Nothing new about support for a diverse, prosperous City

The story about the City's support for Buy Nothing New Month has been wildly exaggerated.

The facts are this is not a City event or campaign. It is a national campaign supported by charity groups to encourage people to buy second hand goods and recycle.

All the City is doing is allowing the organisers to use Customs House forecourt for 10 days for an interactive display. The City is not providing the organisers with any financial or promotional support.

I know retailers are doing it tough and I'm disappointed at how this has been misrepresented.

Waiving fees so that not-for-profit organisations can use public space pales in comparison to the huge financial and in-kind support we give Sydney businesses all year round.

The City allows many organisations and charity groups to use our public spaces, and this year we've waived the fees for the following groups wanting to use public space in the CBD to promote their event.

These include the Cancer Council, Assistance Dogs Australia, City Bible Forum, MS Walk and Fun Run, National Carers Week, the Children's Hospital, the Red Cross, the Lions Club of Sydney, the Sydney Film Festival, the Department of Education, World Firefighters Association, NSW Pipe Band Association, National Heart Foundation, Rotary, Bandaged Bear Day, Volunteering NSW, Big Aussie BBQ, Vogue Fashion's Night Out, Italian Food Festival, Red Nose Day and the Law Society of NSW.

A more detailed list below demonstrates the diversity.

When the City permits use of public space it does not imply endorsement of the event or that the event is council policy. What it means is that we support a diverse and lively city that people will find interesting and where many different points of view can be heard.

In stark contrast, we directly and deliberately invest millions of dollars every year on local business.

This year alone, the City made new commitments valued at $820,000 to events to support retail in the City:

  • Vogue Fashion Night Out triennial sponsorship, valued at $40,000 cash and $30,000 in-kind;
  • Mercedes Benz Sydney Fashion Festival triennial sponsorship, valued at $20,000 cash and $50,000 in-kind;
  • History Week 2012, linked to the Sydney is Fashion umbrella marketing campaign, valued at $20,000 cash and $10,000 in kind; and
  • Christmas in the City, funded with $120,000 for a creative consultant and $250,000 for matching projects, in addition to the existing investment in events, decorations and marketing.

In 2011/12 our support for retail in the City included:

  • funding of $5M for its Strategy & Economic Development Unit, increased from $3.2M in the previous financial year;
  • allocating $180 million for the revitalisation of George Street in the CBD through light rail and public domain improvements, to create an inviting environment for pedestrians where retail will thrive;
  • developing new programs with the City's Retail Advisory Panel, comprised of representatives of the retail industry and key government agencies;
  • coordinating the popular Small Business Awards, which last year saw a record 640 nominations and a 67,000 votes cast, a 62 per cent increase in the number of votes over the previous year;
  • expanding Christmas event programming to make Sydney the premier destination for Christmas shopping;
  • hosting four 'Lets Talk Business' seminars, covering topics such as outsourcing, social media, customer data and online trade;
  • connecting retailers with opportunities provided by major events through a bi-monthly email newsletter and Talking Shop retail forum;
  • creating a new program of '101' workshops for new small business activities, including sessions on development applications, providing live music and running pop-up events;
  • providing grants of up to $30,000 through the Finegrain Business Development Matching Grants program to help start up businesses revitalise City laneways, including mentoring for successful applicants;
  • developing strategy for a safe and prosperous late night economy, a sector worth $15 billion a year and accounts for one quarter of city jobs;
  • delivered the Sydney-Chengdu Business forum as part of Chinese New Year Festival and sponsored the Sydney China Business Forum run by the China Studies Centre, University of Sydney;
  • funded the Village Business Partnership Grant program and providing precinct coordinator support to business associations to assist with their strategic planning, project delivery and governance;
  • assisting development of the Chinatown Food Lovers Guide and promotion of the Haymarket Chinatown Visitors Guide and Map;
  • assisting business associations and chambers in the development of Shop Local marketing material and campaigns;
  • sponsoring a range of events supporting local areas, such as the Pyrmont Festival of Wine Food and Art; and Main Drag on Oxford Street in association with Mardi Gras;
  • supporting the Smart Green Business program to helps small to medium businesses improve their environmental sustainability and save on their operating costs;
  • providing low cost accommodation in Oxford Street for creative industries, including object and web design, architecture, trans-media, film, visual arts, contemporary performance and music, social enterprise ventures, start-up business, literature and animation;
  • approving use of council-owned properties on William Street to provide additional creative spaces and establish an additional creative industries hub;
  • funding the removal of roller shutters on Redfern and Regent Streets through matching grants of up to $3000 and collaborated with TAFE to match visual merchandising students with retailers in the precinct.
  • sponsoring conferences that deliver business tourism such as CeBIT;
  • partnering with the NSW Government and Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority to improve visitor information and tourism; and
  • commencing the Floor Space and Employment Survey to monitor trends in land use, employment and building characteristics, to guide strategic planning.

The City also invests millions to support business and encourage people to spend time in the CBD.

Clean streets and spaces are important and the City spends over $9.5 million to keep the CBD clean. Our cleansing staff work hard 24/7 including all public holidays. Over the past year they've collected more than 10,000 tonnes of street litter. The team operate a range of machinery to keep the CBD clean including roadway and footpath sweepers, footway scrubbers and mobile electric vacuum units.

We spend $1 million on road tree planting, $1.2 million on our living colour displays which brighten up public spaces throughout the CBD and $120,000 each year on the hanging flower baskets on George, William and Parks Streets.

We've also increased our investment on footpath maintenance and upgrade works by nearly $3 million to $6.3 million and we spend around $4 million on the upkeep of our roads.

It's a shame that our work has been misrepresented. We understand that some retailers are doing it tough and that support from other Government sectors is in decline and that's why we've upped our support for retail by creating a Retail Advisory Panel and increasing our funding of retail initiatives. In fact on Friday we will be launching our popular City of Sydney Small Business Awards - the biggest small business awards program in the country.

Some events with reduced or free use of public space in the CBD

October 2012

  • Loud Shirt Day
  • National Carers Day
  • Motorcycle Event - safety awareness
  • Buy Nothing New Month
  • Assistance Dogs
  • Canteen National Bandanna Day
  • Italian Food Festival

September 2012

  • National Flag Day - ANFA
  • Launch of SES StormSafe Week
  • Department of Education
  • National Threatened Species Day
  • Surveying Industry Day
  • Dementia Awareness Week
  • Make your House a Home - Get a kitten
  • Vogue Fashion Night Out

August 2012

  • Save a Life in September 2012
  • Kids for Cancer
  • Jean for Genes Day - fundraising
  • Big Aussie BBQ Launch Event - raise awareness of prostrate cancer
  • Come on board with the Flying Doctor
  • Daffodil Day & Pink Ribbon Day
  • Light the Night Launch
  • Big Red Walk-Treadmill Challenge

July 2012

  • Vocations Expol 2012 - Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney
  • Kids for Cancer
  • Love Your Liver on World Hepatitis Day
  • Education Week Launch
  • BiCentenary Celebration - Wesley Mission
  • The Wilderness Society Fundraising

June 2012

  • MS Walk and Fun Run
  • Sydney Film Festival
  • Effects of Poverty on Children
  • Nurses - Zulu to Afghanistan
  • Red Nose Day 2012
  • World Refugee Day
  • World Test Your Lungs Day - Australian Lung Foundation
  • 1200kms for Kids

May 2012

  • Law Week - Law Society of NSW
  • Fatality Free Friday
  • Hat Day - Australian Rotary Health
  • CBRE Walk for a Wish
  • Vivid Sydney projections & kiosk
  • The Great Tribal Chase
  • Volunteering NSW
  • Miracle Baby Month
  • Cure for Life Foundation
  • Starlight Day 2012
  • Kiss Goodbye to MS
  • City Bible Forum
  • Kids for Cancer
  • Macular Degeneration Action Day

April 2012

  • Time 4 Kids
  • Spin to Cure Diabetes - JDRF
  • 1912 Centenary Expedition 2012
  • Easter in the City - Fusion Australia
  • NSW Pipe Band Association
  • Kids For Cancer
  • Wilderness Society Face to Face Fundraising
  • Australian Sikh Association Procession
  • World Ocean Day Stall - Protect our Coral Sea
  • Legacy
  • Good Friday Procession

March 2012

  • Bandaged Bear Day
  • Holi Mahotsav Street Procession
  • Wish Day 2012
  • Holy City March - Korean Church Groups
  • Red Cross Calling
  • Chinese Traditional Culture & Arts Day
  • Camp Quality Supper Club Launch
  • Rotary Shelterbox Expo
  • Greek Independence Day Celebrations
  • Be Medicinewise Week
  • Tibetan Community Commemoration Day

February 2012

  • Fish Friday - Caritas
  • NSW Launch of Donate Life Week 2012
  • Worlds Greatest Shave Launch
  • International Childhood Cancer Day
  • Sounds of the Street Album Launch
  • Kings and Queens Cup Ergometer Display - Rowing NSW
  • Rare Diseases Day 2012 - Sydney Community Event
  • A Start in Life - Charity Media Launch
  • Puppy Love - Guide Dogs NSW
  • World Firefighters Games Promotion
  • Tibetan Council Candle Light Vigil

January 2012

  • A.W.A.R.E Dogs Promotion and fundraising
  • Fundraising on behalf of National Heart Foundation & PLAN Int. Charity Found

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