I returned from a meeting of city leaders in Mexico City last year with a renewed sense of the scale and urgency of the climate challenge – we need to do twice as much in half the time and cities like Sydney need to lead the way.
Council unanimously approved the 2017/18 City budget and put our money where our mouth is, including an additional $2.4 million per year over the next four years to fast-track our Environment Action Strategy.
Over the next 12 months we will increase our efforts to reduce carbon emissions in the city by expanding measurably effective programs like the Better Buildings Partnership and CitySwitch Green Office, encouraging the uptake of renewable energy, and working with residents and businesses to improve their environmental efficiency.
Sydney is Australia’s global city, with responsibility for an estimated 1.2 million residents, workers and visitors every day.
Redoubling our climate efforts won’t get in the way of our outstanding service this community – this year’s $924 million expenditure budget will reduce carbon emissions while also delivering new facilities through a 10-year capital expenditure program totalling $1.7 billion and providing great new services.
The City’s 2017/18 budget includes:
$2.4 million in funding for accelerated sustainability programs to support our goal of net zero emissions by 2050 over the next 12 months.
Net Zero Emissions Roundtable, April 7 2017.
A further$120 million towards the Green Square town centre, including new staff to run community facilities opening over the next 12 months.
The beautiful Gunyama Park Aquatic and Recreation Centre, under construction in Green Square.
10 new parks providing 6.8 hectares of new open green space, including Harold Park in Forest Lodge and nine new parks in Green Square.
$2.8 million to increase the city's tree canopy, along with new street trees and in-road planting – this is in addition to the 700 trees planted annually under the City’s street tree planting program at a cost of $1 million every year.
$1.2 millionthat will add 10,000 square metres of new and upgraded street and rain gardens.
$3.5 million over three years on pedestrian safety and accessibility improvements.
The introduction of a new 'zero fee' footway dining zone for businesses affected by light rail construction.
An enhanced white goods collection service.
Additional funding to further enhance the City’s property portfolio.
Funding for celebrations for the 175th anniversary of the City of Sydney Council.
I'm proud of the 2017/18 budget, which will reduce carbon emissions, increase green space and deliver significant new facilities and services for our growing community.
All these new initiatives have been carefully budgeted as part of our long-term financial plan to ensure the City remains affordable and sustainable well into the future.
The budget will be on public exhibition from 17 May to 14 June 2017, after which it will be reported back to Council for final adoption. For more information or to comment, visit: sydneyyoursay.com.au.