31 May 2020

May Update

Since the Federal Government announced a three-stage plan to ease restrictions across the country, we have been slowly emerging from COVID-19 lockdown. Schools in NSW have returned and other restrictions will gradually lift depending on the numbers of new infections. But we need to approach our new-found freedoms with care, for fear of sparking a second wave of coronavirus.

There is still no vaccine for COVID-19, and treatment options are still being worked on, with differing levels of success.

We cannot afford to become complacent.

Singapore, initially praised for it coronavirus response, found itself in the midst of a significant outbreak among its migrant worker population.

That's why I'm advocating we wear masks in public.

Recent studies show that a significant portion of individuals with coronavirus lack symptoms (“asymptomatic”) and that even those who eventually develop symptoms (“pre-symptomatic”) can transmit the virus to others before showing symptoms. This means that the virus can spread between people interacting in close proximity—for example, speaking, coughing, or sneezing—even if those people are not exhibiting symptoms.

Image shows respiratory droplets released through sneezing.

You can buy masks online or you can make your own. And there are also grassroots movements here in Australia that will provide you with lots of information.

It's especially important where physical distancing is impossible such as public transport or in other crowded places.

We have to do everything we can to prevent the transmission of this virus.

Please don't wait until it's too late.

As always, I am available if you have any comments on COVID-19 or any other issues associated with the City of Sydney. Please contact me on [email protected]

Stay safe,







Dr Kerryn Phelps AM
Councillor, City of Sydney

Responding to the Lord Mayor's Attack on Golf at Moore Park

The Lord Mayor has renewed her push to halve the size of Moore Park Golf Course to free up more parkland for the public.

While I agree we desperately need more recreation space, we shouldn't be robbing Peter to pay Paul.

The Moore Park Golf Course is one of the great public courses in NSW. It is widely recognised as one of Australia's best-performing and busiest public golf courses and ranks as one of the top three busiest public courses in Australia, hosting over 60,000 rounds a year. The site has high heritage value, with the course itself being more than 100 years old. It also generates around a quarter of the total budget of the revenue needed to run the parklands around Centennial and Moore Parks.

Bear in mind that the Moore park Golf Course is immediately adjacent to Moore Park and Centennial Park.

If the people in Green Square lack adequate open space close to their homes, it is the fault of planning that failed to require developers to set aside large spaces for public recreation as a condition of developmental approval.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted how desperately short the City of Sydney is of recreation space, the problem is far from new. Open parkland is essential to wellbeing, but fields and facilities for organised sport are also essential to community-building.

In 2016, the City acknowledged in its Open Space, Sports and Recreation Needs Study that Sydney had a dire shortage of recreation space including sports fields. Back then, it was estimated Sydney would need an extra 20 sports fields, 11 indoor courts and a whopping 54 tennis courts by 2031 to cater for a booming city population. Four years on and our parks are more packed than ever.

Sydney desperately needs more recreation space and we shouldn't be building even more high rise apartments and increasing density without first considering open space, amenity and infrastructure such as sporting facilities, cycling routes and public transport and schools.

Getting the Message Right

One of the reasons that I stepped into the COVID debate is because I thought the messaging was very confusing.

Having been involved in health promotion and communication since the 1980s, I know how challenging yet vital it is to deliver user-friendly information to the public. If a message doesn't make sense, people don't pay attention or they treat it with derision.

I'm really proud with what Australians have done, how we've followed the rules by homeschooling our children, working from home and following the prescribed social distancing measures but we're not out of the woods yet. I think we need to take the brakes off slowly and carefully.

Redfern Station

You have until 24 June 2020 to have your say on the $100 million upgrade to Redfern train station. 

I have spoken about my concerns about the development on many occasions, and even tried to put forward motions at the City of Sydney, asking the Minister for Transport to meet with the residents who will be directly affected by this development.

The community is not against the concept of a long overdue upgrade of Redfern Station. Rather they are concerned about the safety aspects and congestion that will be created with the State Government's preferred station upgrade plan. Under this plan, new shared pedestrian zones would be created on Little Eveleigh and Marian Streets leading to what residents’ fear will lead to overcrowding on the narrow roads.

Rather than simply complaining, local residents hired an architect to come up with another option that not only incorporated residents' concerns but also met all of the State Government's stated objectives.

The consultation is now open. I encourage you to make a submission to let the Department of Planning know what you think should happen at Redfern Station.

Reinventing Kings Cross

Kings Cross, Sydney's one-time night life epicentre, has been in a state of transition for several years. Since the controversial lockout laws and now with the aftermath of the COVID-19 lockdowns, the area's remaining businesses are struggling to attract new visitors.

At the last Council meeting, we approved a grant for the Committee for Sydney to work with Ethos Urban, the Kings Cross Liquor Accord and Potts Point Partnership to provide recommendations on how to jump-start the night-time economy and bring domestic and international visitors back to the area.

I spoke about my concern that local residents were not included in this group and it is essential that the views of the community are heard and respected.