I was elected to Maribyrnong Council in March 2003 and re-elected in November 2005. I was then elected Mayor for a one year term in 2006. My Mayoral speech given on the night of my election can be found here.
During my time on Council I was particularly focused on promoting and working towards sustainable transport, revitalisation of the Footscray shopping centre, tackling heavy truck traffic through Maribyrnong and community involvement in Council's decision making. A summary of the achievements of my mayoral year is here.
I was Chair of the Metropolitan Transport Forum between 2004 and 2008. The MTF brings 19 Melbourne municipalities together to network, promote and advocate for sustainable transport. I led the MTF to embark on a major public transport advocacy program in 2007 pt4me2. This culminated in the production of the MTF's 'Melbourne Transport Plan' in late 2008. I also had a significant role in the report the MTF produced in late 2005: ‘Most Liveable and Best Connected? The economic benefits of investing in public transport in Melbourne’
I was Vice-President of the Victorian Local Governance Association between 2007-2009, and member of the Board between 2005-2009 .
I was awarded the Municipal Association of Victoria - McArthur Fellowship in late 2005. This award is given each year to one Victorian Councillor to allow them to undertake research of relevance to local government. My award funded an inspirational trip in mid 2006 to North America and Northern Europe researching sustainable transport and planning and the role of community planning. The overwhelming take home message from my travels was that top quality public transport, and walking and cycling facilities are possible and economically viable in Australian cities. The fundamental reason we don't have them is lack of political will, not because our cities are too spread out, or because providing them is uneconomic. I was very impressed on my travels not just at the quality of public transport, walking and cycling facilities but also the high quality community planning processes such as those practiced in Portland, Oregon, USA, and Vancouver, Canada. These have helped to build a sophisticated understanding in these cities of the need to constrain urban sprawl and invest in public transport facilities as a priority.