What can one Greens Councillor achieve?
On reflection, quite a lot!
Last Wednesday night was the last Ordinary Council meeting for this four year term of Council. As Deputy Mayor, with the Mayor away, I chaired our final meeting for the term. Almost twelve months ago, against the odds, I was supported as Deputy Mayor in the final year of the Council term. This was much to my own surprise and the astonishment of others. However, I still consider one of my biggest achievements as being elected as the first Greens Councillor for Ballarat and have been honoured to represent the community for four years.
There have certainly been many ups and downs being on a Council with no natural allies and a very adversarial first couple of years. Early on I was criticised strongly for being politically aligned, despite the fact that the majority of other Ballarat Councillors were (and are) ‘card carrying’ members of political parties. I was also criticised for having an ‘agenda’ when in fact the reason that people voted for me in the first place was that I had made my values and agenda very clear – broadly to work towards a more caring and environmentally sustainable Ballarat.
So what did I achieve?
I put forward many successful Motions on Notice. This includes motions and advocacy for decisions to:
– Actively support the “No to Racism” campaign
– Actively support the “No to Homophobia” campaign
– Become a Welcome Refugee Zone.
– Sign the Walk 21 International Walking Charter for Cities
– Become the first signatory to VLGA Child Friendly Cities Charter
– Oppose changes to Section 18C of the Racial Discrimation Act
– Support Marriage Equality
– Develop an Exceptional Tree Register
– Explore a trial Plastic Bag Free CBD initiative
I successfully advocated for development of:
– a Sustainable Transport Strategy and an Active Transport Committee
– a Live Music Strategy and action plan
– adoption of an Urban Forestry approach and increased tree canopy coverage.
– Ballarat’s first Inclusive Playspace at Victoria Park
– an Active Women and Girls in Sport Strategy
– more solar panels, energy efficiency measures and LED lighting replacement
During my term I was actively involved with the following committees
– Co-chair of Koorie Engagement Action Group (KEAG) co-chair
– Chair of Live Music Advisory Committee
– Chair of Child Friendly Ballarat Committee
– Chair of Disability Advisory Committee
– Chair of Clean Ballarat Committee
– As chair of the Clean Ballarat Committee, I’ve also assisted in overseeing the introduction of a green waste home collection service.
– Chair of Active Transport Committee
– Chair of the Ballarat Friends of Ainaro Community Committee
– Finance Committee Member
– Audit Committee Member
– Co-chair Ballarat Regional Settlement Advisory Committee
– Board Member of Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance
– Chair of Highlands Regional Waste Management Committee 2013-14
– Regional Sustainability Alliance Committee Member
I put forward these MAV motions that were supported:
– for MAV to request Victorian councils adopt open data policies
– for MAV to endorse the Urban and Regional Food Declaration by Sustain
– for MAV to write to state government ministers and the Premier to request the ban of Wicked Vans offensive slogans
All in all, four years of very challenging work. At times feeling like slow progress.
But when people say things like “Ballarat is a very different place than it was five years ago and you’ve played a part in this”, it all feels very worthwhile.