The Westender recently wrote to the candidates for Mayor in the coming Brisbane Council Election.
Read the response below from Animal Justice candidate, Karagh-Mae Kelly
In what ways do the policies and principles promoted by your party best represent your personal values?
The AJP’s policies are based on the core principles of kindness, equality, rationality and non-violence. I share these values personally, not only in my personal life, but also in my professional, and political life. Our policies extend beyond the limited scope of debate between the major parties and the short term focus on economics. The AJP and I advocate for an inclusive future that fosters community, business and economies that support, not exploit, animals, humans and the environment. I believe animals deserve to be recognised as sentient beings within local laws and that our environment deserves to be protected with legislation to help it thrive, and that humans can be healthy and happy in a community that supports a plant based economy and health system.
What life experiences will you draw on to be an effective representative for Brisbane residents?
I was born in Brisbane and have lived in Queensland my entire life. I am a successful business woman who has established my own small business from the ground-up. As the owner of Doggy Day Care Brisbane, I understand the barriers and red-tape inhibiting small social enterprises in this city – from the ups and downs of the economy to dealing with red tape and out of date policies within Council. Before owning Doggy Day Care Brisbane, I was an Investigator for the Federal Government, local council and the RSPCA Queensland. These experiences have not only shaped me as a person, but have given me real insight into how all levels of Government operate and the issues that our community faces in dealing with Government. Most importantly, my life experiences have taught me that we need kindness as a motivating tool in all levels of Government and what better place to start then in local council.
As you move about the city what are people telling you about their concerns and hopes for coming years?
People are extremely worried about the environment both locally and globally. I cannot reconcile how or why this Council has not declared a climate emergency, the public is calling on the Government to lead change, yet inaction prevails. I also know that we have a growing population of locals living with companion animals, yet our dog parks do not meet community needs because they are poorly designed and managed, and we still haven’t allowed dogs on trains and buses. The community also wants to see more real green spaces with wildlife, shade, inner city forests – this needs to be part of all development decisions.
I want to see Brisbane become a world leader on the environmental front and showing the world how we can be green and live with animals in a capital city. We rely on a river so I want to see it clean and utilised correctly for the community. I want to see companion animals listed as sentient beings with public education and assistance when it comes to living with companion animals in a city. I believe we need more green space and Council should be buying up land and planting inner city forests and community gardens. We need to protect the wildlife that remains and invite wildlife to return to the city. I also want to see subsidies for plant based and eco friendly businesses. These businesses are the future and should be supported. I also believe every business should have to recycle and that Brisbane becomes a leader in this area.
The fire emergency across Australia this summer has prompted a more urgent conversation in the community about climate change. Are you committed to developing a comprehensive climate change policy and adaptation strategy for Brisbane?
Absolutely, I have already mentioned that Council needs to declare a climate emergency. Beyond that, we also need to declare an ecological emergency with our dwindling wildlife and habitat.There is no denying climate change and it remains a top talking point when I am meeting with members of the public. As uncomfortable as they are, we must not to shy away from the facts: urban sprawl and animal agriculture are major contributors to environmental destruction and climate change so for me this means we need to support businesses and planning practices that are forward thinking. We need to only allow developments which meet strict eco and green policies and bring businesses up to a standard that acknowledges their impacts in this crisis. We need to make our city a resilient community in the face of climate change, and a big yet overlooked factor in that is ensuring that our local environment is also resilient to the oncoming challenges.
What will your priorities be for 2020 if elected?
Declare a climate and ecological emergency. 50 new dog parks. Animal ambulance and native wildlife carer grants. And end to urban sprawl and urban land clearing with replanting and rehabilitation.
How will you create cross-party support for your agenda?
By speaking to the facts, that people and animals are both suffering from inaction and our planet is dying. We must think global and act local.
Finally, do you have any personal comments?
Use your vote and number every square. Send a message that animals and nature matter.