Jason “Jake the Tradie” Modica was born in the Mildura Base Hospital, grew up on a market garden with his parents and three siblings, schooled locally at Gol Gol Primary School and St Joseph’s Secondary College, and completed his trade certificate at Homesglen Trade School in Melbourne.
Jason is from a large Italian migrant farming family, his Nono moved to Australia in 1922 and worked on market gardens in Melbourne’s east before eventually settling in Mildura. Jason's dad continued his Nono's legacy, running a market garden until his retirement, and now makes his own pasta sauce and salami, and volunteers at the local football club.
On his mum’s side the family were Anglo Irish, Jason’s grandfather was a returned WWII soldier and his grandmother grew up near Daylesford during the depression, before moving to Mildura for the climate and healthy lifestyle. Eventually they operated the mail runs up into Menindee, Broken Hill and Ouyen to Pinnaroo.
Jason spent many a school holiday and weekend in the vegie patch or the citrus orchard, with numerous cousins, aunts and uncles working together. He often convinced his friends to join him in the vegie patch to pick zucchinis or broccoli in exchange for a seat at his family’s plentiful table. Jason’s passion for discussion and debate was born in this robust and convivial setting.
Sport was held in high regard in the Modica household, Jason played football, cricket, tennis and basketball with Alcheringa and Mildura, represented his primary and high school in swimming and Sunraysia in cricket and football as a teen. "I enjoyed the travel and meeting kids my age as much as I enjoyed testing my skills and temperament on the field.”
Jason is an avid reader and writer, and thrives on learning about the world through conversation with people from all walks of life. He believes in growth through travel, and has visited and lived in many corners of Australia along with extended travel in Europe, Asia and Northern America. “My favourite way to travel is by road, which comes from the many family holidays we had in our XB Falcon. Although we were squashed four across in the back, we always had the wide-open spaces to look at out the window, and I still enjoy driving through the landscape of the Mallee today. My favourite trips often involve a stop in small town for a quick drink and chat with the local publican.”
On returning to Mildura eighteen years ago, Jason began his trade business working across the municipality from small private jobs to large commercial projects including the Mildura Arts Centre, Mildura Riverfront Development and the Cardross Sporting Club. “From these experiences I now have an extensive network, a solid knowledge of our communities, and total commitment to their progress.”
“As a husband and dad of two, I’m always thinking about the kind of place my family and I want to live in. I stood for local council because I wanted to help shape our direction for the next five, fifteen and fifty years. We need to take action now for a positive and sustainable future.”
“Having served two of my four years on council I see the direct benefit of healthy debate and interaction. I also see the importance of the three tiers of government working together for the benefit of the broader community.”
In Jason’s three years on Mildura Rural City Council, he has been Deputy Mayor twice, holds the Arts and Culture portfolio, and supports the Environment and Sustainable Farming. He has represented Council at the South Australian Royal Commission into the Murray Darling Basin Plan and at the Murray River Group of Councils.
Jason is a member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors, a River Fellow with the Australian Conservation Foundation, and started Healthy Rivers, Healthy Communities. He also sits on the Mildura Cemetery Trust, MRCC Financial Advisory Committee, The Australian Inland Botanic Garden Committee, Mildura Future Ready Steering Committee, Mildura Art Centre Cultural Advisory Committee and numerous other committees associated with the position of Deputy Mayor.