Cr Dixon’s Maiden Speech
I am making my first contribution in this Chamber as the newest member of LORD MAYOR Adrian SCHRINNER’s team. One that is committed to building a better Brisbane and I am so excited to be a part of it. Many of you might remember the theme song to Cheers (Where Everybody Knows Your Name). That is what living in Hamilton Ward is exactly like. You can’t pop into the grocery shop or even walk down the street without someone calling your name.
While it may take a few minutes longer to get to your destination or get your shopping done, the familiar feeling is like a warm hug. That is why I have put my hand up to be a local government representative. Simply put, I wanted to give back to the community that has given so much to me and my family. I want everyone who makes Hamilton Ward their home to feel that warm hug too, just like me, but there is more to it than that.
Being an active contributor to the community is very important to me too. I don’t just say it, I live it, because it is about putting your shoulder to the wheel and showing up to do the heavy lifting. That is what Hamilton Ward residents can expect from me as their local Councillor to be working for them and our community.
I have always found the most joy in giving back and serving others. Despite how busy life gets, I have always made it a priority to give back. Whether it has been cleaning donated stationery to be re-purposed for school book packs or raising money for youth at risk of homelessness or, as most recently, delivering meals across the community to those who need it most as a volunteer with Crosby Park Meals on Wheels. I look forward to being back on shift in a couple of weeks, having a chat on the doorstep and checking in.
Local government seemed a logical next step as I feel it is the closest form of politics to people and service delivery which is ideal for someone who likes doing and having a chat. I also want to show men and women just like me, that politics is a place for them too. That politics is a place for people who are compassionate, kind and who see solutions, not problems. That politics is a place for a 33 year old mum who literally in the space of a year has welcomed a baby—which some of you might have heard, and now begun a new adventure as an elected representative. Talk about a baptism of fire.
But life is for living and it is best to give it a go and not look back thinking what could have been. It is not lost on me that there are big shoes to fill and former Councillor David McLachlan leaves behind an incredible legacy both as a local Councillor, Civic Cabinet Chair and more recently as Chair of Council.
There are many reminders of his advocacy over the years from the upgrading of Kingsford Smith Drive where Dave ensured that the bike and pedestrian connections were front and centre, growing our active transport network. To Ascot Park where he helped transform from a car park to one of Hamilton Ward’s hugely popular greenspaces. Both key pieces of infrastructure that not only enhanced our cherished way of life but support continued growth too.
Time doesn’t permit to list all David’s achievements, which there are many. David, like the entire LNP Council team over the last two decades, leaves behind a proven track record of delivery for the local community which I want to follow, but I do want to wish David and Nicole the very best in this next chapter of their life after an impressive 17 years of service to the community. While David has left the community in good shape, the job of a Councillor is never complete and there is always work to be done to make Brisbane better.
Hamilton Ward is front and centre of the growth that Brisbane is expected to experience in the next decade. It is an exciting time to be part of it, but also a big responsibility to be the community’s voice. Especially on key projects such as the State’s Breakfast Creek sports precinct and Hamilton Northshore which is expected to house 24,000 people in time to come.
We must ensure that the community has the infrastructure it needs to support Hamilton Ward of today and into the future. I am excited to see the completion of the Breakfast Creek Green Bridge that will connect the Lores Bonney Riverwalk, providing more active transport connections in our ward, continuing Team Schrinner’s passion for active transport connections. I will also continue to advocate for practical solutions to ease traffic congestion across the ward, especially as our population continues to grow. I am looking forward to contributing to the Schrinner’s Team’s advocacy to the State Government to turn the Gold City Glider into reality, connecting Hamilton to Woolloongabba.
Those are the big-ticket items that I see as priorities, but I also commit to taking seriously the small things, too. Whether it is maintaining footpaths or filling potholes, Hamilton Ward residents can be assured I will be their voice on the big and the small things, too. While only in the job a week, it’s been very humbling to hear directly from the community about what it matters to them and I pledge today to keep—to always be listening. After all, local government is the closest form of politics to people and listening is a key requirement of the job. Their challenges are my challenges and I won’t forget that for as long as I’m Hamilton Ward’s representative at City Hall.
Life is getting harder and I understand that people are doing it tough so that’s why I’m proud to be part of a team who is helping with the cost of living. While Council is typically rates, roads and rubbish, this Council punches above its weight in enhancing the liveability of our city. From world-class parks to libraries that go beyond being a place to loan books to being community hubs. The amenities that Brisbane City Council provide to our community really makes it special, especially with its focus on free or low cost.
Whether it is providing $2 entries to Council pools this summer or cutting event fees for organisers who provide things for people to see or do. These are the small things making a real difference to families who are dealing with the rising cost of putting food on the table and navigating higher interest rates.
A maiden speech wouldn’t be complete without a few thank yous and, no doubt, I will forget someone so I apologise in advance. I want to thank our LORD MAYOR, Adrian SCHRINNER, for welcoming me to the team. I also wish to thank my fellow colleagues who have been supportive with helpful advice and encouragement. Thank you to Julie and Catherine who have served former Councillor David McLachlan in our Hamilton Ward community faithfully over the last few years. I am so grateful you’ve decided to stay on and join me in continuing to serve our community.
To my mum and dad, Avril and Michael, thank you. Especially to my mum who is the glue that holds our family together. In the journey of life, you come across people that form part of your village so thank you to Kim, Sallyanne, Crofty, Nat, JC, Ash, Pete and Von and a bunch of fantastic ladies who some of them are actually livestreaming this meeting tonight to watch me, who were in the trenches with me raising babies and who I now count as lifelong friends, my mother’s group.
To the LNP grassroots membership who put their trust in me, thank you. To Carston, Julia B and Taylor, you inspire me every day with your youthful optimism and I hope that perhaps I have inspired you, too, by being here. Thank you to my State colleague, Tim Nicholls MP. You are a great friend and I look forward to working alongside you in our community. However, the biggest thank you must go to two special men in my life. My husband, Matthew, and son, James.
Matthew, I couldn’t do this job without your support. You are my biggest cheerleader and I am so lucky to share my life with you. James, you are a little bit too little to understand mum’s job at the moment, but I hope in years to come, you will. More so, I hope that you will come to understand the importance of standing up and being an active contributor to the community. I love you both with all my heart.
On that note, Mr Chair, I think I will wrap it up here, but I want to make one final comment. I am so lucky to represent such an incredible part of Brisbane and I won’t ever forget what a privilege it is to be the Hamilton Ward’s voice at City Hall. Thank you.