I want to thank each and every one of you, the good burghers of Griffith, for the honour of serving as your local member these last fifteen years.
Brisbane's Southside has been home for my family for the last twenty-five, first in Hawthorne, later in Norman Park. For us, this will always be our local community.
The Southside has been a great place to raise our three children, to see them educated at Morningside Primary, attend the local Sunday School at Saint John's in Bulimba, and learn to swim at our local swimming clubs. It remains a great place to live.
This community enjoys a wonderful lifestyle. Of course, we have faced a few challenges over the years as well. But we have always come together to overcome them.
The way we all pitched in during the great Brisbane floods of 2011. Coming together as local action groups to stop the privatisation of the school ovals at Balmoral High and Whites Hill College and the forced merger of Coorparoo Secondary College and State High. And earlier, on the mass public protests against the building of the Brisbane Airport's New Parallel Runway, the court cases we mounted against the original decision to build it, and when I lost the case in the Federal Court the community then coming together to raise money to help pay my legal costs. The battle for a night curfew has just begun. All to help protect our local quality of life.
What I'm most proud of are the massive new investments we secured for our local schools, universities and hospitals. The 25 new libraries, 17 new multi-purpose facilities, 30 new classrooms, nearly 8,000 new laptops for secondary school kids who previously had none, and additional 10,000 local university places. And a $40 million co-investment in the world-class Translational Research Centre at the PA. These are the things that change people's lives.
One thing I've been particularly happy to support is the teaching of foreign languages in each of our 65 local schools. Over the years I have funded nearly 600 Foreign Language Awards. It's been a great joy to run into young people working around the world, now fluent in one or more languages, who remember me presenting them with these awards way back when. I intend to continue these Awards into the future for whichever local schools wish me to.
I also hope to be able to continue to donate 'Ruddbikes'. I'm delighted to have become one of the biggest buyers of bicycles in Brisbane, having donated nearly 1,000 to local schools so far which have helped them raise nearly $1 million in funds.
But there comes a time for renewal. Families pay a great price in political life. And my family, who have loyally supported me all this time and who have given so much of themselves, have made it very plain that the time has come for me to pass the baton to someone else.
So thank you Southside for all that we have done for our community - together. It really has been an honour.