As we go to press, local government elections continue in Queensland with polling day Saturday 28 March. Local councils are our most accessible level of government with the elected representatives more available to constituents than at state or federal level. Trina Massey, the Greens candidate for Central Ward spoke to us about her passion for her community, her city, and why she wants to see change.
When local politicians talk about improving liveability, they’re usually talking about things like parks and traffic calming. These things are obviously important, and providing and maintaining them is a critical part of the council’s function.
But the council can and should be thinking bigger than that. Liveability means much more than fixing footpaths and planting Jacarandas, especially in this time of uncertainty.
- ensuring that people have a safe and affordable home that meets their needs
- providing plentiful and economical public transport
- supporting a diverse community full of small businesses.
- reaching out to help all residents, not just the people who shop on James Street, or go to fundraising dinners at the Tatts Club.
I’ve been a resident of New Farm for over 10 years. In all that time I can’t recall the local councillor talking about any of these issues — at least outside of the election window.
As a member of the LGBTQI community, some of these issues are deeply personal to me. LGBTQI people are more likely to suffer poverty, insecure housing and homelessness than non-LGBTQI people. I have to say it’s fairly disappointing that the major parties seem either ignorant of, or uninterested in this fact. Rainbow pedestrian crossings are nice. However, I’d trade in a thousand symbolic photo opps for a commitment to more secure public housing.
Drag Queen Storytime
Like a lot of LGBTQI people, I was also pretty upset by the LNP’s stance on the bigoted and discriminatory petitions posted on the council’s website in the wake of the Drag Queen Story Time controversy in January. Rather than calling them out as hateful trash, every LNP councillor voted to keep the petitions online. Frankly, any councillor who endorses hate speech against the LGBTQI community should lose their claim to the pink vote.
I’m as fed up as everyone with hypocrisy, platitudes, empty promises and tinkering at the edges. That’s why I’m running for Central Ward. A city must be made liveable for everyone, including the marginalised, the vulnerable and the invisible.
As the Greens candidate, I’ve worked with the community and other candidates to develop a range of initiatives to transform the city. One of those initiatives is A Home For All. That program that will add 4000 publicly owned homes to the city over four years in a bid to tackle our growing homelessness crisis. Did you know that almost a quarter of all 14 to 25-year-old Brisbane residents experiencing accommodation issues and homelessness are transgender and gender diverse?
We’re also proposing free off-peak journeys on buses, ferries and Citycats for all residents. That will provide relief for hospitality and shift workers and families struggling to make ends meet. Providing support for those that are being hit right now, will be so important in the next coming months and years.
Trina Massey, the Greens, on Pride
And we’re also going to take less than one per cent of the annual road-widening budget and use it to double funding for local festivals, events and cultural organisations, currently a pitiful $4.1 million a year. This would not only boost local cultural events but also make Pride more accessible. A more accessible Pride would strengthen and support our community. Right now we see this amazing community spirit alive and well on social media groups, when we can gather again it will be important to create avenues of connection face to face.
It’s sad to see so few councillors stand up for our community – and that’s a big part of the reason I’m standing up as a candidate. Running as a councillor isn’t for me or about me. I do it to speak up for the change that we so desperately need and deserve.
There’s a beautiful quote someone shared with me. It said, “Don’t get depressed. Get active.” And that’s what I’m doing.
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