Last week, the Westender talked with Tracey Price, Mayoral Candidate for Labor, about her vision for Brisbane. Ms Price, a lawyer and small business operator, was selected to contest the March 2024 Council elections in August. She is a member of Labor’s left faction. We spoke at Labor Party HQ in South Brisbane.

Vision for Brisbane.

Ms Price and her husband have three children and live on Brisbane’s Northside.

On her website, Ms Price says she has a vision for Brisbane that would “empower all of our unique and diverse communities to thrive and succeed.”

“I want to see Brisbane showcased as the most liveable city in the world and, and one that’s got really great transport infrastructure and easy to get around for families and places for people to enjoy, such as our green spaces, whilst we can still have affordable housing and all of those things that we all love about Brisbane.”

‘I want to bring a new energy to Brisbane. I love Brisbane. I was raised in many different cities because my father was in the Air Force, but Brisbane is home for me, and it’s where my husband and I have chosen to raise our three children. I love the city, and I think that everybody that comes to Brisbane comes here for a reason. It’s a city with beautiful weather and lifestyle, and I want to preserve that for the future. Every community has something special to offer, and it’s about preserving that and growing it into the future for our kids.

What’s important to you about local government?

Community is my main focus. I’ve always loved doing stuff in and around the community and volunteering. I love hearing about people’s stories, making a difference, and trying to provide opportunities in the community. So, for me, community is really the level in which I needed to do that. 

“Essentially community is at the core of my heart.”

Brisbane has the largest local government in Australia and a significant budget, can you outline your financial management credentials?

Ms Price said she has operated small businesses and her law firm. 

“I have and currently sit on the management committee of a number of different not-for-profits and community organisations as well as completed an Executive MBA through QUT and MIT.  Completing the Executive MBA provided me with the education I needed to gain a deeper understanding of roles and obligations when sitting on boards or managing large financial matters along with developing strong leadership skills.”

Ms Price said she has been involved with organisations supporting women impacted by domestic and family violence.

“I’ve been the Vice Chair of a women’s domestic violence refuge and the President of a local P and F Association for a number of years where we have been responsible for large sums of money”.

You’ve talked up your chances of winning Labor wards. Considering that Labor currently only holds five Wards in an LNP dominated Council, what strategies can build Labor’s performance in this coming election?

“I think having a presence in and around the community, talking to people, and finding out what they want. The LNP has lost sight of what the community is after and has lost that connection.”

“I feel that the vibe out there is that communities aren’t being listened to. And from my point of view, we need to bring it back to the grassroots, listen to the community, and advocate for what they want. Every suburb is different. Every suburb has different needs and different desires. By working closely with the candidates, we have across all those suburbs, we can get down and find out what the community wants or needs and move forward by advocating with a local focus.

Asked about Labor’s chances of winning back a majority in Council in 2024, Ms Price said:

“I want to run my campaign being in and around the community across Brisbane. And that’s my focus.” 

“I believe that we’ve got some really strong candidates across the suburbs and I’m working closely with them in and around the community”.

“Brisbane is ready for a change. It’s been 20 years that the LNP has been in Council, and I think we need some new energy.”

People are increasingly disturbed by party political responses to crucial social issues that ignore voters’ interests.

Could you elaborate on your approach to working with Independent and Greens party colleagues, detailing how you plan to work collaboratively towards achieving shared policy objectives?

Ms Price said that her focus is predominantly on getting her Labor candidates through the election at this stage.

“We’ve got our policies and our shared focus, and our agenda. So that’s been my focus at this point.”

How would you demonstrate your skills to negotiate outcomes?

“I am a qualified mediator. My focus has always been on trying to find the best solution and resolve issues. So, I guess you can’t be any more qualified than being a trained mediator, and I have also worked in family law for nearly 20 years. That is quite a test of those sorts of skills. I’m more than qualified for those sorts of negotiations. 

It’s been a short time since you were pre-selected, but can you give me an idea of the sorts of issues that your potential voters are raising with you?

“It’s most of the standard ones at the moment: housing, footpaths, those real grassroots Council issues. And there are particular issues being raised in the different suburbs, depending on the suburb itself, and we’re really getting out there and trying to talk to the locals about what it is that they want, what they’re what they’re upset about.”

All parties are talking about affordable housing in one way or another, and it’s an issue that’s been playing out in heated debates at the national level. Adrian Schrinner has talked about wanting to address the issue of affordable housing at the local level through the mechanism of the Temporary Local Planning Instrument (TLPI) which the state government is saying it supports.

What capacity does Council have to influence outcomes in the affordable housing space, and what would you do if elected to ensure this happens?

“I’d make sure that we listen to the community and find out what they want in and around that community. 

Ms. Price said Council can work with the state government on housing to find solutions. 

“I do believe that Council plays a role at the local level for housing, but we would certainly make the community our focus.”

Ms Price said Labor leader Jared Cassidy is on the record that a Labor Council would not have supported the TLPI for Kurilpa because it did not meet the necessary community consultation requirements. 

It was noted that in response to the TLPI, the state government has some significant requirements for social and affordable housing. 

In the event of a conflict between the positions of State Labor and the interests and concerns expressed by voters generally, how would you navigate and advocate for your constituent’s needs while remaining committed to your Labour Party’s overreaching objectives?

“My first priority is going to be listening to the community and advocating for what they want and what they want to see in and around the community because I think that’s the probably the most important part of being a representative.”

Concerning the TLPI, Ms Price said developers must meet social housing commitments.

“”So, it’s about navigating around those to ensure that those requirements are actually adhered to by developers.”

We’ve seen groups resisting Council decisions around things such as the Lumina light show. How would you want to change planning processes in Brisbane to be more responsive to community interests?

“We’d definitely put in a better consultation process. One of the biggest complaints we’ve heard is that people feel that consultation isn’t occurring, and people don’t even know when there’s an initiation to have a say.”

“We need to genuinely speak to our communities and get their feedback because that’s not happening.”

What is Council’s role concerning the Olympics? Should we be opting for more modest games?

“The Olympics provide a very good opportunity for our whole of community across Brisbane, not just the inner city, and I think that if it’s done properly, we can leave a great legacy behind from the Olympics, but we need to make sure that that’s done properly.”

It was noted that Labor’s policy platform is to support sport and provide active transport facilities and social and affordable housing alongside new community assets to benefit the community in the long term. 

“Again, it’s making sure the community is heard in and around Brisbane.”

“I have had a lot of people from different sporting clubs around Brisbane, reach out to me and I have been slowly getting around to a number of sporting clubs to have a look at their facilities, to see what it is they need, and talk to them about what’s important to them, what sort of support they offer to that local community.”

Ms Price has not had direct contact with the East Brisbane Primary School community but encourages them to talk with her.

Can we do better for women in the way we plan our city?

“There is number of ways in which we can help women. I think the accessibility not just to parks and taking children to school, but also for work”. 

Ms Price said a vital issue for women is being about to re-enter the workforce.

“They often don’t have a car and rely on public transport. So, being able to get to our educational facilities to be retrained or to access safe domestic violence services. There is also the issue of being able to safely walk around the parks and the city and catch transport. Because if you are relying on coming home from work late or training at night you need to be able to access also being able to access safe transport. 

Ms Price said that accessing information on support services at the local library is important for women.

Key policy objectives.

Ms Price said as her campaign progresses, Labor will be making announcements about housing and active and public transport.

“I’m in the process of setting up a lot of that consultation process, and we will definitely be working with a number of the community groups.”

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Cover image by Jan Bowman