Lara Dalton’s inaugural parliamentary address: Geraldton centrestage in special speech
New member for Geraldton Lara Dalton delivered a love letter to her home town as part of a prestigious speech on the first sitting day of the 41st Parliament yesterday.
In addition to her inaugural speech, Ms Dalton was selected for the honour of giving the address in reply to WA Governor Kim Beazley’s opening address to Parliament.
Speaking as the city’s first female MP, Ms Dalton told Parliament of the compassion shown by Geraldton residents in the wake of cyclone Seroja.
“Geraldton did incur some damage, and we lost power for several days, but we did not receive the infrastructure devastation unlike our neighbours, who bore the brunt and damage to their towns,” she said.
“I have been immensely proud of the people of Geraldton pitching in, providing comfort, and working together to ensure our neighbours in Northampton, Kalbarri, Perenjori, Three Springs and Morawa had the support they required.
“Bearing witness to the wonderful work of the Department of Fire and Emergency Services, the SES, and the Department of Communities, seeing individuals within those agencies work above and beyond has reminded me that ‘community’ takes many different forms.”
Unearthing opportunities for the people of Geraldton, to have jobs, to raise families, to stay in town after graduating high school because you can — that is at the core of my task as the member for Geraldton.
“The rallying of the community, wrapping their collective arms around my family in love and support was truly awe-inspiring,” she said.
Reflecting on her journey from waitressing as a single mother to standing in Parliament, Ms Dalton said she hoped to support other Geraldton residents to achieve their goals.
“Unearthing opportunities for the people of Geraldton, to have jobs, to raise families, to stay in town after graduating high school because you can — that is at the core of my task as the member for Geraldton,” she said.
“I am not here to decide what our city grows to become — I am here to amplify and support those who are already building it.
“My invitation to our community, and to my colleagues in this House, is — let’s work together to take Geraldton into a strong, prosperous future.” Being asked to deliver the speech while she was preparing to weather cyclone Seroja had been overwhelming, but Ms Dalton said she was honoured by the opportunity.
“I was overwhelmed at being asked at first, especially with the cyclone a couple of days away, but to have this opportunity knowing that people have put their faith in me is a huge privilege,” she said.
“The address in reply is combined with my inaugural speech and it’s such a wonderful opportunity to put Geraldton and its people at the centre of what is a very special day, the opening of the 41st Parliament of Western Australia.”
Ms Dalton said she was eager to ensure Geraldton residents were heard in Parliament.
“This is a new beginning for me and it’s one I have been working towards for six years,” she said.
“I am getting to work for Geraldton as part of Mark McGowan’s team, and I can’t wait.”
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