Saxon2

Living in Petrie Terrace holds a certain magical quality. At just over a kilometer to the GPO and with a much sought after 4000 postcode, the locality provides quick access to a balanced inner city lifestyle. We have close proximity to Suncorp Stadium games, Brisbane Arts Theatre, Barracks Cinema and Cafes, Roma Street and South Bank Parklands within walking distance, specialty shopping on Latrobe Terrace or Park Road while right on the doorstep of the CBD. The surrounding streets in every direction are filled with beautiful original Queensland architecture. There are entire Petrie Terrace streets that look like as if they stepped out of the pages of a historical novel. Yet for all the richness of color, character and culture we are equally balanced with plenty of challenges. Petrie Terrace is distinctive in that is pulls together a diverse range of people and needs from local residents, businesses and community organizations to nightclubs, restaurants, Brisbane’s largest sporting area to a notorious annual festival on Caxton Street. And as I reflect on the past couple of years in this time of State Election, this unique melting pot has been well served by its state representative Saxon Rice.

Saxon was elected as the Member for Mount Coot-tha on 24 March 2012 and in that time has been a determined diligent ambassador for Mount Coot-tha. I first met her last year to discuss the Safe Night Out Strategy that she has been working on for the Caxton Street precinct – a project that we local residents have felt quite relieved about. I next encountered her at the Albert Park Flexi School Sound Garden concert when she came along to support the work of the students and teachers with their community garden project. It was very refreshing to meet a politician who took several hours out of her day to support the kids and the school.

I had the opportunity to chat with Saxon Rice at French Twist at the Barracks last week.

PTP: What do you enjoy most about your job as the Member for Mount Coot-tha?

SR: I appreciate the opportunity for all levels of government to work together for the benefit of the local community in a real time situation. The best thing about this job is most definitely the amazing people that I meet in our community, the unsung heroes that build the community and make a difference.

PTP: What have been your most significant achievements during your time as the Member for Mount Coot-tha?

Saxon – After complete neglect from the previous Labor member, thousands of students in the Mount Coot-tha electorate now have access to high quality, safe environments. The maintenance backlog in our schools has been all but eliminated with $1.7 million, and funds are now being spent to improve our schools and better our kids’ education. Students now have more support with teacher numbers rising from 234 to 256 since 2012. Principals have more autonomy and our teachers are better supported with four Master Teachers starting in 2015. Flashing school zone signs have also been installed at Bardon, Rainworth, Milton and Toowong State Schools and in Miskin St at Toowong behind Brisbane Boys College.

Our environment means a lot to us in the Mount Coot-tha Electorate, and that’s why it has been a priority to make sure that it’s protected, restored and supported for future generations. Since being local member I have secured funding for a number of environmental projects such as support to Save Our Waterways Now (SOWN) Ithaca Intact project, Cubberla Witton’s Toowong Creek Catchment restoration project, Vera Street Community Garden and Petrie Terrace State School’s community garden.

Before 2012 our roads were congested and, in some cases, unsafe. In less than three years there has been improvements to the Macgregor Terrace intersection at Bardon, including the construction of a 19 vehicle car park to relieve congestion. I have also worked with Council to reduce the speed limit on Simpsons and Chiswick Roads to 50km/h in response to local concerns. Locals are seeing the benefits of safer and less congested roads – allowing them to spend more time with their family and less time commuting. 

Our fantastic local businesses and shopping precincts are important to our local area. They are now more vibrant and attracting business back to the area in Rosalie Village and at Park Road in Milton thanks to a $300,000 reinvigoration project. The project was designed in consultation with the community and included new street lighting, banners and a heritage trail in Rosalie and a heritage trail, upgraded street lighting, new community signage, new custom bike racks, street furniture and landscaping at Smiddy Park in Park Road.

PTP: I’ve seen you out and about in the area on a regular basis. You never seem to be in your office. If I stalked you for 24 hours, what would I experience in a typical day as the Member for Mount Coot-tha?

SR: No two days are ever the same. A sample day may see me heavily involved in community organizations and supporting them in whatever they may have going on at the time. You may see me serving Meals on Wheels, hanging out a local school fete, meeting with local residents about a local traffic challenge, listening to a local business manager over coffee, hosting a local community group meeting in my office, attending a local school concert and if it’s the first Saturday of the month you will find me in my mobile office meeting with the locals and getting a handle on what is going on with them.

PTP: What is your vision and plan for Mount Coot-tha?

SR: I would love to see us continue on our sound economic and financial footing because in doing so that really enables our access to the best resources, networks and people to ensure that the community thrives. I’m raising a young family here so working with the thirteen schools in this area is very important to me. You will often see me get behind the barbie at a local school function because I feel like I’ve got kids at every one of these schools. These communities are growing our future and I feel very connected to the hard working parents doing what they can to add value to the school communities. My plan is to continue to work with the very real needs of the Mount Coot-tha community and as such these are some of our future projects in the works:

 SaxonAPFLC131114

  • $400,000 for Movers and Shakers – a rehabilitation partnership between Communify QLD, Lang Park PCYC and Metro North HHS to support our seniors.
  • $500,000 for Paddington ‘Terraces’ Reinvigoration Project – Given, Latrobe and Petrie
  • $20,000 for Petrie Terrace State School mural wall
  • $300,000 for carpark and oval upgrade at Bardon State School
  • $100,000 for shade structure at Bardon Bowls Club
  • $750,000 for upgrade at the Wests Bulldogs Rugby Union Club
  • Flashing school zone lights at Petrie Terrace State School
  • Signage to ease noise pollution for Bardon residents

 

PTP: What message do you have for the residents and business owners of Petrie Terrace and the electorate of Mount Coot-tha?

SR: I am a local resident living right next door in Paddington and well understand the unique challenges living and raising a family in this area. When locals were saying that our area had lost that community feeling, I listened and acted. Whether a community or business organization needs assistance with government funding opportunities, or running a networking event, or even how to work with local media, I need to know what is going on locally so I can plug people into the right resources to allow the solutions and opportunities to flow. My job is to listen, support and connect.

My message to you is to never forget the many wonderful people in our area working tirelessly in community organizations and schools that have visions and plans to address a long list of needs. There is so much going on in your own community. My very clear local plan forms part of a larger statewide plan that ensures that I can continue to work with these fantastic people and keep supporting these community projects as I have been since 2012.

The bottom line is that I’m the only candidate with a plan who can demonstrate the results we have already achieved locally and that’s what I plan to build on.

PTP: With all the challenges that we face in everyday life in Petrie Terrace, it doesn’t matter about the party or the ideology or the belief system. What matters is how we work together in community with each other and how we come together in times of challenges to support each other. And it is this quality that has impressed me the most about Saxon Rice.

If you ever want to find her, she is easy to find and is hanging out where you are. Simply look in your local café, on your street, at your local school, the neighbourhood community centre and at your local business networking event.