Liberal candidate for Burt Matt O’Sullivan said helping the long-term unemployed find jobs would be one of his priorities if elected to represent Burt at the federal election.
Mr Sullivan was speaking at his first public event as a candidate on Wednesday, a Business Armadale breakfast with Member for Canning Andrew Hastie.
“It is not governments that create jobs, it’s business so I am very happy to be speaking to business leaders in this area here,” he said.
“This election will be about the people of Perth, not about the Matts, Matt Keogh or Matt O’Sullivan, it is about the people of Perth and who they can trust with their jobs, their livelihoods and their children’s future.”
Mr O’Sullivan was not expecting to get into politics until later in life but when the area of Burt was created, he felt he could do something for his stomping ground.
“Burt is home, I have four generations of connections to this community,” he said.
“My grandparents moved to Gosnells 40 years ago, my parents live in Thornlie, I went to Thornlie Christian College and my wife and I built our first home in Canning Vale, my kids now go to Carey Baptist College in Harrisdale.
“So this is home, I care about this community and I understand the needs and the things that are affecting people across this area.”
He said while government played a big role in society businesses should have a stronger role to reduce the impact of government.
“I’ve seen the transformative power of a job on people’s lives,” he said.
“The best form of welfare is a job, hands down, and whilst employment won’t change everything, without it nothing will change.”
Mr O’Sullivan, who has worked on indigenous employment program Generation One with business leader Andrew Forrest for the last eight years, said he had seen 25,000 people into jobs.
He said the system of listening to employers, creating a training program to meet their needs then matching that to job seekers had proven successful and he hoped to bring those skills to federal parliament.
“I am particularly proud of what we have achieved over the last few years where we have developed a new model of training and it is an innovative model, it is pretty crazy but it shouldn’t be because it actually makes good sense,” he said.
“It shouldn’t have been such an eye opener, such an Einstein moment, but it was where we listened to employers and said to employers, what are the skills you need in the workforce and then we reverse engineered that back to the job seekers.”
He said the model had a retention rate of 80 per cent for long-term unemployed after six months compared with the mainstream employment system retention rate of 27 per cent.
Mr O’Sullivan said it would be a hard election battle but he was up for it.
His preselection comes after a tight contest against City of Gosnells councillor Liz Storer.
Ms Storer had originally been preselected but state council rejected the decision.
She pulled out of the race late last week before Mr O’Sullivan’s appointment by state council at the weekend.
He will run against Labor candidate Matt Keogh.