Matt Kean, the NSW Environment and Energy Minister, very kindly agreed to an interview on January 29. He was very open and passionate in his answers to the following questions.

What advice can you give a teenager who would like to take up a career in politics?

Join Young Liberal or Young Labor to get the relationships and learn the skills needed for politics. Try to make a change and don’t just be a spectator.”

Do you believe a career in politics is worthwhile? If so, why?

“Absolutely. There aren’t many other jobs that allow you to change the country. It gives you the opportunity to meet amazing people that ordinarily you wouldn’t meet, do different things which others don’t experience, and travel to so many different places. Recently I was in a conference in the Netherlands and had the opportunity to visit a nuclear power plant. It was under maintenance at the time! Politics gives you the opportunity to change people’s lives in a beneficial way.”

Do you believe that the voting age should be lowered?

“I’m not against it in principle and would need to think it through first. But there is a need for young people to be given more of a voice. The Liberal party and politics in general need more diversity in age, background and culture.”

Can you give examples of policies that you have initiated in the electorate that have a direct impact on people my age?

“I have fought for and delivered the rebuild of Hornsby Hospital, the conversion of a quarry into a Centennial park style park for the North, saving the Galston Gorge bushland and of course encouraging the Liberal Party to take action on Climate Change.”

What have you done/is planned in future to save the Wollemi pine forest?

“I personally pushed to protect the forest, which I consider a living fossil, from the bushfires. I had difficult decisions to make, and decided the forest wouldn’t be lost on my watch. In the future there will be consideration of enhanced controlled burning and more security for the forest.”

What is the one initiative that you are most proud of in your career?

“I Stood up for my view on climate change and took a lot of attacks for my stance. I don’t always get everything right, but in this instance I have studied the science and understand that we must be doing more for the future. The Commonwealth/State deal on climate and energy to be announced tomorrow will show consensus about climate change for the first time in the coalition’s history.”