I have been an advocate for fairness and decency in the Braddon community for 40 years. I have dedicated my career to creating opportunity for people experiencing disadvantage in our community through the establishment of the not-for-profit organisation Big hART. This work was acknowledged by being named the 2018 Tasmanian Australian of the Year.
I want to achieve more impact, and take my passion for our region to a higher level, by making sure the needs of all people in Braddon are heard in Canberra, not just the few.
In 1992, motivated by the downsizing and closure of the Burnie Paper Mill, I founded Big hART, an organisation which supports rural, regional and remote communities, creates incisive opportunities for young people, and brings hidden issues to public attention. Built and developed on the North West Coast, this organisation has gone on to have an impact across Australia in over 50 communities, winning 45 awards, including the Telstra Tasmanian Business of the Year and Telstra Tasmanian Charity of the Year in 2017.
I have worked at the coalface of some of our biggest challenges such as family violence prevention, homelessness, under-employment, intergenerational poverty, and the inequities faced by Indigenous young people in the justice system. I’ve collaborated with farmers, industry, corporates, food producers, government, councils, tourism stakeholders, Aboriginal Elders, small business, environmental and community groups to promote the assets of Braddon.
Young people are the future of Braddon and our country and yet they rarely get a mention in policy and politics. Braddon won’t break through the limitations of intergenerational poverty, of literacy problems, of a lack of education, of a lack of digital, of poor climate policy, and short-term environmental decisions, until we focus on our young people and their futures.
Our justice system has to evolve from one of punishment to one of rehabilitation and education. In Tasmania our prison population spend more time in their cells than prisoners on the mainland. And nationally Australia’s statistics are dire, 50% of children who are locked up are Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander. Our current approach is not working, and our government has failed those most at need.
I have decided to run as an independent candidate under the umbrella of the Local Party in Braddon, because I want all members of our community to thrive. We need to refocus on rebuilding our community - building our literacy, our digital abilities, our health system, a fairer education, and a better future for our young people, by forcing the major parties to build an inclusive economy.