THE City of Sydney will spend a record $1.9 billion on capital works over the next 10 years – the council's largest-ever capital spending program – and achieve a $100 million operational surplus in 2013-14, according to its draft Budget and 10-year Corporate Plan.
"With careful planning, broad consultation and prudent investment over a number of years we've built a healthy bottom line for our global city and villages. Now we want to invest those funds to strengthen Sydney's international reputation as a leading global city – renowned for its lifestyle, economy, tourism, sustainability, open space and cultural life," Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.
Major commitments in the City's draft Corporate Plan include:
- $400 million for Green Square, including new roads, parks and open space, a new town centre, library and recreational facility and affordable housing;
- $220 million to transform George Street and connecting laneways as part of the light rail project;
- $180 million for new and upgraded footpaths, roadways and paving;
- $100 million to upgrade the City's parks and green spaces;
- $55 million for six new childcare centres; and
- $37 million to integrate the Barangaroo development with Millers Point.
The City will also invest $200 million between now and June 2014 on projects including:
- The $12.5 million stormwater harvesting project at Sydney Park, in conjunction with the Federal Government;
- $7 million for public art and the revitalisation of six city laneways including Abercrombie Lane and Hosking Place in the city centre and Argyle Street in Millers Point;
- More than $17 million for critical new links for our bike network, including stage 2 of the Kent Street cycleway and new cycle connections at Broadway;
- More than $10 million on projects to improve streetscapes and access for pedestrians, including Darlington Village in Redfern , Foley St in Darlinghurst, and Bayswater Rd, Kings Cross;
- The $10 million refurbishment of Heffron Hall and Albert Sloss Park in East Sydney;
"Putting the City's strong financial position and long term capital works program at risk by manipulating boundaries as the recent Sansom report recommends, is dangerous and incredibly reckless," the Lord Mayor said.
The Independent Local Government Review Panel, which is chaired by Professor Graham Sansom, recently released its discussion paper as part of its review of options to improve the strength and effectiveness of local government in NSW.
The paper, 'Future Directions for NSW Local Government: Twenty Essential Steps', presented a number of proposals and options, including a new 'super Sydney council' that would see the City of Sydney amalgamate with Botany Bay, Randwick, Waverley, Woollahra, Leichhardt and Marrickville councils.
"Evidence from other cities shows that the costs of mega amalgamations far outweigh any benefits – Queensland councils say the cost of their forced mergers was $185 million and reports say Auckland spent around $100 million just merging eight councils together," Cr Moore said.
"Rather than wasting money on boundaries, the City should continue our investment in long term infrastructure, beautiful parks and open space, affordable housing and high quality services for residents, businesses and visitors."
The draft documents – Community Strategic Plan 2013, Corporate Plan 2013-16, Operational Plan 2013-14 and Resourcing Strategy 2013 – are on public exhibition until 12 June and available from the City of Sydney website at <http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/vision/on-exhibition/current-exhibitions/details/Draft-integrated-planning-and-reporting-strategic-plans>.
More information about the local government review is available from the Independent Local Government Review Panel's website at <http://www.localgovernmentreview.nsw.gov.au/>.