My vision is for a Sydney that values community, culture, and equity in well-being across generations as much as traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth. A Sydney where people and places thrive, with good affordable housing, and exciting, cutting-edge career opportunities. A Sydney where access to great culture is built into the fabric of the city, with our rich heritage supporting our growing world-class creative industries. I want to rethink how we get around our city, where walking and cycling is far easier, safer, and the default choice for able-bodied Sydneysiders. I envisage an even greener Sydney, with high-quality open spaces, parks and sporting facilities. I see a Sydney that is a global leader in climate action in transitioning to a low carbon, circular economy.
In the time I have been a councillor for the city, approaching almost five years, I have created a set of policies to achieve my vision for a better Sydney. Take a look:
Better Recovery for Business
- We need to create an environment where Sydney’s businesses and local industries can thrive into the future and create employment opportunities.
- We can do much more to encourage Sydney’s continued growth and prosperity and opportunities for employment. Engagement with industry – from small independents and start-ups to global corporations needs to be a key part of decision making at Town Hall.
- Launch a ‘Sydney is Open’ campaign to promote and celebrate the eclectic mix of businesses in the CBD and the unique character of the villages that contribute to the city’s character.
- Transform Sydney into a "smart city" by integrating digital technologies and city-wide data analysis to respond in real time to our citizens’ needs.
- Develop a cyber-security strategy, led by the City’s Chief Digital Officer, working with the police and security services to ensure Sydneysiders and businesses have the information and resources they need to maximise business opportunities and to stay safe online.
- Help to break down the obstacles that hold back Sydney’s businesses and affect their competitiveness; streamline the process for DAs, licensing and permits for businesses to make it easier to operate during the pandemic and in the post-COVID era
- Extend the City’s reactivation programs and renovations of our laneways and footpaths to increase business opportunities. Encourage the development of smaller commercial spaces on short-term leases in order to help manage the risk to business as they recover from the impact of COVID19
- Lead the night-time economy revival by facilitating a full mix of entertainment options including comedy, small bars and live music and ensure we have the infrastructure such as CCTV, lighting, drug & alcohol services, toilets and public transport to safely support it.
- Explore opportunities to make it easier to use available space as creative and performance spaces.
- Create a Business Advisory Board – made up of experts, not of political allies – to provide the Council with guidance and insight to examine the unnecessary barriers to opening up in Sydney and to provide feedback on Council policies and procedures.
- Place community wellbeing, not just economic growth, at the heart of our planning system.
- My vision is for a city that values community and cultural connection and equity in well-being across generations as much as the more traditional bottom-line measures like productivity and economic growth. I would introduce a triple bottom line to all significant planning decisions, requiring social infrastructure and sustainability measures alongside economic development to gain approval
- Preserve Moore Park Golf course as an 18-hole competition grade course
- Reinvigorate any underutilised green spaces instead of threatening to cut up golf courses and destroying existing sporting facilities. Create new facilities such as outdoor gyms, climbing walls and urban micro-forests for people to spend time, exercise and play safely
- Expand provision of competition grade sporting facilities for community sporting groups.
- Provide greater support to community gardens
- Ensure ‘20 minute neighbourhoods’ to place essential services within walking distance and respond to a decentralising work culture. Incorporate this into all new major developments so that we have the shops, cafes, offices, doctors, parks, schools and cultural spaces to support our communities and create more employment opportunities close to where people live.
- Consult with WIRES and the First Nations community and ensure that developments include a minimum quota of native flora which can support local wildlife, insects and birds and ensures apartment residents have access to adequate green space
- Appoint a pedestrian champion, who will lead measures to make walking safer and easier across Sydney. I would also establish safe walking routes, to give children cleaner and safer journeys to school, avoiding busy and polluted roads where possible.
- Introduce minimum ventilation and air filtration standards for new buildings to ensure we minimise the effects of disease transmission, air pollution and bushfire smoke
- Instal a network of air quality monitors that report air quality online, in real time.
- Introduce a moratorium on further loss of on-street parking spaces outside of the CBD
Better Community Engagement
- Ensure genuine public participation, and start reflecting community consultation in the City’s decision-making.
- Stop paying lip service to community consultation, and genuinely reflect feedback in the City’s decision making.
- End the gridlock in the City’s planning processes. Aim to streamline the approval process for permits and DA’s while maintaining standards
- Make walking and cycling easier and safer by connecting disjointed segregated bike routes, analysing and recalibrating crosswalk timings
- Conduct an urgent review of any existing pop-up cycleways that were implemented under emergency COVID19 legislation without public consultation or comprehensive safety or impact audits, including transport and neighbourhood impact studies.
- Ensure every proposed future cycleway has a full safety, design & impact audit with genuine consultation for residents, cyclists and businesses.
- Get back to basics by cleaning footpaths, collecting garbage, repairing roads and footpaths, and controlling rat populations.
- Work with Ausgrid, NBNCo and other utilities to avoid the chronic problem of streets, paving and footpaths being dug up multiple times
Better Climate Action
- Minimise resource use, reuse as much as we can and ensure the City is continuing to lead the way in tackling climate change.
- Air quality monitoring with real time reporting
- The World Health Organisation has cited air pollution as one of the largest environmental dangers to global public health. In my time on Council, I have advocated for the implementation of an air quality monitor in the City of Sydney. One was finally installed in Cook and Phillip Park in September 2019, 15 years after the previous one was decommissioned.
- I would continue instal an integrated network of air quality monitors to track how safe it is to breathe the air in different parts of the city, warn residents and visitors online if it is unsafe, or act accordingly.
- The City needs to make a commitment to world’s best practice air quality monitoring so that we can assess our air quality across time in response to climate change and environmental initiatives, and benchmark our performance against other global cities.
- Maximise recycling rates and renewable resource use
- Convert the kitchen recycling trial to a comprehensive program in all households and establish links with local community gardens and others for composting opportunities. Expand private sector opportunities for recycling and composting programs
- Help make solar power a reality - whether you rent or own - by exploring opportunities for infrastructure in new or existing buildings that are owner-occupier or rental homes or commercial premises
- Ensure all City of Sydney operations, whether in-house or external, are included in environmental performance data
- Significantly reduce waste and energy use
- Enable the electric car revolution by installing inner-city chargers in apartment buildings and installed in kerbside locations and carparks
- Encourage the phasing out of plastic containers for food delivery and eliminate plastic cutlery, stirrers, cups and straws
- Launch a City of Sydney Circular Economy event to bring together businesses and organisations - from SMEs to corporates - to help learn from each other and speed up the transition to a circular economy
- Make Sydney a global leader in the transition to a low carbon, circular economy
- Ensure that City of Sydney meets its 2030 Sustainable Sydney goals and becomes an environmental global leader by continuing to reduce our carbon emissions and cutting down energy, water and waste-water demands through an expansive network of green infrastructure
- Reduce the City’s reliance on gas as an energy source
- Create a City of Sydney Waste and Recycling Board to develop opportunities for Sydney businesses and residents to reuse, remanufacture and redistribute materials and kickstart the green economy by providing new jobs
- Kickstart green innovation by launching the Mayor's Young Environmental Entrepreneur Competition: a competition for students and recent graduates to pitch business ideas that tackle environmental challenges. Provide financial and other incentives to circular economy start-ups
- Air quality monitoring with real time reporting
Better Affordable Housing
- Increase affordable housing and reduce homelessness across the City of Sydney.
- End the unrealistic targets on affordable housing that never get met. Set honest and achievable targets to ensure new housing is built.
- Make sure new affordable housing provides for the essential workers including nurses, teachers, transport workers and police, as well as First Nations people and people at risk of or experiencing homelessness
- Consider alternative models of affordable housing including build-to-rent and supporting a wider range of affordable housing providers
- It is vital that we look at developing new forms of housing to meet the future needs of Sydney, such as community land trusts, co-housing, and housing which allows older Sydneysiders to downsize.
I will do more to protect the unique character of Sydney’s communities while delivering the new and affordable homes we need to cope with the new challenges of a shifting population demographics since the COVID19 pandemic.
Better Support for the Arts
- Provide a faster recovery for arts and culture.
- Produce a Cultural Infrastructure Map for 2030 to identify what we need in order to establish Sydney’s future as a cultural capital. It will map the city’s cultural assets from recording studios, museums, libraries and local venues to art galleries and performance spaces. It will offer new tools to help the City of Sydney and developers embed culture in the city.
- I want all Sydneysiders - regardless of age, faith, ethnicity, gender, background, sexuality or postcode - to have the opportunity to engage and interact equally with our amazing culture.
- Create the Lord Mayor’s annual poetry prize to amplify the voices of those who can capture our current moment best through language
- Make sure we don’t lose the next generation of artists to COVID19 shutdowns by funding the smaller institutions. Broaden the grant funding process for local artists and expand the cultural diversity of our funding system
Encourage cultural partnerships with corporate sponsors to encourage the development of the arts
- Ensure transparency so that ratepayers know how their money is spent. Focus on delivery by focusing on outcomes, and reporting progress on our key activities publicly, prominently and clearly.
- Ensure the City of Sydney is a model landlord and leads by example so that we can use publicly owned spaces to their maximum benefit to the people of Sydney.
- Clean up the City’s existing property management by conducting a comprehensive audit of the City’s portfolio, considering their history, state of repair, occupancy and current and future use
- Ensure the high quality maintenance and improvement of all shared spaces including, footpaths, parks and roads
- Conduct a management review of the office of Lord Mayor, and introduce 360 degree evaluation for all senior council staff annually. Ensure that new members appointed to the Audit, Risk & Compliance Committee are assessed by an independent panel
- Reject all-expenses paid trips funded by foreign governments. Ensure that the City of Sydney funds any necessary overseas trips by staff or councillors
- Make Council more accountable and transparent by allowing members of the public to address council meetings, and provide a live online audio & visual feed of public meetings
Better First Nations Relationship
- Ensure the First Nations community is involved in all relevant decision-making, and acknowledge the impact of colonisation on our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. Recognise the contribution of culture to our City’s life and landscape.
- Create an Urban Climate Corps with the First Nations community and WIRES to deliver projects across the City that harness traditional knowledge and provide opportunities for employment in landscaping, consultation and outdoor education
- Invite representatives of the elected Local Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council to have a seat at the table in City decisions affecting First Nations residents, ending a selective and patchwork consultation process
- Provide Indigenous language classes at local libraries and support for language classes in childcare centres across the City of Sydney
- Work with local Aboriginal organisations to ensure First Nations icons are reflected in our City’s landscape, including the creation of a Patyegarang statue and a Frontier Wars Memorial