Member of the Week - Edward Hoddle
Editor’s note: We have taken the opportunity to interview a brand-new member of the Party to investigate what makes people decide to become a Nat. We are thrilled when any new member joins but are particularly pleased to see the ranks of the Young Nats continuing to grow – ensuring the future of our Party.
A born and bred Gunnedah boy, Edward returned to his family home of 'Gunnible' in late 2016 after completing a Masters of Communication in Sydney while also working in the Sydney Art Market and spending time as the Curator of the Olsen Irwin Gallery. Despite an already dynamic career in the city, the reason to move home was strong – “The country calls to some people, and that’s what drew me back” Edward says.
Currently, the Communications Director for Gunnible Pastoral, Edward is repositioning his family’s mixed business to incorporate both domestic and international revenue streams. After the water buybacks of the early 2000s, the Hoddle’s acted upon studies encouraging Gunnedah farmers to invest in horticulture as a way of better utilising their licenses. As a result, the Hoddle’s planted 26,000 orange trees and now produce 1,500 tonnes per year using intensive farming methods that draw from numerous fields of expertise – from agronomy to entomology – to produce world class fruit in conjunction with their beef cattle business.
Thanks to increasing demand from Asia, the Hoddle’s are currently investigating export as an option for their oranges, including handling and packing at home in Gunnedah. While a supporter of free trade and investment as a way to grow regional Australia, Edward believes that both a domestic and international focus is the best way for farmers to plan for the future “everything has to have a balance”.
Edward believes that agriculture can benefit from a balance of influences and that is the key to making Australia the agricultural powerhouse of the world. Not only should investment come from a wide range of sources, but information, influence and environmental considerations all play a part in creating a robust agricultural sector. If anything, our ability to better utilise resources and innovate means we are on the cusp of “a second agricultural revolution”. For younger farmers, many of whom have grown up in years of drought and have often been discouraged from pursuing it as a career, Edward thinks that new technology and the further integration of science will see young farmers advance the sector to new levels of efficiency, while drawing on the generations of land management experience that has come before them.
What drew Edward to the Nats was the fact that, in our Party, politics and policy development is a community affair.
“Regional communities are only as good as you make them. By getting involved in policy development at a grassroots level you can develop policies that will positively impact your community – you can only do this if you’re involved, rather than shouting at your TV”.
The community is something Edward invests in – whether reinvigorating the Gunnedah Polo Club or being involved in the Chamber of Commerce and Show Society, the ability these groups have to intersect with the work of the Nationals is an area he’d like to investigate.
“Community is why we choose to live in the country, it’s the difference between us and the city that is wholly unique”.
Fostering regional communities through inclusive policy development and greater interaction between all interest groups is an area Edward is also enthusiastic about, as, at the end of the day, “we are all fighting for the same thing – resources for the wonderful regions we call home.”
Finally, what does a Communications expert make of the position of the Nats in Regional Australia?
“At the end of the day the Nationals are the voice of Regional Australia, the Nationals are already here in our communities – and it’s a voice I want to help make stronger”.
For more information about Gunnible Oranges please visit their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/gunnible/?ref=br_rs