Councillor Katie Milne’s mayoral acceptance speech
THIS is the speech Mayor Katie Milne delivered to the chamber on Thursday night after being named the new mayor of Tweed Shire:
Firstly I would like to thank my fellow councillors for endorsing me for this very important role.
It will be a hard act to follow the extraordinary job that Cr Gary Bagnall has done as mayor. His contribution has been invaluable and he went far beyond the call of duty to serve this community.
I would have loved him to continue in the role but it was not just up to me.
As the first Green Mayor of the Tweed Shire I am extremely honoured and humbled.
I started advocating for the community of this Shire about 15 years ago and haven't stopped since.
In my first foray into politics I spent the Christmas of 2001 on the side of the road in Fingal taking surveys to stop over development of that beautiful seaside peninsula.
Before I caught my breath we had to move round the corner to Chinderah to protect the Tweed River in a legal challenge against the mega marina.
It was heartening to realize from our efforts that justice could prevail, that the community had our backs, and that we could make a change if we threw our heart and soul into it.
Over that time I developed a deep love for this incredible environment and a deep appreciation for this amazing community.
When the Greens offered me a position as their candidate for Tweed Council in 2008 I took the plunge.
What motivated me ultimately to make the commitment to local government was the terrifying prospect of Climate Change. I felt that we all needed to step up to this monumental challenge, and if I didn't why should others?
Council is in a great position to be a leader in combating climate change at the local level, and in combating the dangerous complacency the deniers advocate.
Politics can be very divisive but the one thing that unites this community, and I believe, makes us a community, is our common love for this land. We are blessed to live here, but with that we have a responsibility to care for this very fragile landscape. Our shire has the worst record of loss of species in Australia already, and with hundreds more on the brink of extinction we can't afford to be reckless.
I am very aware that we also have major social and economic challenges. I am pleased that I was able to initiate Council's new Economic Development Strategy that has set a clear pathway to guide council into the future.
I am also pleased to have put on council's list of reforms new plans for Murwillumbah and Fingal Head, and a strategy for our National Iconic Landscape to protect our scenic views.
I will continue to advocate for the community, and for a new style of development that enhances our wellbeing and helps to keep our planet and our community as safe and prosperous as possible.