We do the research, consult with the community, commit to the work, and get things done.
We involve our communities in decision making at many levels, from the City-wide consultations for major policies and strategies down to grassroots consultation when planning new facilities or local improvements.
Under the leadership of Clover Moore and her Independent Team, the City has adopted a governance framework with a clearly defined, transparent decision-making process. Council’s decision making is guided by community involvement and detailed research and evidence. Significant new policies, strategies and programs are only adopted and major new projects are only undertaken after extensive community consultation.
Since 2004, our commitment to involving the community in decision making has led to major City-wide consultations to develop our now completed Local Action Plans; our night time economy strategy, OPEN Sydney; and our Creative City Policy. In 2007-2008 we undertook the largest community engagement project ever held in Sydney to develop our Sustainable Sydney 2030 strategic plan, involving tens of thousands of people through community and business forums, round-table discussions and online.
The City’s Sydney Your Say website enables people to express their views on new policies, programs and projects and we engage with the community through a range of social media platforms.
Sustainable Sydney 2050
When I became Lord Mayor I wanted a long-term plan that was endorsed by our city community and would continue into the future. So we undertook the largest-ever community consultation in the City’s history with residents and businesses, government and statutory authorities, visitors, and educational and cultural institutions.
The result was Sustainable Sydney 2030, which was adopted in 2008 and outlines our ambitious environmental, economic, social and cultural goals. It is the cornerstone of everything we do and is continually updated when new opportunities or challenges arise.
The plan has served us well, but the world has changed since it was adopted in 2008. So this year we have again consulted with residents, workers, students and business owners to develop our future plan, Sustainable Sydney 2050.
We’ve held over 100 face-to-face consultations, surveyed 5000 people online and partnered with the New Democracy Foundation to convene a Citizen’s Jury so that members of our public are helping shape our City’s future.
There are big ideas that will address the major challenges facing our City – the need for increasingly urgent action on environmental issues, the continuing need to balance growth and liveability, and to address the major challenge of affordability in our city. I look forward to bringing this to Council in July 2020.
We have established advisory panels to provide us with expert advice, developed robust policies and procedures to prevent fraud and corruption, ensure ethical and accountable conduct and decision and continually monitor and improve governance.
We proactively release as much of the City’s information as possible, for free or at the lowest possible cost. Much information that is not readily available will be provided in a timely manner following an informal request. We have significantly reduced the number of confidential reports being considered by the Council. Information that must remain confidential is now contained in confidential attachments to otherwise publicly available reports.
One of our proudest achievements is leading a Council that is financially transparent, responsible and stable.
In the 1990s, the City of Sydney was close to bankruptcy. Since that time the Council has responsibly planned for the future, invested in property and prudently saved income to pay for new infrastructure and services.
Responsible financial management over the past 15 years has meant that we are now debt free and once again this year the NSW Auditor General gave the City an unqualified audit. It’s a testament to the responsible management by CEO Monica Barone, and the City’s wonderful staff.
It allows us to deliver quality essential city services and keep average residential rates among the lowest in the Sydney metropolitan area, including free rates to pensioners and it means we can invest in important social programs such as our homelessness service, as well as donate over $620,000 to bushfire and drought affected communities.
Importantly it allows us to go above and beyond, to punch above our weight and make our city the best possible place it can be.