Labor candidate Mat O'Brien to contest seat of Barker at federal election

FAMILY MAN: Labor candidate Mat O'Brien, with his four-year-old son Harley, will contest the seat of Barker in the upcoming federal election. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

FAMILY MAN: Labor candidate Mat O'Brien, with his four-year-old son Harley, will contest the seat of Barker in the upcoming federal election. Photo: Emmalie Balnaves-Gale.

Murray Bride local Mat O’Brien has been announced as the labor candidate, fighting for the seat of Barker in the upcoming federal election.

Mr O’Brien plans to utilise his local knowledge to overturn current Member for Barker Tony Pasin and fend off Family First candidate Yvonne Zeppel, Nick Xenophon Team candidate James Stacey and Greens candidate Mark Keough.

If successful, he would make history as the first ever non-liberal candidate to hold the seat.

He identified four areas he would focus on.

JOBS

Concerned for the lack of jobs for youth in the region, Mr O’Brien hopes to help students get jobs straight out of school.

“It can take kids a while to get a job and they end up discouraged. I would help them in the early stages,” he said.

He believed $4 an hour internships, proposed in the Coalition’s pre-election budget, were not an appropriate alternative to creating permanent jobs.

HEALTH

After cuts were made to mental health in Barker, Mr O’Brien decided to focus on increasing community beds for mental health sufferers.

He would also fight to save medicare from becoming privatised.

“Labor is focused on keeping medicare in public hands and saving bulk billing,” he said.

EDUCATION

Mr O’Brien would utilise $50 million for education in Barker alone, as part of Labor’s Gonski funding model.

He said funding would improve technology, vocational and extension programs, provide speech pathologists, and help teachers improve education in the electorate.

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY

Mr O’Brien would assist low-income workers struggling with the lack of affordable rentals in the area.

By removing negative gearing, he believed housing affordability would increase, creating a flow on effect in reducing rental prices.

He hoped this would also help combat the growing homelessness issue in the region.

This story Labor’s bid for Barker electorate first appeared on Coastal Leader.