In a time when people in general are becoming increasingly cynical about politics, it is really exciting to see somebody as accomplished as Giovanna Webb nominate for political office.
In an environment dominated by aspirants whose whole life revolves around political parties, it is rare to find a candidate who has excelled in academia as well as business and public life before deciding to give something back to the community herself, to make a difference.
Colombian-born Giovanna Webb is a remarkable achiever. She was the 2013 Australian Rural Woman of the Year, and a NT Australian of the Year finalist in 2014. She’s a mother, businesswoman, migrant and zoologist. Now, she’s a politician too. As the Country Liberal’s representative for the Casuarina electorate, it’s fair to expect many more remarkable achievements from Giovanna in 2016.
Giovanna and husband Dr Grahame Webb run one of Darwin’s most popular tourist attractions, Crocodylus Park, which is home to 10 thousand crocodiles. They breed crocodiles and harvest eggs from wetlands around Darwin. Giovanna’s crocodile skins, died gorgeous shades of pink, red, blue and every other colour, are sold to high-end European fashion houses including Louis Vuitton and Hermès. What’s more, “Gio”, as she is affectionately known, has developed a pilot program to encourage Indigenous women artists to incorporate crocodile by-products in innovative new art works.
Giovanna spent the first 30 years of her life in her native country of Colombia, where she had a distinguished academic career whilst pursuing her lifelong passion for animal welfare and conservation. She was at the forefront of the now universally recognised concept of the sustainable use of threatened species which by placing a commercial value on the animal ensures their conservation.
“We need to be bold and strategic in the way we lead Darwin forward, and the Country Liberals Government fully embraces this,” she says. “Recognising and talking about Darwin’s proximity to Asia is one thing – but actively exploiting it, to fuel our economy and tourism industries, is what we need.” Giovanna stresses the need to increase air capacity during the dry season, when visitors want to visit. As prices skyrocket, tourists cannot afford to come, and residents cannot afford to leave. Airline seats to fly ‘down south’ in emergencies, in the peak tourist season, do not exist or are way too expensive.
”I’m passionate about community life,” she says. “I am involved in community and family issues continually, and believe they are the very foundation of a strong and secure society.”
“I have been working with the Government on a whole raft of issues relevant to the Casuarina electorate,” she says. Crime, anti-social behaviour, traffic, the hospital – which needs to be more welcoming to everyone – and its problematic car park, are being discussed with Government. To help with this she has opened an office in the Casuarina Village (Shop 5) and is ready to be the electorate’s voice to Government.
Though Giovanna wears many hats –businesswoman, scientist, and community leader – she is first and foremost, a loving mother. With husband Grahame, her 16-year-old son, Freddy, is the most important part of her life. Giovanna says her decision to go into politics was “a family decision”, with Freddy and Grahame her strongest supporters.
In short Giovanna does not need the job – she wants it, because having achieved so much in her personal life, she is ready to make a difference for both the Casuarina Electorate and the wider community.
Giovanna Webb means business: mother, businesswoman and politician too
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