The Westender recently wrote to the candidates for The Gabba Ward in the coming Brisbane Council Election.
Read the response below from Labor candidate, Rachel Gallagher
Do you live in the Gabba Ward? Briefly, outline your history in the Ward.
Many people will know how hard it is to find family-friendly rentals in the inner city. We moved into a rented 2-bedroom unit in Yeronga in September 2019.
After our daughter was born my husband and I decided to take some time off to spend with each other, raise our daughter and see Australia. We travelled for 10 months in a Toyota Hiace.
We had to find somewhere to live pretty quickly after returning from our trip, and the plan was always to move to West End when our lease is up.
I feel a deep sense of connection to this community and couldn’t think of a better place to raise my family. My first job as a 14-year-old was at a café on Boundary St. I spent my teenage years running around Pineapple (Raymond) Park, and training for water polo at Musgrave Park Pool. My daughter goes to kindy in West End.
I’ve also spent the last three years researching the changing urban form and the impact of new development of all the suburbs in The Gabba ward: West End, South Brisbane, Dutton Park, Kangaroo Point, Highgate Hill and Woolloongabba.
In what ways do the policies and principles promoted by your party best represent your personal values?
I’m a Mum and Scientist. While urban planning is my area of interest, I am also passionate about equity – which is why I am in the Labor Party.
My grandfather, under a government apprenticeship, became a boilermaker. It was a significant achievement for him and his family. His stable work and the abolition of uni fees meant that his daughter, my mum, was the first person in her family to go to university. Because of this, pursuing a university education was an opportunity for me.
Mum became an inclusive education teacher – in part due to her lived experience of having a brother with Down Syndrome and witnessing how little educational opportunities existed for my uncle growing up.
No political party is perfect, but it is Labor Governments that have directly increased access to education, healthcare and community services for all of us.
Because of my family’s support and our country’s history of strong, progressive leadership – I have been able to obtain my qualifications and experience, while also having a young family. That’s Labor.
What life experiences will you draw on to be an effective representative for Gabba Ward residents?
I have qualifications in geographical science, law and urban and environmental planning, and have dedicated my working life to improving the liveability of our city.
But it is my relationships with those I love that guide me above all else. I want the city my daughter grows up in to be affordable and full of trees and greenspace; I want my parents and grandmother to be able to age in place, to easily travel and get where they need to go; I want my friends to feel safe as they walk home.
As you move about the Ward what are people telling you about their concerns and hopes for coming years?
The decisions that council makes impact all of us – both now and into the future.
Our community has experienced a lot of change. From talking to residents, I believe that population growth (and the infrastructure challenges that come with it) and climate change are the two biggest issues facing our city.
What is your vision for Brisbane and how do you envisage that taking shape in The Gabba Ward?
My vision for Brisbane is a city:
- Where people feel safe, healthy, socially connected and included.
- That is well connected by public transport, walking and cycling.
- Has affordable and diverse housing options.
- That is shady and cooled by lots of trees and parks.
This is all possible – with a community led planning system and targeted investment in our neighbourhoods, transport, greenspace and utilities.
Locals are the experts in their own neighbourhoods. Council needs to respect that and listen.
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?
Yes. I believe that council must do everything it can to reduce our emissions and support locals so their streets, homes and businesses can cope with drought and flood, higher temperatures and more extreme weather events.
What will your priorities be for 2020 if elected?
- Free community activities that get people out of their homes and meeting their neighbours – like all-abilities yoga, movie nights and community barbeques.
- More greenspace, more trees and to improve the amenity of our streets.
- Fix the blackspots in our public transport, cycleways and pedestrian network.
- Overhaul the neighbourhood planning process.
- Work with local businesses and community groups to expand and resource our existing Plastic Free initiatives – to make our community a Plastic Free Place.
How will you create cross-party support for your agenda?
Change is brought about by bringing people together – by leading with positivity and consensus.
Regardless of who people vote for or what party they are in, there is much more that unites us than divides us.
I will be focused on building relationships and working with all levels of government to deliver for our community, regardless of which political party they are from.
Finally, any personal comments?
I decided to step up as a candidate because I believe that we need elected representatives that put the community first, will listen and act by finding common ground with everyone.
I’m about evidence-based decision making, not reactive politics. I want to focus on the core tasks of council and set an example of what can be achieved when councillors really listen.
Whatever happens on the 28th of March, I’m grateful for the opportunity to speak to so many people about what their hopes are for our city. We have a wonderful community in 4101, 4102 and 4169.
You can follow Rachel Gallagher on Facebook HERE