Adrian's First Speech in Council
Extract from Brisbane City Council Transcript
Brisbane City Hall, Tuesday 25 October 2005
Councillor SCHRINNER: Local government is all about people and the places they live. It is about the suburbs we live in, it is about the roads we drive on, and it is about the parks we visit to relax. It is about the basic things that we often take for granted, the little things that add up to give us our quality of life. It is a level of government that has the most direct impact on our every day lives. That is the reason I am standing here today representing the people of Chandler.
I have always been passionate about my city and my local community. I was born in Brisbane and I have lived here virtually all of my life. I grew up in the south eastern suburbs and completed my entire schooling locally within the Ward of Chandler. Brisbane is, and will always be my home. I don’t know how long I will serve in this Chamber – that is for other people to decide – but I am certain of one thing. In the years to come, I want to look back and know that in some small way I helped to make our city a better place.
I want Brisbane to be a city that is respected and admired around the world. A smart thinking, easy living world class city. We have been blessed with the ingredients for success. We are a relaxed and friendly city with a wonderful climate and a rich natural environment, but Brisbane is at grave risk of becoming a victim of our own success. You see, for many years now Brisbane has been like a magnet for people from across Australia. Brisbane is growing faster than any other capital city in the nation. In just a handful of years we will overtake Melbourne as the second largest city in Australia. If we are not vigilant, this rapid growth will jeopardise the very things that people come here to enjoy.
Already we have fallen far behind in the provision of new infrastructure for our city. Despite massive increases in population and traffic congestion over many years, we seem to have been paralysed with a fear of building new infrastructure. It is incredible that the previous administration only completed one major road project, the Inner City Bypass, during the past decade. No new river crossings for general traffic have been constructed by Council since before I was born, yet when the LORD MAYOR proposed a long term, long overdue plan to upgrade and modernise our road network, Labor called it a fantasy.
Not only did the previous administration fail to invest in new roads, it also failed to provide us with a serious alternative to the private motor vehicle. In the period between 1991 and 2003, our population grew by 24.6 per cent, yet during the same time bus use only grew by 11.8 per cent, a decline in real terms. In contrast, we have seen bus patronage increase by 10.5 per cent in the last year alone. Under the stewardship of the LORD MAYOR and Councillor QUIRK, we are now carrying more than 50 million passengers a year for the first time since 1974.
Let me be very clear. It has taken a Liberal LORD MAYOR to get this city’s infrastructure program back on track. Right now we are still catching up following years of inaction. I am reminded of the words of Walter Lippmann:
"We are where we are because whenever we had a choice to make we have chosen the alternative that required the least effort and the cheapest solution and the great self indulgence."
Instead of investing in the major projects we really needed, previous administrations spent years squandering the city’s budget, dollar by dollar, on the easy things and the popular things. Now is the time to take the tough decisions. There is no excuse for the situation we have found ourselves in. When it comes to planning, it is a simple fact that governments at all levels, and from all political persuasions have failed the people of Brisbane, but I am not here today to point the finger. There is nothing to be gained from that.
We need to turn our eyes to the road ahead. Being the largest Council in Australia and one of the largest in the world, gives us a unique ability to plan and build a city that is future proof. Our size provides us with the resources and the influence to take control of our own destiny. The future of our city depends on the actions of the men and women sitting in this Chamber today. I dearly hope we can all work together and rise to meet this challenge.
As a Councillor I am in this place as a citizen of Brisbane, but I am first and foremost a representative for the people of Chandler. I am not here to serve my own interests. I am here to serve my community. I am here to work for them and to put them first. In this role, I expect that I will sometimes need to put aside my own personal and political ideologies. The people of Chandler have my word that I will always endeavour to seek out their views on the issues that affect them. I am passionate about many things, but I am also willing to see both sides of an argument. There are some occasions when backing down is not a sign of weakness, but rather of courage – the courage to admit that you are not always right.
I know that there might also be moments when I strongly disagree with my colleagues on this side of the Chamber. That is the nature of politics. When this occurs, I will not hesitate to do what is right by my constituents, but having said that I understand that I am here as a member of the Liberal Party, and of this I am immensely proud. I believe in the Liberal Party and the things its stands for. I firmly believe that there is an important role for political parties in local government. Parties promote healthy, democratic competition, and add an extra level of accountability to the process of government. Not only do we as Councillors have to answer to our electors, we also have to maintain the support of party members.
Parties also act as an engine room for new ideas. They assist in the development of comprehensive and well researched policies that would simply not be possible in a Council made up of independents. Recent events in South East Queensland clearly illustrate some of the serious problems that can come hand in hand with non aligned, non partisan Councils. We should never underestimate the contribution that political parties and their representatives can make to our great city.
In conclusion, I have no doubt that I would not be here today without the assistance and support of many people.
My commitment to you, and to the people of Chandler, is that I will work diligently and tirelessly to justify the trust you placed in me on 10 September 2005.