NSW Nationals’ Cootamundra MP Katrina Hodgkinson has announced her shock resignation in what will trigger a by-election for the southern seat.
This makes her the fourth party member to announce their exit from parliament this year, following Upper House MP Duncan Gay who retired last month, and Thomas George, Lismore, and Kevin Humphries, Barwon, who will retire at the 2019 election.
The Land understands Ms Hodgkinson’s resignation will be effective at the end of August, capping nearly 19 years representing the electorates of both Burrinjuck and Cootamundra.
She said her decision was not one based on any single electorate issue, and was simply a “length of service” decision: “it’s time to move on to something new”.
The 51-year-old said she will now look at opportunities in the corporate sector.
She won the seat of Burrinjuck in 1999 - a seat that had never previously been held by The Nationals - and did so again in 2003, 2007 and 2011, as well aa the newly formed seat of Cootamundra at the 2015 state election with a 20 per cent majority.
But she was dumped from then-Premier Mike Baird’s cabinet, and, in 2016, removed as the parliamentary secretary for Southern NSW after crossing the floor against government’s now-overturned Greyhound racing ban.
Deputy Premier and Leader of the Nationals John Barilaro thanked Ms Hodgkinson for her contribution to regional NSW.
“She has contributed to public life for the better part of two decades, and her experience will be missed by the parliamentary team.
Ms Hodgkinson told The Sydney Morning Herald any suggestion her decision was a vote of no confidence in Mr Barilaro or Premier Gladys Berejiklian was "blatantly untrue".
Ms Hodgkinson said that it had been “an absolute privilege” to have served constituents from right across Southern NSW in the NSW Lower House after several electoral boundary redistributions; from the Wingecarribee, Goulburn, Boorowa and Crookwell, through to Gundagai, Tumut and Batlow, to Narrandera, West Wyalong, Temora, Grenfell, Young, Harden and Cowra, and everywhere in between including her original hometown of Yass.
During her career in State Parliament, she served four years in the NSW Cabinet as the Minister for Small Business, and as the first female Minister for Primary Industries.
She also served time in Government as Assistant Minister for Tourism and Major Events, Parliamentary Secretary for Southern NSW and Committee Chairman, and eight years in the Shadow Cabinet.
Ms Hodgkinson thanked her husband Jack for his support throughout nearly two decades of public life – and her wonderful children, Georgia and Hamilton, who have only ever known her as an “MP Mum”.