The Brisbane councillor who helped manage a $3b budget at age 26


“It’s no secret … that I will be resigning when the federal election is called, which means that win, lose or draw in May, this will be my last council meeting,” Cr Simmonds said on Tuesday night.

“It’s been an absolute honour and a privilege to serve the residents of Walter-Taylor Ward in this place since 2010.

“Whether I am successful or not though in my next endeavour, my imminent resignation will provide the opportunity for a new councillor in my stead, who I know will bring fresh ideas and a new vitality to the representation in this place and the local community.

“And that’s a very good thing.”

Cr Simmonds said he “truly enjoyed and relished” his nine years in council, and cited numerous projects he helped deliver for the Walter-Taylor ward.

“I of course also want to thank lord mayor Graham Quirk very much for giving me the opportunity to spend many years serving the cabinet of this city,” Cr Simmonds said.

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“It’s not many jobs that would give a 26-year-old the chance to help manage a $3 billion dollar budget but that and other experiences of … having responsibility of parts of the city that I love is memories that I will truly treasure.”

Cr Simmonds served first as chairman of the public and active transport committee from 2011 to 2012.

He then served as chairman of the finance, economic development and administration committee., and in 2016 became chair of city planning.

The lord mayor thanked Cr Simmonds for his service to Brisbane, saying the Walter-Taylor councillor had entered public service as a young man “well beyond his years in maturity.”

“I’ve seen a lot of people come and go in this chamber over the years, madam chairman … it was one of my first roles was to bring Julian into the first Quirk administration cabinet as chairman for public and active transport,” Cr Quirk said.

“I have always been very, very grateful for the way in which he has approached the whole work ethic that’s required in this role.”

Cr Quirk noted the challenges ahead if Cr Simmonds was successfully elected were many, and joked that Cr Simmonds had recently “been practising a little bit on interjecting” at council meetings.

“I am sure that the residents of Ryan, if they see it fit to elect you as I hope they will in May, that they will be well served by someone who will work very hard on their behalf,” Cr Quirk said.

“We wish you well for the future.”

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Cr Simmonds may not be the only person to leave the council in the weeks ahead, with Coorparoo ward councillor Ian McKenzie and Norm Wyndham for McDowall both predicted to retire.

At the last council election, in March 2016, Cr Wyndham won 61 per cent of the vote, Cr Simmonds 60.4 per cent and Cr McKenzie secured 46.5 per cent.

The next council election was set for March 2020.

Lucy is the urban affairs reporter for the Brisbane Times, with a special interest in Brisbane City Council.

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