Katrina: in depth
Last edition we asked outgoing Young Nats Patron and Member for Cootamundra Katrina Hodgkinson what she thinks is needed to get more young regional people involved in politics. This week we delve a little deeper into Katrina’s take on the most important issues for regional youth, her career highlights as an MP and how she got her start.
When you first got into politics, did you have a mentor? Do you think this relationship impacted your career path?
Peter Cochran, Ian Armstrong, Wendy Machin and Tim Fischer were such encouraging and openly available mentors in my early years - I'll always be grateful to them. They consistently told me to keep going no matter what a campaign threw at me!
The Young Nats has a history of ‘rocking the boat’, taking stances that don’t always align to the senior cohort of the Party. Is this a trait you intend to promote?
This should never change. When I was a Young Nat the controversy was military service, last year it was gay marriage...
What has been the highlight of your political career so far?
My career highlight has been the honour to serve the people of NSW as Minister for Primary Industries for four years, Minister for Small Business for three years, and Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events. After 16 years of disinterest by Labor in the areas of Primary Industries and Small Business, I had to modernise these agencies, making them relevant for the younger generation. During that period, I introduced and passed legislation relating to the reform in every area of the portfolios, from cemeteries and crematoria to local land services and the appointment of NSW first small business commissioner.
What do think is the most important issue for young people in regional NSW currently?
Equal rights for all regardless of gender, religion, sexual preference, colour, disability, or background are issues young people remain passionate about. For a lot of young people, the focus is on getting through school and Uni (and surviving the breadline) and then getting a secure job. Young parents are focused on childcare and access to natal health services. Mental health and depression continue to be very serious issues facing the young and disability services and respite are other issues raised by younger parents in my constituency.
You can read last week's Katrina exclusive here.