*Speech delivered in the Senate 9th August 2023.
In the past 12 months, beautiful Launceston has become my home
—and I shouldn't say 'Launceston' because that's a sin; it's Launnie.
It's technically a city, but, at heart, I think it's still a country town. I love seeing everyone's smiling faces at the harvest market on a Saturday morning or looking for a good thrift shop find at the Behind Closed Drawers market at St Ailbie's.
It's a place where you can have a friendly chat with politicians and community leaders in the supermarket.
Sorry to Will from the Launceston Chamber of Commerce, who keeps seeing my face pop up at Woolies, but I'll see you again soon!
It's also a bit of a novelty to travel from an airport that has Virgin and Jetstar there as well as Qantas.
I want to give a shout-out to our new mayor, Matty Garwood, and his darling wife and baby girl and congratulate him on his recent election.
I think Matty has proven his commitment to our Launceston community. I'm excited for Lonnie having a fresh face and fresh ideas. Matty, I look forward to working with you to make our city the best it can be.
With that in mind, here are some of my priorities for Lonnie. We need to continue to grow and develop. We can't be knocking back good projects because of the anti-everything brigade. More hotels are necessary if we want more tourism and to host larger-scale events.
The council and chamber of commerce are committed to changing the city landscape and making it more open, green and people friendly. It sets us apart from other cities and invites people into the centre, and I would love to see more of this.
I'm also keen to see key projects continue to progress, things like moving the transport hub out of the city, improving the health of the Tamar River and the redevelopment of the Birchalls complex.
Thank you, Launceston, for welcoming me so warmly into your community. It might not be the north-west coast which will always be home to me, but, hey, at least it's on the right side of the north-south divide because north is always better than south.