Sydney is one of the most gorgeous cities in the world but its not without its problems. For the past eight years our Lord Mayor Clover Moore has been doing an amazing job bringing our city up to speed with other major cities like New York, Paris and London. Foremost on her mind has been the challenge of reducing carbon emissions and tackling climate change which is without a doubt the most important issue of our times. A whopping 80% of emissions come from cities so councils are beholden to do everything in their power to curb them.
As a resident of the city I was invited to participate in the development of a plan of action. In consultation with the community, visitors and business owners, Clover and her Councillors developed Sustainable Sydney 2030 which aims to reduce Sydney’s emissions by 70% by 2030. This admirable plan is already being rolled out through a range of measures including greening the city with trees, fitting solar panels to the roof of Town Hall, laying down 10kms of a 55km network of cycle ways and installing trigeneration plants to bridge the gap before ultimately getting the city off the coal fired grid.
I am so thrilled with the way our Lord Mayor has listened to us and taken decisive climate action. So when she asked me to run with her on her ticket for the upcoming local elections, I was honoured to accept the challenge. “It’s a calling” she said, explaining how the wage was hardly an incentive ($30k/year). As a gesture of how seriously she takes her public service she has given her wage to charity for her entire term (an amount that now exceeds $1 million).
Her income is derived from her role as the State Member for Sydney (formerly Bligh), a job that she has been democratically elected to hold since 1988. In what many have called a “disgraceful” move, the current Liberal Premier, Barry O’Farrell recently removed the right for her to hold the two roles (too much power in the hands of one independent woman?). Nevertheless, she is running for Town Hall once more so as to finish the wonderful work of Sustainable Sydney 2030.
I’m now out in the electorate daily, door knocking and meeting residents and listening to their concerns. The reception I’m getting is overwhelmingly positive but there are a few people who are angry about bike lanes and want more parking. It’s crazy that it all boils down to this issue. The city is expected to accommodate at least 60 thousand more people. The city can’t expand to accommodate 60 thousand more cars. The City of Sydney is working with State government on alternative transport strategies to provide other options for people who don’t necessarily need a car. Many people spend all day sitting in front of a computer. Walking to a bus or train station or riding a bike will help keep our community healthy.
We’ve all got to live and work together to make this city future proof and fabulous. Let’s get on with it!