, denies that weakens the message.

MICHAEL SUKKAR: There is naturally a range out there because it is even difficult for us to entirely pin down what they've committed to and what they haven't and I think that proves the point even more.

NAOMI WOODLEY: Michael Sukkar holds Deakin, in Melbourne's outer eastern suburbs by 3.2 per cent, and says the campaign's going well.

He says the cancelled east west link road project, national security, health and education all figure in the minds of his voters but the biggest concern by far is the economy.

MICHAEL SUKKAR: The ability for them and their children to have a job and pursue their career and pay their bills.

NAOMI WOODLEY: He agrees with Labor's Rob Mitchell that voters are switching on, but says interest has waned in the last week.

MICHAEL SUKKAR: But I suppose that puts even more pressure on political parties and members of parliament and candidates that you need to be out there every single day.

NAOMI WOODLEY: And with that in mind, Michael Sukkar says a visit from the Prime Minister would always be welcome.

MICHAEL SUKKAR: The reality is the more that Malcolm Turnbull can be in Deakin the more that I'll be able to highlight the points that, you know on July 3rd, it'll either be Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull or Prime Minister Bill Shorten, and the thought of a Bill Shorten Prime Ministership scares most of my constituents.

NAOMI WOODLEY: The Prime Minister will visit another marginal seat today, La Trobe, to announce a $20 million package of tourism initiatives for the Dandenong ranges.

For his part, the Labor leader Bill Shorten will be keeping the focus on health, with an $8 million funding announcement for ovarian cancer research.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Naomi Woodley with that report.