It all started when…
A farmer and a teacher met while waterskiing on the mighty Dawson River in Central Queensland. It was the early 1970’s. (If Dad’s brothers are anything to go by, nursing was the other preferred profession for local girls - regional health delivered babies in more ways than one!) Gran and Grandad were pioneers. They had moved their young family from New South Wales to Queensland after acquiring the block in a land ballot about a decade earlier after Grandad returned from the war. Gran’s family are still dairying in the Camden Valley on the land they earned after being granted freedom in the 1840’s.
At the same time as Dad was moving to Queensland, Mum was arriving in Australia as a refugee. Her heritage is Dutch and Indonesian, and she started life in rural New Guinea. Mum has been an Australian citizen for most of her life. Food at family gatherings was always so diverse, I only figured out in my teens that Nasi Goreng isn’t a Dutch dish!
I was born first of 6 children. My earliest lesson in compassion was when my youngest sister was born with Downs Syndrome. She has taught me much.
My school years were spent on our cotton and beef farm in Central Queensland. We were rural kids in a mining town. I have a public education, and graduated with a Business degree from Central Queensland University.
I moved to Brisbane in 1999 and lived first in the suburbs and then in the inner city. I loved the bustle of the city but when my sons were born I wanted them to experience the freedom of my youth. My husband also felt the need for a tree change, so after nearly 20 years in the city, and a long search, we relocated to Longford. I felt like I was coming home, and Fil is revelling in regional life. We especially love running into people at the grocery store, walking our children to school and participating in local activities like the Jazz Festival.
We have really enjoyed meeting local business owners, and we love knowing that we are supporting small businesses. Fil and I have run small businesses, together and with others. This has taught me the hardship and fulfilment of personal endeavour, and the relationship between business and government policy.
Life was always about balance, and as I grow older i become more aware of how my early family life shaped my values. Both Mum and Dad were always active in community roles and in many ways I’m a chip off the old blocks.
In my professional life community-wide activities are a feature. There is also a trend of working across boundaries helping people to transition. As a General Manager, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer I’ve worked across the globe with organisations in Defence, Health, Mining, Transport, Publishing, Spatial Science and Construction. And whether it’s the introduction of e-learning in TAFE, or the use of serious games to help mine workers manage risk, or supporting business collaboration to attract and retain talent, I’ve learned that people need to feel heard and have an opportunity to shape solutions. I have invested decades in learning how to unite communities and support transition.
Our economy is in transition. As communities we are learning how to drive progress that is sensitive to environmental care. We are rethinking how we support our most vulnerable members of society. We are looking for opportunities to grow prosperity locally. The pace of technological change is mindboggling and will disrupt traditional jobs. How we respond to that is up to us.
My pitch to you is that this is my space. I see fantastic opportunity for regional Tasmania. Now is the time to harness the innovation, ideas and knowledge of what makes our lifestyle so great, and secure our future. To strategically engage with government for the long term. To recognise that new opportunities come from new thinking.
It’s time to shift our expectations of elected representatives.