“Melbourne is obviously Australia’s most progressive city, so surely it could claim to be one of the world’s most progressive cities too. A city government should reflect that, and a progressive city government doesn’t accept an agenda, it creates one.” Mary Delahunty tells Star Observer.  

First elected to Glen Eira City Council in 2012, where Delahunty served as lord mayor for the past eight years. However, in 2020 elections, she will instead be running for a place on City of Melbourne Council, and for some pretty good reason, as she explains,

A city government can actually lead the entire sector.  I like what local government can do when they speak to enact change. I think that by running for the city of Melbourne, and if don’t end up winning, it’s a chance to at least prosecute some arguments. You can almost tempt and force the city government to take its natural place.

I don’t think the City of Melbourne led the sector enough, and I’m not sure if it’s just a victim of people not knowing what role that is has. Because city of Melbourne has a population that is both business and residential in the way it which can elect councillors, maybe it’s a little confused? Still it’s not impossible to bridge the gap between the two.

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 Undoubtedly the very fabric that makes Melbourne such a vibrant city has been unstitched by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Making the roles that new council’s play in the city’s ongoing recovery all the more vital, a point that Delahunty is keen to drive home.

One of things we have all noticed about the way we are living now, is the importance of how connected we feel to our local communities. Sometimes a city government can forget they are governing over small sections of community and it needs to treat where residents live as small communities of interest.

Melbourne is by many considered one of the world’s most liveable cities, but to who exactly? As its popularity continued to grow internationally, so too did its homeless population over recent years. Prior to the pandemic, it was impossible to walk along any of the city’s main thoroughfares without seeing any number of rough sleepers.

“In order to revive the city people need to be able to afford to live there, businesses will have patronage if there are people living and working around them. 

So, how do we make sure keyworkers can afford to live there? Our idea on that is a rates holiday for developers. A 30 years rates holiday if they can give 30% of their development to affordable housing. We got to pull the levers that will materially shift the dial. Bringing people and life back into our metropolis will revive businesses as well.

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 Delahunty, in her time at Glen Eira Council was a staunch advocate for the local LGBTQI communities, work she is keen to see continue if elected to City Of Melbourne council.

At the city of Glen Eira I led the marriage equality motions and then put into strategic plans a number of inclusivity measures I am so proud will never be unpicked. For example, in the city of Glen Eira we owned aged care facilities, and we made sure these council facilities were inclusive and friendly and enhanced the rights of LGBTQI community, and this is exactly what local government should be doing.

It is 100% our job to reflect the needs of the community, and where there are members of the community that don’t feel like they can see themselves or feel they are not welcome, that is a great shame, that needs addressing.

“Signing the [rainbow] pledge helps remind people that that this is what local government should do, not just celebrate the symbols of inclusivity, but actually live up to the aims and the symbology of inclusion.”

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