'Proud to be regional': Nanango youth member's secret edge
SHE is proud to be from a regional community and believes it will be her edge in the world of politics.
Kilcoy resident Natalia Hutchison will represent the Nanango electorate as the youth member for parliament this year.
"We should embrace being from a regional community, it's not something to shy away,” she said.
"That's who you are and gives you a little bit of an edge, a different experience to people who live in the inner city.”
Miss Hutchison has taken on the role of youth parliament committee member for child safety, youth and women.
In this role she has been involved in a community engagement program, Share The Dignity, and organising sanitary items for homeless women.
She also works full-time as a paralegal for the Brisbane City Council and is undertaking a double degree in Law and Arts, majoring in international relations, at University of Southern Queensland.
Miss Hutchison hopes to become a practising lawyer, whilst keeping a connection with the community.
"Doing youth parliament will give me a good idea whether I'd like to get into politics,” she said.
The youth member studied high school in Caboolture, but moved back to a farm in Kilcoy once she was finished school.
"Growing up in a small town shouldn't be a disadvantage, it should be an advantage,” she said.
"We should have great education and transport, the same opportunities as living in Brisbane.”
Miss Hutchison said she plans to use this year's YMCA youth parliament opportunity to make change.
"Our community can only become better with the people in the community,” she said.
"Nothing I'm passionate about will change unless I get involved.”
Miss Hutchison has had the opportunity to be mentored by Nanango member, and leader of the opposition, Deb Frecklington.
She looks forward to discussing her bill with Ms Frecklington, which she will present in the youth parliament sittings later in the year.
"Natalia's work ethic is to be admired and it's fantastic to see a young woman like Natalia taking up this leadership role and bringing her energy to the Youth Parliament experience,” Ms Frecklington said.
"She is a very driven person and an amazing role model for other young regional women who want to step up and get involved in creating positive change for our community.”
Ms Frecklington said Miss Hutchison still had an ongoing connection with her hometown of Kilcoy.
"She has a keen interest in communicating with young people that growing up in a small town is not seen as a disadvantage, but rather an opportunity -a belief I also firmly share,” she said.
Miss Hutchison said anyone who had any interest in politics should apply for the program next year.
"After the introductory weekend, I can already tell it's something that will grow my skills and make heaps of friends,” she said.
"Not many people can say they have met with politicians and be mentored by them.”
The YMCA Youth Parliament is an annual program which teaches young people about the government decision-making process, while providing leadership opportunities for young people who may one day become Queensland's future decision makers.
Miss Hutchison will be joined by 90 other young people from around Queensland who have each been selected to represent their electorates and debate issues facing youth.
They will also develop legislation that they will take to a residential week at Parliament House from September 29 to October 5.