City News

Clover Moore secures historic City of Sydney election

Clover Moore (front, centre) will return for a historic fifth term as Lord Mayor. Photo: Facebook/Lord Mayor Clover Moore.

By DANIEL LO SURDO

Clover Moore has secured the City of Sydney Lord Mayoral race for a fifth successive term in an election that will extend her record-breaking stay on council. 

Cr Moore received just under 44 per cent of votes in the City election, with Labor candidate Linda Scott (15 per cent), Independent Yvonne Weldon (14) and Liberal Shauna Jarrett (12) the closest finishers to the longtime lord mayor. 

Cr Moore will enjoy a majority in the council chamber with her Clover Moore Independent Team, who attracted just under 43 per cent of votes in the council election. 

“I am very excited that our independent, progressive, community-led team has been reelected to run the City for the next three years,” Cr Moore said. 

“We are very excited about the fantastic support we’ve had from the Sydney community, we know it wasn’t an easy election, booths were very busy all day, so if you did persevere, thank you so much.” 

Having been at the helm of Sydney for the past 17 years, Cr Moore will be in the top job for another term, where she hopes to increase the City’s focus on environmental action and successfully return the 24-hour economy amid the COVID-19 recovery, which could include free concerts and new outdoor dining options. 

While speaking to City Hub in November, Cr Moore acknowledged that the pandemic has added a “whole other layer of work” over the past 18 months, with the two consequential postponements adding further difficulty to a brewing election campaign. 

The City of Sydney Lord Mayoral race was contested by an all-female field of six candidates, consisting of Cr Moore, Cr Scott, Ms Weldon, Ms Jarrett, Small Business Party candidate Angela Vithoulkas and Greens candidate Sylvie Ellsmore, with each of the challengers calling for a ‘refresh’ on council. 

Ms Weldon, who is set to be elected as a councillor, felt that her success at the polls was an indicator of the City’s readiness for change on council. 

“The enormous swing in the results is a clear sign that Sydney is ready for change, and I will work my hardest to make it happen,” Ms Weldon said via Facebook. 

“The residents and business owners of our beautiful city want genuine representation and consultation from local leaders – I will use my voice to fight for them, and create a fairer city for everybody.” 

Ms Weldon promised to “aggressively electrify” the City and power a green COVID-19 recovery if she had won the mayoralty, while Ms Ellsmore prioritised “urgent action to address the climate crisis”. 

The extension of Cr Moore’s reign in the City will add a further term to her four decades of service in public office. 

State of Play

Cr Moore was first elected to local government in the now-defunct South Sydney Council in 1980, a year before its amalgamation with Sydney City Council. She was elected after her efforts as a young mother in the Redfern community, through founding the Redfern Community Concern in the late 1970s and lobbying for improved facilities and living conditions in the inner city. 

After the State Government replaced all City councillors with appointed commissioners in 1987, Cr Moore stood for the NSW seat of Bligh (now renamed Sydney) in 1988, which she won and retained until 2012, whereby newly-introduced State legislation prevented her continuing in both capacities. Cr Moore chose to retain her local government position and helped elect her eventual successor, Alex Greenwich, into power. 

Two years after Cr Moore relinquished her role on Macquarie Street, the State Government and the Shooters and Fishers Party voted to give City businesses two votes in council elections, while residents and ratepayers remained at one. While this move was widely speculated to have been created to skew election results against the incumbent, an increased majority was found and a fourth term was granted to Cr Moore. 

Firmed Focus

Under Cr Moore’s Lord Mayoralty, the City has moved to focus on stronger financial management and greater environmental practice. 

The City has invested more than $2.1bn in infrastructure and community facilities over Cr Moore’s reign, while have also prioritised responsible planning for the future. Cr Moore’s team has also delivered 17 years of debt-free budgets while in office. 

This year, the City reached their 70 per cent emissions reduction target nine years earlier than planned, behind the installation of LED lights in Sydney streets and the conversion of 100 per cent renewable electricity in council operations. There has also been an increased array of solar panels on City homes and businesses, as well as greater collaborative efforts with businesses to create stronger access to recyclable waste outcomes, including for cardboard items and coffee cups. 

Natural gas usage in the City has quadrupled in the past 15 years, with gas-fired co and trigeneration used for pool heating the predominant reasoning for this surge. Co and trigeneration harness excess heat, steam or other gases that would otherwise be wasted to increase the overall efficiency of power generation. 

Cr Moore told City Hub that trigeneration would be replaced by renewables once it “comes to the end of its natural life”, but could not identify the timeline for this occurrence. 

With Cr Moore holding a majority in office, it is likely that an environmental and financial focus will continue.

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