Kate Hook says she wants to help future proof Calare.
Running as an independent in the upcoming Federal Election, Ms Hook, a mother of four, says it's time :truth, integrity, dignity and decency" was restored to Australian politics.
After graduating with a commerce degree from UNSW, I worked in business start-ups and as Human Resources manager for Freehills, a Sydney law firm. When I moved to this region I worked in finance in the family medical practice, started my own business, Eco Luxe Transfers, in 2018 with an electric vehicle and was busy with community advocacy work around sustainability and climate issues. I'm a mother of four and that's my main motivation for wanting to create a better future.
I grew up in Wagga Wagga, went to Sydney to work and lived overseas for a while before coming to Calare 18 years ago. I lived in Orange for two years and then moved 15 minutes out of town to 70 acres in Borenore where I've had sheep, goats and cattle.
Through my advocacy work I realised that politics in Australia is often the barrier to getting important things done, instead of being the vehicle. I realised the system is broken and needs intervention by independent members of parliament who are not beholden to vested interests and party politics. We know that independent representation works in Calare because we've had a great example in Peter Andren, so we know what's possible. I believe we need that regional independent voice in federal parliament again.
After putting my energy into climate and sustainability issues, I realised that I needed to switch from "doing my best" to "doing what's necessary" if real change was to occur.
I also realised that truth, integrity, dignity and decency needed to be restored to Australian politics. I'm committed to an anti-corruption body with teeth, political donations reform, truth in political advertising and an end to wasteful spending of public money. We need to address these so we can make a difference to people's lives in important areas like health and aged care reform, education, gender equality, economic prosperity. This government's lack of action for a decade on climate change was also a major motivator for me to stand. This is the most important election of our lifetime, we need to act now, by 2025 it will be too late. We need people in government now who understand the scale and urgency of the climate challenge so we don't lose another three years to inaction.
Frustration! Frustration with politics not working for the people, and instead being beholden to vested interests with deep pockets and expensive lobbyists. I think politics has become too removed from the communities it is meant to serve.
Peter Andren, Angela Merkel, Jacinda Ardern, Cathy McGowan.
I want to help future-proof Calare, build a strong regional economy and take urgent action on climate change that prioritises water security and food security, while looking after our farmers and communities. We need a federal anti-corruption body with teeth to underscore good politics, and we need local access to quality health care and housing. We can help address cost of living pressures by making cheap renewable energy accessible to people.
We need to act on the many reports into how to do things better - from improving aged and disability care to fair, needs-based education funding at all levels from early childhood through to tertiary. We also need to give First Australians a voice to parliament, empower women and treat asylum seekers humanely.
Calare needs a well-thought out plan to regenerate our economy, landscapes, transport, agriculture, tourism, arts and culture, housing, waste and manufacturing, that optimises our incredible and unique opportunity to prosper with clean, cheap energy.
My Regenerate Calare project is a potential game-changer for Calare to ensure we move in the right direction.
The plan has eight pillars, the first two being: making use of the abundant renewable energy that's available to us in Calare and a circular economy that recycles, reuses and reduces waste.
The third pillar will create new, local manufacturing and jobs. We once made things in Calare but increasingly we simply open boxes brought in from the city, interstate or overseas, leaving no opportunity for locally created jobs.
The Regenerate Calare Plan will connect locals with industry planning expertise to identify what we can build, fabricate, modify and renovate in Calare. This will reduce our reliance on distant markets and also develop high skilled, meaningful jobs for our communities. An abundance of cheap, clean energy will reduce the costs for manufacturing and of running small to medium enterprises.
The fourth pillar is world class education - an innovative, highly skilled local workforce is key to re-building our local economies and providing opportunities to keep our young people here.
Tourism and hospitality are big employers in the Calare Region. Orange, Bathurst and Mudgee have long been regarded as premium tourism destinations but so many other towns and villages in Calare are developing their own unique offerings. That's why tourism, arts and culture is the fifth pillar of our plan.
The cost of housing and living in many parts of Calare has become a source of stress for many. We'll seek long-term solutions to both housing and living affordability as the sixth pillar of the plan, incorporating expert urban and regional planning knowledge.
Sustainable agriculture is the seventh pillar. The Regenerate Calare Plan will identify opportunities to further improve the sustainability of our agricultural businesses, help to mitigate climate change through carbon sequestration planting strategies (crops, trees and bushes) and to adapt to the consequences of climate change. The plan will secure resources to build a robust model for a stronger, more innovative and secure agricultural sector.
The last pillar is decarbonised transport. We have been speaking to experts in decarbonising transport about zero emissions trains, trucks, battery electric buses, council and school fleets, hydrogen possibilities, freight and passenger vehicles, charging infrastructure and depots. We have some of the best minds in Australia working on these solutions and Calare is well-placed to pilot programs and lead Australia in the uptake of these technologies.
I have the impression Calare voters make up their minds on the local candidates rather than the major party leaders, although I am hearing from traditional National Party voters that they are disappointed in Barnaby Joyce.
The incredible community movement that has arisen behind this campaign is what gives me hope! The community response to doing politics differently has been phenomenal. People have enjoyed being able to participate in political discussions for a change, to have the opportunity to be involved and contribute their skills to work towards the changes they believe in. People are hungry for the values and principles I think we need more of in politics - community participation, transparency, evidence-based policy, accountability to the electorate rather than vested interests, and respect for each other.
My policy priorities, values and ways of working with communities have evolved from 18 months of community discussions and listening to people in all the towns and villages across every inch of our region, from Gulgong, to Oberon, to Eugowra to Kandos. I know they deserve better.
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