Kate Hook: Voices of Calare



Kate Hook. Image supplied.

As the owner of an electric vehicle business, Kate Hook’s ability to unify issues of the regional economy and climate change, rather than separate them, might just be her secret to unlocking the safe National’s seat of Calare. 

Ms Hook is an independent candidate running for Calare in the 2022 Federal election. 

Ms Hook was born and raised near Wagga Wagga. Although completing her final high school years and university education in Sydney, she believes she has always, in her heart, belonged to the country. As a graduate, Ms Hook gained experience in the corporate environment of the city. Sheworked at a recruitment agency, before becoming a human resources manager for a law firm. 

Then, 16 years ago, she was given the opportunity to move back to Wagga Wagga or begin a new adventure in the Central West, she chose the latter.

“There was something about the region that grabbed me,” she said.

Ms Hook is an Orange resident and mother of four who seeks to use her experiences as a small business owner to empathise with the challenges of voters in Calare. Her campaign focuses on implementing 10 key policies for the electorate but two emerge as priority areas: regional economy and climate action. 

Although often seen as opposing policies, Ms Hook says the two can work in unison. She runs a small business in Orange named Eco-Luxe Transfers. This is a ride-sharing business conducts transfers between Orange and Sydney using electric vehicles. 

Her campaign focuses on ensuring Calare is prepared and planned for the transition to renewable energy resources, particularly in terms of employment. She aims to ensure ‘industries of the past’ such as coal mining in Lithgow and Mudgee, which are predicted to disappear in the next decade as the region moves towards clean energy, will be replaced with industries that continue to provide jobs, to maintain job security, and boost the regional economy of Calare. 

“We still need to remain an energy-producing region; we just need to do it in a different way,” she said.

Hearing local voices

Before running as a candidate for the 2022 election, she was heavily involved in community climate work in Orange. This included a movement called Futuring Orange, which involved information sharing before the Paris Climate Agreement in 2017.

It was during this community work that she realised it was politics that was the barrier to achieving tangible climate action. This prompted her to become involved with the Voices of Calare movement – a political community engagement group that seeks to find out what issues matter to members of the community.

This engagement takes place through a series of ‘kitchen-table conversations’ which are small meetings throughout the community. Voices of Calare is part of a wider voices movement that operates in about 20 electorates throughout Australia.

Ms Hook has been endorsed by the Voices of Calare group in running as a candidate for the seat of Calare. While she was the only independent candidate to nominate for the seat in this election, Ms Hook hopes to see a candidate nomination process for future elections where four to five nominees can be voted upon by the Voices of Calare group to then nominate as a candidate for the election. 

She said: “It’s not just about this election. I want to continue the voices-backed independent movement from election to election going forward.”

Her other key policies include honesty and integrity, local health, affordable housing, aged care, education, empowering women, and respect for first nations peoples and refugees.  

Ultimately, as a first-time politician, Ms Hook describes herself as determined, dedicated, and a big-picture thinker motivated by care and compassion.