While running my own consulting business, I heard that the Liberal Party were looking for a candidate to contest the Lord Mayoral elections. Despite those elections being two years away, in March 2002 I put my hand up and embarked on a long journey to City Hall. My reason for standing was simple, I felt strongly that the then ALP administration was not delivering the road and public infrastructure that Brisbane needed for the future.
After two years on the campaign trail I won the popular vote for the Lord Mayoralty but the ALP won the majority of seats in the Council Chamber. My Deputy Mayor was the ALP’s David Hinchliffe and for the next 4 years we had to work together in a pressure cooker atmosphere of hard ball politics. It wasn’t fun but we got some important things done.
In March 2008 after a highly effective campaign conceived and led by Ben Myers we achieved a landslide victory, with me achieving a primary vote of 60.1% and the Liberal Party taking 16 wards out of 26 across the City.
I served as Lord Mayor until my resignation in April 2011 and entry to State politics.
Conceived and delivered the Transapex road infrastructure project which saw the construction of the Clem 7 Tunnel, Airport Link Tunnel, Legacy Way Tunnel and Go Between Bridge
Put 740 new air-conditioned buses on the road in a seven year period
Commissioned seven new City Cat ferries and built three new terminals
Planted 2 million trees
Lead south east Queensland councils in the response to the drought of 2005 to 2008
Upgraded the bayside parks at Wynnum/ Manly and Shorncliffe/ Sandgate
Constructed the Eleanor Schonell Bridge (Green Bridge)
Took the air conditioning of the BCC bus fleet from 25 % in 2005 to 100 % by 2011
Introduced a CBD and city frame bike hire scheme
Renovation of Brisbane City Hall (including the saving of the historic Shingle Inn) $ 210 million
Lead Brisbane through the devastating Jan 2011 floods and the cleanup response
Initiated the purchase of 100 % green energy for BCC operations
Introduced Homeless Connect event as a biannual city council activity – reaching out to homeless people to provide focussed support services and help people get off the street
Conceived and delivered the $ 1 billion Road Action Plan for Brisbane in the period 2008 to 2011
Built two new bus depots
Undertook comprehensive city wide community engagement and planning for the future of Brisbane for the period 2004 to 2024
Delivered seven consecutive balanced/ surplus city budgets
Initiated the building of Frew Park in Milton
Signed three new Sister City Agreements for Brisbane with – Chongqing China, Abu Dhabi UAE and Hyderabad India