The role of the Lord Mayor and Councillors

The role of the Lord Mayor and Councillors

Serving our City

The role of the individuals (a Lord Mayor and 9 councillors) elected to the City of Sydney Council is broadly to represent the interests of the community.

Role of the Lord Mayor

The role of the Lord Mayor includes:

  • leading decision making at council meetings
  • representing the views of the council and local community
  • hosting civic and ceremonial events.

The Lord Mayor also performs the role of a councillor (see below) and carries out specific functions that are delegated to the position by the Council.

Role of councillors

The primary role of a councillor is to make decisions and develop policies that guide the activities of the council. This role is performed at council and committee meetings, where the decision-making occurs.

They also provide leadership and guidance and facilitate communication between the Council as a governing body and the community.

All councillors represent the entire local area as the City of Sydney is not divided into wards.

Councillor conduct

Councillors adhere to the City of Sydney’s code of conduct and other relevant policies such as the code of meeting practice, and procedures relating to facilities and expenses. The relevant policies can be downloaded below.

Expenses and facilities

In line with the Local Government Act 1993, councillors are entitled to be provided with necessary resources and facilities, and to have relevant expenses reimbursed, to support them to effectively perform their role.

The City's councillors’ expenses and facilities policy (which can be downloaded below) outlines the payment of expenses and provision of facilities to the Lord Mayor and councillors, and provides a framework to ensure accountability and transparency.

Annual fees

Under the Local Government Act 1993, councillors and mayors are entitled to receive an annual fee (subject to tax) for carrying out their duties. This is paid in monthly instalments in arrears.

Generally, the fee paid will depend on the size of the council, the number of people it serves and the assets it manages. A councillor or mayor in a small rural council will generally get paid less than a councillor or mayor in a metropolitan council.

Each year, the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal determines the maximum and minimum fees payable by each category of council to councillors and mayors. The tribunal is required to make a determination by 1 May each year, with determinations taking effect from 1 July. Councils cannot pay councillors and mayors more than the maximum determined fee.

The City of Sydney is currently the only council to be categorised as a ‘principal city’. In 2000, council resolved that the maximum fees determined by the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal will be payable to City of Sydney councillors.

Lobbying councillors

Lobbying is the act of seeking to influence issues and decisions made by government officials. The Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) has produced a guide designed to keep the process fair and protect public confidence in decision-making by councillors and local governments.

You can download the guide, called 'Lobbying local government councillors', by following the link to the ICAC website below.


ICAC publications

Code of conduct

Code of meeting practice

Councillors expenses and facilities policy

Downloads Document Downloads
Delegations to the Lord Mayor PDF 131.5 KB Download

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Last updated: Tuesday, 21 July 2020