This week, I want to touch on the impressive achievements of Kate Fielding, who is a familiar face and name throughout the Goldfields. Kate is here in Canberra this week, alongside Lindy Hume, as a guest speaker at the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Regional Art and Culture. I managed to make her presentation here at Parliament House and I caught up with her following the launch. She describes herself as a cultural strategist, but the work she delivers for her community is extremely diverse and one that I think deserves recognition.
Kate has been a passionate advocate for developing the arts, not only in the Goldfields-Esperance region but throughout regional Australia. She was appointed the director of Regional Arts Australia in 2011, and subsequently became the Chair in 2014. From her position, Kate has been at the forefront of discussions regarding both the challenges and opportunities of supporting art in the regions.
In late 2016, Kate was instrumental in organising Warburton Fashion Week, a celebration of local style and culture. Warburton Fashion Week is unequivocally Australia’s most remote fashion event and a wonderful example of creative ways to celebrate and promote arts and culture in the most isolated parts of Australia.
Kate’s talents have been recognised at the highest level in Australia – in November, my good friend and colleague Mitch Fifield appointed her to the Board of the Australia Council for the Arts. The Council is our peak statutory body in arts and culture and provides advice to the Government in the shaping of national policy.
Kate’s appointment is extremely encouraging for those of us from regional Australia. To have her presence on a board responsible for making the arts more visible and accessible to all Australians will undoubtedly benefit rural and remote Australia. And, of course, I’m particularly pleased to see someone from my electorate taking on such a significant role.
Outside of her creative projects, Kate is also chair of the Goldfields-Esperance Development Commission, having replaced Tony Crook last year. The GEDC is responsible for overseeing the distribution of State Government funding and supporting economic growth in the region. It is a role of great importance, particularly in the current climate in WA.
Kate’s impressive achievements were recognised at a State-wide level when she was named as a winner among WA’s “40 under 40” business leaders earlier this month. Needless to say, she was selected from an extremely strong field of candidates.
As a regional MP, I’m always pleased to see passionate and talented people working to improve the quality of life in regional Australia. I want to publicly congratulate Kate on her work throughout O’Connor and I look forward to assisting her future endeavours wherever possible.