Sydney City News June 2014

Sydney City News June 2014

Celebrating a decade of community leadership

It’s been 10 years since I first became Lord Mayor and since South Sydney Council and some of Leichhardt Council was merged to form an expanded City of Sydney in 2004.

It was a grab for the City by the former NSW Labor Government which was foiled by our campaign to reclaim it for the community.

The City we inherited when I became Lord Mayor is very different to the City I lead today. In 2007, we undertook the largest-ever community consultation in the City’s history.  

We spoke with thousands of residents and businesses and the result was Sustainable Sydney 2030 – a comprehensive plan that continues to guide our work today.

We have responsibly planned for the future, invested in property and saved income to pay for new infrastructure and services. We’ve delivered debt-free budgets, given free rates to pensioners and kept our residential rates amongst the lowest in the Sydney metropolitan area.

Work to renew community facilities such as Redfern Park and Oval, Paddington Reservoir Gardens and Glebe Town Hall was long overdue because of their deteriorating condition. 

Much of the new work we have undertaken is in response to new development and higher population densities.

In the past decade we’ve approved $25 billion worth of development, weathered the global financial crisis, attracted new businesses and jobs to Sydney, and supported emerging talent to ensure our city’s economic success continues.

Over the past five years, 40 per cent of all jobs growth across metropolitan Sydney took place in our local government area.

To facilitate this, the City has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in infrastructure. And we’ve budgeted for a new $1.9 billion program of work over the next 10 years to support new growth.

Rather than taking anything away from the CBD, our City of Villages policy has increased our local economy by adding vitality and interest to the areas just outside the city centre. We’ve upgraded main streets, restored our historic town halls, built new community facilities and created pocket parks and playgrounds. 

Some of the biggest growth in jobs and businesses has been in our villages. In the last five years, Pyrmont and Ultimo have seen a 46 per cent growth in jobs, while employment in Surry Hills and Redfern grew by 20 per cent.

Five years ago, less than 50 per cent of our residents lived and worked in our local government area – that figure has now increased to 65 per cent. By creating a city where people come first, we’ve proved that jobs and new businesses will follow. It’s been a big 10 years and we have an even bigger 10 years planned for the future.

Having strong, independent leadership at the City of Sydney would not be possible without the support and assistance you have given me and my Independent teams over the past decade.

Thank you for that support and I hope you will continue to work with us on vital issues important for the better future of our City and our communities.

Also in the June SCN, check out how far we’ve come in greening the city, creating a city for walking and cycling, and see how many new citizens we’ve had join our community.

Last updated: Friday, 13 June 2014