Jodie Harrison grew up in the south-western suburbs of Sydney, moving to the Lake Macquarie region in the early 1990s not long after her parents bought a small marine business in the area.
Her commitment to social justice was developed at home, and enhanced while a member of the Salvation Army during her teens.
For fourteen years she worked at Newcastle City Council in organisational change management, organisational performance and governance roles. During that time she became a delegate for the United Services Union, and was the inaugural chairperson of the Council’s Women’s Advisory Panel which lobbied and achieved workplace improvements in women’s equity.
Jodie went on to work for the United Services Union (USU) and subsequently United Voice. While working with the USU Jodie was sent to the United States as part of Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) contingent to work with one of the major unions, the Service Employees International Union. Her time at United Voice was spent organising early childhood educators to gain proper recognition and wages for the very important work they do.
In 2008, at a time of considerable change and development in the Charlestown area, Jodie was elected as a North Ward Councillor on Lake Macquarie City Council. In 2012 she became the popularly elected Mayor of Lake Macquarie as well as being the first female Mayor of the City. She held this position until September 2016. Her proudest achievements during that time include securing the Council’s financial sustainability, the continued independence of Lake Macquarie as a stand-alone local government area during a period of widespread amalgamations, and introduction of the overwhelming successful new waste management system.
Elected as the State Member for Charlestown at a by-election in October 2014, Jodie was re-elected in March 2015. She works hard to gain and keep the trust of her local community, and is keen to listen to the views of people from right across the electorate. Jodie welcomes the opportunity to meet with community groups, and much prefers to be out in the community than being in her office.
Charlestown being the area with the two largest retail centres in the Hunter region and a large growing commercial and health sector, Jodie is passionate about the need to provide jobs for people while balancing these jobs with a quality lifestyle and public services which her constituents deserve.
Jodie has two teenaged children and proudly lives in her electorate.