Queensland’s first Greens city councillor, Jonathan Sriranganathan, will step down in April after seven years in the role. His replacement is Woolloongabba arts worker, and DJ, Trina Massey.

“With the next council election in March 2024, I was deciding whether I wanted to serve another four-year term as Gabba ward councillor, by which time I would’ve held the same role for almost twelve years,” said Sriranganathan in a statement on Saturday. “Considering how strong the Greens are now in Brisbane, I felt like this was a good opportunity for transition.”

Sriranganathan will make his final speech as Gabba Ward councillor on Tuesday. His election in 2016 saw the beginning of a strong period for the Queensland Greens, who have since bolstered their representation in both state and federal parliament.

“We’ve increased our vote dramatically at all levels of government, we now have two state MPs, three lower house federal MPs and two senators in Queensland,” said Sriranganathan at a press conference Sunday.

Sriranganathan cited a number of factors in his decision, including a greater focus on personal life and community activism and a desire not to “become a career politician who just holds onto the same safe seat for decades and decades, slowly getting co-opted by the political system.

Not listed among these reasons was an interest in pursuing state or federal politics, or making a run for Lord Mayor next year, although he has yet to rule out the possibility.

“I’m not ruling out anything at this stage, ask me again in a few months after I’ve had a rest and time to reflect.”

Federal and state Greens representatives were out to support incoming councillor Massey today, and she was flanked by MP Max Chandler-Mather and state MPs Amy McMahon and Michael Berkman.

“There is a reason that Jono’s primary vote is one of the highest for a Greens representative in the country, because regardless of whether or not you previously voted Labor, or Liberal, or any other party, even the Greens, you knew that in this ward, Jono had your back,” said Chandler-Mather.

Massey, who previously ran for Brisbane’s Central ward in 2020 for the Greens, will take over the position after shadowing Sriranganathan for four weeks. She will be the first LGBTQIA+ woman of colour to hold representative office in Queensland. She outlined her policy goals on Sunday, saying housing affordability, cost of living, infrastructure, public transport connectivity, and the arts and culture, will be among her priorities in the coming year.

“I am a queer immigrant woman of Filipino and African-American descent, and I am so excited and stoked to be stepping into a prominent position where I’ll be able to amplify the voices of diverse, intersectional communities,” Massey said.

Trina Massey has long been involved in the Queensland arts and culture industry, booking venues and working at peak bodies and councils. She was, most recently, the Creative Industries Development Officer at Ipswich City Council. Massey was chosen for the Gabba Ward role through a “democratic preselection” process within the South Brisbane Greens branch, thus avoiding a by-election required if a replacement is made within a year of the next election, 30 March 2024.

Massey has 12 months to make her mark and convince Gabba Ward voters that she is the woman for the job over the following four years.

Massey and Sriranganathan at their press conference on Sunday.

Cover image by Ned Hammond