The facts of the matter
Telling it like it is
You may have heard, seen or read about certain topics regarding the City of Sydney in the media recently. In this section we've provided the facts in relation to current topics about us in the media. Read about the real facts surrounding the matters that concern you.
The Sydney Media Centre is our official media site, designed to provide journalists and other media professionals with images and current information about the City.
20 September 2013
City of Sydney statement on City Engagement staff
The City of Sydney has a statutory obligation to inform all residents in its Local Government Area of its actions and operations, the majority of which emanate from decisions of Council.
The City Engagement Division consists of seven business areas – Media and Communications; Marketing; City Conversations; Community Relations; Publishing Services; Customer Service and Business Support.
Six full time media staff respond to more than 2,000 media inquiries every year. They issue over 450 media releases annually relating to Council decisions.
Media staff promote the City’s many operations, services, and projects which are delivered on behalf of ratepayers, residents, workers, visitors and tourists every day of the year.
These services, including cleansing, waste collection, parks, libraries, swimming pools and recreation, ensure our global city looks its best and that Sydneysiders have the essential services they expect.
Media staff also promote and drive up attendance at the City's many events, including New Year's Eve, the biggest and best fireworks party in the world.
The City’s five full time communications staff communicate directly to residents and update the City’s website. These staff do not deal with media issues. They ensure the public is informed of upcoming capital works projects, project updates and launches and public consultation processes.
This includes the production of website materials, letterbox drops, flyers, signage, the Council's annual report, residents’ guides, and activity guides.
The City Conversations Unit delivers approximately 80 community events every year.
Since December 2012, the Strategic Community Consultation team has conducted community and stakeholder consultation on more than 70 projects, organised 42 community meetings and 55 stakeholder meetings, and hosted more than 24 project pages online that have attracted more than 171,00 site visits.
Under the Local Government Act, Council is required to inform the public of its policies and decisions on how ratepayer money is being spent. This is provided in the City’s annual report and online.
The 2013/14 operating budget for all City Engagement areas excluding Customer Service is $11.9 million. This is just 2.3 per cent of the City’s overall expected turnover and represents excellent use of ratepayer funds in keeping the community informed.
This value was underscored in the recent NSW Treasury Corporation assessment of the City of Sydney’s financial sustainability as strong with a positive outlook, the only council in NSW to achieve this result.
In the last financial year, the City spent $1.08 million on media and communications staff salaries and approximately $40,000 on external media and communications consultants.
18 September 2013
The facts about numbers of bike riders
The report in the media this morning is misleading and confused.
It refers to the Greater Sydney Metropolitan Area, which includes Newcastle and Wollongong , not just to the City of Sydney which covers the CBD.
The report they've used also comes with this warning: "Ferry, bicycle, taxi and other mode estimates are subject to high standard errors due to the small sample sizes for these modes."
Here are the facts:
Latest independent counts in the City of Sydney conducted across 100 intersections show the number of people riding bikes over the past three years has more than doubled.
The bi-annual count shows that on some routes, on an average weekday, as many as 2,000 people are choosing to ride into the CBD.
The independent counts found around 2,000 bikes are passing through each of the City's top peak-hour intersections on an average weekday, with significant jumps recorded over the past 12 months:
- Sydney Harbour Bridge cycleway near Upper Fort Street - 2,248 bike trips, up from 1,730;
- College, Liverpool and Oxford Street intersection - 2,230 trips, up from 1,795;
- King Street and Kent Street intersection - 1,979 trips, up from 1,323; and
- Taylor Square, Oxford Street and Bourke Street intersection - 1,900 trips up from 1,728.
The 2013 Australian Bicycle Council report found twice as many Sydneysiders ride bikes for transport than the national average.
The National Cycling Participation Survey found around 31,600 City of Sydney residents get on a bike in a typical week. The Survey of close to 800 homes in the City of Sydney LGA during March 2013 also found:
- Almost one in five residents (19 per cent) ride a bike each week, up from 14 per cent in 2011 and higher than the rest of Sydney, which averages 16 per cent;
- 40 per cent of households have bikes, up from 35 per cent two years ago; and
- When asked what the City of Sydney should do to encourage bike riding, over 77 per cent of residents want more on-road bicycle lanes, off-road paths and cycleways.
The truth is that the Government's Access Strategy has been warmly welcomed by industry, business and community groups.
The Sydney Business Chamber said ‘this strategy recognises that to be a successful global city we need to embrace change and that will mean a new approach to how we access the centre of Sydney.
"The NSW Government has clearly been listening to stakeholders in the city centre and has integrated a number of the business community’s suggestions and requests into this strategy.
''Most businesses now support staff who want to cycle to work. If it requires that business has to speak up as part of selling this, indeed we should.''
Infrastructure Partnerships Australia – the nation’s peak infrastructure body said the ‘release of Sydney City Centre Access Strategy provides a sensible framework to efficiently manage transport into and across the CBD in the short, medium and longer term’.
The Property Council welcomed the release of the Strategy saying “we need to make serious strides to unwind congestion in the city. A suite of solutions that improve the flow of traffic and pedestrians, escalate capacity across public transport and better integrate modes is welcomed.
''I know the debate about bike paths can be a contentious one - but it is being led by people who work in the city.''
The Tourism and Transport Forum called the strategy a ‘sensible step to keep Sydney’s CBD moving’.
The Committee for Sydney particularly welcomed the emphasis on public transport and pedestrian movements saying “a focus on better pedestrian access is also vital as over 90 per cent of trips in the CBD are taken on foot. The strategy recognises that more needs to be done to make walking easier.
"This Strategy is not just a 'business as usual' approach. It includes the big city thinking that is needed to get more people into and around the CBD. It is reassuring to see the ongoing commitment to light rail, strategic improvements for pedestrians and the continued roll out of cycleways."
It is worth noting again that research around the world shows that, if you invest in safe bike infrastructure, people will use it.
An increasing number of cities around the world, including London, Paris, New York, Vancouver and Melbourne are providing bicycle infrastructure separated from traffic.
In London, the biggest ever census of bike use in the city found bikes now account for 24 per cent of all road traffic in central London during the morning peak and 16 per cent across the whole day.
The census revealed one in four road users during the morning rush hour is a cyclist - and on key routes such as river crossings and roundabouts, bikes even outnumber all other vehicles.
A recent survey by the New York Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found over half a million New Yorkers ride a bike at least several times a month.
The NSW Government has set an ambitious target of doubling local and district trips by bike by 2016 and the City’s work to build a network of safe, separated cycleways will be essential if they want to meet that target.
18 April 2013
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the cost to install a hedge in Cleveland Street.
The facts are these:
The $9 million budget is for the revitalisation of the southern precinct of Crown Street, involves upgrading three separate streets – Crown, Baptist and Cleveland Street.
Most of the budget will be spent on Crown Street works between Cleveland and Devonshire Street and involves new footpaths, street lighting, undergrounding services, and street furniture to support outdoor dining in one of Sydney’s most vibrant dining strips.
This project also includes planting hedging along Cleveland Street between Moore Park and Prince Alfred Park.
The City consulted extensively with the community on this project which will be delivered in three stages.
Stage 1 – Streetscape works at the intersection of Cleveland Street and Baptist Street included new paving and hedge planting along Cleveland Street extending to approximately 200 metres on either side of the intersection. This has been completed.
Stage 2 – Completing the hedge planting on Cleveland Street to 1km in length between Moore Park and Prince Alfred Park.
Stage 3- Steetscape improvements to Crown St from Cleveland to Devonshire. These works will involve new footpaths, street lighting, undergrounding services, and street furniture.
Design for stage 3 is being finalised and the city hopes to go out to tender later in the year. More than half of the overall 9million budget has been allocated to this stage.
Businesses along Cleveland Street have said:
Local shopkeepers said the new street trees and shrubs have already made a big difference, giving life back to the footpath and shielding pedestrians from the noisy, polluting traffic.
“I like the greenery on Cleveland Street; it definitely brightens the place up,” said Billy Saracoglu, manager of Erciyes Turkish Restaurant, which has traded on Cleveland Street for 20 years.
“I hear people out on the street talking about it, and they seem to enjoy it, too.”
Abe Kaufman, owner of Fernside Coffee Shoppe, said: “The planting is awesome! I’m really happy with it.”
Brad Cox from Bar Cleveland said everyone loves the green as it encourages people to enjoy the outdoors.
“It’s so much nicer to have the gardens breaking up the concrete and obviously our guests really appreciate being able to sit outside enjoying the scenery,” Mr Cox said.
People who work in Cleveland Street are also enjoying the garden beds.
“We couldn’t believe it when the garden appeared outside. It is much appreciated and makes coming to work much nicer,” Marianne Ritter of Blue Phoenix Screenprinting said.
27 February 2013
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the cost to install the Rainbow Crossing on Oxford Street.
The cost to install Oxford Street’s Rainbow Crossing was around $65,500, which includes paint and traffic management on the night, road safety audits before and after, video surveillance, Variable Message Boards and RMS Traffic crossing markings.
The paint used is a special non slip road paint which is compliant with RMS specifications for road surface painting. The same type of paint is used for bus lanes, school zones and cycleways as it has a special slip resistance to ensure the safety of motorists, pedestrians and cyclists.
The City engaged 20 contractors onsite so work could be completed over one night to minimise disruption to the community. This involved painters and traffic control staff. The work was completed within nine hours, including the staged closure and reopening of the road.
If the State Government wants it removed, it will cost around $30,000 to remove the crossing and reinstate the road surface.
A proposal to have the crossing installed, and the associated costs, was approved by a meeting of full Council on Monday night.
The City invests around $3.5 million in cash, and one million dollars in-kind, for a number of festivals and events including Sydney Writers Festival, Sydney Film Festival, Sydney Fringe Festival and Sydney Mardi Gras - one of our biggest events.
Sydney City’s GLBT community is the largest in Australia.
Mardi Gras attracts almost 400,000 people each year and injects around $30 million into Sydney’s economy.
Rainbow crossings were first installed in West Hollywood in 2012 and public support has been very positive. The rainbow crosswalks in West Hollywood have created such a positive buzz, Hollywood tour buses now detour to make them part of the show.
The City is determined to support local businesses along Oxford Street and the rainbow crossing is part of this.
There is strong community support to keep the rainbow crossing permanently on Oxford Street. The City strongly supports that view as we believe this project will help draw more people to Oxford Street – one of our most important streets. If the Government agrees, that will negate the use of the $30,000 slated for its potential removal.
11 January 2013
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about Prince Alfred Park Pool.
The City of Sydney is doing everything it can to get the Prince Alfred Park Pool open.
The latest information from the contractor indicates that we may be in a position to reopen the pool in mid- 2013, and will be giving the public one month free entry to thank them for their patience and understanding.
Staff are on standby to ensure the opening can take place as soon as the necessary completion certificate and water quality testing is in place.
Several key elements of the project are behind schedule, meaning the pool does not currently meet public safety standards.
Defects to the pool’s balance tank mean that the water level cannot be kept constant. As a result, water quality at this time is not able to meet the necessary National Association of Testing Authorities standard.
The main pool entrance is still under construction as is the main boundary fence. This means the pool cannot be opened as the pool operator has a legal requirement to manage safe access and provide appropriate supervision.
Throughout the life of this project the City has done everything in its power, consistent with its contractual obligations, to assist the contractor to complete the pool on time.
We are continuing to do everything we can to support the Contractor in completing construction as soon as possible, including by allocating three Council project managers to the project.
Current progress is not at a stage where the pool could safely be opened, while works on other areas of the site progress. As public safety is paramount, the pool cannot open until it meets all safety requirements.
In the meantime, the City’s other pools – Andrew (Boy) Charlton, Cook + Phillip Park Aquatic and Fitness Centre, Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre and Victoria Park Pool are fully operational.
13 December 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about energy efficient lighting and public safety.
The facts are these:
Safety of the public is paramount to the City of Sydney.
We are installing energy efficient LED lighting across central Sydney to provide brighter lighting in parks and streets. This lighting will also slash electricity costs and carbon pollution.
More than 1,900 LED lights have already been installed, including in Kings Cross, as part of the City's $7 million three-year roll out of the green technology.
Lighting in Hollis Park, Newtown, will be upgraded with LED lights early in the new year to improve the overall lighting level within the park, and improve safety.
Council staff have measured lighting levels at sites where the LED lights have been installed so far, and found they are brighter than traditional lighting.
In a public survey conducted by the City more than 90 per cent of people reported finding the new lighting more appealing, and three-quarters said it actually improved visibility.
In addition, we are planning to deliver an updated lighting and technical code and new creative lighting master plan for Sydney which will consider both functional and aesthetic illumination.
It will include a review of street lighting levels in significant areas and laneways.
We will extend lighting hours until 10 pm in major parks to improve level of usage in the evening for picnics and other low-level activities, and we will explore energy-saving lighting triggered by movement on park footways and some bike paths.
19 November 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about car share parking spaces in the city.
The facts are these:
Car share has more than tripled in the Sydney of City to 10,800 members over the past three years, easing traffic congestion, freeing up parking and saving residents $21 million a year.
No parking spaces have been lost since the scheme began as each car share parking space in the City replaces the need for 12 other cars, on average.
The City provides access to 450 on-street car share bays to three car share companies: GoGet, GreenShareCar and Flexicar for their combined membership of 10,800.
The City believes this is a worthwhile investment as car share reduces on-street parking demand and traffic congestion.
A study by SGS Economics and Planning, commissioned by the City, shows the economic benefits of car share to City residents and businesses outweigh the costs by a ratio of 19 to one.
The benefits this year are worth around $21 million, including $18.5 million in deferred car purchases by households and businesses. This compares with costs of $750,000 (including $640,000 foregone parking meter revenue).
Car share companies are charged $880.00 (including GST), up from $440 on July 1, for each car share bay installed in the City of Sydney LGA. This represents full cost recovery of the installation of signs and line marking for the car share bay.
They are also charged an annual fee per year equal to a resident’s parking permit charge which ranges from approximately $25 to $100 depending on the environmental performance of the vehicle.
The current tally of 10,800 car share members is two-thirds of the way to the City’s target of 15,000 members, or 10 per cent of households by 2016.
A third of members are small businesses, reducing their overheads and avoiding paying for their own vehicles that may be idle for periods of the day.
At current rates of increase, the 10 per cent target is likely to be reached in 2014.
Shared spaces installed over the next few years will be mixed between streets, private car parks and City car parks. Many of the new spaces will be dedicated in new mixed-use developments or in streets that are not yet constructed.
At least 11km of new roads will be constructed in the City’s renewal areas, predominantly Green Square, but also in the Ashmore Precinct, Harold Park and the former Carlton United Breweries site on Broadway.
15 November 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the City's spending on trigeneration.
The facts are these:
Council has approved $2.7 million for engineering and design studies in preparation for trigeneration at Green Square, in the City’s south.
This money comes from the overall planned project costs.
Now that the project is nearing its start date, more detailed design and engineering studies are required. Additional funds from the project pool have been approved by council.
The trigeneration networks, running on natural gas or renewable gases from waste, would supply the City and privately-owned buildings with electricity, hot and chilled water for heating and air-conditioning. They would replace coal-fired power, reducing carbon emissions for connected buildings by more than half.
Trigeneration is used widely in Europe, North America and Asia and is already operating in Sydney in single buildings owned by companies including; Investa, GPT Group, Stockland, Westfield.
Trigeneration is a part of the City’s strategy to reduce carbon emissions across the City of Sydney area by 70 per cent from 2006 levels by 2030 - one of the most ambitious greenhouse gas reduction targets of any Australian government.
Network charges – to pay for the poles and wires which bring power to the city- now make up half of average electricity bills in NSW and are expected to rise to 60 per cent by 2014.
The City’s trigeneration network could achieve savings in deferred electricity network costs and new power station capacity of $1.5 billion by 2030, according to a study by the University of Technology.
The City selected trigeneration because it is the second cheapest way to reduce carbon emissions after energy efficiency measures which the City is already doing.
A major overhaul started in May 2012 of the City of Sydney’s 45 properties, which will make them more energy and water efficient, saving more than $1 million a year on bills. The two year $6.9 million project would include Town Hall House, Customs House, pools, community centres, libraries and car parks across the city.
18 October 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the City's spending on bike pumps.
The facts are these:
The number of bike trips has grown 82 per cent over the past two years. Because many of the riders are new to cycling, they’re being caught out without a bike pump and the CBD lacks service stations to pump up flat tyres.
We are trialling a bike pump on Bourke Street, and if successful will consider other locations.
We have chosen a robust model, which will stand up to the demands of daily use while being weather resistant. This model is more expensive, but has been tried and tested in London and is working well. The pump can also be used by parents on pram and pushchair tyres.
More than 2,300 riders took part in the community-organised Woop! Rolling Festival on Saturday and many used the public bike pump.
11 October 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the City's revenue from parking fines.
The facts are these:
In the ‘90s the City of Sydney was close to being bankrupt. Since that time we have worked hard to responsibly plan for the future, invest in property and prudently save income to pay for infrastructure and services.
It is wrong to suggest the City staved off bankruptcy on the back of parking revenue.
Parking enforcement revenue in 2011-12 was $35.4 million. Costs, including payments to the State Debt Recovery Office, were $24.4 million, leaving the City net revenue of $11 million.
This is a small revenue stream for the City – our total income was $524.5 million last year from things such as business rates and income from our property portfolio.
Sydney is a global city and home to the national headquarters of leading businesses. Our rates income is larger than smaller councils and we have responsibly invested in a healthy property portfolio.
Parking fine levels are set by the NSW Government and generally rise each year in line with inflation. About one third of the revenue collected by the City from parking enforcement goes to the NSW Government.
Part of the City’s share goes towards the cost of equipment and staffing and the rest goes into our general revenue spent on delivering services that include repairs to roads and footpaths, upgrading the public domain, maintaining parks, investing in new cultural venues, childcare centres, libraries and youth facilities.
Our income from enforcement dropped from $41 million to $35.6 million in the last financial year.
Responsible financial management over the past eight years means we have kept our residential rates the second lowest in the Sydney metropolitan area. We have continued to offer free rates to pensioners and we have budgeted for a $1 billion, 10-year program of works to improve our city for residents, businesses and visitors and strengthen Sydney’s reputation as a world-leading city.
The major projects include a low-carbon energy network that will cut power bills for residents and businesses, the transformation of George Street into a retail boulevard, a new Town Centre for Green Square, new parks and six new child care-centres.
The City researched, consulted thousands of people, committed to a plan, prudently saved money and now we are making it happen. That’s responsible governance.
19 July 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about what needs to be done to fix Kings Cross.
The facts are these:
Kings Cross faces some large and complex challenges. In addition to the actions that council can do directly, we want to work closely with the NSW Government, business and residents to make a difference in Kings Cross. We can’t do this alone. We need to work together on many actions to improve this situation.
The NSW Government has responsibility for the things that will make the biggest difference in Kings Cross - licensing and planning laws, public transport and policing.
We need better governance. That means a coordinated Management Plan for Kings Cross and the creation of a high level Executive Group that includes local council to respond to late trading issues. The Premier has agreed to this.
We need better transport. If the Government allows 24-hour trading, it must provide 24-hour transport. We call on the Government to trial a Late Night Sprint, one-way train service out of the Cross on Friday and Saturday nights that links with more NightRide buses at Town Hall or Central. We also want the government to amend the Passenger Transport Act to let private operators run shuttle buses, and a pre-pay system for taxis after midnight.
We need managed growth of late trading venues. We want the Government to commit to ‘saturation’ legislation that covers both planning and licensing to ensure there is no further growth in the numbers of large, late trading licensed venues in Kings Cross.
We have asked the NSW Government to introduce a permit system so that liquor licenses are reviewed every two years, and if venue operators are not up to standard their license should not be renewed.
We have also asked the NSW Government to change planning laws so that Council has the power to reject development applications on the grounds that there are already too many licensed premises in a given area. Council currently does not have such powers and our attempt to restrict new premises often end up being overturned in the Land and Environment Court.
Where we have responsibility, we are doing our part. We are installing six new CCTV security cameras in the Cross, taking the total number in the area to nine. CCTV is normally a state government responsibility but we went ahead with installing our 81 cameras city-wide because it was clear the network would not happen otherwise.
We have approved, at the request of police and with the support of local residents, Alcohol Free Zones across all of the Kings Cross Local area, giving police powers to pour out the alcohol of anyone drinking in public spaces.
We held a community forum in June that came up with nearly 500 ideas for ways to improve Kings Cross, and we are committed to delivering dozens of the ones that are within our power this summer. They include a one-call service for reporting noise and other complaints, late night Precinct Ambassadors linked to our CCTV network, and a redesigned taxi rank to improve wait times.
12 July 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports about the installation of CCTV cameras in Kings Cross.
The facts are these:
The installation of CCTV cameras is traditionally a NSW Government function however over the last 10 years the City of Sydney has stepped in to ensure cameras were installed to support Police, after a lack of funding by the State.
The City has installed 81 cameras covering the City Centre, Darlinghurst, Kings Cross, Surry Hills and Glebe.
The City last applied for funding of $500,000 for the installation of additional cameras. The Federal Government rejected our application for funding.
Nonetheless we are continuing with our plan to install six new security cameras in Kings Cross.
Fibre optic cable to connect the cameras is currently being laid, and work to bring them on online is on schedule to be completed next month.
Installation of the new fibre optic cable is being carried out by Ausgrid, who controls access to the underground pit and duct network the camera network uses. The installation has included a public notification process, development applications and getting access to the pit and duct network at times that cause least disruption for traffic and residents.
The City's $500,000 investment brings the number of our security cameras in the Cross to nine, extending the coverage area along the Darlinghurst Road strip from William Street to Macleay Street and in Bayswater Road.
The locations of all cameras were decided in discussion with NSW Police, based on crime mapping data, and following a process of community consultation. One of the new cameras is being installed near the corner of Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street.
NSW Police originally requested two additional cameras in Victoria Street but the Police agreed with the City that crime statistics at the time and tree coverage would severely hamper the line of sight for those security cameras and so their installation was not supported.
The City of Sydney is taking action in areas where we have responsibility and we continue to lobby the NSW Government to take action, including changing laws, in the areas they are responsible such as licensing, transport, policing, environmental protection and most importantly the cumulative impact of too many venues in one area, such as in Kings Cross.
We are strong supporters of more police resources in Kings Cross.
What happened in Kings Cross was tragic and our thoughts are with the family. Our three existing cameras in Kings Cross are not near the location of Saturday night's incident and did not capture footage of the attack. However, at the request of police we have provided eight hours of footage from those two cameras from Saturday night.
26 June 2012
The facts on Buy Nothing New month
This is not a City event or campaign. It is a national campaign supported by charity groups, including the Brotherhood of St Lawrence.
The City is simply allowing the organisers to use Customs House forecourt for 10 days. We allow many organisations the use of our public spaces and this is another example of that.
We are not providing the organisers with any financial support.
The City spends millions each year supporting business.
This year alone the City of Sydney has made new commitments valued at $820,000 to events to support retail in the City, including:
- Vogue Fashion Night Out triennial sponsorship, valued at $40,000 cash and $30,000 in-kind;
- Mercedes Benz Sydney Fashion Festival triennial sponsorship, valued at $20,000 cash and $50,000 in-kind;
- History Week 2012, linked to the Sydney is Fashion umbrella marketing campaign, valued at $20,000 cash and $10,000 in kind; and
- Christmas in the City, funded with $120,000 for a creative consultant and $250,000 for matching projects, in addition to the existing investment in events, decorations and marketing.
In the 2011-2012 financial year, the City’s of Sydney’s support for retail in the City included:
- Funding of $5M for its Strategy & Economic Development Unit, increased from $3.2M in the previous financial year;
- Allocating $180 million for the revitalisation of George Street in the CBD through light rail and public domain improvements, to create an inviting environment for pedestrians where retail will thrive;
- Developing new programs with the City’s Retail Advisory Panel, comprised of representatives of the retail industry and key government agencies;
- Coordinating the popular annual Small Business Awards, which last year saw a record 640 nominations and 67,000 votes cast, a 62 per cent increase in the number of votes over the previous year;
- Expanding Christmas event programming to make Sydney the premier destination for Christmas shopping;
- Hosting four ‘Lets Talk Business’ seminars, covering topics such as outsourcing, social media, customer data and online trade;
- Connecting retailers with opportunities provided by major events through a bi-monthly email newsletter and Talking Shop retail forum;
- Creating a new program of ‘101’ workshops for new small business activities, including sessions on development applications, providing live music and running pop-up events;
- Providing grants of up to $30,000 through the Finegrain Business Development Matching Grants program to help start-up businesses revitalise City laneways, including mentoring for successful applicants;
- Developing the strategy for a safe and prosperous late-night economy, a sector worth $15 billion a year that accounts for one quarter of city jobs;
- Delivered the Sydney-Chengdu Business forum as part of Chinese New Year Festival and sponsored the Sydney China Business Forum run by the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney;
- Funded the Village Business Partnership Grant program and provided precinct coordinator support to business associations to assist with their strategic planning, project delivery and governance;
- Assisting development of the Chinatown Food Lovers Guide and promotion of the Haymarket Chinatown Visitors Guide and Map;
- Assisting business associations and chambers in the development of Shop Local marketing material and campaigns;
- Sponsoring a range of events supporting local areas, such as the Pyrmont Festival of Wine Food and Art; and Main Drag on Oxford Street in association with Mardi Gras;
- Supporting the Smart Green Business program to help small to medium businesses improve their environmental sustainability and save on their operating costs;
- Providing low-cost accommodation in Oxford Street for creative industries, including object and web design, architecture, trans-media, film, visual arts, contemporary performance and music, social enterprise ventures, start-up business, literature and animation
- Approving use of council-owned properties on William Street to provide additional creative spaces and establish an additional creative industries hub;
- Funding the removal of roller shutters on Redfern and Regent Streets through matching grants of up to $3000 and collaborated with TAFE to match visual merchandising students with retailers in the precinct;
- Sponsoring conferences that deliver business tourism such as CeBIT;
- Partnering with the NSW Government and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority to improve visitor information and tourism; and
- Commencing the Floor Space and Employment Survey to monitor trends in land use, employment and building characteristics, to guide strategic planning.
17 April 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, negative reports regarding the Bourke Road cycleway.
The facts are these:
The independent review of environmental factors surrounding the Bourke Road cycleway supported the City's work and found no significant environmental impacts.
The independent review revealed that there has been a reduction in traffic accidents on the road since the cycleway was completed. Data from Roads and Maritime Services (formerly the RTA) shows that in the five years prior to the cycleway opening in March 2010, total Bourke Road crashes averaged 21 per year. In the past 12 months – since the cycleway opened - that figure has fallen to just six.
It also stated the loss of on-street parking, at less than six per cent of the overall 4,488 parking spaces available in the precinct, was “not significant” as the area was mainly industrial, with most businesses having off-street parking for staff and visitors.
Independent monthly bike counts show continued increase in the numbers of riders using the cycleway. In January 2012 bike counts conducted during the morning and afternoon peak periods from 6am-9am and 4pm-7pm, counted 321 cyclists at the intersection of Bourke Rd and Bowden Street, a 42 per cent increase since December 2010.
The review focused on the Bourke Rd cycleway not the Bourke St cycleway. One of the recommendations was to link the two - something the City is keen to do.
Other recommendations included establishing more shared paths and cycleway.
This review, which included submissions from the public, is the third time the City has consulted the community about the Bourke Road cycleway.
It will be placed on public exhibition for 28 days from Monday to allow the community to provide further feedback. Councillors will then decide which of the report’s recommendations are implemented, but only after community feedback has been considered.
The Bourke Road separated cycleway, which runs for 3kms along sections of Bourke Road, Mandible and Bowden Streets, was completed in March 2010. It will eventually form part of a larger connection from southern Alexandria to Green Square and from Green Square to Sydney Airport.
6 March 2012
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, a report which stated that the City of Sydney wants to force cars out of central Sydney.
The facts are these:
Congestion costs businesses and residents across Sydney $3.7 billion a year. This cost is expected to nearly double to $7.8 billion by 2020 if we do nothing.
The City of Sydney has released a comprehensive study – Connecting our City; Transport Strategies and Actions – which outlines our suggested approach to the demands of our growing population and traffic congestion that is already crippling our city.
In the City of Sydney Local Government Area alone, the population is expected to rise by 100,000 people to 280,000 by 2036 – that’s a 60 per cent increase.
We are having to accommodate a proposed 30 per cent jump in buses arriving in the city centre during peak hour – an unmanageable 7,800 on average each day.
Not to mention the 50 per cent more pedestrians on our narrow footpaths. Already car use in the city has dropped due to the economic climate, and off-street parking charges have dropped by up to $9 per day in the past few weeks demonstrating that public transport and sustainable transport options are what most people want.
This is the sobering reality. Our study raises a number of crucial measures to get Sydney’s congested transport networks moving again and reinforces why Sydney needs an integrated transport network.
The City is working closely with the NSW Government to produce that much needed integrated transport system.
23 December 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, a report which stated that the Bourke Road cycleway has been the site of accidents resulting in death or serious injury.
The facts are these:
No reports of any accidents resulting in death or serious injury on the Bourke Road cycleway are available.
Roads and Maritime Services (formerly the RTA) statistics show that since the cycleway opened in March 2010 traffic accidents have decreased.
In the five years prior to the cycleway opening, total Bourke Road crashes averaged 21 per year. In the past 12 months – since the cycleway opened – that figure has fallen to just six.
Crash data reveals improved driver, walker and rider safety along Bourke Road, when comparing 2010 with the previous five years.
The City has been involved in land and environment court proceedings about the cycleway. As part of resolving the proceedings both parties agreed to the City engaging an independent consultant to undertake an environmental impact assessment of the cycleway.
Before this bike path was built, we consulted with the community, and it is currently undergoing an independent environmental impact assessment review.
As part of that assessment, we are also asking for public feedback on the cycleway. This week we conducted letterbox drops to properties and businesses along the cycleway and to affected community groups. Information is also accessible from our website.
People have until 6 February 2012 to provide feedback.
While similar consultations normally take place over a three-week period, this consultation has been extended to seven weeks to ensure we capture everyone's comments and feedback over the Christmas/New Year period.
Feedback will then be presented to Council along with the assessment which will go on public exhibition, allowing people another opportunity to comment.
We will take on board all comments from the public.
16 December 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, a report which stated that the City of Sydney had more complaints made about it than any other council.
The facts are these:
The public made just 44 complaints about the City of Sydney between July 2010 to June 2011 – which works out at just 2.4 complaints for every 10,000 residents.
There are officially 177,920 residents in the City of Sydney, and we look after the needs of more than one million residents, workers, visitors and tourists every day.
Despite being much larger than other councils, complaints made against the City of Sydney were on a par with some of its smaller peers.
Half the complaints the City received related to parking spots and fines. This is due to the fact that there is a limited number of parking spaces in the heart of our City.
Our rangers act on motorists who flout parking rules to ensure that people have a fair chance of finding a parking spot. This is what the community and local businesses have asked us to do.
On its website, the Division of Local Government (DLG) makes clear that complaints are not “necessarily an effective indicator of the seriousness of the matters raised.”
The DLG also acknowledges that councils can be the subject of campaigns about a single issue that has caused community reaction.
Forty of the complaints made about the City were resolved by the DLG without any further action taken.
The City takes complaints from members of the public very seriously. If a complaint is found to be valid, we take all steps necessary to ensure that it doesn't happen again.
22 September 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which
claimed that City Rangers get paid bonuses for issuing parking fines.
The facts are these:
City of Sydney rangers do not, and have never been paid a bonus based on the value of parking fines they issue each year.
The City has never imposed a quota system, nor linked bonuses to the value of fines issued.
The City provides short-term metered on-street parking spaces. Our per hour fees are generally much cheaper than those offered in off-street commercial car parking stations.
As the number of parking spaces in the city centre are limited, businesses have asked us to improve turnover. Meters give more people a fair chance of finding a spot. Short-term parking also stimulates trade for local businesses, allowing greater opportunities for more customers to find a spot.
28 July 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that the City was more focussed on national and international issues than delivering core services.
The facts are these:
Frontline City of Sydney staff work tirelessly round the clock delivering vital services and meeting their core responsibilities every day of the year.
The City looks after the needs of more than one million residents,
workers, visitors and tourists every day.
The City's hard working staff keep our streets clean, maintain roads and footpaths, collect waste, fix drains and pipes, deliver meals on wheels, and provide services for children and for the over 55s.
City of Sydney figures relating to the number of inquiries handled by City Customer Service staff have been misrepresented as complaints, when in fact they are customer requests and inquiries about a wide range of issues.
Staff at neighbourhood service centres, at Town Hall and in the City’s contact centres handle face-to-face and telephone enquiries about matters such as paying rates, applying for parking permits, requesting garden waste pick-ups, asking for a City Ranger to investigate a neighbourhood noise complaint.
Staff answer around 248,000 calls every year, with 80 per cent of them answered within 20 seconds, and 70 per cent resolved at first contact.
The City of Sydney does not neglect its core responsibilities.
At this week’s four hour long Council meeting, 91 per cent of the time was spent discussing core council services including 33 planning, financial, environmental, cultural, and transport issues and development applications from residents. Less than nine per cent related to the carbon tax and condolences for the Norway massacre victims.
17 July 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that the City was using up its budget in a legal battle over its smartpoles intellectual property rights.
The facts are these:
The City of Sydney is pursuing ongoing court proceedings involving Screetscape for between $6 and $8 million in royalties owed plus interest plus legal costs.
We have a duty to ensure that ratepayers are not short-changed, and to undertake rigorous action to defended ratepayers’ rights.
The City of Sydney owns the Intellectual Property rights for the design, specification and manufacture of its smartpoles.
In 2002, under a previous administration and Lord Mayor, the City
awarded Streetscape, the company of Moses Obeid, a contract to supply smartpoles across Australia, New Zealand and Spain.
However in 2007 The City discovered that Streetscape had also been supplying smartpoles in Dubai and Qatar, Abu Dhabi and Singapore in breach of their licence agreement.
Royalties for these sales have not been paid to Sydney ratepayers, and based on Streetscapes own marketing figures we estimate that for between $6 and $8 million is owed to the City of Sydney in royalties.
The City has made many attempts to resolve the dispute with Streetscape out of court This case involving the Middle East and Singapore follows an earlier dispute where Streetscape owed ratepayers more than $700,000 for unpaid royalties within Australia. However, the matter was settled out of court when Streetscape paid $400,000.
The City, with the unanimous support of Councillors, stands by its decision to defend its Intellectual Property rights in this case in support of the interests of ratepayers and bona fide commercial activity.
In September 2010 Council unanimously agreed to continue defending its rights in this case. At that meeting, councillors were also advised that the legal costs at that stage were approximately $1.6 million.
29 June 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that non- residential ratepayers do not get a vote in City of Sydney Council elections.
The facts are these:
All businesses in the City of Sydney Local Government Area already have a say in City of Sydney elections.
There is a non-residential vote set out in the City of Sydney Act.
It is unique to the City of Sydney. It means that businesses can register to vote in the City of Sydney elections by nominating a person to vote on their behalf.
Recent elections suggest many businesses choose not to vote.
27 June 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that the City is paying for the services of spin doctors.
The facts are these:
The City of Sydney has a duty to regularly inform the community of its services, policies, special projects and programs and its efforts in support of increased sustainability.
However, a newspaper article that claims the City is spending $11
million a year on communications and “spin” is totally wrong.
The $11 million figure quoted is the budget for the operations of the entire City Engagement division, which includes Customer Service, City Conversations, Community Consultation, Media and Communications, Graphic Design and Publishing, Marketing and Business Support.
This budget includes salaries, capital assets, monitoring, events,
printing, distribution, photography, capital works updates and public notices.
The Media and Communications Unit component is less than 1 per cent of the Council's budget.
20 June 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that the City is ripping up major CBD streets for cycleways.
The facts are these:
None of the inner city cycleway routes identified in media reports are new. Council adopted the masterplan for its bike network back in 2007.
None of these routes are finalised - they will be subject to investigation, and considerable consultation with the RTA and the local community.
The routes are suggestions only at this stage. They are being examined for separated bike lane suitability.
The City works closely with the RTA over the design of each project - we won't compromise on safety. We always favour routes that are safe, have proven connectivity and are already well used by bike riders.
The RTA is a member of the City's Pedestrian, Cycling and Traffic Calming Committee and approves all our bike routes and helps determine their location.
In fact, the RTA chose the Kent Street route.
There is currently only 1.8 kilometres of separated cycleway in the CBD and only one more kilometre is being proposed at this stage.
There are thousands of bike riders on city streets every day during the morning and afternoon peaks and more and more people are taking it up. Independent analysis shows a 60 per cent average increase in the morning and a 48 per cent average increase in the afternoon over the past year.
These figures will continue to rise as more of the network is linked up. The City is now focused on 10 regional routes that will connect major destinations within and beyond the City. These routes were adopted by the Council in December.
When the network is finished it will feature a comprehensive 200 kilometre bike network, including 55 kilometres of separated cycleways in the Sydney Local Government Area.
The City conducted exhaustive consultation prior to making the commitment to build a bike network.
25 May 2011
You may have heard, seen or read in some sections of the media, reports which claimed that the City's cycleways were under-used.
The facts are these:
The most recent bike count shows a 60 per cent average increase in the AM period and an average 48 per cent increase during the PM period over the past year.
These figures confirm that most riders use the cycleways network to commute to and from work, avoiding rush hour traffic congestion.
Bike count figures at key intersections include:
King Street /Kent Street intersection where bike rider numbers have more than doubled from 228 in March 2010 to 771 in March 2011 in the PM period, or a 238 per cent increase;
College Street/Oxford Street intersection, where bike rider numbers have risen from 278 to 862 in the PM period, or a 210 per cent increase.
Bourke Road/Gardeners Road (Alexandria), where bike rider numbers have risen from 51 to 178 in the AM period, or a 249 per cent increase.
Bourke Street/Phelps Street (Surry Hills), where bike rider numbers have risen from 99 to 262 in the PM period, or a 165 per cent increase.
The Sydney cycleways network is being built in stages, and these stages need to be linked. Ten kilometres of separated cycleways have been built in inner Sydney so far - and no traffic lanes have been lost in their construction.
The City works closely with relevant authorities including the RTA, the local community and cycling groups in the design and planning of each route.
Last updated: Friday, 20 September 2013