Former Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson was joined by her family and friends for her valedictory speech to parliament on August 8.
“It is a very sad day for us all in this Chamber,” the Speaker of the House said prior to the commencement of Ms Hodgkinson’s final speech.
“I have known the member for Cootamundra for a long time. We will miss the member for Cootamundra, and I will miss the assistance that she has given to me over the years.”
After 18 and a half years of representing the Burrinjuck and Cootamundra electorates, she announced her retirement from politics last month. On August 8 she gave her valedictory speech to the Legislative Assembly.
“I am experiencing sadness at leaving behind what has been a fantastic honour and a great privilege, serving the people of country New South Wales, serving the community that raised me, “ she said.
“But I feel great excitement about what lies ahead, recognising that sometimes you have to closer one door for the next one to open.”
She spoke about first running for office in the Southern Highlands in 1996 and losing the election, retailing her shop The Sheep’s Black and originally taking up a vacancy for the electorate of Burrinjuck.
“My fondest memories were of working on both the Constitutional Convention and the Native Title Ten-Point Plan,” she said.
“A general election was held in 1999, and the newly redistributed electorate of Burrinjuck incorporated not only Yass and Gunning, of which I was fifth generation on my dad's side, but also the beautiful city of Goulburn where my mum, who is in the gallery today, and her family had several generations of family history as cabinet makers and retailers.”
She also highlighted the foreclosure of the Woodlawn mine in Tarago and the challenges of wind turbines in the community.
Tallong, Bungonia to Marulan, Goulburn, Boorowa and Yass, Crookwell through to Gundagai, Tumut, Batlow and Talbingo, Narrandera, Naradhan, West Wyalong, Temora, Grenfell, Gooloogong, Young, Harden, Cowra, and everywhere in between were cited as areas she advocated for.
Ms Hodgkinson won the seat of Burrinjuck in 2003, 2007 and 2011.
In addition to her staff, colleagues and family she thanked Ron and Dorothy Brewer, former owner of Southern Meats Neville Newton, former 2GN manager Steve Swadling and former Mulwaree Shire and Goulburn Mulwaree Council mayor Paul Stephenson.
“I will finish by saying that I hope my term in State Parliament may have inspired, in some way, other young women to put their name forward for public office, whether it be for local, State or Federal government or other leadership roles,” she said.
“It is tough, but if you stick to your guns and follow to your moral compass, you will know how to handle it. It has been an honour and a privilege and I thoroughly recommend it. I thank the House.”
You can read the full speech here.