A Green-minded Southbanker

Sean Car

While she may be only 24 years old, Southbank resident Nakita Thomson is already running in her third election campaign at the upcoming October 24 City of Melbourne council elections.

Ms Thomson is running fifth on The Greens councillor ticket and while she won’t be elected being placed so far down the order, she is certainly keen to have her voice heard and advance her party’s vision for the local community. In particular, its policy initiative of “Parks for Everyone”.

Originally from Shepparton and having most recently moved to Southbank from Bendigo, the country town values of fostering community and conserving the environment are certainly close to her heart.

And since moving to Southbank with her boyfriend in 2018, she said she had quickly identified the area’s “disconnection” and was keen to address the shortcoming by advocating for more green space and sustainable planning.

Living in the heritage Bond Store apartment complex at Riverside Quay, she said the “chasm” of City Rd meant residents in her neighbourhood were more likely to engage with the CBD rather than Southbank.

“What I’m really interested in is connectivity in the local area,” she said.

“I’ve experienced just how disconnected places in Southbank are.”

“I don’t have a car so I rely on my feet and there’s such a lack of green space. To fix pedestrian connectivity, particularly around City Rd, would be really beneficial for our community.”

 

I believe that providing more green connections between the north and south of Southbank would help keep the area cool in summer, while benefiting mental health, recreation and wildlife, as well as the local economy.

 

“Moving from the country to Southbank, adjusting from national parks to concrete was a bit of a shift. Even just more plants, shrubs and trees would go a long way.”

“It also gets so hot here in summer. As a young person, I’m able-bodied. I can’t imagine being an older person or a someone living with a disability more prone to heat stroke without much green space to absorb some of that heat. It isn’t a great outcome for public health.”

Her achievements at the age of 24 are beyond impressive. Having recently completed her masters in urban planning, she currently works as a transport planner for a private consultancy group and is now participating in her third election campaign for The Greens.

While she’s certainly more politically ambitious than your average young person, she said she fell into politics “by accident” saying she was “forced into it by climate change”.

Now, with state and federal election experience under her belt, she said she was currently hard at work helping advance The Greens’ vision for the City of Melbourne, under the leadership of Lord Mayoral candidate Apsara Sabaratnam, and two-term councillor Rohan Leppert.

“For me, [politics] was more an accident. It came out of a sense of duty,” she said.

“I joined The Greens in Bendigo but I was really concerned about climate change. I feel like I was forced in by climate change. It was more based on that I had to more than I wanted to.”

“With the challenges that society is facing, we need more people in parliament that care about keeping our planet sustainable.” •

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