4 April 2016
The City of Sydney’s submission to the NSW Government’s Callinan review has recommended measures to reduce alcohol-related harm while supporting a lively and dynamic night-time economy. Read more
3 March 2016
The future of the Bays Precinct urban redevelopment is in doubt after new images of a massive spaghetti style interchange being planned for Rozelle as part of the WestConnex project were revealed. Read more
16 October 2015
I met with Mayors in the 100 Resilient Cities network on 1-4 October in Bellagio Italy to explore ways our cities can better respond to acute shocks like earthquakes and severe storms, as well as chronic stresses, such as ageing transport infrastructure and declining housing affordability. Read more
16 October 2015
Australia’s capital cities account for 64 per cent of the nation’s GDP, house over two-thirds of Australia’s workforce, have supplied 1.5 million people with new jobs in the past decade, educate 80 per cent of all tertiary students in the country and are forecast to house another 10 million Australians by 2056 – 72 per cent of all future population growth. Read more
11 September 2015
Last week I was pleased to launch the Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre’s Art from the Heart of the Cross exhibition. The project aims to provide a safe and positive avenue for self-expression to those who use the Centre’s services. Read more
25 August 2015
Yesterday I appeared at the final hearing of the Legislative Council Inquiry into Local Government.
The Inquiry may be our last opportunity to get the process of worthwhile local government reform back on track Read more
21 August 2015
For over a century, successive state governments have sought to ensure the City of Sydney Council has had a complementary political makeup. To make the City winnable they have changed its boundaries, sacked the Council and altered electoral franchise. Read more
13 August 2015
On Tuesday night I helped launch the Surry Hills Creative Precinct. Surry Hills has some of the best “cool” in Sydney, with a lively mix of restaurants, cafes, bars and businesses. It’s great to see local businesses form a group to work together and continue this area’s growth. Read more
7 August 2015
This morning I joined Brad Hazzard MP, NSW Minister for Family and Community Services, to announce a new joint protocol to help homeless people during severe weather emergencies. Read more
16 July 2015
The City has been working on two action plans that will support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses and increase employment opportunities. The first, our inaugural Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP), has just been endorsed by Council. Read more
15 July 2015
I was delighted to announce Guy and Jules Sebastian as our 2015 Christmas ambassadors this week. The City will work closely with Guy and Jules as well as our corporate partners, retailers and the media to make Sydney a must-visit destination this Christmas. Read more
8 July 2015
Today’s Daily Telegraph misrepresents the nature of a development approval endorsed at Council over a week ago. The DA requirement to prepare a Travel Plan for customers and staff does not set a precedent for other businesses, does not add onerous red tape and has the full support of the owner. Read more
9 June 2015
This week started with two pieces of positive international climate action news: The G7 announced an agreement to phase out the use of fossil fuels by the end of the century; and new figures show China’s emissions will peak five years earlier than expected. Read more
2 June 2015
It’s great that people are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of keeping e-waste out of landfill. Computer screens and TVs contain toxic chemicals such as lead, mercury and arsenic, which can leach out from landfills and into waterways. Read more
29 May 2015
The Bays Community Coalition is hosting a community workshop on 7 June to discuss the current plan for the future development of the Bays Precinct. This is your opportunity to learn more about the project and respond to UrbanGrowth NSW’s call for great ideas to shape the future redevelopment of the Bays Precinct. Read more
28 May 2015
The City is strongly opposed to the closure of the Powerhouse Museum at Ultimo and we have passed a resolution to that effect, while saying we also strongly support the expansion of much-needed cultural facilities in western and south-western Sydney. Read more
19 May 2015
Sydney Writers’ Festival officially kicks off tonight with an opening address by author Mohsin Hamid titled, “Life in the Time of Permawar”. SWF may be held over just one week, but this annual festival gives us food for thought and matters to debate for months to come. Read more
30 April 2015
Last night I was pleased to launch “Top5Feet” as the first of this year’s Art & About artworks, in one of the city’s much-loved spaces.
28 April 2015
The $15 billion WestConnex toll road project is the largest transport project in Australia’s history. Despite this, the NSW Government has still not released traffic modelling, Environmental Impact Statements or a business case for the road project. Read more
31 March 2015
Today I unveiled Yininmadyemi, an artwork which celebrates and commemorates our Indigenous service men and women. Aboriginal artist Tony Albert’s work features four seven-metre tall, 1.5 tonne bullets and three fallen shells to represent the diggers who returned to Australia and the ones who lost their lives. Read more
26 March 2015
Sydney is a city of villages offering a rich variety of tastes, cultures and experiences. Each community offers something unique, with iconic destinations and a distinctive style, from the historic to the hip. Read more
19 March 2015
Reports this week of another attempt by the SCG Trust to take over Moore Park would destroy precious parkland. It’s now clear why the O’Farrell and Baird Governments wasted $38 million on a bridge over Anzac Parade – to enable the commercialisation of even more public land in Moore Park East and Moore Park West.
9 March 2015
WestConnex claims to link people with jobs, improve freight transport and allow urban renewal. But here are the facts:
WestConnex is a return to last century’s discredited thinking that motorways are the solution to our city’s transport needs.
WestConnex is supposed to help Western Sydney residents get to jobs in Sydney’s centre. It will do the opposite – worsen traffic congestion and divert funds from already crowded public transport used by most Western Sydney commuters to get to the CBD. The freight movement objectives of WestConnex are already redundant and it will do nothing to revitalise Parramatta Road.
WestConnex is a tunnel to a traffic jam. An $11.5 billion network of toll roads that will bring thousands more cars into Sydney’s already congested centre. It is the largest road project in Australia’s history.
It’s planned in three parts:
WestConnex is funded by the State and Federal Governments, and by tolls on motorists. Commuters will pay more, including tolls on previously toll-free roads.
The 3rd stage and a planned connection to Sydney Airport and Port Botany are not currently funded despite their critical role in delivering the project’s stated objectives.
Tell the NSW Government and Opposition to look to the future, not the past. Tell Premier Mike Baird and Roads Minister Duncan Gay you don’t want WestConnex.
Hashtag your messages #WestConnex.
2 March 2015
A new book from the Grattan Institute reaffirms what we’ve known for some time – that poor planning and investment by state and federal governments has had detrimental effects on our cities.
By concentrating jobs in our inner cities, but neglecting the affordable housing or public transport that many workers need, governments have locked people into a lifestyle of long commutes to work that is dependent on cars.
25 February 2015
On Monday the City of Sydney received the independent report into WestConnex which I called for in December.
The report by SGS Economics shows that the $11.5 billion WestConnex project will not deliver for Western Sydney, taxpayers or the travelling public. Instead of 1950′s projects like WestConnex, the Government should be investing in public transport. Read more
13 February 2015
For generations, Kings Cross has been a lively and cosmopolitan place. In recent years, its reputation as a great place to go at night, coupled with the growth of beer barns and strip joints, gave rise to street violence and a deteriorating quality for residents and those who wanted to enjoy all else it offers. Read more
26 January 2015
This week I was saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Uren AC. Tom Uren was a Parliamentarian for 31 years, Minister in the Whitlam and Hawke Governments, former prisoner of war and lifelong advocate for peace, human rights and the urban and natural environment. Read more
9 January 2015
That’s a decade of strong, stable, corruption-free Independent leadership, from a progressive, efficient and outcome-focused organisation, with a long-term vision for our city’s future and $1.9 billion budgeted for infrastructure over the next decade. Read more
11 December 2014
For the past two weeks, the United Nations annual climate summit has been meeting in Lima, Peru. This summit is particularly important, as it is the last meeting before the critical Paris climate summit in 2015, where nations will agree on a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. Read more
10 December 2014
Today’s Australian newspaper reports that Great Fortune Investment is marketing DeiCorp’s Dei Cota apartments in Redfern to Chinese and Asia buyers with the claim that “the Aboriginals have already moved out”. The reference was on their website but has now been removed. Read more
5 December 2014
As of this weekend, ambassadors will be on standby at a “Safe Space” vehicle as part of a new pilot program to make our City’s entertainment precincts safer. They will offer first aid, water, phone and internet access and transport information to vulnerable young people who may be intoxicated or affected by drugs. Read more
2 December 2014
On Friday night I had the pleasure of opening the NSW Business Chamber’s 2014 State Business Awards in Darling Harbour.
Eleven businesses operating in the City – seven companies, two local chambers, one training college and a museum – were in the running for top honours having won their respective categories at the South East Regional awards in July.
18 November 2014
Sydney’s ongoing engagement in Asia, particularly with China, is a key to maintaining our global standing. This encompasses more than our economic ties. It also extends to civic, social, educational, environmental and cultural links.
30 March 2016
As many of you here would agree – urbanisation is one of the most effective and responsible ways to address key challenges of the 21st century but we (Governments/Councils) need to get it right especially in a country like Australia with its long suburban traditions.
That means sustainable development, convenient access to employment, appropriate infrastructure, especially transport, quality open space, great community facilities, easy access to local schools and shops, a rich cultural life and development guided by the principles of design excellence.
Integrated public transport and diverse housing, including affordable rentals and accommodation for students, also need to be part of the mix.
These goals are part of our long term plan Sustainable Sydney 2030 and we’ve been delivering or advocating for their delivery in our major urban renewal sites – Central Park, Harold Park, Green Square and Ashmore.
The biggest, Green Square, will have 61,000 residents, over 30,000 new homes, and 21,000 jobs by 2030. It is a $13 billion development across 278 hectares. Even though it will have Australia’s highest population density we are confident of Green Square’s green credentials and we are working to have the Town Centre formally registered for accreditation as a Green Star Community – which will be a first.
The City is working with UrbanGrowth and the Town Centre’s developers to achieve this milestone, which is supported by the Green Building Council of Australia.
Sustainability is fundamental and urgent. In the 21st century, it is simply not acceptable to redevelop large parts of our city based on power from the coal-fired grid.
We’ve just seen global temperatures leap in February, lifting warming from pre-industrial levels to beyond 1.5 degrees and stoking concerns of a “climate emergency”.
Our target is to reduce carbon emissions by 70 per cent by 2030, and we are well on the way to achieving that.
More than 80 per cent of our emissions come from generating the energy consumed in our buildings, so maximising their efficiency is essential.
Australia’s major property owners have a well-deserved reputation as leaders in sustainability, last year we again led the Global Real Estate Benchmark, which showed Australia outperforming other regions around the world.
The City’s Energy Efficiency master plan outlines cost-effective energy efficiency measures for all buildings within our area, including our own properties. It will allow us to reduce energy usage by 31 per cent by 2030, and deliver $208 million in savings.
Achieving this target means we would reduce carbon emissions by 33 per cent.
We’ve had success with the major owners of the commercial building sector through our Better Buildings Partnership, formed in 2011.
In just four years, their combined efforts have resulted in a $36 million saving in electricity costs and a reduction of emissions by 45 per cent.
Our focus now is encouraging the mid-tier buildings market to work with us to achieve similar targets.
In the City, 75 per cent of our residents live in apartments, by 2030 it will be 80 per cent.
The number of apartments is increasing, but minimum sustainability targets for new apartment buildings are much lower than for stand-alone houses.
Retrofitting buildings can be costly so it’s better to include higher sustainability standards at the design stage. The BASIX target needs to be increased for apartments and houses, and we’re investigating how to implement a recommendation in our Energy Efficient Masterplan to include a minimum NABERs rating in our planning controls for new commercial buildings.
In the meantime, we’ve developed a Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan that aims to reduce emissions by 40 per cent, water consumption by 7 per cent and divert 70 per cent of waste from landfill.
As we’ve seen in the commercial property sector, buildings with improved green standards are more attractive to new owners and residents who demand reduced operating costs and better environmental performance.
Like many other global cities we’re working to facilitate decentralised renewable and low carbon energy within our city, but unfortunately we‘re held back in Australia because of national policy and rule changes, and restrictive and out-dated electricity market rules.
So instead we’re installing tri-generation for our buildings that are ‘behind the meter’ and do not need to export to the grid – our Town Hall, indoor pools and in a private network within the Green Square urban renewal area.
And we are part of an unprecedented coalition of government, business and environmental groups currently applying to change the energy market rules to unlock the potential of decentralised energy.
We’ve teamed up with the Property Council and Total Environment Centre to ask for a rule change for cost-reflective network charges that reflect the economic value of local energy.
The UK has already implemented this rule, and we want to follow their lead as it will increase the financial return for local energy projects, making the electricity network more efficient and lowering electricity prices for all consumers over time.
Late last year, I joined over 1000 delegates at the Paris Climate Change Summit which resulted in a truly historic agreement from world leaders to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees.
City staff are currently revising our environmental strategy to ensure it’s consistent with the Paris agreement and we hope to have that endorsed by Council later this year.
When we first set our target of 70 per cent, we set interim targets to help keep us on track and I can report that we’ve already met our target for this council term (2012 – 2016).
We’ve reduced greenhouse emissions by 26 per cent in our own operations through energy efficiency measures and renewables.
And greenhouse emissions across our Local Government Area have fallen by a massive 19 per cent at the same time as we’ve enjoyed a period of unprecedented economic growth.
Our carbon intensity – the amount of greenhouse emissions for each dollar of economic output – has fallen by almost 36 per cent.
We’ve done all this in the face of hostile right wing media, vested interests and regulatory barriers. Imagine what could be achieved with Federal and State partnerships and regulations that worked for instead of against climate action!
This speech was delivered on March 23, 2016 at the Green Cities Conference.
22 January 2016
Over the last couple of days, a Change.org petition regarding food vendors in Newtown has gathered support.
Thanks for your feedback. I agree that if there are licensed operators open late then people need access to food. Late night food outlets are an important part of the City of Sydney’s late night action plan, OPEN.
Having more options creates a safer and more balanced late night economy.
I’m concerned about what’s happening in Newtown and have asked City staff to review the current controls to see what we need to do. The current planning controls for Newtown were developed with input from the community. We’re not going to be able to make major changes immediately but we will start work on it.
I would have liked to have gotten back to you sooner but the situation is complex with different businesses and different operating hours, approved over many years. I’ll keep you informed about what we can do once the review is complete.
21 January 2016
The sad and unexpected death of my friend and colleague Deputy Lord Mayor Robyn Kemmis is a great personal loss, and a great loss for our community and Council, however I know that Robyn would have wanted me to ensure the continued effective governance of the City of Sydney. Read more
19 January 2016
You might have seen or heard stories today about rough sleepers in Belmore Park.
While homelessness and the provision of social housing is the responsibility of the NSW Government, the City is the only council with a dedicated homelessness unit. Our public space liaison officers work with rough sleepers every day – staff know the individuals personally and advocate on their behalf to get them housing, Medicare and Centre link assistance and other support. We’ve dedicated $4.2 million to fund services and we conduct two street counts every year.
Police told us there had been an increase in antisocial behaviour in Belmore Park so we decided to trial security guards to increase safety for all park users and to advise newly-arriving rough sleepers that tents and other structures are not permitted in the park. The trial includes working together with the State Government to put these rough sleepers in touch with the right agencies and organisations to help them find permanent accommodation.
In the last few weeks since the trial began, the overall number of tents in the park has dropped.
Homelessness is an incredibly complex issue. The description today by some media outlets that those sleeping rough in Belmore Park are an “eyesore” and an “embarrassment” are cruel and heartless. Rough sleepers deserve dignity. The City will continue working with the State to ensure they have safe spaces to sleep.