I hope you are surviving these difficult and challenging times. This pandemic has taken a serious toll on our communities and businesses.
The City moved quickly to protect our community during lockdown, and we continue to work toward a Covid-safe economic recovery as a key priority, supporting our small businesses, creatives and the community sector.
I am particularly proud of our support to those most vulnerable, providing food and masks to those in need, such as our homeless and social housing tenants.
There is only one thing to tell you about why I am standing for election again.
It is for the same reason that I first stood for the old South Sydney Council many years ago, why I stood for Parliament and why I am continuing to come forward for the City of Sydney.
It is because I want to get things done, I want to see the changes that we need – that our city and its people need – and I want to see them implemented, not just talked about.
First and foremost, we have provided strong financial management. This has enabled us to deliver our extensive capital works program, whilst keeping rates amongst the lowest in metropolitan Sydney – as well as provide free rates to pensioners.
We have made action on climate change a key priority. And we have delivered massive reductions in emissions from both our city operations and across the local government area.
We committed in 2008 to reduce our emissions by 70% by 2030, and we already achieved that goal nine years early.
And we continue to be ambitious, bring forward our target of net zero emissions across our city to 2035.
We have also delivered a greener city, planting over 15,000 trees since 2005 and increasing our canopy cover from 15.5% in 2008 to 19.2% in 2020 – the only council to do so in the country.
And we have ambitious plans to continue increasing that! We aim to increase canopy cover by 50% by 2030 and 75% by 2050.
We have created new parkland, open space and extended harbour foreshore walks, increasing city open space by 24 hectares, with another 14 hectares in the pipeline. This has been a lifeline for our community during lockdown!
We continue to transform our streets to be safe, walkable, and green. We continue to build the bike network to encourage safe active transport and take cars off our roads. We continue to deliver world-class community facilities for our community.
In everything we have done since 2004, we have been transparent – openly setting goals in consultation with all sections of the community, measuring our progress on a regular basis, and reporting back to you all.
This has gone hand-in-hand with improved services to our community in the form of more child-care centres, support for people ageing in community, support for marginalised people and work to build a friendly, diverse and cohesive city.
We are transforming Sydney, and I ask for your support to continue what we have started.