Lord Mayor Clover Moore did not travel to Johannesburg for the C40 Mayors Conference on climate change this week, opting to remain in Sydney to work on urgent policy matters.
Cr Moore previously indicated she would attend the conference, however, in an email to councillors, Cr Moore said a number of “critical local issues” had led her to cancel the trip.
Those include the state government’s new measures to tackle alcohol-related violence, such as lockouts and mandatory minimum sentencing, and the need to respond to a final report by the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
“I remain very committed to our partnership with the C40 and City staff will continue to work with their counterparts in other C40 cities to share knowledge and information,” Cr Moore wrote.
The lockouts in particular will have a profound impact upon the City of Sydney’s strategy to diversify Sydney’s night-time economy. The new laws will apply to an expanded CBD precinct and require patrons to be “locked out” of premises at 1.30am and alcohol service to cease at 3am.
Local Government NSW and numerous councils across the state have criticised the O’Farrell government for setting a submission deadline of March 7. The report was released on January 8, and most local councils will not hold their first full meeting for 2014 until late February.
Marrickville Mayor Jo Haylen called the timeline “unworkable”, while Keith Rhoades, president of Local Government NSW, said it was arbitrary and unfair.
The City of Sydney will be represented at the C40 conference by chief executive Monica Barone and sustainability director Chris Derksema.
Rival councillors had criticised Cr Moore’s attendance of the conference when it was first announced, with Angela Vithoulkas describing the planned trip as unnecessary, and Christine Forster labelling it “a junket”.