What steered you towards politics?
I come from a line of strong women and there was always a sense of importance of speaking out and about fairness. My mother is a great inspiration and her principles are: Is this social justice? Is this fair? How can we help people? What can we do?
I have certainly been brought up in a family where doing that just comes naturally. When you see something that is not right it is almost an obligation to sort of say what about this? I am very lucky to have always been encouraged from a very early age to have an opinion and also growing up mum and dad always wanted us to be informed, so watching the 7 o’clock news, reading the newspapers and making sure that we knew about the world that we lived in and sort of developed your ideas.
How did you know that the time was right to take the plunge into politics?
Firstly, I would like to pay tribute to Sharon (Knight) who did a great job as the local member for Wendouree from 2010 to 2018. I must admit that I had been interested in politics for a long time and I had been a member of the Labor party for 23 years but it’s really Sharon making the announcement in July 2017 that an opportunity opened. I sat down with my husband and our girls and I said what do you think, and they said you should go for it.
Do you have a vision for Ballarat?
I want Ballarat to be the best place it can possibly be. I want people to have the best opportunity whether it be our children going through the education system – from 3-year-old kinder to all the way to finish their schooling; whether it be all members of the community accessing the highest quality health care. That’s why we’re investing half a billion dollars to redevelop the Ballarat Base Hospital. We need the highest quality and the safest care available and it should be world class, we should not have to leave our homes to get access to this.
During the election process we made a number of election commitments to Ballarat, a very exciting one is $58M to upgrade 9 key intersections across Ballarat, this will keep Ballarat moving. Over the last four years we have put $31M into local schools in Ballarat. But there is still more and one of greatest projects that we have going on now is Mount Rowan Secondary College.
Under Sharon’s great advocacy the government has invested $12M in Mount Rowan but we still need a bit more to finish off the job, so we have another $3.5M coming. Ballarat High School is doing amazing things with upgrades and we have an extra $8M going into Ballarat High School during this term of government.
Ballarat is a great place to live and more and more people are finding out just how great it is. Having been born here I don’t need to be converted to what a great place Ballarat is but there are parts of Ballarat that need a lot more support and the most passionate election commitment I have is for the Wendouree West Reserve. This is in the heart of the Wendouree West housing estate and what we committed to is $7M to upgrade that reserve – to put in world class soccer pitches, new club rooms and a men’s shed. We will bring the whole Neighbourhood Centre across to the reserve, there will be a BMX track, walking track; it will be transformational for that community and I can’t wait.
I want Ballarat to be a place where people feel welcome, we want it to be an inclusive community, a caring community. The tapestry of Ballarat will be greatly improved by the diversity that comes with new residents and I welcome that, and I think Ballarat, while we have this golden past the future is even better.