Two weeks before that I was elected to represent this area in State Parliament as the Member for Heffron. I want to congratulate Ben Keneally on his election. He is a very impressive, caring and intelligent man, with a sound grasp of public policy. I know he will serve the residents with distinction in the future.
After 31 years as Mayor, it was with a great degree of sadness that I relinquished this role. But while I may be taking on a new role, my representation of the citizens of this area will continue. From my office in Westfield Eastgardens, Council’s offices at Mascot as well as the Town Hall in Botany, I’ll now work from State Parliament in Macquarie Street, Sydney and the electorate office in Rosebery.
As I said repeatedly during the campaign for the by-election, I felt that to expand my representation of the City, State Parliament was the place. We have massive transport, environment, planning, education, welfare and health issues to be addressed and these can only be resolved through State Government action.
Over more than three decades, I have come to know, and work with, a lot of local people over the widest possible range of issues. Sometimes we may not have agreed but in the main we did what was best for the City of Botany Bay.
I want to thank all my Council colleagues as well as the great staff at Council. The Council employees are unique across local government with the length of service and their commitment to our residents. It is that dedication I will miss.
While there are many new challenges I will face as your State Member of Parliament, I will be dealing with and working for many familiar faces. There are also communities that are new to me – from Tempe, St Peters, Syddenham through to Erskinville, Alexandria, Green Square, Beaconsfield, Waterloo, Zetland, Redfern, Rosebery, Kensington and Kingsford.
I want to thank everyone with whom I have worked in the past and remind all of you that my door is still open – in a different office. We achieved much during my time as Mayor and there is much of which I am extremely proud. But, together, we will achieve more in the years ahead.