Labor candidate for Canning Matt Keogh, 33, was banking on his local connection to the area and policies on employment and training as selling points in the upcoming by-election on September 19.
Mr Keogh, the former WA law society president, grew up in the Kelmscott hills, went to school in Armadale and chaired the former Armadale redevelopment authority’s (ARA) community reference group.
He had also recently purchased a house in Kelmscott with his wife and was in the process of moving back to the area.
He said his local knowledge of the area put him in the best position to advocate for residents on a federal level.
“Being involved with the ARA you can see when government gets it right and invests in building communities, it can make massive changes but as soon as that stops things become a real problem,” he said.
“We need to have better investment in the things that are going to bring up the whole life of the community and look at things that are going to maximise employment.”
Mr Keogh said he would put traffic issues like Denny Avenue and the duplication of the carriageway along Armadale Road to the freeway on the federal agenda.
He said he would also push to reduce unemployment rates, boost training options and upgrade traffic problem spots if elected.
“Unemployment and particularly youth unemployment, the WA rate is now higher than the national average and areas like Armadale and Mandurah have very high youth unemployment rates,” he said.
“Obviously there’s a really high fifo workforce in the Armadale area and not only is there a high fifo workforce there’s also a really high former fifo workforce.”
Mr Keogh said he would push to diversify the WA economy to reduce the reliance on the mining and resources sector and increase training options for Canning residents.
“Investing in science and technology and training and providing that training for people to have other employment opportunities is going to be crucial,” he said.
“Cuts to tafe have made it more difficult for people to be able to get access to training in their local area so that’s quite a problem.”
Mr Keogh cited Gough Whitlam and Paul Keating as political inspirations and said he put his hand up for politics because he wanted to make a difference in his community.
“Government has the capacity to make excellent change when well directed,” he said.
“When in very unfortunate circumstances an opportunity arose to come and stand and represent the community I grew up in it was an opportunity not to be refused.”