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NSW Finance Minister talks about his time as a Warrane resident

Warrane old boy Dominic Perrottet, now the NSW Minister for Finance and Services, spoke “from the heart” when he visited the College for this year’s first semester inaugural dinner, urging today’s residents to take advantage of everything they were being offered.

Speaking on Wednesday 4 March 2015, he said: “You have got a fantastic opportunity here at Warrane. My time here really was the best time in my life. I think the values that were instilled in me from this place really set me in good stead for a good marriage and a good career.

“That might sound a bit geeky, but at the end of the day you are really at a time of your lives that you will learn so much.”

Mr Perrottet, who is the Member of the NSW Legislative Assembly for Castle Hill, told his fellow collegians that although they may not see it yet, they had been given a fantastic opportunity and they should strive to make full use of it. The most important thing was to get involved.

“Really make an effort with your studies,” he said. “But also get involved in sport, social activities and university activities. It will mould you into the man that you will become, so don’t be afraid of getting involved and striking out and looking for opportunities.

“It is a time for thinking about the meaning of life and the various philosophical arguments, for having good friends who you can sit down with at the pub at four in the morning to talk about things. This is a time you will never get back and you will get out of it what you put into it.”

Mr Perrottet said he had made a number of life-long friends while in College who he still caught up with regularly.

One of the most formative things he had done as a student was to walk the Kokoda track in Papua New Guinea early in his university career. It was something that made him realise how much he had been given and how much others had sacrificed so that he could be given the opportunities he had.

“On the Kokoda, blokes your age died fighting for the freedoms and the opportunities that you have,” he said. “A lot of them died at the age of 18 or less. We all have an obligation to give back and make the most of the opportunities we get and we all have the opportunity to make a real difference.”

Mr Perrottet said one of the most important things that residents could do was to develop their  character. “Character is developed by getting out of your comfort zone and seeking opportunities,” he said  “You have got to look for avenues to strike out and take risks. If you do strike out you will succeed in life. No-one succeeds by going on with the monotony and the boredom of life. Those who succeed are those who look for opportunities to help people and to get involved in various activities.

“What this college provides is an opportunity to experiment and to look at various avenues where you can pursue goals and think about things. I ended up getting involved in politics because of what I got here, especially the late-night discussions with mates. Learn more and engage with people because that will mould you.”

Mr Perrottet said that since being elected to parliament at the youthful age of 28, he had found that the better politicians were those who had “strong core beliefs and values” and in many cases those values were formed at university, particularly through peers and the leaders they were exposed to.

“Success is not based on becoming a minister or prime minister,” he said. “Success is about having a core set of values and being able to translate those values in order to improve society.”

The most important advice Mr Perrottet said he could give young people just starting out in their careers was to do all they could to “be competent and do your job well”. “If you do your job well you will be looked well upon.” he said. “As Finance Minister I strive to do my job well and look for opportunities to contribute to the parliament.”

As a politician who was also a Christian, he said he believed one of the biggest problems that Christian politicians made was entering politics for the wrong reason.

“They get involved because they want to have a fight about some moral issue,” he said. “But politics is much wider than that because you really want to make our nation a better place.

But if you do your job well you get a reputation of being a safe pair of hands of being a competent minister.”

During a question-and-answer session, Mr Perrottet urged students to read widely and to become well informed, but also to do all they could to meet as many people as possible and to form good relationships that could stand the test of time.

“That doesn’t come about by sitting in your room on the computer,” he said. “It comes about by getting involved in things like sport, social events and so on, and not waiting to be asked to do something, but asking what you can do to help others.”