Ignite MNC Interview – Fiona Nash – Rural and Regional Advocate


In this our sixth interview of speakers and presenters that will be attending Ignite MNC 2018 we feature Fiona Nash.

Having grown up in Sydney, Fiona has spent the last couple of decades living and working in regional Australia. For many years she was involved in a farming enterprise in the central west of NSW, which her sons Will and Henry are now running. She spent twelve years in the federal parliament as a Senator for NSW and also held ministerial positions including Rural Health, and in Cabinet the positions of Regional Development, Regional Communications and Local Government and Territories. She also held the position of Deputy Leader of the Nationals. Fiona is now Strategic Adviser – Regional Development for Charles Sturt University.


Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Sydney until I was 16.

Given the choice between living in the city or country which would you choose and why?

The country. 100%. Absolutely. Even growing up in the city I always wanted to be in the country. The space, the wonderful sense of community. No congestion and over-crowding. No pollution. People genuinely care about other people in their community and go out of their way to help. A wonderful place to bring up children.

Describe your area of expertise?

My area of expertise is regional Australia. Growing stronger regional communities. I currently am the Strategic Adviser-Regional Development for Charles Sturt University. At CSU we have an absolute commitment to ensure we make our contribution to building stronger regions into the future.

What is the greatest hurdle you have had to overcome in your career and how did you do it?

Having the confidence to back myself! I overcame it through hard work and the recognition that I was doing, and could do, a good job.

If you could solve one problem or issue what would it be?

There’s a list! However, more doctors and health professionals for rural, regional and remote communities would be a priority. Also getting people to realise that there are so many positive things happening in regional Australia, and that it has a really bright future. I know – that’s two!

What advice would you give your younger self?

To have a better ability to put yourself in someone else’s skin, and be able to see things from their perspective. Don’t be so black and white about things – the world is full of grey.

If you could have dinner with anyone, who would it be and why?

Helen Clark, former NZ Prime Minister. She is an incredibly strong, interesting woman.

The best advice you have being given during your life?

Don’t panic.

What are you looking forward to most about attending Ignite MNC at Bellingen?

Watching people come together to talk about ideas and opportunities for the future. Hearing great perspectives about how to grow the region, that may well be able to be replicated across other regions. Being with people who are positive and excited about what’s ahead.

What are your plans for the next year?

Continuing my work with Charles Sturt University, focussing on growing stronger regions. More time training my horse so he’s perfect!

The Ignite MNC Symposium is a business and community event designed to bring together people who work, run businesses and live in the Mid North Coast. The event is designed to inspire new thinking, vibrant conversations and to form collaborative partnerships. – aka; if you want to do break the mould – to do something different – to find a tribe to support you, to make the Mid North Coast an innovative, inspiring and vibrant place to live and work… For access to further information and tickets visit 




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