I’m incredibly disappointed – shattered, even – that the NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes yesterday rubber-stamped the approval of WestConnex Stage 2, the M5 St Peters Interchange. Read more

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

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

I welcome the government’s decision to leave the City of Sydney’s boundaries unchanged. Read more

For the first time, this year’s UN climate talks have forged a global agreement to curb dangerous carbon emissions and hold global warming below 1.5C. Read more

The Government has released the Environmental Impact Statement for the New M5 St Peters Interchange and it’s much worse than we thought. Read more

The NSW Government today released IPART’s ‘Fit for the Future’ Local Government report.

IPART found that the City of Sydney ‘meets the scale and capacity criterion as a stand-alone council and would be fit as a stand-alone council’ Read more

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

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

Residents have contacted me raising serious concerns about work at the Alexandria landfill site where the WestConnex spaghetti junction is proposed to be constructed. Read more

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

Tonight helped launch Vogue Fashion’s Night Out – one of my favourite nights on the Sydney fashion calendar and an event the City has committed to sponsor for the next three years.

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We’re giving the four recently-upgraded Sydney Park wetlands new names that commemorate the area’s Aboriginal history.

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Last night I spoke at the launch of the Festival of Urbanism at the University of Sydney. The Festival will host a series of talks and conversations on planning and making our cities.

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Yesterday the Minister for Planning Rob Stokes and I walked the City’s first new high street in over a century.

Ebsworth Street is now ready for the cafes and homes being built in the heart of the Green Square Town Centre. Read more

If you’re concerned about a mega amalgamation make sure the Premier and his Local Government Minister know.
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Last night’s City Talk, “The Politics of Climate Change”, gave us much to think about as momentum builds toward a new global climate agreement in Paris. Read more

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

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

This weekend the City is running a Crescent Skate Space information session to continue working with the community on a skate park in Glebe. Read more

No one knows a neighbourhood better than the people who live there, so I’m asking for your invaluable advice to help us create a City that’s easier for visitors to get around. Read more

This week I spoke to the Alexandria Residents Action Group (ARAG) and Friends of Erskineville (FOE) at a public meeting about the Development Application that has been lodged to build up to 1,600 apartments in the Ashmore Estate. Read more

Yesterday I was happy to launch the new Art & About Sydney program for this year. The new program is particularly exciting because we have refocused Art & About from an annual three week festival to an ongoing series of projects year round. Read more

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

Today’s announcement by Tony Abbott that Australia will only aim to reduce carbon emissions by 26-28 per cent by 2030 is disastrously inadequate.

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As Lord Mayor, part of my role is to promote Sydney and learn from other cities. I take this very seriously and only travel when it is essential.

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Everyone should be able to enjoy a good night out in Sydney and come home safely at the end of it. Sadly that has not always been the case, but the fantastic Safe Space and Take Kare Ambassador program is helping change that.

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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

At Council on Monday night we will vote to adopt three pieces of important work that will help the City address climate change: the Energy Efficiency Master Plan; the Climate Adaptation Strategy; and the  Residential Apartments Sustainability Plan. Read more

Sydney has an amazing group of innovators, designers, coders, entrepreneurs and engineers who are building a global reputation and shaping the future of our economy.

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On Monday, Council’s Finance Committee will be discussing a staff report on the implementation of the Shooters Business Voting Bill, which became law on 6 February. Read more

I was very encouraged this week by NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance’s comments about the need for light rail connecting Green Square with the city centre.

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OzHarvest, the UN Environment Program and the UN Food & Agriculture Association are working together to tackle the increasingly important issues around food, food security and food waste.

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Last night we unveiled the program for next year’s Sydney Chinese New Year Festival, celebrating the Year of the Monkey. Read more

For years the City has been pushing for a system that makes it easier for residents and businesses to access clean power that is generated and used locally. Read more

This weekend we’re opening two new City projects – our Sydney Park Water Re-use project and the Bamal Way pedestrian and cycle connection between Coulson Street in Erskenville and Sydney Park Road. Read more

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

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

We have installed two new reverse vending machines in Redfern and Wynyard. By placing your old bottles in the machine, you have a chance to win prizes or charity donations. Read more

In its latest edition, global affairs magazine Monocle has ranked Sydney as the fifth best city in the world in its annual quality of life survey.

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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

I was delighted to once again present the Lord Mayor’s Prize at the Australian Institute of Architects’ annual NSW Architecture Awards at Sydney Town Hall on Friday night. Read more

NAIDOC Week is an important annual event in Sydney. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are intrinsic to our shared story of Sydney, their culture and history permeate our modern city and give it a depth and resonance beyond the everyday.

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Yesterday we submitted our “Fit for the Future” proposal to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART). IPART will now assess whether the City has the capacity to deliver services to the community in a sustainable and efficient way. Read more

Recently the Daily Telegraph has reported allegations of bullying and harassment in the City of Sydney’s rangers unit. These reports are misleading and are shamefully being used by some for self-centred political point-scoring.

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Today I announced that work has commenced on a 2.4km underground stormwater drain to reduce flooding in Green Square during torrential rain events.

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Today, in a Sydney first, experts and representatives from almost all of Sydney’s 41 councils have come together to develop a long-term plan to help build a resilience plan for our city. Read more

InviteThe City is hosting the Green Square is here community event this Saturday (27 June) and you’re invited. Read more

On the weekend I was very pleased to open the newly refurbished Reconciliation Park in Redfern. Read more

Last night we held an Extraordinary Council Meeting to consider the City’s submission to “Fit for the Future”, the NSW Government’s scheme to slash the number of local councils.

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Today we announced the formation of a City investigation squad to bolster efforts to shut down illegal accommodation providersRead more

On Sunday I joined Housing Minister Brad Hazzard and CEO of Bridge Housing John Nicolades at Cowper Street in Glebe.

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The Department of Education has given the City of Sydney and the community last-minute notice that it will not proceed with purchasing land in Ultimo for a new primary school.

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Today at the University of Sydney I spoke at the City’s forum on Creative Spaces and the Built Environment. Read more

Today’s Daily Telegraph dedicated two full stories and its editorial to criticism of the City’s Grants and Sponsorship Program. The program provides funding and support for initiatives that contribute to cultural, social, environmental and economic life in the City. Read more

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

In a self-interested attempt to gerrymander the City’s boundaries, Liberal Councillor Christine Forster is advocating for the separation of the CBD and the City’s residential areas. Read more

It was great to see that so many people turned out in Martin Place on Thursday morning to rally against the NSW Government’s removal of the College Street cycleway.

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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

Congratulations to Wesley Enoch, who was today announced as the incoming Sydney Festival Director for a three-year tenure from 2017-2019. Read more

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

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

The NSW Government’s plans to remove the College Street cycleway without providing a replacement will put people’s safety at risk.

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The Cross being created at the foundry.

This week the City completed the restoration and installation of a Victoria Cross long missing from the Foley Park World War I Memorial in Glebe. Read more

Our William Street Creative Hub now has a new tenant, with the Australian Design Centre and Object Gallery opening this week.

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The NSW Government has now appointed the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to review Council proposals on “Fit for the Future”. Read more

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

On the weekend I opened the upgraded St James Park in Glebe. St James Park is the latest example of the City’s work to build high-quality community spaces and attractive places to relax. Read more

During debate in state Parliament today, Alex Greenwich proposed a motion calling on the Government to rule out forcing local councils to amalgamate. Read more

Our economy continues to go through big changes. One thing is clear: Australia’s future lies in innovation, not digging up and exporting minerals.

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At Council’s Environment Committee meeting yesterday, we unanimously approved the City’s plan to build a community farm at Sydney Park. We will now start work on the farm’s produce areas, orchard, composting and waste management facilities.

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Construction of light rail will be the biggest change to the Sydney CBD for decades. It is an enormous, complex job and everyone involved will have to work together to keep Sydney moving.

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This morning I was delighted to speak at the launch the 2015 Sydney Film Festival. In all its richness and diversity, Sydney Film Festival reflects our city and our world — and the City is a proud supporter of it. Read more

This morning I received a letter from the federal Assistant Minister for Infrastructure, Jamie Briggs, encouraging me to support the NSW Government’s WestConnex project.

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The latest revelation of plans to develop a new stadium in public parkland at Moore Park is nothing more than a greedy land grab.

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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.

At dusk, from now until 20 May, a giant light box and projection artwork will run the entire breadth of the eastern chamber of Paddington Reservoir Gardens. Read more

Last night I congratulated the winners of this year’s Sydney Rides Business Challenge.

A record 4,804 people rode over 313,000km as part of this year’s Challenge, which is now the largest of its kind in the world. Read more

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

On Anzac Day we pay tribute to all who have fought and died for our country in war and this year is particularly important as it is the Centenary of the Anzac landings. Read more

This Friday at Town Hall we will be thanking our departing International Student Leadership and Ambassador (ISLA) participants and welcoming a new intake. Read more

Leading scientists advise that climate change will cause increases to the frequency and intensity of extreme weather events. The storms of the past week show how important it is for cities to be ready for such events.
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I’m very concerned about the number of people who have been killed or injured on our roads. That’s why the City has launched a new road safety campaign to highlight the number of accidents occurring in the city’s most dangerous areas.
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If you are thinking about hosting live music in your pub, bar or restaurant, or even opening your own venue, the City can help. Read more

The Sydney Rides Business Challenge has been a huge success. There are still a few days to go, so it’s not too late for you to sign up, take part and log your rides.

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The City has been criticised in the Daily Telegraph this morning for our investment in public art and energy efficient infrastructure. Read more

After years of deals being done behind closed doors, the public has now been allowed to see what the future of Barangaroo South will look like.

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The NSW Government’s redevelopment of the 80-hectare Bays Precinct, stretching from Blackwattle Bay to the White Bay Power Station, will be one of the most significant urban renewal projects in Sydney.

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It’s a sad fact that many politicians in Australia ignore evidence-based research, so I’m not surprised Penrith MP Fiona Scott has made claims before looking at the data. Read more

Youth Week in the City starts this Friday, 10 April. Young people are bursting with new ideas and energy, and it’s important that older generations listen to and support them. Read more

Like most arguments for WestConnex, the claim that nearly half of Western Sydney commutes to inner Sydney for work each day (published in today’s Daily Telegraph) is just wrong. Read more

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

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

On 16 March 2015, the City of Sydney hosted a public meeting at Sydney Town Hall about WestConnex attended by around 500 people.

The meeting strongly endorsed concerns that the project would not achieve the NSW Government’s stated objectives. Read more

In the lead up to this Saturday’s state election I again called on NSW Premier Mike Baird to rule out, if elected, the forced amalgamation of local councils.

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You might have seen a story in the Sydney Morning Herald at the end of last week about the City’s new street furniture. Read more

I am saddened by the passing of Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser.

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The Sydney Rides Business Challenge is almost here, and I joined hundreds of riders for breakfast in Hyde Park on Tuesday morning to celebrate.

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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.

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This Monday at Town Hall, hundreds of Sydneysiders gathered to hear from experts and express their concern about the State Government’s WestConnex project. Read more

Tomorrow the City is hosting two important events to tackle the housing crisis in Sydney. The problem has been growing for some years, but it’s reached a point where it can no longer be ignored and it stretches across the whole metro region. Read more

This Friday is National Ride2School Day, a great opportunity to improve the health and fitness of young people. Read more

The facts:

WestConnex claims to link people with jobs, improve freight transport and allow urban renewal. But here are the facts:

  • It won’t improve access to CBD jobs as 90% of Western Sydney workers commute to the city on overcrowded public transport.
  • It doesn’t align with the State Metropolitan Strategy to create job opportunities in Western Sydney and transport links to them.
  • It won’t help transfer freight from Port Botany and Sydney Airport to Western Sydney. Critical linking roads are unfunded.
  • It doesn’t take into account Badgerys Creek Airport.
  • It won’t help the renewal of Parramatta Road.
  • It will funnel thousands more cars into Newtown, St Peters, Erskineville, Alexandria, Waterloo, Redfern and Green Square.
  • It will isolate Sydney Park with fast moving traffic. Tunnel portals, ramps and ventilation stacks will blight the park’s surroundings.

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.

What is WestConnex?

MapWestConnex 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:

  1. M4 widening and extension
  2. M5 extension
  3. M4-M5 link

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.

Take action now:

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.

You may have noticed the bright red, blue and purple floral displays around the City this summer. These stunning displays have filled over 450 hanging baskets around the city alongside 900 planter boxes and floral towers. Read more

Our City Rangers face a shocking amount of verbal and physical abuse in the course of their work. 200 verbal and 67 physical assaults have occurred over the past five years. Read more

This morning had the great pleasure of thanking the volunteers and staff organisers responsible for the Safe Space program. Read more

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.

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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

Energy Efficiency Master Plan

Click to read the Master Plan

Last night, Council endorsed the City’s Energy Efficiency Master Plan to go on public exhibition. Read more

Last night we watched in awe as 3,000 participants marched down George Street for the City’s Chinese New Year Twilight Parade. The dancing and music, colourful building projections and pyrotechnics make this one of Sydney’s great events. Read more

On Friday night we proudly raised the Rainbow Flag above Town Hall for the sixth time as part of the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival. Read more

Last week I met with our staff who have completed the extensive cleaning and restoration of the Grand Organ at Town Hall. Read more

It’s 50 years since the ‘Freedom Ride’ led by Charles Perkins set off to visit north-western NSW and in doing so helped change race relations in Australia.

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This 19th Chinese New Year Festival celebrates the Year of the Sheep. People born in the Year of the Sheep are said to be clever, tender, polite, creative and compassionate. Read more

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

This week I was delighted to attend the official opening of the Dr Chau Chak Wing Building, the new home for the UTS Business Faculty which was designed by renowned architect Frank Gehry.

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Libraries are a wonderful community resource and, with their ever-broadening scope of activities, they can also be a wonderful way of building and strengthening a sense of community. Read more

Around the world, governments are embracing the need to invest in 21st century transport solutions. Read more

I’m really pleased to be extending our Oxford Street Creative Spaces program this year. Read more

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

Sydney Harbour is one of the world’s greatest harbours and we need to protect its diverse marine life for future generations. Read more

Part of making our city more and more liveable is making sure new parents have the option of returning to work if that’s what they’d like to do. Read more

This week the City launched the 360 card – a new membership which allows access to all the City’s award-winning pools and gyms. Read more

Every summer Sydney Festival transforms our city with a bold cultural celebration bringing together high quality art and big ideas. Read more

Sydney has just been through a record year for approving new buildings and developments — and our skyline will keep soaring in 2015. Read more

2014 marked ten years since I became Lord Mayor of the City of Sydney.

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

Together with the Sydney community, I want to express shock and horror at the tragic events that occurred this morning at Martin Place.

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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

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

I strongly support the development of a new primary school in Ultimo. The City has worked for the past year to finalise the sale of the former deport on Fig and Wattle streets to the State Government for that purpose.

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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

This week, Sydney was recognised as one of the world’s most forward-thinking cities with an invitation to join the 100 Resilient Cities network. Read more

This afternoon down at Dawes Point I briefed media on our plans for our New Year’s Eve celebrations. I can hardly believe it’s that time of year already. Read more

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.

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Today, 1 December, is World AIDS Day. We mark World AIDS Day to raise awareness about the issues surrounding HIV and AIDS. It is a day for people to show their support for people living with HIV and to commemorate people who have died. Read more

Last Monday in Rome, the City of Sydney’s renewable energy master plan was awarded the EUROSOLAR European Solar Prize 2014 award for excellence and innovation. Read more

Christmas is a wonderful time to be in Sydney. Last week I officially launched the 2014 Sydney Christmas program and this year will be our biggest yet, with more lights, trees and interactive projections than ever before.
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Premier Mike Baird is going to the March election with an enormous, albeit hypothetical, treasure chest. Electricity asset sales are in his sights and a one-off $20 billion cheque almost in his grasp.

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This week people all round Australia took part in White Ribbon Day to send a strong message that violence against women and children is never OK.

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This week I spoke at UrbanGrowth NSW’s Bays Precinct Summit, a gathering of selected planning and design experts from around the world to discuss the future of this unique location. Read more

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.

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How will population pressure reshape our cities and disrupt the Great Australian Dream?

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.

Green Square

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.

Sustainable Urban Living

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.

Energy Efficiency

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.

Sustainable Apartments

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.

Regulatory Barriers

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.

Paris Climate Change Summit – a New Agreement

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.

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.

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

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.


The City of Sydney’s statement on the matter can be read here.

It is with deep sadness I inform you of the untimely death of Robyn Kemmis, who passed away this weekend while staying with family in Queensland. Read more

It’s been another year of action for our CBD and our villages and all our communities! Read more

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Speaking to around 500 protesters at the #savingsydneystrees rally today. Link to speech in my bio.

Love this placard. We give a fig! #savingsydneystrees