A WELL known Gunnedah local is hoping to bring more transparency to council this election, and at the same time be a strong voice for younger women.
Kate McGrath will bring her extensive background in community services, disability, aged care and aboriginal organisations to the table, throwing her hat in the ring for the September 2021 Gunnedah Shire local government elections.
With long-serving Gunnedah councillors Owen Hasler and Gai Swain announcing they will not contest the upcoming election, Mrs McGrath believes it's time for some fresh leadership and more diversity.
"The councillors that are retiring are very community focused, and I think a lot of the more recent councillors are very business focused," she said.
"There's a very strong representation of The National Party, so I wanted to throw my hat in the ring to try to maintain a bit of balance between business and community interests."
The 32-year-old has become heavily involved in addressing the health crisis currently facing Gunnedah, and has spent the majority of her working life supporting the "disengaged and disenfranchised".
"As my career has progressed, I'm no longer in those face-to-face roles," she added.
"I feel it's time rather than fighting the same battles all the time - as you do when you're a front line worker - to be of more use in trying to help address some of those systemic barriers."
She hopes to be an honest voice on council, and has listed securing adequate doctors and building a strong early childhood education workforce as among her top priorities if elected.
"I would really like to bring in more transparency in decision making, and more opportunities for people to have a direct voice in how decisions are made," she said.
"We as a community acting collectively can advocate and can lobby, and with me being independent, I'm perhaps in a better position to hold the state and federal government accountable because we don't have to toe the party line, we don't have to play nice to other Nationals members.
"More balance, more diversity will strengthen the community and strengthen council."
Eager to be a voice for younger women, she is tired of certain matters being perceived as "just another women's issue".
"Some of the things that are seen as being unique to women my age are actually things that affect the entire community, for example, childcare," she said.
"Even though there's different opportunities for centres to expand or new ones to open, there's still issues around workforce, and still issues around attracting people into an industry where it's highly regulated, poorly paid.
"I think even just strategising ways we can make childcare a more attractive career for people, and brand it as a career that has merit and benefit, that might address some of the barriers people are currently experiencing going into that field."
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