City of Sydney announces plans for post-pandemic recovery

| June 30, 2020

Better public spaces, support for Sydney’s most vulnerable communities, a revitalised visitor economy and support for business innovation are the focus of the City of Sydney’s post-pandemic recovery plans.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore has unveiled a three-part plan to guide how the City will: support businesses and communities to recover; continue to operate and adapt services; and manage its own financial recovery over the next three years.

The plans build on the $72.5 million support package released by the City in April.

“It is a credit to the people of Australia that we have made a strong response to contain and suppress Covid-19, centred on the advice provided by our health experts and action by governments,” the Lord Mayor said.

“While there is still a lot of uncertainty about the future, we are now cautiously looking beyond the crisis. We must remain vigilant and ensure we are working together to prevent another wave of the virus, but we must also be thinking about the kind of city that will emerge and what action we must take to support our communities.

“These recovery plans set out the financial challenges before us while prioritising how we can adapt as an organisation while supporting our community to bounce back.”

Key actions in the Community Recovery Plan include promoting a city that is safe, clean and open for business, and encouraging Sydneysiders to visit the area and shop local.

The City will continue to work closely with government agencies and sector to support vulnerable communities and those experiencing homelessness, and it will continue to advocate to NSW and federal governments for better services.

Grants will be directed towards addressing emerging community issues, funding those most in need and providing support for organisations, businesses and industry to innovate, adapt and grow.

The City will aim to maximise opportunities for the cultural sector in City-owned spaces and community venues and stimulate development opportunities for local creatives.

“In preparing the plan we have been speaking with our community about how the pandemic has impacted them personally or impacted their businesses and the organisations and industry sectors they represent,” the Lord Mayor said.

“We have heard distressing stories from people who have lost their jobs or whose industries have been devastated because of the restrictions. We have also heard stories of communities coming together to support one another, doing what they can to provide comfort to those who are feeling isolated or are particularly vulnerable to the health crisis.

“We have heard that we should prioritise support for our most vulnerable, our creatives and our local businesses, more parks and open space for general wellbeing, and more footpaths and bike lanes for safe, physically-distant active transport. And we have heard that any recovery should have sustainability and action on climate change at its core.”

Supporting the community recovery plan is the Organisational Recovery Plan. While the health and economic impacts of Covid-19 continue to unfold, the City has a responsibility to re-open in a way that ensures services can be delivered safely.

The plan aligns with the government health guidelines and summarises the City’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic and outlines a three-step plan for the re-opening of community and sports facilities, and continuation of essential services.

“The City’s strong internal governance structures mean we’ve been able to respond to the pandemic in a safe and considered manner. We’ve taken the necessary steps to close down services and facilities to ensure community and staff safety and to develop and implement the necessary plans for reopening,” the Lord Mayor said.

Following a review of the City’s operational and capital expenditure programs, the City has also developed a Financial Recovery Plan to address the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic on the City’s finances.

Key to the financial recovery plan is a focus on maintaining employment, services to the city community and long term goals. The City’s capital works program has been maintained, with some major construction projects brought forward, such as the pedestrianisation of George Street, park upgrades and cycleways.

“The City of Sydney has experienced a significant financial impact from this crisis. We incurred additional operational costs as the City increased cleansing and maintenance regimes, and major losses in revenue as our facilities and operations were impacted,” the Lord Mayor said.

“Our strong financial management provides a strong foundation to withstand this once in a generation shock, and provide support to our residents, businesses, creative and community sectors during this time of need.”

Over the life of the proposed 10-year financial estimates, the key financial performance ratios set out in the plan are forecast to return to favourable results relative to industry benchmarks.

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