Who will you vote for as Sydney's next Lord Mayor? We asked the candidates some questions.



It's a big deal being the Lord Mayor of Sydney and one with a great amount of responsibility, so as a resident of this electorate I take my voting seriously. I contacted all the candidates for the position and asked them for their take on these four questions:

  • What do you consider to be Sydney’s major issues and how will you fix them?

  • How will you address the problem of homelessness?

  • What is your opinion on the lock out laws?

  • What are your ideas on making Oxford St, Darlinghurst more appealing?

I appreciate this is a very busy time for all candidates and thank them for taking time to respond. I've posted in order of receiving. Good luck to all candidates for wanting to make Sydney a better place.


CHRISTINE FORSTER

What do you consider to be Sydney’s major issues and how will you fix them?

After 12 years, the Lord Mayor has stopped listening and it’s time for a change from her autocratic style of government. I am planning to lead a cabinet-style administration in which each of the ten councillors would be given a portfolio of responsibility, to enable them to become leaders in their own right.

Business Engagement

I believe that when it comes to supporting business and entrepreneurs the City is falling behind. The Lord Mayor doesn’t see business as part of the community and that she has wrapped them up in red tape and compliance costs. My policies are about helping our existing businesses thrive and attracting new investment. If elected Lord Mayor, I will remove all outdoor dining fees for small businesses outside the CBD area, increase flexibility of rules around signage and business parking permits and modernise internal council systems and processes so it’s easier to do business with Council. I will also establish an emerging entrepreneurs program and commit to providing affordable office space for start-ups.

Digital Sydney

Council is set in its old ways and has not embraced new technologies to improve how it interacts with its residents and businesses. If elected Lord Mayor, I will appoint a Chief Digital Officer, whose first job would be to update Council’s systems and processes to improve our service delivery. I would also support and fund a “City of Sydney Digi-Challenge” to help find innovative new ways to solve local issues.

Safe and Vibrant Village Communities

It is important that we respect the unique personality of Sydney’s villages. If elected, I will support and fund community forums for our villages, to provide a mechanism for them to identify and deliver local projects. I will also establish regular listening posts in local markets, to enable the community to engage directly with Council, and I will personally ensure that the feedback we get is acted upon. I will also ensure that Council does everything in its power to protect our existing street parking space, which is such a scarce resource in the City.

How will you address the problem of homelessness?

Addressing homelessness requires cooperation between state and local governments and their agencies, alongside the not-for-profit sector, in a manner which breaks down the silos that currently exist and focuses on outcomes rather than simply service delivery. I promise that within 100 days of my election I will organise and host a City of Sydney “Homelessness Prevention & Solution Forum”. I will also establish an outcomes branch of the City’s homelessness unit, which will track the people we assist as they move through the system, and set up a system to coordinate the distribution of homeless feeding services throughout the City and Sydney Metropolitan areas.

What is your opinion on the lock out laws?

I support the winding back of the 1:30am lock-out. I believe that the State Government needs to investigate the option of 24-hour transport on Friday and Saturday nights as well as an increase in police on the ground during busy night time periods across precincts including Kings Cross, The Rocks and South George Street. As Lord Mayor I would negotiate and work closely with the State Government in addressing the needs and desires of the community, including the residents, businesses and tourists.

What are your ideas on making Oxford St, Darlinghurst more appealing?

As you are aware, Council owns most of the commercial properties on the north side of Oxford Street, between Oxford and Taylor squares. The Lord Mayor’s plan to reactivate the area has involved making some of Council’s property available at heavily subsidised rents to “creative and cultural” tenants, and the spending of $1.2 million on Stage 1 of the Foley Street upgrade. Another $3.1 million is earmarked for the Foley Street Stage 2 and Stage 3 upgrades which, according to the Third Quarter Capital Works Budget 2015/16, are only 6% complete.

The completion of Clover Moore’s Oxford Street Property Plan has been delayed by more than six years without notice to Council, without Council being provided with any supporting evidence as to the success or failure of the plan to date, and without any discussion at Council about the overarching strategy for the City’s Oxford Street property portfolio.

The reality is, Clover Moore’s “cultural and creative hub” has failed and is not attracting viable businesses or additional visitors to the area. It is time for a fresh approach.

It is time for a fresh approach to Council’s Oxford Street property portfolio, which would breathe life back into the entire street. If elected Lord Mayor, I will devise a holistic strategy for Council’s Oxford Street property portfolio, along the lines of the hugely successful model which revived the Queen Victoria Building in the 1980s. The QVB was leased to a highly professional retail and commercial property company which could attract and retain the types of high-quality tenants at street level that will draw visitors into an area. I would not rule out the inclusion of affordable housing in the upper levels of the Council-owned properties.

More information on my policies and vision for Sydney can be found on my website at www.christineforster.com.au

DOWNLOAD BROCHURE


LINDA SCOTT

Linda's office called me and rather than answer the questions they sent the policy brochures. I have grabbed what I can from the brochure and pasted it here. I've also linked the brochure below which gives a lot more details.

What do you consider to be Sydney’s major issues and how will you fix them?

DOWNLOAD POLICY BROCHURE

What is your opinion on the lock out laws?

Local Labor will advocate to the State Government to wind back the lock out laws, and bring back a better night life in Sydney.

What are your ideas on making Oxford St, Darlinghurst more appealing?

Labor is the only team at this election committed to building and funding an LGBTIQ Museum at the iconic T2 Building at Taylor Square to preserve the long and proud history of the LGBTIQ movement in Sydney.

How will you address the problem of homelessness?

Tackling Sydney's Homeless Problem

  • Labor believes the City of Sydney has a responsibility to help tackle Sydney's homelessness problem. The City’s latest Winter Street Count of people who are homeless is at its worst. Since 2006, people sleeping rough in Sydney has increased by 25%.

  • Labor will lead the development of another Common Ground or ‘The Camperdown Project’,which provides housing for long term homeless people and people on low incomes in the inner-city of Sydney on the site of a vacant Council depot.

  • Labor will increase City resources for use to work with the community sector and State and Federal Governments to create more supported housing space for the most vulnerable in our city community.

  • Labor will open up public showers and public toilets to be more accessible.

  • Labor will work to ensure groups providing mobile laundry services for those sleeping rough are provided with places to park and operate, and not denied parking permits (as currently occurs)


ANGELA VITHOULKAS

What do you consider to be Sydney’s major issues and how will you fix them?

There are several key issues that I’m most concerned about. We need a safer city, we have to be much smarter and we need the council to be much easier to deal with. We need to create a City of Sydney that has a vibrant 24 hour economy for the whole community. One that is backed by world class technology and a city where fundamentals such as parking, transport, childcare, public spaces and waste management are properly addressed. Key to fixing the problems is getting out of the Town Hall bunker and listening to residents, business people and visitors to ensure that what the City does is in the best interests of the community. We want to fix to re-invigorate several key areas. Most notably Kings Cross and Darlinghurst in terms of their local economies. Fixing these problems will need a much more transparent and inclusive city council than we have now. I’ll lead a council which is prepared to co-operate with all sectors of the community to get much quicker and more effective solutions.

How will you address the problem of homelessness?

The homelessness problem here is an embarrassment. It needs immediate action and it will be one areas of focus of the Sydney Matters Independent Team post the election. We’re going to Identify City of Sydney property assets that can be repurposed for long-term accommodation for the homeless and developed as a public private partnership. We will Increase funding to support the demands on crisis accommodation providers. And we’ll create pop-up service centres offering access to service providers, counsellors and free health and well-being services. Finally, we’ll elevate the City’s Homelessness Unit to become a co-ordinating body for the relevant service providers to optimise solutions quicker and more effectively.”

What is your opinion on the lock out laws?

We have to find a balance that is going to work best across all sectors of the community. I want to meet with State officials, the police and community leaders as soon as we’re elected and move quickly to establish a set of solutions in terms of closing times, accessibility and police management of venues. Violence involving innocent people out for a good night’s entertainment is just not acceptable. We want to encourage libraries, cinemas, restaurants and quick service outlets, art galleries and retailers in designated precincts of the City of Sydney to operate around the clock as part of a 12-point plan by the Sydney Matters Independent Team. We will appoint a Night Mayor, which is a proven concept adopted by Amsterdam, Paris and other parts of Europe, to oversee and liaise with all businesses and relevant organisations, to reinvigorate our night time economy. The Night Mayor will lead a not-for-profit foundation, funded by the City and the business community, to work with residents, businesses, the City of Sydney, the State Government and its agencies to ensure every relevant policy meets the competing needs and concerns of everybody in an impartial and consultative way. We will enhance transport options, improve safety and provide greater options to attract residents and visitors, workers and visitors. Our plan could help double the city’s night time economy to $36 billion and employ more than 60,000 people over five years.”

What are your ideas on making Oxford St, Darlinghurst more appealing?

Over the past four years as a councillor on the City of Sydney I have heard plans by the council to invigorate Oxford Street, but these amount to nothing more than tinkering around the edges. After endless plans, reports, proposals and peppercorn rent initiatives it is blindingly obvious that things aren’t working and we intend to change that. Our first initiative will be to appoint a Place Manager, someone experienced ideally in both retail and real estate who will help promote Oxford Street’s colourful and diverse retail precinct. They will liaise with residents, retailers, estate agents, the State Government and ourselves to proactively reflect local concerns and ensure solutions are found and followed through. It’s no secret that Oxford Street has become a thoroughfare to Bondi Junction shopping. We need to slow the flow and make it more appealing for people to shop along Oxford Street. Safety is also paramount. We will increase CCTV, policing, development planning and licensing to build a sustainable local area as outlined in our Sydney Matters night time economy policy at www.sydneymatters.org.au


CLOVER MOORE

Read More Information Here

What do you consider to be Sydney’s major issues and how will you fix them?

For over a decade, we've provided progressive, stable and corruption free governance of our City.

Sydney is powering ahead. We have a strong financial position with no debt, our economy has grown 80 per cent or $50 billion, and we have invested $1.2 billion on city infrastructure and facilities.

Addressing climate change is the most important issue of our times. The City of Sydney has become an environmental leader, and next term we will go to 50 per cent renewable energy towards our target of 70 per cent emissions reduction by 2030.

Improving the liveability of our wonderful city as we grow our economy is a key challenge. We have committed $1.8 billion on new capital works, including community, sporting and arts facilities, childcare, new playgrounds and more open space. Our new planning controls for Central Sydney protect public spaces while creating space for over 100,000 new jobs.

Sydney is consistently ranked as one of the most liveable cities in the world, but marked down for housing affordability and transport. We have contributed $220 million for light rail in the CBD. Our world leading car-share program now has over 31,000 members sharing just 2 per cent of our parking spaces. Of course, we will continue to build bike lanes, improve the walkability of our city, and advocate for new public transport services such as light rail in Green Square.

If the major parties get control, they’ll sell off our assets, divert or stop investment in infrastructure and facilities, and wind back action on climate change.

This election, there’s so much at stake for us and our city. Our record is compelling, we have a vision for the future and on September 10 I ask for your continuing support.

How will you address the problem of homelessness?

Sydney has a housing affordability crisis which has led to an increase in the numbers of rough sleepers recently.

The City of Sydney is the only council in Australia with a specialist homelessness unit. Our staff are out in the streets every day, helping connects rough sleepers with essential services in partnership with the police and specialist services in hotspot areas such as Woolloomooloo, Belmore and Wentworth Park. In the past year, we supported 327 people to exit homelessness and prevented 456 people from becoming homeless.

In the next 3 years, we will provide the NSW Government with $4.2 million to fund extra homeless services in our area. We will also sell a depot in Redfern to a consortium for a development with 112 affordable housing units and 46 supported homeless places. The development will be similar to the ‘common ground’ model previously built in Camperdown with on-site services to support the homeless and prevent them ending up on the streets again.

The City uses every mechanism available to increase affordable housing – through a combination of levies, voluntary planning agreements and direct investment we have delivered 876 new affordable housing dwellings this term with an additional 528 dwelling in the pipeline. Draft planning controls for Central Sydney have just been released that include an affordable housing levy.

Homelessness and housing affordability is primarily the responsibility of the NSW Government. Urgent action is required or the number of rough sleepers will increase further. I will continue to advocate for reforms to improve housing affordability, new partnership projects and their consent for an affordable housing levy across our Local Government Area. If the State Government has approved the levy in 2009, it would have funded 2000 affordable housing units. We need cooperation from all levels of government to solve this crisis.

What is your opinion on the lock out laws?

We want a civilised, safe late night economy with different options for people of all ages to go out and enjoy themselves after dark, without the blood soaked, drunken punch ups on the street.

Rather than addressing the real problems, the NSW Government's response was to introduce a blanket lockout across the city centre and Kings Cross (with an inexplicable exemption for the casino).

It was a sledgehammer when what we needed was a well-researched, evidence based, flexible response using transport, planning, licensing and police.

There is no doubt the lockout law made some areas, especially Kings Cross, safer and returned normalcy to residents and that must not change.

But the lockout law has hurt Sydney's cultural life and had negative impacts on businesses, including live music venues, small bars and restaurants, and many people have lost their jobs.

Well-managed late-trading premises are essential to our city's cultural life and economic growth - and people need to feel safe, no one wants to wake up to blood and urine on their doorstep. We need to get both right.

Our submission to the Callinan Review into lockouts recommends a 12-month trial exemption from the 1.30am lockout for well-managed premises and live music and performance venues, and reconsideration of the blanket 3am 'last drinks' rule taking into account a venue's compliance history, planning controls, and local factors.

I also want to see base trading hours for small bars extended until 2am and their capacity limit increased from 60 to 120 patrons.

Before 2008, opportunities to go out in the city were limited to characterless, loud and often aggressive beer barns. It was a mono-culture, dictated by the high cost of a liquor licence. But a groundswell of people wanted more for our night time economy.

As an Independent MP in the Parliament, I put forward a bill that resulted in the liquor laws being changed to allow for a $500 general bar licence. The idea was small-scale owner-operators turning neglected spaces into quirky places where people could meet, have a drink, even read a book if they wanted.

There are now over 120 small bars which have deeply enriched the City’s late night culture and we’d like to help this sector grow.

Based on our Open Sydney Strategy, we have made a series of recommendations which if implemented could allow for the lockouts to be lifted for all venues.

What are your ideas on making Oxford St, Darlinghurst more appealing?

Oxford Street faces major challenges. The clearway allows for high volumes of fast-moving traffic, two major shopping complexes have opened at either end of the strip, and there are other market forces such as on-line retailing.

I have long advocated removal of the clearway, which the NSW Government has so far refused to do.

We’ve invested more than $45 million to improve Oxford Street over the last 10 years through footpath upgrades, new lighting, seating, planter boxes and public art. We are committed to a new public artwork at Taylor Square to celebrate the LGBTI community and mark the 40th anniversary of the first Mardi Gras.

In June 2011, my Lord Mayoral Minute set new directions for Oxford Street which involves using the City’s own Oxford Street properties to achieve positive outcomes instead of simply maximising short term financial returns - for example letting our properties to businesses which detract from Oxford Street's character.

This led to the Oxford Street creative spaces program which enables new creative enterprises and startups to take up affordable studio, office, workshop and retail space in our properties. This has enabled people with great ideas, energy and enthusiasm but little money to move out of their bedrooms or off the kitchen table into legitimate workspaces.

This program has provided opportunities for 170 cultural workers and creative entrepreneurs, in areas such as design, film, transmedia, visual arts, screen writing and digital production. Some have proved so successful that they have been able to move on to other larger premises and pay market rents.

It has brought more money and people into Oxford Street, during the daytime. During the first four years of the program, our creative tenants have spent over $2.36 million on local goods and services, equating to approximately $47,000 per month of new money brought in to the precinct. They have attracted more than 79,000 visitors to the area including customers, clients and audiences/participants in public programs and events.

Significantly they are providing Oxford Street with a point of difference from the shopping complexes in the City and Bondi Junction, by offering unique goods and services, rather than mass manufactured brand products.

Later this year we will open new creative retail tenancies in Oxford Street, which will increase the area's distinctive retail offer. We will also provide a new home for the Australian Centre for Photography in Foley Street, which will become a significant cultural destination.

Other candidates are offering simplistic solutions such as selling off our Oxford Street properties to the private sector or crazy thought bubbles like building a tunnel under Oxford Street.

There are no quick fixes for Oxford Street but we will continue to develop creative businesses along Oxford Street and advocate for the big reforms we need from the NSW Government such as ending the clearway.

#Community #SydneyLifestyle

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