The following is an extract from Mary's Inaugural Speech to the Legaslative Assembly of the Parliament of Victoria,. If you'd like to read more of the speech please click here to download a PDF copy of the speech.
Ms WOOLDRIDGE (Doncaster)
Congratulations, Speaker, on your election to your office.
I recognise at the start the firefighters and emergency services personnel who are putting their lives at risk to protect families, homes and people’s livelihoods throughout Australia.
It is an honour to be here today representing the people of Doncaster. In doing so I follow in the footsteps of two distinguished members of Parliament: Morris Williams, who initially represented the seat of Box Hill and then the seat of Doncaster from when it was formed in 1976 until 1988; and Victor Perton, who ably represented Doncaster for the subsequent 18 years. Victor has been a great support to me over the past nine months and I thank him for his assistance and encouragement.
Doncaster is a vibrant and active community best known to most as the home of Doncaster Shoppingtown. Retail and business services dominate the business activity. Doncaster stands out as an electorate due to its very high proportion of people born overseas, its ageing population and the fact that a disproportionate number of its people get into their cars every day to go to work. They do this because public transport options are limited and do not provide real choice for commuters. As the growth of Melbourne continues, government must not forget the much-needed infrastructure for established areas that has been overlooked to date.
It would be very easy to believe that a commuter suburb such as Doncaster lacks soul; however, nothing could be further from the truth. The heart of the Doncaster electorate is the thousands who volunteer to keep community, ethnic and sporting organisations alive. From the Manningham Men’s Shed and Doncare (Doncaster Community Care and Counselling) through to the Doncaster Junior Football Club and the various ethnic senior citizens’ clubs, everyday people are giving their time and skills to assist children and young people, recently arrived migrants, the elderly and families in need.