I was elected to Hobart City Council in November 2014 and have worked hard during the last three years. This is a summary of some of my main actions and achievements…
Improved communications with the community
- I have published a regular email newsletter about every 4 – 6 weeks to explain Council decisions and outline my reasons for voting the way I do. The last 20 editions of my newsletter can be read here. As far as I know, my newsletter is the only such communication from Aldermen/Councillors in Tasmania.
- I have run more than 50 Town Hall tours for school students to get kids interested in democracy and the important role that local government can play.
Leadership on big issues for Hobart
- Light Rail and Hobart’s future growth corridor – I pushed for the establishment of a Working Group of the Hobart and Glenorchy Councils to advance a vision for the land around the rail corridor that connects the two cities. We now work together to plan for city growth and housing and to advocate for a light rail service.
- Inappropriate development and high rise – I have been an active and vocal advocate for defending and protecting our height rules and heritage. I spoke out about the proposed demolition of the Odeon Theatre and development of the CBD’s tallest building to date (the Palace, now Hyatt Hotel). I voted against the Council’s CBD height planning law changes and successfully worked with the community to propose improvements to this law.
- Affordable Housing – when we were setting the planning rules for Macquarie Point in 2015, I moved amendments to secure affordable housing at the site. These were unfortunately overturned by the Tasmanian Planning Commission.
- Traffic and transport – I have been active in proposing a number of solutions to Hobart’s traffic issues, including:
- for Council to create a Workplace Travel Plan to reduce the number of our 600+ staff on the roads at peak times, and to inspire other major employers in the Hobart CBD to do the same.
- for a project to engage and inform Hobart schools about walking and cycling to school, to encourage more active kids and less school drop-off traffic.
Working with the community to improve neighbourhoods
- I have worked with neighbourhood groups and school associations and together we have had some successes, like…
- in West Hobart we successfully campaigned for pedestrian crossings and speed reductions on Hill Street,
- in Lenah Valley we reversed a plan to remove their school pedestrian crossing
- in South Hobart to get an agreement with Council about the McRobies Gully tip operations.
- Neighborhood street upgrades – before being elected I worked with businesses and residents in New Town to petition the Council for local street upgrades. Once elected this petition became the catalyst for our street precinct upgrades program. I drove this idea internally and nominated it as my priority in budget discussions. Council is now investing millions in the Lenah Valley, New Town, ‘Mid-town’, South Hobart and Battery Point shopping streets over the next few years, to make them better places for the community.
- Trees for Hobart – I advocated for the development of a new and ambitious Street Tree Strategy, which was then developed and approved in 2017. I also moved for the re-opening of public nominations for trees to be listed on the Significant Tree Register after a 7 year hiatus.
- Bee friendly – I moved that our new bylaws for keeping bees remove the old 50-metres-from-a-house rule and instead reflect the Code of Practice for Urban Beekeeping in Southern Tasmania, making the practice of keeping hives in Hobart easier for residents.
- I have been an advocate for updating and expanding our climate change strategy and for the divestment of Council’s funds away from fossil fuels.
Advocate for issues of concern
- Motions are the way that Aldermen can put topics and ideas on to the Council agenda. I have moved 12 motions since being elected, including,
- To raise concern about State Government’s compulsory land acquisition of kunanyi/Mt Wellington
- Creating a heritage protections for the Treasury building and request to establish a Heritage Advisory Committee
- The city-wide installation of pedestrian crossings
- The need for a review of our trees policy and significant tree register
- Public release of information about Council funding of companies
- To nominate Hobart to become an International City of Literature.
- In the interests of transparency and good governance Aldermen can ask formal questions at Council Committee meetings. I have asked over 70 in the last 3 years on a range of issues including flammable cladding on buildings, food waste collection, staff over-turning conditions approved by Council, the costs of overseas study tours, and our bushfire readiness.
Parks Committee Chairperson
I have been proud to be the Chairperson for the Parks and Recreation Committee during the last 3 years. Issues that I have championed while in this role have been to ensure Council has a stronger focus on preparedness for bushfires in Hobart, the need to consult with children and the community about playground developments, and the development of a range of new experiences and places on the Queens Domain (Hobart’s Central Park).