I'm Gav Pearce, Braddon's representative to federal parliament.
I'm a born and bred North-West Coaster. My family has lived and farmed in the Sisters Creek region since the 1850s.
The land is running through my veins, so I left school at 15 and become a share farmer. It was tough work but it taught me two really important lessons - that you are the architect of your own future and that every action you take has consequences. They're a couple of lessons that have served me well all my life.
I was only 17 when the bottom fell out of the milk commodity market. There was no money in dairying, so I needed to find another job. That's when I followed another family tradition and enlisted in the Australian Regular Army.
I celebrated by 18th birthday at the First Recruitment Training Battalion at Kapooka.
After graduating, I was allocated to the Royal Australian Corps of Signals as a Combat Signaller, spending time in land command units and eight and a half years as a Recruit Instructor at the 1st Recruit Training Battalion. I was then posted to the Royal Military College Duntroon as an Instructor at the Army Regional Training Centre.
During that time I held positions as a leadership instructor and a Sergeant Major at 71, 72, 73 and Headquarters of 7th Signal Regiment - Electronic Warfare, which culminated in my appointment to the Joint Communications Training Centre – Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence School at Cabarlah as the Wing Sergeant Major.
After 20 years military service, I returned home with my wife Amanda-Jane and our son Hamish to build our future, and like a lot of families, we sacrificed a lot to achieve that. We owned and operated a number of small businesses, including a farming and abattoir enterprise, concreting business and a fleet of heavy vehicles, while Amanda-Jane also held down the job as the north-West mental health provider for Tasmania.
When you get caught up in all that - working to secure your families future - it's easy to lose track of how short life is.
We lost Amanda-Jane in her early thirties, and the lesson in her passing is that you should treasure every moment you have with your loved ones.
In 2018, I won Liberal preselection for the Division of Braddon and in May 2019 I was honoured to be elected as the Federal representative.
The reason I got into politics was because I was sick of people talking down our region. Our region is the engine room of the state’s economy, but for too long we haven’t received the investment back we deserve.
But that’s changed. Between 2019 and 2022, the electorate of Braddon - which covers the North-West, West Coast and King Island - has received the second highest federal investment of any electorate in Australia. More than 700 projects have been delivered, shared equally across our 8 local government areas, injecting over $1.3 billion into local economies. No region has missed out.
In May 2022, I was again humbled to be re-elected as Braddon's federal representative.
For me, it's a matter of staying the course. My job has begun but is far from being done. I'm determined to continue to walk a positive path, moving this great region towards reaching its full potential and receiving the investment we deserve, not because Canberra feels sorry for us, but because Canberra clearly understands the important work we do and the contribution we make.
My son Hamish is now an adult and it's exciting watching him forge his own path in life. I'm blessed to still be in living in 'God's Own Country' - the Sisters Creek region - sharing my life with Megan and our two beautiful girls - Isla and Elsie.
24 July 2019