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Thursday, 22 September 2011
Page: 11272

Mr BUCHHOLZ (Wright) (09:55): Currently in the parliament we have a unique group of leaders from Queensland. I say 'unique' because I am not aware of any other group of local representatives from anywhere else in Australia lobbying the federal government and members on both sides of this House as effectively as this group. I speak of none other than the Council of Mayors, South-East Queensland. In no particular order, they are: Peter Taylor, the Toowoomba Regional Council mayor; Bob Abbot from the North Coast; John Brent from the Scenic Rim; Graham Quirk from Brisbane, who chairs the group; Daphne McDonald, the deputy Gold Coast mayor, sitting in for Ron Clarke; Melva Hobson from Redland; Graham Moon, the deputy mayor of Lockyer Valley, sitting in for Steve Jones; Graeme Lehmann from Somerset Shire; Victor Attwood, the deputy mayor of Ipswich, sitting in for Paul Pisasale; and Russell Lutton, the deputy mayor of Logan, who was sitting in for the human dynamo Pam Parker, who has joined the group this morning.

The group's executive is no stranger to this place and is diligently led by former federal senator for the Democrats, John Cherry. The seat of Wright encompasses four of these areas, taking in all of the Lockyer Valley, all of the Scenic Rim, the western parts of Logan and parts of the Gold Coast hinterland and surrounding areas. I say to each of the mayors with whom I have regular contact: thank you for your dedication and commitment to your shires and cities, and for your regular audiences offering advice on funding priorities for your areas, along with your ongoing advocacy for the regions. May I say to each of you: your enthusiasm is infectious.

I am proud to say that each of my mayors is extremely motivated and parochial about their respective precincts, which they represent so passionately. I find them a refreshing source of local knowledge, with a comprehensive understanding of the priorities in each of their respective communities. However, this group also operates in a somewhat unusual way whereby they govern by regional consensus, at times supporting projects outside their areas for the betterment of the greater South-East Queensland. The council of mayors focuses on national, state, regional and local infrastructure priorities. At a national level, the council of mayors infrastructure advocacy program includes formal representation to the Prime Minister, the Leader of the Opposition, key federal ministers and shadow ministers, all of the Queensland senators and South-East Queensland based federal members, as well as Infrastructure Australia.

The council of mayors has prioritised seven of its infrastructure priorities throughout South-East Queensland, aptly naming them the 'magnificent seven'. These projects range from fixing the Warrego Highway and extending the Eastern Busway right down to delivering on the Toowoomba Range crossing. The Toowoomba bypass, which this side of the House has committed $750 million to, is still waiting to be funded. I commend the council of mayors in representing the people of South-East Queensland and wish them every success for the advocacy work that they do in South-East Queensland. (Time expired)