Mayoral Minutes 2023

1.  Wins and Plans

Date: 14 February

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

I want to start by welcoming everyone back for what I know will be a very exciting and successful 2023. Strong Start to 2023 It was a busy break but much quieter than in previous years. We have been lucky with the weather and had some very successful events, including the New Year’s Eve and Australia Day celebrations.

Both events were held in Koshigaya Park and attracted records crowds of approximately 18,000 for New Year’s Eve and 5,000 for Australia Day. With successful and entertaining fireworks from the Bradbury, a packed line up of entertainment and activities and record crowds it was a great opportunity for our community to come together.

I also had the privilege of presenting Australian Citizenship to 85 of our residents on Australia Day, and announced the recipients of this year’s Australia Day Awards. The following residents were recognised for their passion and ongoing contributions to Campbelltown:

  • Brial Laul, Citizen of the Year
  • Kyla Hodges, Young Citizen of the Year
  • Horizon Youth St Andrews, Community Group Initiative of the Year
  • Reece Riley, Disability and Inclusion Award
  • Deb Evans-Clark, Environmental Citizen of the Year
  • Lachlan Arbuckle, Sportsperson of the Year

This week we received the exciting news that we have been successful with our application for state funding for city-shaping community projects to the value of $145 million. This announcement represents the most significant single investment by any government in the Campbelltown LGA for a very long time, if not, for all time. This investment is on top of the $26.6million Council Allocation Round late last year, that we equitably distributed across the Local Government Area with 11 projects across 21 locations.

I acknowledge the enormous efforts of the Council Officers who worked tirelessly to prepare the applications for these projects. I also recognise our partners and community who have contributed to our success. I will address the detail of this significant investment in its own Mayoral Minute, but it would be remiss of me not to acknowledge and thank the NSW Government for such a significant investment in our area.

These investments will bring to life a number of city-shaping projects, such as the Campbelltown Arts Centre expansion and other important projects that will enhance our community infrastructure and benefit the long term social and economic development of our city.

This investment comes in addition to another $8,605,203 that has been announced this week under the Regional and Local Roads Repair Program for us to continue our repairs to our road network impacted by recent weather events. This was in response to our joint advocacy program with other councils experiencing similar impact. 

Highlights of Achievements in 2022

Last month I promised to update everyone on some of our work during 2022.

In the development space, Ingleburn CBD Planning Proposal received favourable a Gateway Determination and is now on public exhibition, and we launched the Campbelltown CBD LEP review. We approved 290 development applications out of the 361 we determined and provided 1,421 occupation certificates for new dwellings in our city. Also, I am pleased to advise of the approval of the $500m Macarthur Gardens North development to be undertaken by Landcom adjacent to Macarthur Station as well as the approval and commencement of the $50m Genesis Care Cancer Therapy Centre on Hurley Street.

We have funded 37 businesses in Campbelltown and Ingleburn to revitalise their shopfronts and our teams cleaned 2496 graffiti incidents.

Our facilities have received record visitation, with more than 1.011million people, including the Campbelltown Arts Centre, which welcomed 57,519 visitors, and our libraries, which welcomed 244,000 people in 2022. We provided care for 1,200 individual children through our childcare services and had 4,200 swim school enrolments, delivering 44,269 swim school classes and hosting 83 schools' swimming carnivals. We also had more than 120,000 people attend the Campbelltown Athletics Centre, covering 103 school carnivals, and 1,500 members obtained fitness memberships at our gyms.

We welcomed a total of 1552 new Australian in 2022, of which 307 were from an Indian background, 159 from a Nepalese background, 158 from a Filipino background, 151 from a Bangladeshi background and 101 from a Pakistani background, with an average age of 34 years.

We have replaced approximately 2680 lineal metres of footpaths at over 600 individual locations across the Local Government Area and have replaced 2580 lineal metres of kerb and gutter at over 480 locations. We repaired 6,561 individual potholes and 6152m2 of heavy patching road repairs. We also completed 7km of road renewal, including Airds Road, Eagle Vale Drive, Leumeah Road, The Kraal Drive, Parliament Road and Aero Road.

We purchased a range of new equipment to make our operations more efficient and effective including a mini street sweeper, high pressure hot water washing truck, wing mower and 5.5 tonnes excavator and beaver tail truck. We have also replaced aged equipment including trucks for tree crews, drainage, concreting and mowing, various mowing attachments and mowing trailers. In total, we have invested approximately $1.8m in plant and equipment to continue our city maintenance.

Our teams mowed approximately 63.6 million m2 of turf, the equivalent of 6360 football fields and pruned, weeded, and hedged approximately 2.6 million m2 of garden areas, the equivalent of 260 football fields.

We collected 3,067,947 general waste bins, 1,388,500 recycling bins and 876,448 organic garden bins. We also emptied 23,244 bins from our public domain and undertook 66,689 kerbside clean-ups. Overall, we collected approximately 81,500 tonnes of residential waste and diverted approximately 29,100 tonnes of waste from landfill with the help of the recently opened and extremely popular Community Recycling Facility in Hepher Road, Campbelltown.

Council opened the Ingleburn Mountain Bike Trail, a 770-metre loop featuring jumps, drops, rock gardens, berms, and balance beams for beginner and intermediate bike riders. It is the first of its calibre for Campbelltown and is already becoming a popular destination. Upgrades were completed, Memorial Park upgrades and lighting upgrades at Bradbury Oval, Seddon and Kennett Parks.

In advocacy, we wrote over 180 letters to Ministers and Shadow Ministers making representations on critical issues for Campbelltown and, as I highlighted previously, engaged in 41 meetings with Ministers, Shadow Ministers and Members of Parliament across both NSW and the Commonwealth. We secured a total of $51,562,091 in grants from the NSW Government, including the council-allocated round of WestInvest, during 2022.

Ongoing advocacy

While Campbelltown is grateful for the funding we received for our important community infrastructure from the WestInvest program and other grants, we will continue our advocacy program for our Community and Justice Precinct.

We cannot ignore that in 2020-21 Sydney’s West (including Campbelltown, Penrith and Parramatta) had the lowest trial finalisation rate for all NSW Courts, with only 39% of all trials reaching a verdict within 12 months. The Campbelltown court facilities need to triple in size to meet our current demand, and we are one of the fastest-growing regions in Australia.

Council has undertaken significant work and investment to develop the master plan for the promised development, committing $ 2.4 million to inform our investment in the Precinct and undertake comprehensive consultation with the community on the plan. Campbelltown City Council worked cooperatively with the Governments to finalise a strategic business case for the precinct by May 2021.

We must recognise the importance of the Community and Justice Precinct in job creation in the area. With the precinct comes more judges, barristers, solicitors, supporting workers, and public sector jobs, and all other industries and activities supporting the day to day functioning of a justice precinct. This means a significant increase in the high-value jobs that make up a legal ecosystem and, of course, all of the secondary jobs such an ecosystem will attract, like coffee shops, retail and restaurants etc.

I again want to extend our call on all contenders for the NSW Government to commit to funding the court redevelopment that would underpin the Community and Justice Precinct.

Community Engagement 

I have previously spoken of my commitment to authentic community engagement and using evidence to support the decisions of Council and I have asked the General Manager to embed this through both process and practice. Building on the recent Campbelltown 2022 report, planning has commenced on an engagement program to hear from the community on their ideas to realise the bold ambitions of our future city.

On 14 March 2023, we will facilitate the first activity – a forum of community leaders and progressive thinkers in Campbelltown’s community who are invested in its future, to share thoughts, knowledge and big ideas, and to help inform Council's future plans. A series of broader community forums will follow over the coming months.

2.  Our Shared Future Forum

Date: 14 March

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

On this day, 14 March, in 1879, the Campbelltown Progress Committee held its first meeting to discuss local issues. The Committee was attended by approximately 70 citizens. They resolved for the creation of a Local Government District and they committed to partitioning the NSW government to create Campbelltown Council.

Today, 144 years later, stakeholders gathered again at our Campbelltown Arts Centre to discuss local issues and contribute to “Our Shared Future”.

While this Council has set an ambitious vision for the future of our city, we are limited in our ability to envision or deliver on this vision alone. We need our community to help shape the vision and assist in its delivery. Today’s forum was the first of what I hope to be an ongoing dialogue with our residents and stakeholders.

The participants today spoke up and shared their ideas. We had robust discussions on a variety of topics including our built and natural environment, social infrastructure and amenity, and local employment and prosperity.

I was encouraged by the engagement in the room, facilitated by global cities expert, Dr Tim Williams. There was a clear sense of optimism in the room and there was a shared belief that Campbelltown is on a trajectory to a bright future.

The discussion particularly highlighted the importance of balancing the built and natural environment and getting the mix between density and green space right. Jobs and infrastructure, local facilities and regional amenities were some of the topics that were also discussed.

Our participants shared their ideas, visions, and experiences with us.  I look forward to sharing the details with you as we distil what we’ve heard. 

I also look forward to more forums to engage with the Councillors and the community as we continue to develop Our Shared Future.

3. WestInvest and Election Promises

Date: 14 March

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Over recent weeks, Campbelltown has received record-breaking funding allocations from the NSW Government and significant election promises from all sides of politics.  We have been able to secure many of the commitments we sought as part of Our Call to NSW Government for Support, as well as a significant number of projects that we have worked on as a city, and collaboratively with the Macarthur Mayors.

In total, at the time of publishing this Minute, I am pleased to report that Campbelltown has received approximately $410 million in recently committed funding from the NSW Government. This includes $26.615 million of WestInvest funding through the Council Allocation, $145.6 million through the WesInvest Competitive Round, WestInvest NSW Agency funding of $200 million for the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan (considered as $100million to Campbelltown as the Gardens are shared between Campbelltown and Camden Local Government Areas) and $243 million for Health Hubs at Glenfield and Liverpool (assumed $121.5 million shared equally between the Hubs).

In addition to this WestInvest funding, we have also received $8.6 million for road surface repairs which I have previously highlighted, $5 million for enhancements to Bob Prenter Reserve, Macquarie Fields, $450,000 for library improvements, $772,000 for drainage upgrades at Eschol Park Sports Complex, $270,000 for drainage upgrades at Raby Sports Complex, and various other smaller grants for community facilities and projects totalling $589,000.


As part of WestInvest’s Council Allocation we were successful in securing $26.6 million which I have spoken about previously. We put forward the following projects to be delivered under this fund:

  • Campbelltown City Centre Transformation Project: revitalising the Queen Street precinct creating new pedestrian friendly spaces and public areas for events and activities through improvements. Works will include creation of a permanent event-ready space at the top of Lithgow Street, additional planting, sculptural play elements and gardens amenities.
  • Macarthur Recreation Trail: creation of a 2.85km long wide multi-purpose recreational trail extending from the Australian Botanic Garden, through Macarthur Heights, to Campbelltown Train Station.
  • Town Centre Beautification and Public Art in Glenfield Town Centre: delivering a series of public domain works that aim to revitalise Glenfield Town Centre, creating a more accessible, functional, safe and engaging place that contributes to the overall liveability of Glenfield including new paving, traffic works, street furniture, trees, landscaping and public art.
  • Connected Campbelltown: providing a network of shared use pathway links and circuits to promote physical and recreational activities at four sites:
    • Wood Park, Ingleburn
    • Jackson Park, Woodbine
    • Thomas Acres and Cleopatra Reserve, Rosemeadow
    • Abington Reserve, Glen Alpine.
  • Hurley Park – Early stories of Campbelltown’s Resilience: restoring heritage features (Cattle Tank, Spillway, Reservoir Wall and Silt Traps), provide signage and public art, incorporating new landscape elements such as planting, paving and furniture, and enhancing the accessibility and amenity of the park.
  • Simmos Beach Parklands – Activating the Upper George’s River: providing amenity upgrades including park furniture and car parking, improving the footpath network, new viewing decks, signage, trees and landscaping.
  • Kanbyugal Parklands – Mountain Bike Park: converting this underutilised 4.53km long centrally located site into an accessible, sanctioned and fully functioning mountain bike facility providing beginner and intermediate level trails including wayfinding and signage, furniture and landscaping.
  • Leumeah Youth Precinct: adding new recreational facilities catering for a broader cross section of our youth community, to the existing Leumeah Youth Precinct’s site, including: new bouldering wall, multi-use courts, learn to ride track, integrated artwork, repairs to existing skate park facility, and upgraded furniture and shelters.
  • Glenfield Urban Bike Park: leveraging existing infrastructure in Seddon and Kennett Park to broaden the recreation offer and provide more opportunities for wheeled sports enthusiasts including new bike park (hybrid pump track), pavements, drainage, furniture, signage and landscaping.
  • St Helens Park Youth Space: leveraging existing active and passive recreation opportunities in the reserve to create a multi-use, youth orientated, play space with an urban bike park suitable for all rider levels, ages and abilities.
  • Outdoor Fitness Facilities Program – for a fitter, healthier Campbelltown: delivering new/upgraded outdoor fitness facilities at:
    • Marsden Park, Campbelltown (upgraded)
    • Eagle Farm Reserve, Eagle Vale (new)
    • Clematis Reserve, Macquarie Fields (upgraded)
    • Ophelia Reserve, Rosemeadow (new)

    Within the WestInvest competitive round, we applied for a significant amount of projects. We were successful in securing funding of approximately $145.6 million for the following projects:

    • $79 million for the Campbelltown Arts Centre Expansion including a new circa. 350 seat theatre with facilities and dressing rooms, new rehearsal spaces, educational workshop areas and community facilities, dedicated storage for our art collection, commercial spaces and conference facilities.
  • $18 million for the replacement of Railway Parade Bridge, Glenfield to improve the bridge capacity, particularly for bus transport and flow of the Bunbury Curran Creek underneath. 
  • $16.7 million for the Sports and Health Centre of Excellence at Campbelltown Sports Stadium to provide programs supporting talent development pathways for athletes into elite sport through innovation in sports science and research programs. This project will be delivered in collaboration with our funding partners: Western Sydney University and the Australian Government, working together with key stakeholders.
  • $2.8 million for an amenities upgrade at Eschol Park Sporting Complex including amenity improvements, spectator seating, storage facilities and change-rooms.
  • $6.5 million for Dharawal Nature Playspace located at Simmos Beach Reserve, Macquarie Fields, to provide a regional-level nature-themed playspace including water elements, furniture and public art.  This project will be delivered in partnership with the Tharawal Local Aboriginal Land Council.
  • $9.4 million for Campbelltown Health and Education Precinct (CHEP) Connectivity, Wayfinding and Identity Project to improve access to walking and cycling facilities within the precinct, through public domain improvements, active transport infrastructure upgrades and signage between key facilities within the CHEP including the Western Sydney University campus, Campbelltown Hospital, Clinical School and Macarthur Square.
  • $4.2 million for a Multipurpose Community Facilities Hub providing commercial grade community kitchen, food storage, shower and laundry facilities, office spaces and outdoor garden spaces to enhance our community’s resilience in times of flood, fire, heatwaves, pandemics or other stress events.
  • $1 million for Minto Multicultural Community Centre Enhancement increasing our capacity to provide storage and distribution of food to communities in need, shower and laundry facilities for isolated/homeless community members, meeting rooms for financial/counselling support services and other targeted programs.
  • $4.9 million for Ingleburn Town Centre Transformation Project to extend upon recently completed stage 1 projects, including the creation of a civic, green space, event space, resurface road, footpath upgrades, lighting, public art and street furniture.
  • $3 million for Gordon Fetterplace Aquatic Centre Upgrades including extension of the grandstand seating area, shade structures and modernisation of the café space.

    There is a significant number of projects in the WestInvest program. In preparation for the delivery, Council established a dedicated Project Management Office within Council’s structure late last year to ensure it is appropriately resourced. Council Officers continue to work tirelessly to develop the overall program and specific project plans to ensure the delivery of these projects are on time and on budget. We will be sharing this information with the Council and the community as they are developed and as we start finalising the funding deeds with the NSW Government.

    Election Promises

    As we approach the NSW election on 25 March 2023, both sides of politics continue to announce important projects for our region, and our city. Most significantly, at the time of publishing this Minute, we have received bipartisan commitment to the following major projects, which the Macarthur Mayors have strongly advocated for:

    • Rapid Bus services from Campbelltown, Liverpool and Penrith to Western Sydney International Airport.
    • A business case into the metro connection from Campbelltown-Macarthur to Western Sydney International Airport. This is in addition to the business case that is currently under development for the connection between Western Sydney International Airport and Glenfield.

The Coalition has further promised a business case into the metro connection from Glenfield to Bankstown to connect to the Sydney Metro South West (under construction, due for completion in 2024), which would then complete a full metro connection from Western Sydney International Airport to Sydney, via Bankstown. In my capacity as the Chair of The Parks Mayoral Forum, I have written to the Opposition encouraging them to continue with the commitment, as it has a significant impact, not only on our residents, but on our fellow Western Parkland City councils.

The Coalition has also promised to investigate the feasibility of specialist Domestic and Family Violence Courts in NSW. I have written to the NSW Government proposing that Campbelltown would be an ideal location to pilot such Courts. 

Labor have also made a number of election promises that will positively impact Campbelltown, including the commitment of $3 million to establish a Georges River Koala Hospital and the conversion of Eagle Vale High School into a sports high school. This is in addition to candidates’ commitments including train timetable review of the Campbelltown to Parramatta connection to consider restoration of the direct line, and various station upgrades including a lift at Macquarie Fields train station.

NSW Labor have announced their commitment to developing Manufacturing Centres of Excellence within Western Sydney. I have written to the Opposition Leader proposing Campbelltown Local Government Area as an ideal location for such a Centre. This proposition has been supported by Mr Greg Warren MP, Member for Campbelltown.

We continue to advocate for the government’s investment in major projects that are not yet committed, including redevelopment of the NSW Courts within the Community and Justice Precinct, major road delivery, and Stage 3 of Campbelltown Hospital, to support our growth.

I encourage everyone to keep up to date with any further commitments made in the lead up to the election later this month.

On behalf of myself and the City of Campbelltown, I would like to wish all candidates the best of luck in the upcoming election. We are looking forward to working with the successful candidates and NSW Government, regardless of political persuasion, for the benefit of our residents. 

4. Thank you for Supporting the Charity Gala Dinner

Date: 14 March

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

On Saturday 4 March 2023, over 250 people enjoyed the Mayor’s Charity Gala at Ottimo House.

The recipient of all funds raised through the Mayor’s Charity Gala Dinner 2023 was the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre (MCTC).  This year marks the 20th anniversary since the opening of the MCTC at Campbelltown Hospital. Since that time, the MCTC has been providing exceptional care to the people of the Macarthur region. In 2022, there were over 2,500 new cancer consultations seen at the MCTC and over 100,000 episodes of care provided to a member of our community. I am honoured to support this worthy cause.

The MCTC hoped to raise sufficient funds to purchase a scalp cooling machine (valued at $47,750) and new chemotherapy chairs (approximately $8,200 each) to help improve the experience of those undergoing cancer treatments and increase the MCTC’s capacity.

I’d like to acknowledge Charter Hall: Campbelltown Mall, who were the platinum sponsors of the event. Thank you also to our gold sponsors: Macarthur FC, Menangle Park: Dahua Group, Mir Group, our silver sponsors: Cameron Brae Group, Cabra-Vale Diggers and Marsdens Law Group, and our bronze sponsor: Western Sydney University.

I am incredibly humbled by your support. Together, we raised more than $76,000 (at the time of print), an incredible result for the Macarthur Cancer Therapy Centre. I look forward to joining with some of our sponsors in the coming weeks to formally present the funds raised to this year’s recipient.

5. Our Community's Social Connections

Date: 11 April

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Season’s Greetings

This month is considered one of the holiest or most blessed months on the religious calendar for many of our people of faith. At the time of writing this Minute, many significant religious festivals have either begun, or will take place in the coming weeks.

This week, Lent will come to an end and Christians will celebrate Good Friday and Easter Sunday to commemorate the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Those of Christian Orthodox faith will celebrate Holy Friday and Pascha (Easter Sunday) the following weekend.

This week also marks the start of the Jewish Passover, the first and most significant of the Jewish pilgrim festivals.

People of the Muslim faith are already well into their observance of Ramadan – a holy month of fasting, introspection and prayer, with Eid Mubarak marking the conclusion of the holy month later this month.

The diversity that exists within our community is one of its many strengths. It is through the generosity of the many cultures that call our city home - who share their customs and traditions so we may learn from each other - that will strengthen us as a city and continue to bring us closer together.

I would like to wish all of those in our community who are celebrating or reflecting during this important month, a blessed and harmonious time with family or those important to them.

Social Activities

Over the past year, our focus has been on improving our city's built environment. We have conducted reviews, developed policies, and advocated for physical and social infrastructure investments. Our efforts have yielded positive outcomes, such as securing funding for projects and business cases like connecting the Western Sydney Airport to Campbelltown and to Glenfield. We also have been successful in receiving $172 million dollars towards local initiatives including projects such as Campbelltown Arts Centre and major town centre upgrades at Glenfield, Ingleburn and Campbelltown, and a range of recreational assets for our community.

We are currently working on developing a new Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and engaging with stakeholders to ensure we continue progressing the city’s development in line with our residents’ aspirations. Our ideas and efforts continue to be translated into policies and procedures that will guide the stable and prosperous development of our city and ensure our growth occurs in a socially and environmentally sustainable direction within the legal framework allocated to us by the NSW Government.

Development approval for our projects and for private developments will begin to materialize, providing residents with new spaces to enjoy. While I believe that we must and will continue to prepare the city for our residents, it may be time to focus our attention on another important dimension of our city’s evolution, our social activities.

While I am sure, some of you will have different perspectives regarding the role of the Council in developing and undertaking social activities, I am sure we will all welcome the opportunity to debate some of these issues and set forward a shared understanding for our Council.

It would be reasonable to start by sharing my thoughts.

I believe that Council has an important role in empowering community members to establish and develop activities that are dear to their hearts, but should not lead or organise these activities. Council should always provide a platform for self-expression and social interactions, by providing welcoming and suitable spaces, by providing an easy to navigate application and approval process, and sometimes by providing financial support or incentives to help these activities start and take shape.

We do this now. For example, in the last few weeks, Council staff have worked tirelessly to convert our sporting grounds from summer to winter sport. Council does not organise football competitions or rugby league matches, we leave that to the many dedicated volunteers within our range of sporting clubs operating our LGA.  These volunteers engage with their clubs and lead organisations to bring activities that form an important part of our community’s sporting lives.

Another more recent example is the Campbelltown markets, originally established due to a motion by Councillor Oates.  Council began organising the markets, but with community support it has now taken on a life of its own. The markets are now run completely by a private operator that undertakes the work each market day, for the community to enjoy.

There are many examples we can give, but I think these illustrate the point.

In regards to social activities, I believe that there are three questions we should turn our minds to:

  • What activities does the community want and need?
  • How suitable are our current spaces for these activities?
  • Are Council’s policies to enable these activities competitive and equitable?

The first question, I believe is not for us to answer. The Council should not be playing favourites or listening to noisy groups. Our community knows what they like best, and given the right framework and policy settings, I’m sure they’ll be able to put forward a strong program for all of us to enjoy.

On the question of the suitability of our spaces, Council has many great spaces for our community to utilise including our libraries, Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Athletics Centre and Koshigaya Park. Some of these spaces are currently planned for upgrades and improvement. Others, like the Billabong Parklands are due for completion later this year and will increase the range of activities available to our community.

Based on community feedback, I have previously asked the General Manager to investigate other suitable outdoor spaces for festivals, and I am sure this will be coming to the Council for consideration in the near future. 

Council has 27 community halls and centres. The question of the suitability of these halls for modern day activities has been raised with me a number of times. To get a better understanding of the quality and suitability of these spaces, I have asked the General Manager to instigate an audit to see if our indoor community infrastructure meets our growing community’s needs.

The third question is whether our policy setting competitive and equitable. I must admit, this area of policy is not within my area of expertise, but I’m sure, with the help of Council staff and Councillor’s contribution, we’ll be able to work together to achieve the best outcome for our residents.

Council staff are currently reviewing the enabling policy framework that includes the Sponsorship Policy, City Attraction Policy and any supplementary procedures and standardised tools to ensure that community events are easy to undertake, that we’re competitive with other Councils that encourage those activities, and that they’re equitable across the range of our residents’ interests. 

Supporting Our Most Vulnerable

As a Council, we have a moral, if not a legal, responsibility to support those that are most vulnerable in our community. Earlier this term, we adopted a Resilience Hazard Assessment, which outlines the shocks and stresses that can impact our City and our community. The Resilience Hazard Assessment is supported by 42 actions that seek to embed resilience by strengthening partnerships so that together we can all thrive.

We will continue to look at our city’s needs and will develop, review and commence strategies that support our community’s most vulnerable, in times of need.

There are two initiatives that we are currently working on: Youth Mental Health and You Are Not Alone Campbelltown.

Mental health is an emerging as an issue in Australia, and with our relatively young population in Campbelltown, we should be active in supporting our young people and their mental health. Council is investigating a partnership with the Sebastian Foundation who has a mission to give young Australians the resilience and confidence they need to grow and be their best. The Sebastian Foundation works with ‘Open Parachute’ , a program that uses clinically validated, research-based, psychological skills-building exercises to boost resilience, self-awareness and social responsibility in students, and to increase their connection and systems of support. The Sebastian Foundation funds this program into schools who are keen to make a change for their students and give them the tools they need to grow up to health and happy.

The other initiative that we’re currently investigating is You Are Not Alone Campbelltown. This idea came as a result of discussion with NSW Police, the Domestic Violence Advocacy Service, and other youth representatives in the area. These representatives identified that it is not an easy task locating the services and resources available to those who are in need of support within our community.

The idea of a centralised location that collates all of the information about our support networks and services, will be of value to the community. Such allocation could be as simple as a website with a list and links to different providers, or a hard copy brochure of services available within our LGA. While I understand that there is a complexity to getting the information together, and resources for maintaining it, I believe that it is something worth investigating and testing.

If successful, I’m sure it will find a life and funding of its own. Our staff will consult with the NSW Police and other relevant organisations and put forward the best option for Council to consider in the near future.

Of course, these are not the only matters that we are facing. There are much more that we need to consider and I hope to talk about that in an orderly fashion over the coming months, as we come to understand the strategic direction of the new Government.

New NSW Government

I would like to start by congratulating everyone on a successful election. The people of New South Wales have made their decision clear, and have chosen to retain some local Members of Parliament, and replace others. This is a testimony to our stable political system and the importance that representative governments play in our lives.

I want to take this opportunity to first wish our former local MPs and government Ministers all the best in their next endeavour. I’d also like to congratulate all of our new and returning MPs in their convincing election victory. I look forward to working with them and the NSW Minns’ Government for the benefit of our community.

As the new Government settles in and new Ministers are announced, I will be seeking to engage with them on some of the issues, hopes and inspirations of our community as we have with the previous government. 

6. Strengthening our Protocols

Date: 9 May

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Strengthening our Protocols

As we continue to develop and grow as a city and community, we must continue to develop and grow as a Council and organisation. We have started a steady journey of internal renewal of our policies and procedures to ensure we apply best practices to everything we do, and maybe even become the standard that others apply.

Over my term as Mayor I have identified a number of areas where we can improve our approach, or position ourselves for the future. I have called for a number of policies to be created or refined that will support us in these endeavours with many of these having already come to the Chamber, or will in the coming months. Some of these include:

  • strengthening our Community Engagement Strategy through the initiation of a number of focussed community and stakeholder forums;
  • advocacy campaigns to attract investment in our city;
  • review of strategic planning to align our city planning controls with the residents’ vision for our city;
  • public space infrastructure review and action plan;
  • a range of policies that support our investment in our community’s resilience;
  • review of event enabling policy framework including City Attraction and Sponsorship; and
  • an audit of indoor community infrastructure to ensure it meets our growing community’s needs.

There’s a number of key policies and initiatives that we need to address to ensure we manage and maintain our organisation’s strong reputation.

We must always give priority to developing and advancing our governance framework to ensure that we maintain the trust of our residents. As such, I will deal with some key priorities in this month’s Minute.

Mayoral Office Protocols

The first policy I believe we need to establish deals with functions, festivities and invitations. Currently Council receives endless invitations to attend functions and events. The process relies on the Mayor of the day accepting or rejecting the invitation, with recommendations from the staff. If the invitation is accepted, we proceed to attend or purchase tickets to attend an event.

There are several issues with the current system:

By attending these events, I understand that I’m not endorsing the event or the host organisation, but rather taking part in our city’s festivities and sharing in our community’s joy in a particular occasion. I acknowledge, however, that other people and organisations may perceive it differently. It has become apparent that we as a Council, and I as the Mayor, need to undertake a level of due diligence and assurance before accepting any invitation to events or festivities in my formal capacity, as it may imply a level of support for the event and the host organisation.

As such, I have asked the General Manager to investigate and develop a public Mayoral Office Protocol policy that includes the process for assurance and the level of due diligence that will be undertaken for acceptance of attendance at events and the level of involvement of the Mayor and/or the Mayor’s delegate at such events. Any events which the Mayor is invited to, may require a risk profile.

This is not intended to limit the Mayor of the day on what they choose to attend. Any attendance by the Mayor should remain at the Mayor’s absolute discretion. This is an attempt to clarify the process, minimise the organisational risk, and give the public a clear indication of how we choose to undertake such activities.

Attending external functions is an honour conferred upon us as Councillors as part of our civic responsibility. These opportunities are offered to Councillors on a ‘first in, first served’ basis.

To ensure that the attendance of Councillors at events is not adversely impacted and is equitable, I think all Councillors should be given an opportunity to select their preferred event and attend whatever they consider to be more important, within a specified limit.

This policy will also provide us with an opportunity to clearly articulate the role of the Mayor, to formalise some of the current practises and crystallise the Mayor’s and the Mayor’s delegate’s role and responsibilities when representing the Council.

Award Recipients

The other policy that I would like to discuss today came as a recommendation from some prominent members of our community. How Campbelltown advertises, promotes and selects its awards and award winners should be expanded to include more community engagement.

We have been very successful in utilising the skillsets of our kind residents who continue to volunteer their time and effort to help our city grow and achieve its potential. Whether we are talking about Our Shared Future forum where many people came together to share with us their invaluable contribution for the future of our city, or our Strategic Advocacy Group with their specialised skillsets to advance our advocacy agenda, both have made significant contribution to our policies and been a great success.

I believe implementing any strategy that increases members of the public’s participation in appropriate decision making, is of great value.

I have asked the General Manager to review the process of advertising, promoting and selecting award programs and recipients and consider furthering the external panel representation and revitalising the process and providing advice on ways of promoting our awards and acting as a selection panel for winners.

With these renewed protocols in place we can be assured that the strong reputation of our Council will continue to be something that our community can be proud of.

Thank you

I want to take this opportunity to thank Western Sydney University for inviting me as an Occasional Speaker for their School of Social Science’s graduation ceremony on 27 April 2023.

It was an honour to give the graduation address in the ceremony that I also had the honour of graduating in. I especially would like to thank Liz Dibbs, Deputy Chancellor for her kind words of encouragement and acknowledgement of my graduation and my role as the Mayor of Campbelltown, in the ceremony. 

7. Emergency Services Levy Cost Shifting

Date: 9 May

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

The Emergency Services Levy is a cost imposed on councils and the insurance industry to fund the emergency services budget in NSW. The Levy is administered through the Emergency Services Levy Act 2017 and represents another example of the cost shifting issues facing local government in NSW.

The Act established an emergency services insurance contribution scheme to which insurers are liable to contribute 73.7% of specified annual costs for the Rural Fire Service, State Emergency Service and Fire & Rescue NSW. The Act also specifies that the remaining annual costs of these services are funded through a levy on councils of 11.7%, and the State Government pays the final 14.6%.

In November 2018, the NSW Government passed the Workers’ Compensation (Firefighters’ Presumptive Rights to Compensation) Bill 2018, amending the Workers Compensation Act 1987 to provide better protection for volunteer and career firefighters affected by work-related cancers. This meant a significant increase in the cost of emergency services across the State. The impact of the changes to workers' compensation and the material increases in the annual contribution resulted in Council’s net contribution increasing by $1,225,579 from $1,666,555 to $2,892,134.

As a result of substantial advocacy from the local government industry, the State Government agreed to fund the initial year of the increase through a rebate to give Councils a short reprieve and allow Councils to make budget adjustments in future years. This rebate was extended through the following two financial years as part of the COVID-19 Local Government Economic Stimulus Package, with the final rebate of $630,847 provided to the Council relevant to the 2022-23 financial year.

Last week, Council was advised that the rebate will not be continued, and now our annual Emergency Services Levy obligation for the 2023-24 financial year is a total of $2,892,134, consisting of $481,441 for NSW Rural Fire Service, $814,156 for NSW State Emergency Service and $1,596,537 for Fire and Rescue NSW. In comparative terms, the 2023-24 financial year contribution is an increase of 73.5% of what the council paid in the current year.

The increase in the Emergency Services Levy amount this year will absorb 29% of the Campbelltown Council’s permitted rate increase in 2023-24. This, in addition to the impact of the accounting treatment of NSW Rural Fire Services Assets raised in my September 2022 Mayoral Minute, represents a significant financial actual and accounting setback for council. 

Cost shifting is a significant problem for councils in NSW, as it undermines the financial sustainability of the local government sector by forcing councils to assume responsibility for more infrastructure and services without corresponding revenue increases.

According to research by LGNSW, Local Governments in NSW spend more than $2.2 billion each year on caring for the environment and looking after more than $177 billion worth of community assets. They are responsible for 90% of the State’s roads and bridges, which have suffered $2.5 billion in road damage following 2022’s floods and torrential rains.

The Levy increase for the State’s 128 councils in 2023-24 alone sits at just under $77 million, which is another $77 million that the councils have to observe on top of the escalating cost resulting from the skills shortage, the rising cost of capital, supply disruption and inflation pressures.

To put that in perspective, Hay Shire Council will immediately lose 89% of its approved rate rise, Bourke Shire Council will lose 94%, Tenterfield will lose 119%, Hornsby Council will lose about 75% of its approved rate rise, and Campbelltown City Council will lose 29%.

The Local Government sector generally, as represented by LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM, and we here in Campbelltown, are supportive of the changes to improve the health and work-related compensation for emergency workers. However, we ask the NSW Government to fund this measure and not continue this alarming cost-shifting that is undermining the financially sustainable local government system.

At this point of our budget cycle, such a change, well after the IPART’s rate determination for 2023-24 amid inflation and soaring costs, including employment pay increases expected later this year, may cause unmanageable pressure for some councils in NSW.

While Campbelltown Council’s financial position means the impact will not be as significant as some other councils in NSW, we are still bearing a burden of cost that should be borne by another level of government, on top of the existing high share of the cost-shifting currently occurring. Such an increase will rob our residents of close to another $1 million that could have been spent directly on services that they desire.

As such, I am joining the call of the other Mayors in NSW and of LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM and asking the NSW Treasurer, the Hon. Daniel Mookhey, to restore the Emergency Services subsidy to Local Government for the 2023-24 financial year and to work with the sector to develop a fairer funding system.

The time has come to develop a fairer, more transparent and financially sustainable method of funding the critical emergency services that benefit us all in NSW. The time has come to address the structural issues facing Local Government and ensure we as Local Government can continue to deliver for the people of NSW. 

8. Future Cities - Campbelltown

Date: 6 June 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Firstly, I would like to start by acknowledging the work of the Committee for Sydney in organising, hosting and delivering a Future Cities - Campbelltown forum in Campbelltown on Friday 19 May 2023.

The Forum was attended by over 200 government agency, Ministerial and industry representatives. The forum included several panel discussions on connecting Campbelltown, community resilience, workplaces of the future, creative future in focus and a keynote from the Hon. Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces.

As I have spoken previously, we are committed to authentic community engagement, and we are now finalising our schedule for the next phase engagement plan which will include a youth forum and community town hall meetings.

While the Committee for Sydney forum was an independent event conducted by an external committee, the thought, ideas and aspirations shared during the day complemented our community’s views and aspirations that we heard from our first engagement event “Our Shared Future Forum” in March.

I took the opportunity to address the room to assure everyone, including the NSW Government that Campbelltown welcomes high-density growth but warned that any housing density without the supporting job and infrastructure is a form of “vertical sprawl”.

Below is the substantive extract of my address:

The City Made by God

If pressed to explain Sydney’s issues across the ages, I would look no further than this memorable quote from the formal Labor leader of the Legislative Council, the Honourable. James Concannon:

Sydney was made by God, Melbourne and the other capital cities of Australia by man. Here we have a city of unexampled beauty and unrivalled natural gifts, but because of a lack of organised and coordinated town planning has accumulated a series of scars that require urgent effacement.” (Concannon 1945, p. 2679).

While those words sound clunky, they are as fitting today, as they were back when Mr Concannon spoke them in a 1945 parliamentary debate; a time when Sydney was coming into the post-war era, a time when immigration was set to grow at unprecedented rates and a time when the NSW Government had to deal with the critical issue of housing shortage.

Does any of that sound familiar to us today? There is no doubt we have some big challenges ahead of us, but I am sure we can overcome them together.

I am happy to work with the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, the NSW Government and everyone in the room, to develop an organised and coordinated Sydney.

Campbelltown is ready.  Campbelltown is ready to become the city and the capital of Macarthur. Campbelltown is prepared to try new ideas and lead the way for the future.

I agree with the Hon. Chris Minns’ statement this week: “We have to go up… Sydney can’t grow by adding another street to the western fringe.” We must increase our density.  After all, density has always been the answer to the ever-elusive question: what makes a city?

But we must learn from the cities of the past to deliver our city for the future.

Density can lead to slums, with poor housing and health conditions. Or to gentrification, where wealthier residents crowd out locals and take advantage of better living conditions. Or worse, it could lead to both simultaneously, as we’ve seen in other cities.

We can't have that here in Campbelltown. We must be a city of unrivalled beauties with social justice, acceptance, and diversity at our heart.

The famous French architect once argued, "The evil of the modern city was its density of development and that the remedy was to increase that density.”  I believe this particular quote is essential to improve our understanding of some of the issues. We cannot just increase the density of housing development. We must increase the density of everything and, most importantly, the density of jobs.

Job density in our city is the remedy that will help solve our key challenges.

Let's stop borrowing ideas from one source. We must integrate the lessons learned from across the spectrum and from across the globe. We must overcome our colonised past and stop returning to London for our urban ideology, especially when discussing higher-density cities.

For colonial Sydney, “there was only one measure of urban civilisation: London … London set the standard of Sydney’s urbanism” (Davison 2016, p. 43). The Cumberland County Plan that was the ultimate result of the parliamentary debate, when Mr Concannon spoke those words, is just another example of us borrowing from London and, in that case, the great intellectual work of Sir Patrick Abercrombie.

But here lies the critical point. The idea of apartment living in Sydney has never aligned with the ideological vision of the English social reformers. Historically, in London, apartments were mainly used to house the working class and were frowned upon by the middle and upper classes.

No wonder the idea of living in apartments was considered "un-Australian" for a long time and continues to be labelled as the "slums of the future" by some people today.  However, most people in major capital cities live in apartments. At the turn of the 20th century, two-thirds of the population in New York City lived in apartments. But these cities built apartments to cater to the wealthy and the poor with New York "architects designing buildings boasting apartments with up to twenty rooms, including drawing and dining rooms, library, bedrooms and servants quarters."

Let's fast forward about a hundred years of history…

The concern with lowering carbon emissions, increasing housing affordability crises and growing infrastructure costs lead to a newfound love for high-density. We have now developed a form of density fetishism. But I ask you, have we ever shaken our ideological past? Are we still building density on the wrong assumptions?

We need to do more than just create urban consolidation policies, or set density targets like NSW Labor did after taking Government in 1995.

Unless we build high-density cities that bridge the divide between the apartment elites and low-income households, density will continue to have a bad reputation and remain a symbol of social exclusion.

We all must work together to address some of the underlying issues.  Just like the Mayor of New York City, you can tell the Premier of NSW that he won't ever hear this Mayor of Campbelltown saying we are full. We welcome density. We welcome urban consolidation.

What I ask of the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, and everyone in this room, is that the next time someone knocks on your door with a plan to “develop a high-density place-based approach for Campbelltown with the central theme of walkability and permeability.” Unless it's followed with: “the plan will generate 6000 higher-order jobs in our city centre”, please ask them instead to relocate here. We could host them in our offices. Let’s see how much walking to work they do every day then. We struggle to get our residents to a train station in 30 minutes, let alone to their final destination - 62% of our people leave this city every day for jobs, 68% if we consider only white-collar workers.

Dumping high-density development on us without supporting infrastructure, without supporting jobs, and without supporting funding is a form of "vertical sprawl". I don’t think this form of urban growth would not fit with any social reform agenda.

We have had our fair share of sprawl. We do not need any more. 

Let's not let housing shortages and speculative markets dictate our city’s next growth phase. Let's not let unfounded ideologies and policies designed for others, steal our lifestyle.

We deserve policies that are developed for us; policies that solve our problems.

We need policies that would enable us to become an example of the city of the future, with a density of houses, density of jobs and density of recreation.

Again, Campbelltown is keen to work with the Minister, and everyone in this room, to solve some of Sydney’s problems. But it must be together - Local Government must have a real seat at the table.  Let's bring back some form of localism into our thinking. After all, one more policy from London won't hurt.

We are Campbelltown. We are Sydney.  Let's get our title back; let's be the city made by gods!

9. Progress and Constraints

Date: 6 June 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Infrastructure Investment Program

On 1 May 2023, the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP, announced an Independent Strategic Review (A 90-day review) of the Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP).

The purpose of the review needs to be clarified, as the information received advises that the Government is committed to maintaining a $120 billion pipeline of land transport infrastructure projects and that no funding has been removed or deferred in the 2023-24 Budget. However, it goes on to say that the review aims to ensure that the pipeline is sustainable, aligned to market capacity and comprised of nationally significant projects.

The Review will not consider projects already under construction or the Commonwealth’s 2022 election commitments. It will consider whether other projects in the IIP represent good value for money and are deliverable in the current market and macroeconomic conditions.

What is also concerning is that the review will also include the assessment of several vital sub-programs, including the Bridges Renewal Program, Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, Roads to Recovery Program and Black Spot Program, for which Council receives millions of dollars in Federal funding each year. While the Review will not consider individual projects in the sub-programs, there was no clear commitment that the funding under these programs will remain the same. It only stated that the government is committed to ensuring it is delivered in the best way possible over the long term.

Currently, Campbelltown has a significant number of planned projects with committed funding from the Federal Government due to commence delivery shortly.  We also rely upon ongoing funding from the Federal Government on an annual basis under transport infrastructure programs to address black spots (accident prone areas), major road renewal, bridge renewal and supporting infrastructure for enhanced safety for heavy vehicle movements.

These projects and program works have been promised over previous elections and by the previous government. No major projects were promised in Campbelltown in the 2022 Federal election. I fear, from the limited information we have, that due to the review, some of our projects will be cut to pay for the 2022 election promises outside of Campbelltown.

While some people in Canberra may see our projects as not being of national significance, they are critical to our city’s growth strategies and have formed an essential part of our plans. Our community should be able to rely on the delivery of committed/funded projects and not be impacted by political cycles, especially when no new project has been promised to replace them in the new cycle.

I have previously written to the Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP, five times in my capacity as the Mayor of Campbelltown and once as the Chair of the Parks’ Mayoral Forum. In four of these letters I requested a meeting to discuss our community’s issues (Campbelltown issues as the Mayor and Western Parkland City issues as the Chair). I have only received two replies to my correspondence: one reply on 6 September 2022 to my letter dated 26 July 2022 and then another on 7 March 2023 to my letter 18 November 2022.

The first letter refused my request for a meeting and asked me to meet with one of the Minister’s advisers, and while that was disappointing, we did. The second reply suggested we raise the issue with the state government. All other requests have yet to be responded to. I have also raised the issue of our inability to meet with Minister King with Dr Freelander MP, who has advised that he will attempt to organise a meeting. I have also discussed the issue with the Chair of the Western Parkland City Authority, Jennifer Westacott AO, who will be writing to ask for a joint meeting on behalf of the Parks councils.

The communication regarding the IIP review indicated that the Minister would only approve the release of Commonwealth funding for genuinely urgent and unavoidable projects, election commitments, or projects already under construction until the Review has concluded. While that is only 90 days, according to the communication we received, we now have to put all of our federally funded project-related work on hold until we receive confirmation of the outcome.

I have written to Dr Freelander seeking his continued advocacy and support to ensure the projects committed to Campbelltown are maintained and ultimately delivered.

Increasing Funding Constraints

Negotiations for the 2023 Local Government (State) Award are expected to conclude shortly, including an anticipated pay increase for council employees. We understand, in the current economic conditions, with increasing interest rates and high inflation, that our staff deserve these increases. I am sure all parties involved have been negotiating in good faith, and we will end up with an equitable outcome for everyone in the sector.

However, as I highlighted last month, with the pressures councils are experiencing with their increasing costs and cost-shifting, many other councils face a significant operating deficit. Thanks to the economically responsible thinking of our staff and Councillors through the years, Campbelltown has prided itself on delivering a sustainable and balanced budget.

I am confident we will be able to deal with these shocks. Still, I fear we will reach the limits of our resilience soon and will need to consider further options to ensure we continue to provide our communities with the necessary services.

LGNSW is working to address some of these issues as they impact all councils in NSW. I will wait to understand the sector-wide approach before returning to Councillors and our community to discuss Campbelltown specific options.  

Affordable Entertainment Activities in our City

I understand the impact of cost-of-living pressures on our community, and believe that despite these increases, our community should still be able to access entertainment and other activities, at an affordable price.

In light of recent events, I have asked the General Manager to explore opportunities and review relevant policies to attract quality entertainment activities to our city, so that our community can access this entertainment within our city, at an affordable price. This may include looking at providers of modern entertainment within our facilities, attracting private providers to our city, and other forms of affordable entertainment for our community.

I have also asked the General Manager to include options that ensure that the most vulnerable members of our community are supported to enjoy these activities. It is important that we have equitable access to the same types of activities for all of our residents and not exclude or force the more vulnerable into a lesser level of enjoyment.

Revitalisation and Urban Renewal

At the May Council meeting, a report providing an update on the progress of the Local Environment Plan (LEP) for the Campbelltown City Centre was noted by Council.  I am pleased to say that the work is progressing well and since lodging the Scoping Proposal, Council has been in frequent dialogue with the Department of Planning and Environment and other relevant state agencies with the Scoping Proposal being well received.

The LEP will provide the planning policy framework to guide and approve development, however, alone it will not stimulate the revitalisation of our City Centre.  Council will also have to play a role in the urban renewal process to create attractive, functional, and liveable centres, precincts, and places for our communities.

Council is committed to the process of revitalising underutilised areas and properties to reinforce or re-establish a strong sense of place and resilience. This will demonstrate Council’s commitment to the revitalisation of our city and builds confidence in the market for further public and private investment.

This is extremely important for Campbelltown, as we continually compete with other nearby centres for public and private sector investment. We do this to ensure we create as many opportunities for our community through social, economic and environmental means. By taking a lead role, and investing in ourselves, we are much more likely to attract investment that in turn improves the liveability of our City, improves the vibrancy of our communities and improves the local economy by generating additional housing and employment opportunities.

In October 2022, I spoke about the plans that we may need to support our city’s growth and our activation and revitalisation of our main street and CBDs. Thanks to the hard work of our City Futures team, our new Revitalisation and Urban Renewal Policy is in its final stages of drafting.

The Policy will strengthen our ability and capacity to deliver and influence urban renewal outcomes within the LGA. This includes potential projects, which may sit outside Council’s normal business activities, such as undertaking the planning and development of strategic sites, the creation of vibrant places, and the generation of future revenue streams for Council by leveraging our extensive property portfolio.

We are also currently finalising the City Centre Design Framework. The Framework includes the Sustainable Development Plan, Integrated Sustainable Mobility Plan, City Centre Community Travel Survey and First Nations Cultural Engagement and Advice.

I am excited by the progress in our planning for a revitalised city centre, and look forward to the transformation taking place. As we finalise these plans, we will be discussing them with the Councillors and will engage with our community to understand your thoughts and feedback within the coming months. 

10. St Peter's Anglican Church 200 Years of History

Date: 11 July 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

I recently had the pleasure of attending the 200-year celebrations of St Peter’s Anglican Church.

Opened only three years after Campbelltown itself was founded, the church is believed to be the oldest building in our city and one of the oldest churches in Australia. The first church service was held on 29 June 1823.

The church building is in great condition and an integral part of our city centre. The church was designed and built by Francis Lawless, a bricklayer who was transported to Australia as a convict and worked on several projects across Sydney, including the convict barracks at Parramatta and the Benevolent Society for Sydney.

It has a simple yet graceful classic Georgian architecture, originally designed with a dimensional symmetry of being half as wide as it was as long. The building was altered in the later 1800s to look more gothic and was restored in the middle of the 1900s to its original Georgian style, which included the installation of the windows we see today, in 1962.   

Thomas Reddall was the first incumbent of St Peter’s. He was trained as a colonial chaplain and schoolmaster, which helped Governor Macquarie's aims of establishing Campbelltown as an orderly town.   

While Reverend Thomas Reddall was also the local magistrate, he established a small school to provide tuition to Governor Macquarie’s son and others in the area at the time. While not related to the current St Peter’s Anglican School, it is important to recognise the church's role in the early history of Campbelltown.

The nearby cemetery is also the final resting place for many of Campbelltown and the Macarthur region’s most well-known historical figures, such as John Warby, James Ruse, William Bradbury and James Tyson. While the exact location of his burial site is unknown, Fred Fisher is also buried in the cemetery.

As our city continues to grow, we must recognise, celebrate and preserve the heritage of our region, such as St Peter’s Anglican Church. Sitting alongside Mawson Park, it creates a picturesque scene in the heart of the city centre.

I would like to thank senior minister Jason Veitch for inviting me to attend this special event, and the Most Reverend Kanishka Raffel, Archbishop of Sydney, Regional Bishop Peter Lin and Rev. Michael Duckett from Macarthur Indigenous Church for their kind words and inspiring bicentennial service.

I would also like to congratulate the parish community on all their contribution to Campbelltown and wish them all the best for the next 200 years.

11. Strengthening Our City, Now and Into The Future

Date: 11 July 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

City Revitalisation and Urban Renewal

In my previous Mayoral Minutes, I wrote of the importance of City Revitalisation and Urban Renewal and the Council's commitment to revitalising underutilised areas and properties to reinforce or re-establish a strong sense of place and resilience. If we, as a Council and a community, are serious about the revitalisation of our CBDs, we must not make decisions based on historical narratives that, while they may make us feel like we are maintaining our past, are costing us our future. We cannot put our city’s growth on hold for memories sake.

I have provided updates on the Local Environment Plan (LEP) progress for the Campbelltown City Centre, and I am looking forward to this significant policy progressing. Also, in the coming months, further significant work will be presented to Council for consideration, including the outcome of the public exhibition of the Ingleburn CBD Planning Proposal and the draft amendments to the Campbelltown Local Infrastructure Contributions Plan.

All these policies are critical for ensuring our city grows in an orderly and sustainable way. It is important that we realise that we cannot be in a constant state of planning. While some may argue that the market conditions may have changed due to the time lag between our research and the policy release, and they may be right, we cannot reset and start again. Otherwise, we will never finish.

The next thing we as a council must consider is our own ability to invest in the revitalisation of our city. We must do this in a fair and equitable way. We must do this to signal to all interested parties that we believe in our city’s future and are doing all we can to realise it. However, we also must be careful not to give ourselves an unfair market advantage or to crowd out other private investments.     

To do this, we need a policy that will strengthen our ability and capacity to deliver and influence urban renewal outcomes within our LGA.  This includes potential projects that may sit outside the Council’s normal business activities, such as planning and developing strategic sites that will facilitate the creation of vibrant places and generate future revenue streams for the Council.

The team have been working hard on researching and developing a policy that will define our operational mandate in the revitalisation space and work with Council’s strategic and operational plans to help realise our revitalisation objectives by setting the renewal agenda. It will create a clearly defined framework for leveraging Council assets to implement transformational projects that will attract private and public sector investment.

In the past, our Council had the foresight to create a portfolio of assets to not only deliver services to the community but also to consider the future needs of a growing population and as an investment in the future. We now have an obligation to review our land and building assets regularly to ensure they continue to meet the needs and expectations of the community and are leveraged for optimal social and economic benefit. 

We must use a “dynamic” approach and assess those assets that are no longer required for community, operational or strategic purposes and may be divested to enable investment in other assets or activities that both serve the needs of the community and potentially support the generation of revenue streams.

This is not a new approach; we have seen the previous Council undertake such investments, rather this is the creation and formalisation of a framework that clearly articulates our intentions and strategies for consistency and transparency.

I look forward to this policy coming to the Council in the next few months for review and endorsement.

WestInvest Update

While we are yet to sign the deeds of agreement to any of our projects, we have received confirmation from the Delivery Office and, more importantly, the Premier of NSW, The Hon. Chris Minns MP, committing to the continuation of our funds under the Council round and the community round. 

Campbelltown received significant funding under these two rounds of WestInvest commitments under the previous Government, in the order of $171 million for important projects to our community such as the expansion of Campbelltown Arts Cpentre; park and facility enhancements; traffic and connectivity improvements; and the creation of a number of new recreation facilities and playspaces , as I have highlighted numerous time previously.

I want to thank the Premier for making such a commitment and continuing our funding and Mr Greg Warren MP, Member for Campbelltown, for his ongoing support for the projects and his work ensuring that the funding continues to be available to our community.

I look forward to the September budget and hope our community receives its fair share of investments and projects.   

We are now re-reviewing all of the projects, before signing the deeds and committing the Council to the projects. This includes undertaking a second round of due diligence and project Quantity Surveying to ensure the projects remaipn viable after recent cost escalations resulting from the current economic conditions.

Project Delivery

The delivery of WestInvest-funded projects, the development of new services, facilities and infrastructure network projects, and the substantial renewal of Campbelltown’s existing assets will take Council capital project investment to over $554m in the next ten years. To ensure that these projects deliver the outcomes our community requires, there has been significant attention on building our capability and capacity to plan and deliver projects, ensuring that we invest in the right projects at the right time. 

Last year, a new Project Management Office (PMO) and City Projects team were established. This team has built and advanced our project governance model and embedded further rigour through all project delivery cycles, including an audit function and regular project health checks.  Our governance model is now linked through the broader Integrated Planning and Reporting framework and ensures regularity and consistency in reporting.

We have invested significantly in our project delivery capability, with the City Projects team now being responsible for the project management of all of Council's tier one projects. The team will continue to work and advance our project management framework to ensure we have a methodology that is flexible enough to deal with the various types of projects we undertake while being sufficiently vigorous to ensure compliance and transparency.  

To further ensure that Council has access to the best possible resources and we have the next level of transparency and accountability, the establishment of an external specialist advisory group is currently being explored. This group would provide expert advice throughout the different stages of the project lifecycle and support the delivery of Council’s major projects, including the revitalisation and urban renewal program.

Further detail relating to the function and responsibility of this advisory group will be presented to Council for consideration in the coming months.

Sponsorship and City Attraction

In my Mayoral Minute in April 2023, I highlighted that our Council staff are currently reviewing the enabling policy framework that includes the Policy and any supplementary procedures and standardised tools to ensure that community events are easy to undertake, that we’re competitive with other Councils that encourage those activities, and that they’re equitable across the range of our residents’ interests. 

It was expected that these policies were to come to the Council this month. However, last month I also asked General Manager to explore opportunities and review relevant policies to attract quality entertainment activities to our city so that our community can access this entertainment at an affordable price.

The staff have taken this opportunity to combine these two initiatives into a comprehensive framework and have been working intensely to review and edit existing policies and draft new approaches to provide a revised framework for community applications, Council assessment, including community engagement and approval in line with statutory requirements.

To date, Council have supported the establishment of two funds namely the Stadium Content Attraction and the broader Campbelltown City Attraction/Hosting Fund. There is now an opportunity to review the deliverables of these funds and create a community event support framework that includes recruiting additional staff to support the process.

As I have previously highlighted, based on community feedback, empowering community members to establish and develop activities dear to their hearts is important to our community welfare and our city's resilience. Recruitment of additional staff to support community engagement and manage compliance requirements will ultimately deliver the capacity to improve service levels and customer experiences.

The supporting policies are expected to come to the council in the next few months for review and approval, the recruitment for the positions has begun, and the required staff are expected to be on board by the end of August 2023.

Each of the updates I have spoken to in this Mayoral Minute, all have one thing in common. They highlight the work we have set in motion to strengthen our city today, and into the future.

While acknowledging where we have come from is key to our city’s identity, continuing to look ahead and taking a proactive approach, will ensure we have the frameworks in place to support our city and attract investment, and will set us up for a prosperous and rewarding future. I look forward to realising our vision and seeing many of these initiatives come to fruition.

Thank you and Farewell

I would also like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Director City Governance, Phu Nguyen, as tonight will be his final Council meeting, before he takes up a new role as the Chief Executive Officer of the City of Onkaparinga in South Australia.

Phu has contributed significantly to our city and organisation over the past 5 years, and I would like to wish him all the best as he relocates to Adelaide and takes this next step in his career.

12. Recognising 30 Years of Service to Our Community

Date: 11 July 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

I would like to take this opportunity to recognise our General Manager, Lindy Deitz who on 12 July 2023 will mark 30 years of service with Campbelltown City Council.

Lindy commenced her career with Council utilising her nursing qualifications and passion for community to support the programs being delivered in our childcare facilities. Through this role, she was particularly focused on supporting the needs of children and families in social housing communities. This early introduction to community has shaped Lindy’s ongoing career and commitment to the people who call Campbelltown home.

Following her time on the front line working directly with community, Lindy went on to lead Council’s Education and Care Services before being appointed to the role of Director Community Services in 2005. In 2015, Lindy was appointed as the first female General Manager of Campbelltown City Council.

Lindy has witnessed significant change to our city and organisation over the last 30 years, with our population and workforce increasing and the face of our city continually changing. As Campbelltown has moved from a city on the fringes of Sydney, to our role as the centre of the Macarthur and a critical part of the South West Sydney story, Lindy has played an important role in this and her commitment to our city is evident.

Lindy is passionate about Campbelltown and a tireless advocate for the needs of our residents. She works closely with Councillors, staff, community, industry and Government to ensure Campbelltown is recognised and continues to thrive.

On behalf of Councillors, staff and the wider Campbelltown community I would like to thank Lindy for her service and commend her for her contributions to our city over her long and successful career.

13. Enhancing Our City

Date: 08 August 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Throughout its history, Campbelltown has consistently demonstrated a proactive approach to planning for the future. In my initial Mayoral Minute titled "Thoughts, Aspirations, and Highlights", delivered in February 2022, I emphasised some of the notable achievements of the previous Council term. These accomplishments included the adoption of Campbelltown's Koala Plan of Management in 2018 and the Reimagining Campbelltown City Centre Masterplan in 2020, to name but a few. The Masterplan, a comprehensive vision for the city's development, was crafted collaboratively with input from various stakeholders dedicated to shaping Campbelltown's future. The Council has remained committed to ensuring that its actions, priorities, and projects align harmoniously with the overarching vision of the Masterplan.

In addition to recognising past achievements, I also outlined a vision for the city and with the support of my fellow councillors and the dedicated council staff, I aspired to pursue initiatives to improve the well-being of our residents in the present and the years to come. Central to this commitment were three key principles aimed at enhancing our city:

  1. Delivering local social and physical infrastructure geared towards fostering a thriving community and supporting the needs of our residents.
  2. Establishing a strong advocacy program that ensures Campbelltown's interests are effectively represented at higher levels of government and that the city's needs are championed with conviction.
  3. Undertaking a comprehensive review of city policies through the evaluation of existing policies to identify areas for improvement, creating a more adaptive and progressive framework for guiding the city's growth and development.

Through most of the 27 Mayoral Minutes that followed, I intended to articulate and inform the Council and the community about how these ideas are taking shape.

Local Social and Physical Infrastructure

City Beautification

One of the most urgent and impactful actions was the establishment of the City Amenity, Beautification and Appeal Program. This initiative had a clear purpose: to identify areas in need of improvement within the city and create a practical plan to ensure that these public spaces were well-maintained and effectively catered to the community's needs. The overarching goal was to enhance the city's aesthetics and overall liveability, making it an even more attractive and pleasant place to reside.

The City Amenity, Beautification and Appeal Program focused on regular cleaning and maintenance of public assets, contributing to the enjoyment and well-being of all residents. As a result of these efforts, significant short-term results were achieved, notably improving the cleanliness and renewal of city assets and enhancing their utilisation for the benefit of the community. Through the implementation of the beautification programs, Campbelltown experienced a noticeable improvement. The report contained within this business paper shows some of the work we have completed and the equipment that we purchased to undertake the regular cleaning schedule.

As we continue our unwavering commitment to enhancing city beautification, we are maturing and specialising our asset management approach. Supported by leading technology with visualisation of our assets and comprehensive datasets, we will see further enhancement of our decision-making process. These systems and processes will provide a comprehensive and dynamic view of our city's assets, enabling us to make informed and strategic choices to ensure optimal utilisation and maintenance of assets including public spaces and ultimately maximise their benefit to the community.

I would like to thank Ben Hoyle, the recently appointed Director of City Services, for spearheading this initiative and bringing his expertise in innovative asset management to Campbelltown. With his leadership and this leading-edge approach, I am confident that our city's beautification efforts will reach new heights, making Campbelltown an even more vibrant and inviting place for all residents.

Community Social Activities

As part of our ongoing commitment to delivering local social and physical infrastructure projects, my recent Mayoral Minute titled "Our Communities Social Connections - Social Activities", presented in April 2023, detailed three points regarding how we should work to gather and empower community members to establish and develop activities that are dear to their hearts.

As I highlighted, the first element to enabling successful social activities is considering what activities the community wants and needs. We have seen significant effort in this space from Councillors’ Notices of Motion, a few of which are up for discussion tonight and through our ongoing engagement with the community. I thank everyone involved in bringing these important activities to our attention. 

The second point was about the suitability of the spaces Campbelltown has to offer. I asked the General Manager to investigate suitable outdoor locations that could serve as event-ready venues for hosting community gatherings and celebrations. The imperative to explore suitable outdoor spaces for hosting festivals and community events was in response to valuable feedback from our community members.

I am pleased that we have completed the review and actively explored various options to enhance event experiences for our residents. The invaluable input and engagement from our community have been the driving force behind these efforts, and we are committed to ensuring that Campbelltown offers the finest spaces for events that foster unity and bring people together.

Our city already boasts several remarkable locations that our community has utilised for various events and activities. These include the Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Campbelltown Arts Centre, Coronation and Redfern Parks at Minto, the Athletics Centre, Koshigaya Park, Hallinan Park at Ingleburn and the soon-to-be-completed Billabong Parklands. Some of these spaces are currently planned for upgrades and improvements, further elevating their potential to accommodate diverse activities and gatherings.

Councillors have now being briefed on the options, and I understand a formal recommendation to upgrade an outdoor venue to an event-ready space will be coming to Council in the next Council meeting.

I also brought attention to the matter of our public halls' suitability for modern-day activities. Recognising the dynamic nature of our growing community's needs, I requested the General Manager conduct a comprehensive audit of our indoor community infrastructure.

The primary goal of this audit is to thoroughly assess whether our current public halls adequately meet the evolving demands and aspirations of our residents. As Campbelltown continues to develop, it is essential that our indoor spaces can effectively accommodate a wide range of activities and events that foster community engagement and social connections. I am pleased to inform you that the audit is actively underway, and the team is diligently examining each facility to gauge its adaptability and capacity to cater to diverse community needs. The results will be presented to the Council in the coming months.

I look forward to continuing to work with the Council to create an inclusive and vibrant environment where our communities can foster meaningful social connections and celebrate their shared experiences.

Further to this progress, in July 2023, I highlighted that community members may need additional support in navigating the compliance process of establishing an event within our city’s available spaces. I understand that additional resources have now been employed to work closely with community to assist in the event process, with the staff soon joining the Council team.

I want to thank the staff for all of their efforts in this significant body of work.

Advocacy Program

Since assuming the role of Mayor of Campbelltown in early 2022, I have worked to leverage the opportunities for our city through political advocacy. I continue to draw attention to Campbelltown's needs from both the Commonwealth and NSW Governments. I have been unwavering in my advocacy efforts, reaching out to Members of Parliament, Ministers, and Shadow Ministers to champion our city's interests at every opportunity I could. 

To bolster our advocacy campaign, we developed "Our Call to the NSW Government for Support," which outlined vital initiatives that could benefit our community. I am pleased to report that several of these initiatives have garnered support from the NSW Government, which is a testament to the effectiveness of our advocacy efforts.

The unprecedented investment commitment from the former NSW Government through the WestInvest Program has been a significant achievement for our community. We eagerly anticipate these projects' planning and subsequent development as funding commitments take shape, promising positive outcomes for Campbelltown.

Moving forward, we remain committed to our city's progress and will continue to advocate for increased investment from the NSW Government. Our vision includes the development of a Community and Justice Precinct, which has the potential to catalyse private and university sector involvement in Campbelltown. This development could create essential employment opportunities for our residents, further enhancing the city's prosperity.

Recently, we have started to re-establish our campaign and begun meeting with new State Ministers. I had the privilege of meeting with the Premier of NSW in Campbelltown to discuss our city's priorities and opportunities. I pledged to work closely with his government to secure successful outcomes for Campbelltown's growth and development. I eagerly look forward to a favourable outcome in the NSW Budget to support our city further.

Despite challenges in engaging with the Commonwealth Government, I remain determined to continue our efforts in advocating for issues relevant to Campbelltown. We understand the importance of presenting our city's needs at the national level and will persist in seeking opportunities for support and collaboration.

Enabling Policy Framework

In today's business paper, two new policy frameworks for Council discussion and endorsement are presented: City Attraction and Events and secondly Urban Revitalisation and Investment.  These frameworks are designed to address various aspects related to community development and support.

City Attraction and Events Policy Framework

The first framework comprises four key policies that align with our vision for a thriving and inclusive city:

  1. City Attraction Program: This program focuses on attracting and hosting events, activities, and initiatives that enhance the overall appeal and vibrancy of Campbelltown. By offering a range of engaging and diverse opportunities, we aim to draw both residents and visitors to experience the best that our city has to offer.
  2. Stadium Attraction and Content Retention Policy: This policy focuses on attracting events and entertainment content to our city that drives both economic uplift and the opportunity for the community to participate, enjoy and socialise.
  3. Sustainable Events Policy: As we strive to create a sustainable and environmentally responsible community, this policy lays out guidelines and principles for organising events in an eco-friendly manner. By adopting sustainable practices, we aim to reduce our ecological footprint while promoting events that resonate with our commitment to environmental stewardship.
  4. Grants, Sponsorships, and Donations Policy: This policy outlines our approach to supporting community-driven initiatives and projects through grants, sponsorships, and donations. By offering financial assistance and resources, we aim to empower local organisations and individuals to bring their ideas to life and contribute to the betterment of our community.

With the implementation of these policies, we aim to promote fairness, inclusivity, and sustainability and to foster an environment where opportunities are accessible to all of our community.

Urban Revitalisation and Investment Policy Framework

It is evident that council investment and urban renewal are topics of significant importance to the community, to me and to the Council. As such, I have highlighted these matters on numerous occasions.

Today we have the first four essential policies that form the foundation of our approach in these areas:

  1. Urban Renewal and City Revitalisation Policy: This policy reflects our dedication to breathe new life into urban spaces and enhance the overall vitality of our city. Through strategic urban renewal initiatives, we seek to revitalise key areas, improving infrastructure, amenities, and aesthetics. This policy is designed to create attractive and functional spaces that promote economic development, community well-being, and a sense of pride among our residents.
  2. Investment Property Portfolio – Strategy for Revenue Growth Policy: This policy focuses on a comprehensive evaluation of our investment property portfolio. By analysing the performance and potential of these investments, we aim to develop a well-informed strategy for revenue growth. The goal is to optimise returns on investments, ensuring that we can fund essential projects and initiatives that benefit our community.
  3. Acquisition of Property Policy: This policy outlines the considerations for Council’s acquisition of property within the LGA, whether for operational, strategic or investment purposes.
  4. Divestment of Land and Building Assets Policy: As we continue to evolve and adapt, it is crucial to review our asset portfolio regularly. This policy outlines the process of divesting land and building assets that may no longer align with our long-term vision or strategic priorities. By divesting certain properties, we can redirect resources towards more impactful projects and investments that better serve the needs of our community.

The four policies are complementary and play a critical role in guiding our decisions and actions related to council investment and urban renewal. They ensure that our endeavours are forward-thinking, sustainable and contribute positively to the growth and well-being of Campbelltown’s community.

The decision-making process for any activities related to the policies will continue to adhere to the necessary governance procedures mandated by the Local Government Act. As per the legal requirements, all such activities will be presented to the Council for approval, ensuring transparency and accountability in our decision-making.

The introduction of these policies and their accompanying support procedures, once approved, will provide a structured framework that guides our actions and choices. This framework will serve as a compass, helping us navigate the complexities of council investment, urban renewal, and revitalisation while adhering to established guidelines and principles.

Councillor Protocols

Finally, the other policy initiative is strengthening our Councillor protocols. While I spoke about a Mayoral Office Protocol in the Mayoral Minute in May 2023, following advice from staff, and based on our Code of Conduct training conducted by our external legal providers, we understand these protocols should extend to cover all Councillors. The proposed revised Councillor Protocols are in today's Business Paper.

The protocols we have in the item represent a comprehensive compilation of various elements, including current legislation, code of conduct procedures, and longstanding traditional processes. By amalgamating these elements into a unified set of protocols, we create a cohesive and comprehensive framework that guides our day-to-day operations. This ensures that our actions are aligned with our principles and that we maintain a high standard of performance while serving the best interests of our community.

As we continue to evolve, we remain committed to reviewing and updating these protocols to adapt to changing circumstances and to improve our processes continually.


Through the implementation of these strategic policy frameworks, we set a clear direction for the future, centred on the fundamental principles of enhancing community well-being, sustainability, and resilience.

With the right social and physical infrastructure, and the enabling policy environment in place, Campbelltown is poised to become a city that not only meets the needs of its diverse and growing population but also nurtures a sense of pride and connection among its residents, fostering an environment that encourages community engagement, cultural enrichment, and social cohesion.

14. Acknowledging the Contributions of Our Outgoing Deputy Mayor

Date: 12 September 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the contributions of Councillor Josh Cotter who has devotedly filled the role of Deputy Mayor since November 2022.

Cr Cotter has been a passionate advocate for his community, and gave the role his all with his grassroots style of community engagement and advocacy.

It was not uncommon to see him at events with his family, genuinely connecting with those in our community. Whether it was at our youth forums, where we would actively engage with our young people and services about what was important to them, or at our community events where he brought his own brand of fun and dynamism.

It goes without saying that Cr Cotter is a committed Councillor who took on his role as Deputy Mayor with unwavering commitment. He represented me at a range of events, including the Police Officer of the Year Awards, school graduations and a diverse of community events and celebrations during his tenure.

He chairs our Youth Committee and continues to put forward and support a range of initiatives that focus on the current and future needs of young people in Campbelltown.

Josh is a well-respected leader in our community, committing his time to a range of local groups and causes, and getting behind charities and volunteer organisations to lend his support.

I would like to thank him for fulfilling the role of Deputy Mayor with such energy and commitment, and for always putting our community first.

I look forward to continuing to work closely with him over the next 12 months and know that he will continue to represent Campbelltown as passionately as ever.

15. Congratulations to Our New Deputy Mayor

Date: 12 September 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Councillor Masud Khalil on his election as Deputy Mayor for the remainder of the current Council term.

Cr Khalil was first elected in 2021, and since that time has passionately demonstrated his commitment to the community. He is well respected among the Campbelltown community and actively engages in a range of activities, programs and events.

Having called the Campbelltown region home for almost 7 years, he is raising his family here, while also contributing to our city through his involvement in a range of community groups.

His commitment to the celebration of diversity is evident through his role as Chair of Campbelltown’s Multicultural Committee and his active participation in the events, programs and festivals in our city that celebrate our diverse multicultural community.

Cr Khalil was instrumental in our recent program of events to celebrate Ramadan and is passionate about ensuring we continue to deliver on a diverse program of events that celebrate all that is great about our city.

As the first Deputy Mayor of Bangladeshi descent, he proudly wears his home country on his sleeve while also being strongly committed to his adopted home, and representing the entire Campbelltown community with pride.

I know he will fulfil the role of Deputy Mayor with commitment and professionalism and I Iook forward to his contributions to Campbelltown over the next 12 months.

16. Recognising a Career Well Served

Date: 12 September 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

On Friday 8 September 2023, The Hon. Senator Marise Payne announced her retirement from Federal politics, a role she has devotedly served for 26 years.

During her long and decorated career, Marise has held a number of important senior roles, including Minister for Foreign Affairs, Defence, Women and Human Services.  She is also the longest serving female Senator in Australia’s history and has been a tireless advocate for the rights and opportunities of women.

Senator Payne was affectionately known as the Senator for Western Sydney. She was a passionate advocate for the West, and in particular was unwavering in her commitment to advocate and support the needs of our community. In her farewell speech, she acknowledged the important role of Western Sydney as the most diverse and dynamic region in our nation.

As a key figure in the former Federal Government, Marise and the Cabinet supported the delivery of a number of critical infrastructure projects for our city, and Marise would regularly visit Campbelltown to celebrate these announcements and project milestones.

It was not uncommon to see Marise out on site for progress visits, donning a hard hat and speaking with staff and contractors about progress and to truly understand the complexity and importance of some of these projects.

In particular, Marise was instrumental in the provision of funding for the Wedderburn Bridge, to ensure the safety of some of our most isolated residents. This was a highly complex project, providing safe access for our residents during times of flood and fire, and navigating the complex environmental location, while also paying respects to its important cultural history.

She was also a driving force between securing significant funding for Badgally Road and strengthening the important East/West connections across our city and in recent times, lending her support to the Campbelltown Sports Centre of Excellence.

Marise played a key role in the development of the Western Sydney City Deal, one of the largest and most complex Deals of its kind. Under this Deal, the Liveability program was developed and led to the funding of key projects across the 8 signatory Councils to improve the lives of their residents, including the creation of the Billabong Parklands here in Campbelltown.

Senator Payne has also been a strong campaigner and advocate for the South West Community and Justice Precinct, an important piece of social infrastructure that would bring higher order jobs and investment to our city centre, along with greater access to family law services for those across our region. Marise is passionate about job-generating infrastructure, economic growth and human rights, all attributes that the realisation of this once in a generation project would contribute to.

She has led her portfolios with distinction and her resilience was regularly on show through times of both turmoil and unprecedented challenges. She faced these challenges head on, always putting the people of NSW first.

Her achievements across her diverse portfolios are widely documented and of significant national importance, such as establishing the AUKUS partnership, navigating complex negotiations with our international partners, strengthening our defence capabilities and leading significant improvements to our Human Services payments infrastructure system.

Despite holding some of the most complex portfolios in Government, Marise always made time for Campbelltown and Western Sydney, an incredible testament to her professionalism and integrity. Her commitment to democracy was clearly evident in everything she did, never shying away from contentious issues and always acting as a model representative in the Senate.

On behalf of myself and the community of Campbelltown, I would like to congratulate Marise on her stellar career and thank her for all she has done for Campbelltown, Western Sydney and our country. I wish her all the best for the future and thank her for her service.

17. Serving in Local Government

Date: 12 September 

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Firstly, I would like to start by thanking my fellow Councillors for re-electing me on Tuesday, 5 September, as the Mayor of Campbelltown. I am honoured and humbled to have been elected by my fellow Councillors and to have increased my majority from 8-7 in 2022 to 10-5, which is a testimony to the power of local democracy.

As I mentioned in my first Mayoral Minute, across our Council’s 74 years of history, we have had 27 individual Mayors with tenures ranging from a single year to 8 unbroken years, with me now continuing to serve as the 28th Mayor of the community of this great city of Campbelltown.

I have enjoyed the journey and have developed a better understanding of our community’s needs and aspirations. I also have learned a lot about the workings of the Council and the complexity of government machinery. While I cannot tell from experience or historical account whether this is a norm in the ever-changing political environment, I can say that we are currently facing increasing challenges to deliver significantly more with a lot less resources.

We will continue our commitment to the residents of Campbelltown and our work to deliver the best we can with the resources we have, within the legal limitations.

Local Government

It is undeniable that Local Governments have to deal with a vertical fiscal imbalance, relying on grants from the State and Federal Governments to fulfil crucial functions within their community. What is perhaps less apparent, is that local governments also confront a vertical democratic imbalance, requiring approval from the State and, at times, the Federal Government for some of their actions.

These imbalances delineate the two traditionally recognised models of Local Government in Australia. It has long been acknowledged that local government operates both as a local service provider and as an instrument of democratic self-governance.

In its capacity as a service provider, Local Government is often narrowly viewed as a supplier of services, operating under the purview of public management theories. Here, fiscal and economic considerations tend to override social and political concerns. This model hinges on the efficient allocation of resources, with more substantial state government intervention to maintain control and ensure mechanisms are in place to enhance this efficiency.

Conversely, when Local Government functions as a form of democratic self-governance, a premium is placed on local distinctions and diversity, rooted in the belief that local government possesses the legitimacy and capability to collaborate with and comprehend local choices. In this model, the focus shifts towards traditional democratic principles such as representation, accountability, and accessibility.

Additionally, a third role for Local Government known as Place-Shaping has frequently been discussed. Although the validity of this model is subject to debate; I align with the local government scholars who firmly place it within the purview of the NSW local government system, especially when considering the role of local government in urban planning.

The tension between efficiency and democracy has been a pivotal aspect of the history of Local Government in NSW, and it remains central to all contemporary Local Government reforms. It is important to emphasise that these models are not mutually exclusive. Local Government can function as an efficient service provider while maintaining local political representation and fostering collaboration with communities to shape the local physical and social landscape, if it’s allowed to do so.

I am conscious that exploring these intricate and complex issues cannot be adequately covered within a single Minute, and I intend to dedicate significantly more time and explore them in greater detail in the next few months. As I fear, based on the limited rhetoric we encounter in the media and the proposals for the management of WestInvest funding, we may be on the cusp of another significant push towards prioritising efficiency of service-provision and state government intervention over local democracy and choices.


Last year, the NSW Government announced WestInvest, a landmark $5 billion program to enhance families' quality of life and make communities in West and South-West Sydney even better places to live. Originally, it was announced that Campbelltown Local Government Area would benefit from approximately $410 million in committed funding from the NSW Government.

The committed funding includes $171 million for Council-delivered projects to our community, such as the expansion of Campbelltown Arts Centre, park and facility enhancements, traffic and connectivity improvements, and the creation of several new recreation facilities and play spaces, as I have highlighted numerous times previously. We have received confirmation from the WestInvest Program Office and, more importantly, the Premier of NSW, the Hon. Chris Minns MP, committing to continuing our funds under the Local Government Allocation Round and Community Competitive Round of WestInvest. The letter was tabled at the July 2023 Council meeting.

Also, there was the WestInvest NSW Government Allocation of $200 million for the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan (considered as $100 million to Campbelltown LGA as the Gardens are shared between Campbelltown and Camden Local Government Areas) and $243 million for Health Hubs at Glenfield and Liverpool (assumed $121.5 million shared equally between the Hubs). The WestInvest NSW Government Allocation is under review by the new Government, and further announcements are expected as part of the NSW Government Budget due on 19 September 2023. I look forward to the budget and hope our community receives its fair share of investments and projects.

However, what is very concerning is the funding model for the $171 million that has been committed to our community’s project delivery. The funding deeds remain unsigned, and have been subject to several significant amendments over the recent months. This changing legal landscape creates additional risk and exposure for Council, which creates significant uncertainty for our delivery program.

In conjunction with a number of the other recipient Councils, we are actively engaged in negotiations and seeking advice to navigate the complexities and legality of these proposed changes. I will update the Council and the community on the progress of the issues as soon as we have a clear understanding of the WestInvest Program Management Office and the government's final position.

I want to thank Mr Greg Warren MP, Member for Campbelltown, for his ongoing support for the projects and his work ensuring that the funding continues to be available to our community. I look forward to briefing him on the issues the Council faces due to the changes and appreciate his ongoing offer to advocate for our community to ensure these projects are delivered. 

Community Forums

On Tuesday 29 September, I hosted the first of a series of community forums, to acknowledge some of our recent achievements, share some upcoming projects and seek ideas for the future. The forum was held in the Campbelltown Civic Hall and attended by approximately 50 members of the community. The topics raised covered a range of areas from Planning, transport and open space, to employment, sporting facilities, opportunities for seniors and active transport. As part of the format of the event, I have the opportunity to meet one on one with a number of community members to hear their concerns and ideas. A team member from our Customer Service team was also available to take any service requests and provide assistance to customers who attended on the night.

I look forward to the next two forums which will be held on 25 September in Campbelltown and 25 October in Ingleburn.

18. NSW Government Challenges

Date: 10 October

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

In my last Minute, I spoke about the ever-changing political environment and the complexity of government machinery, highlighting that we face an increasing challenge to deliver significantly more with fewer resources.

I also noted that I eagerly awaited the NSW Budget before determining our next action. Now, we have the information we need to start the conversation.  


On 19 September 2023, the newly elected Labor Government handed down its first budget in over a decade.

The Treasurer started his first-ever budget speech by saying:

“Mr. Speaker, this Budget is about reform.

Reform to give our children the best start to life, reform to make owning your own home easier to achieve; and reform to break the barriers to women’s opportunity in this state.

This Government believes there is always a better future if we choose to reach for it.

And in this Budget we make that choice – we choose to invest in transformational reform to build a better, brighter future for everyone across our state.”

These are powerful words that signal a powerful shift in public policy in the State. I, too, want to commit our Council to ensure we are doing all we can to break the barriers for women, providing our fair share of housing and striving to give our children the best opportunities.  We all must agree that he is right; these goals are worth pursuing, and there is always a better future if we choose to reach it.

Now, we too, have to make some choices.

On the day following the release of the NSW Budget, the Daily Telegraph headline was “Slash and Earn”, “New Treasurer Daniel Mookhey cut teeth with $13b savings and a mega payday for workers”. The Sydney Morning Herald headlined “Budget balancing act” and “Dirty Jobs done on the cheap”, with the first line saying, “this is no horror budget”.

I am not sure we can say the same from a Campbelltown perspective; I am disappointed that no significant funding was allocated to our city. However, we are not political commentators. I am sure there is enough of that out there now, and the people of Campbelltown can determine their own views.

It is crucial that our focus is twofold: firstly, to distinguish the shifts in public policy and comprehend their consequences on our residents, and secondly, to consistently advocate for our community's fair share and not accept neglect.

It is evident that there is a noticeable shift in public policy, deviating from the former emphasis on physical infrastructure to a more prominent focus on social initiatives. As a council, we are confronted with consequential decisions. We find ourselves obligated to adhere to specific policy directions often mandated by legislation. However, in other instances, we must carefully deliberate on our options, evaluating the feasibility and desirability of compensating for some of the shortfalls. Our commitment must be to ensure that our residents do not face any setbacks amid these shifts in policy orientation.

It’s clear from this budget that the Government has no interest in partnering with Local Government to resolve any of the many issues facing local communities. The budget did have a significant investment in schooling, health and state infrastructure, unfortunately, not substantially in our city. However, there is no investment in the many issues facing Local Government and local communities. 

Just in this year the Emergency Services Levy has seen significant increase driven by changes in the State Government policy position coupled with rises in the Local Government Award increase to employee costs. These two increases alone consume over 68% of Campbelltown City Council’s approved rate rise for this financial year.

It’s important to note that our employees' role in our city is very important.  We must look after our employees and ensure they are not disadvantaged in the sector, or we face mass skill exits that will be much more costly in the long run. However, we are paying the cost for an increase in expenses due to government policy without a way of recovering it.  

There is no investment in dealing with the waste crises facing our communities. As waste management costs to councils and residents skyrocket, an issue we will face in the next financial year, only about 7% of the $800m annual waste levy revenue imposed by the NSW Government is returned to councils for waste management services.       

The NSW Budget is expected to return to surplus, thanks to increased property taxes with an expected rise to Stamp Duty income due to increased property prices and an addition to the Land Tax rates. These taxes raise around $15b each year for the state government. However, there is no increase in grant allocation to Local Governments, which are responsible for providing the service to these properties (see my article in CEDA - Centre for Economic Development Australia for details of this proposition). 

These are just a few examples, but there are many more we have to consider. As we detail what we need to do to ensure the best outcome for our residents with the current circumstances, we commit to keeping the Councillors and residents informed. We must transparently communicate with our residents and continue engaging our community, involving active participation and feedback mechanisms to ensure we can consider all of our community’s views in the choices we have to make.

I have also asked the General Manager to plan several strategic planning days to inform the Councillors and prepare to make our choices in the next Council budget.

But we will not stop there. Simultaneously, we must strongly advocate.

It is clear from the geographic allocation of the funding that we must fight for our fair share. We cannot rest on our laurels, we cannot wait and see, and we cannot expect others to help us, even if it is their job. We must use every legal avenue to ensure our community gets their fair share.

I hope to find alliances with our State MPs. A quick Facebook search or a review of published material of any of our local MPs will clearly show that they believed that “The Liberal Government has ignored and short-changed our community for 12 years.” While, at the time, they may have been right, things are getting worse and not better so far under this budget.

When I got elected to this role, I made it clear that I would do all I could to fight for our fair share and take it to the government. I did not shy away from going after the Liberal Government, I always put the interest of our city ahead of partisan politics, and I am proud of the funding we received. 

That’s not going to change now. Over the next few months, I will highlight and undertake a comprehensive advocacy program to remind the NSW Government of the needs of our community. We will leverage collaborative relationships and lobbying efforts to secure the resources, infrastructure and services essential for our community's prosperity, adopting a proactive stance and fortifying our community against being again marginalised by a government that does not need to fight for local votes.

One thing I am sure of is that we will get more than our fair share in housing growth. 

Housing Growth

This week, NSW Premier, the Hon. Chris Minns MP warned councils he would turn to the nuclear option if the state’s ambitious 76,000 yearly dwellings housing targets are unmet:

“We’ve got the powers inside the NSW government ... to enact reform, to pursue housing targets and completions in various parts of the state… We don’t need any enabling legislation to make that happen. And there’s a balancing act if we don’t intervene; if councils, in particular, don’t meet their challenges”.

In that speech, there was no mention of how he expected this to be achieved or what the state government intended to do to support councils in undertaking such a task. However, later that week, in another article, he lashed Anthony Albanese and the federal Labor government for “imposing” ambitious housing supply targets on NSW, demanding taxpayers get their “fair share from the Commonwealth” in return for that 76,000 yearly dwellings housing targets.

Does the government intend to do public consultation, inform the community of their proposed changes, and evaluate “stop the squeeze campaigns”, as they demanded the previous Government do? Or will they just blame the housing crises on councils and changes will come in by stealth?

This week, we found out through collaborative relationships that there are currently stakeholder consultations around changes to several State Environmental Planning Policies that are only open for 28 days that we were not invited to. We have made our concerns clear to the Department and intend to make a submission that will be published in future council papers. However, the fact that we were unaware of it has raised many concerns.    

Campbelltown Council has been proactively dealing with the housing crisis.

The Department of Planning’s (DPE) 5-year housing for the Campbelltown LGA between 2016 – 2021 was 6,800 dwellings. According to the ABS Census data, an additional 7,783 actual dwellings were delivered (exceeding the target by 983 dwellings). The current DPE housing target for Campbelltown LGA is 7,100-8,250 dwellings between 2021 and 2026. It is not simple to determine if we are on track, or not, to meet such a target. It is worth noting, however, that we are doing all we can to achieve it.

The Minns’ government has come into power on the back of an election promise to balance housing targets across Sydney, with the Premier frequently saying that Western Sydney is doing more than its fair share in housing Sydney's growing population. While we assume that anti-growth rhetoric by Labor MPs will be controlled by a government that wants to deal with NIMBYs, we continue to see it occurring in the inner city. As we wait for the new targets, we can only hope they will reflect that pre-election view and that we will not again be forced to carry more than our fair share. 

We are limited in our capacity and our ability to review and redo our strategies. The Campbelltown Local Housing Strategy 2041 identifies capacity for up to an additional 45,090 dwellings within the planned urban growth areas of the Campbelltown LGA:

  • Glenfield to Macarthur Urban Renewal Corridor:                                      20,290
  • Greenfield (Menangle Park, Gilead, South Campbelltown):                  19,000
  • Other/infill:                                                                                                                   5,800

However, this is not without significant investment and approval from the NSW Government. We face significant challenges in achieving these targets rather than increasing them, primarily due to a lack of decision and investment by State Government agencies.

We have committed to undertaking the Campbelltown CBD Local Environment Plan (LEP) review and invested significantly in staff and resources, allocating over $2 million to deliver on the government densification strategy, only to be told in preliminary discussions that the department will need us to pay for work they should’ve already undertaken, and the timing of this critical work hasn’t been prioritised by the NSW Government which means they may not be able to deliver within the timeframes required, impacting the overall program of required works. 

I will detail these issues in future Minutes after we have raised our concerns with the Premier and appropriate Ministers.

If that is the case for Campbelltown CBD, how long will it take to deal with the complete Glenfield to Macarthur Urban Renewal Corridor, how much money will need to be invested in doing all the required studies and who will pay for all that?

Who will pay for all the physical, social and wellbeing infrastructure required to maintain our residents’ current standard of living? A standard that, in some areas, already need significant investment just to catch up to the rest of Sydney.

There are a lot of questions that need more than media attacks and conflicting articles. Local Government must have a real seat at the table, we must have a real discussion about all these issues if we are expected to contribute to solving the current housing crisis. It is worth remembering that we are keen to work with the government to deliver their growth strategy, as I have, but not to the detriment of our community.

Again, over the next few months, I plan to embark on an extensive advocacy initiative around housing growth and development, building stronger partnerships, and engaging in lobbying activities to try and ensure the needs of our community are taken into consideration.


Last month, I raised concerns about the funding model for the $171 million committed to our community’s project delivery. The funding deeds remain unsigned and have been subject to several significant amendments over the recent months. This changing legal landscape creates additional risk and exposure for the Council, which creates considerable uncertainty for our delivery program.

Unfortunately, as Council has received legal advice on the resolution of the Deed arrangements, an update report will be considered within the closed section of our council meeting. I am able to share, however, that the requirements in the latest version of the Deed represent a significant shift from our expectations based on historical grant practices. We are facing substantial contractual burdens that are anticipated to increase our cost, decrease project outputs and increase the risk the Council has to take.

We will make more information and our approach to dealing with the WestInvest funding issues publicly available as soon as possible.   

19.  Local Environmental Plan Review: State-Led Option

Date: 07 November 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

My role is not to defend the State Government, regardless of their political affiliation, but rather to advocate for our community. Those who have been following my mayoral minutes will see that I consistently highlight concerns and discuss the intended and unintended consequences of policies on our residents. As my previous minutes have shown, I will continue to do so.

However, I also have a responsibility to the community and the government to acknowledge and promote good ideas and policies, including offering our support for expanding and accelerating these ideas to achieve the best outcomes for our city and the state.

Late last week, the Minns Labor Government announced its plans to rezone part of Parramatta to provide housing for hundreds more families and singles, taking advantage of the city's new light rail route. With the support of Parramatta Council, the government will undertake state-led rezoning of Parramatta's Church Street North precinct as part of its efforts to address the long-term housing supply crisis in NSW.

This week, the Minns Cabinet is reported to be considering establishing another series of priority development zones located near public transport across Sydney. These initiatives are a commendable step towards accelerating the development of a key centres and increasing the housing supply to alleviate the housing shortage crisis. It not only ensures that the rezoning objective aligns with the state government's direction but also promotes collaboration among government departments in order to expediate the completion of the strategies (particularly in the area of transport) that will enable the achievement of these objectives. This is something that we urgently need for our Campbelltown Local Environmental Plan (LEP) amendment.

In early 2023, the Campbelltown City Council initiated the process of updating the Local Environmental Plan (LEP) for the Campbelltown City Centre. This commitment aims to ensure that the development of the City Centre aligns with the high-quality density standards set by the state government, which promote accessibility, sustainability, and liveability in city centres.

The Council has developed the Reimagining Campbelltown City Centre Masterplan in 2020 and a City Centre Design Framework, including a structure plan, in 2022. Additionally, the Council has actively participated in the development of the Collaboration Area Place Strategy led by the Greater Sydney Commission and other State Government agencies.

These strategic initiatives by the Council aim to instil confidence in the development industry, resulting in several high-density mixed-use planning proposals being submitted to the Council. We generally support well-considered proposals that contribute to the creation of high-quality, safe, attractive, and desirable urban environments.

To meet the government's desired acceleration, it is necessary to go beyond proposals initiated by developers and revise our LEP. Ideally, this revision should encompass the three Centres outlined in the Reimagining Campbelltown City Centre Masterplan. However, due to financial constraints, our focus has primarily been on the Campbelltown Central Business District (CBD).

The Council considers the City Centre as the highest priority for future growth potential, with Campbelltown being well-positioned to accommodate growth and address housing affordability issues. Despite the previous NSW State Government's expressed desire for urban renewal in the Glenfield to Macarthur corridor, there was no specific planning or funding commitment. Earlier this year, we allocated $2.7 million to fund the Campbelltown Central Business District (CBD) review as part of our operational plan.

The Council informed the Transport for NSW (TfNSW) Project Coordination Group of its intention to update the Campbelltown City Centre LEP in early 2023. In April 2023, the Council submitted a Scoping Proposal to the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE), followed by several formal consultations with State Agencies to gather feedback. On June 21, the Council received formal correspondence from DPE, outlining feedback on the Scoping Proposal.

One key feedback from the DPE was the requirement for transport modelling as part of the LEP review. The Council is also expected to provide additional information, including an infrastructure study, a flood study, and a traffic modelling report or traffic impact assessment.

The Council proposed that TfNSW deliver the required transport modelling, and discussions have been ongoing to formalise this agreement. However, we are yet to receive a return brief from TfNSW that outlines the scope, budget, and timeline, nor have we received a response to our request to accelerate the delivery of the model to meet government growth objectives.

Through discussions with TfNSW's Advanced Analytic and Insights (AAI) Team, it has become apparent that the existing baseline modelling for Campbelltown is outdated. This is disappointing considering the Council's investment in preparation for the Campbelltown City Centre LEP review. Delivering the modelling baseline in support of government policy will incur significant costs for the Council, estimated to be an extra $500,000.

I believe that implementing a state-led rezoning for the Campbelltown CBD, or preferably for the area covered by the Reimagining Campbelltown City Centre Masterplan, will be instrumental in overcoming the challenges we currently face. While media outlets are reporting that the government is prepared to override council opposition to dramatically increase residential housing density, this council is not only willing, but eager to work with the government to achieve the densification that benefits not just our city, but the whole state.

We are fully committed to prioritising our future growth potential to address the housing crisis. Our objective is not to cut costs or evade responsibility but rather to facilitate the coordinated development of our city in partnership with the state government. We will not reduce or reassign our funding commitment; instead, we will continue to allocate resources to the project under state leadership. Alternatively, if the government is willing to assume full responsibility for the costs, we will utilise these funds to conduct the necessary studies for the next phase of urban development in the Campbelltown LGA.

If our goals align, there is no apparent reason why we should not work together to achieve them with priority and speed. I am confident that the government will incorporate our strategies and address the various challenges we face, particularly in terms of creating local employment opportunities in our city.

Therefore, I intend to write to the Hon. Chris Minns with my proposal and offer him unconditional support in undertaking the state-led rezoning. It is my aspiration that we can secure the Council's endorsement of a preliminary Local Environmental Plan for public exhibition prior to the conclusion of this Council term.

20.  Local Government - Reform Agenda

Date: 07 November 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

In my previous Mayoral minutes, I discussed the challenges faced by local governments and the dual role they play as both service providers and instruments of democratic self-governance. I emphasised the inherent tension between efficiency and democracy, which has been a central theme in the history of Local Government in NSW and continues to shape contemporary reform efforts.

In this Minute, I would like to delve further into this tension and outline what I believe to be the impending reform agenda.

Typically, the local government reform agenda follows a consistent pattern. Upon assuming office, a newly elected state government often publicly expresses dissatisfaction with the inefficiency of local government and the lack of transparency in its decision-making process. Subsequently, media outlets launch attacks on councils, both collectively and individually, thereby influencing public discourse and engagement.

After a brief period of deliberation, during which the media, experts, residents, and politicians criticise the system and each other, the Government initiates an ostensibly "independent" inquiry aimed at exploring ways to enhance local government.

Following a period of consideration, the independent inquiry initiates a consultation process, followed by the publication of a discussion paper, an interim report, and ultimately a final report. These reports consistently propose modifications to the existing system, often involving compulsory mergers. After a brief period of mandatory public consultation, the suggested changes are implemented, disregarding public resistance.

It is worth noting that the last two Local Government reforms in 2004 and 2013 resulted in enforced council mergers. The number of councils were reduced in NSW from 174 to 152 in 2004 under the Carr Government, despite opposition from the local government sector. In 2013, number of councils in were reduced from 152 to 128, again despite opposition from the local government sector.

While some may perceive my perspective as cynical, influenced by my exposure to the television series Yes Minister, I share the views of several prominent local government scholars in NSW. Although the entire process is presented as evidence-based policy making and a practical solution to pressing issues such as housing and affordability, it is often driven by ideology, with the stated reasons for reform not necessarily aligning with the actual motives.

While I may disagree with some points made by Professor Joseph Drew in his book Reforming Local Government, he eloquently explains the intentions behind Local Government reforms as:

“advantage of the political party holding the higher tier of government, or to provide payback to local government political representatives who held up or opposed state agenda in the past (Drew et al. 2016a, 2016b). These alternate heresthetic explanations are all plausible and probably all preferable to believing that anyone in an important position in government … were incapable of critiquing the silly business cases produced by various consultants.”

The reason for emphasising the reform process in this month's Minute is because the initial stages of implementation have become apparent. It is evident that the newly elected government is actively targeting Local Government, which is a matter of concern.

In my previous Minutes, I highlighted the emerging discourse surrounding housing crises and the targeting of councils. Despite our diligent efforts to not only meet but exceed these targets, there is a lack of government support in addressing the challenges faced by councils like ours. I propose a solution in my separate Mayoral Minute.

While much attention is given to the adverse effects of the 'Not In My Back Yard' (NIMBY) syndrome on housing growth, particularly in densely populated areas, there is a failure to acknowledge the influence of the 'Not In My Term Of Office' (NIMTOOs) mentality and the resulting community resistance. These detrimental campaigns have created challenges that Local Government must now address, requiring their attention and resources to correct community perceptions. What is of greater concern is the apparent disregard for previously upheld standards during these opposition campaigns.

I hope that my cynical views are proven wrong, and I hope that the government does not intend to pursue an ill-informed reform agenda. However, if Local Government reform is indeed necessary, it should be grounded in Council’s democratic function and prioritise the equitable empowerment of communities. I will highlight my views for Campbelltown in future Minutes and my views for the sector in other forms of publication. However, it is of utmost importance that any reform agenda is not exploited to further undisclosed objectives of higher tiers of government.

21.  Local Government -Transparency and Accountability

Date: 07 November 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

In recent times, there has been a growing discussion surrounding transparency and accountability in Local Government and local decision-making. While there may be various factors contributing to this debate, it is important that we do not overlook it and instead continue to learn and enhance our system whenever possible.

The Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) provides guiding principles that enable councils to carry out their functions in a manner that promotes strong, healthy, and prosperous local communities. This Act is complemented by the Local Government (General) Regulation 2021 and the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework (2009). These frameworks, in conjunction with other legal requirements and government administration principles, establish a solid foundation for the transparency and accountability of Councils.

The financial reports of the Council undergoes an audit by the Audit Office of NSW, and the reports, along with the audit opinion and the entire Annual Report, are presented to the Council and made accessible to the public on an annual basis.

Tonight, we have a presentation from the Audit Office on the conduct and findings of the audit. I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the staff for their hard work and financial prudence throughout the year, as we have achieved outstanding results while maintaining a balanced budget. I would also like to thank our Auditor for providing us with an unqualified audit opinions.

However, we should not stop there. We should always strive to enhance our transparency beyond the minimum legal requirements. This should be done in a straightforward manner that enables our community to assess our decisions and hold us accountable for them.

One recent example of how we achieved this is through our handling of the Billabong operational plans. The Council, and the community, were presented numerous cost models and associated operational plans for the facility, which provided clear guidance on the annual cost, albeit as an estimate due to it being a new facility. The Council deliberated on the matter in a public meeting and resolved to subsidise the entry fee into this facility. Please refer to the resolution of Item 8.4 in Council’s October 2023 Business Paper for further details.

Our decision was transparent and easily understood by our community, who can pass judgement on it in the upcoming election.

However, when I examine the numerous other fees and charges within our council, I struggle to see the same level of transparency, and I am certain our community feels the same way. Surely, the same principles we applied to the Billabong decision, and the ones demanded of us in various communications, should also apply to other facilities.

I believe that Local Government has a social responsibility to subsidise many activities within its jurisdiction, just as the State and Federal Governments do. While there may be ideological disputes regarding some of these activities and the extent of social intervention, I also believe that most would agree it is an important aspect of Local Government's role.

I also believe our community would benefit from understanding the true costs associated with the operation of these activities and the level of subsidy or profit made on each of them. This would enable our community not only to be more informed and engaged, but also to better understand Council decisions and hold us accountable.

I recognise that undertaking this task may present challenges; however, it holds significant importance for our ongoing commitment to transparency and accountability. Therefore, I have requested the General Manager to conduct a review of best practices and develop a clear policy framework for the council to discuss and share with our residents.

22. The Right to Peaceful Assembly

Date: 07 November 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Due to unfortunate circumstances around the globe, there has been growing pressures and angst from residents of various backgrounds and communities who feel they have a right to be heard and share with others the pressures of their homeland and their people, or other issues they believe are essential to their self-realisation.

Everyone has the right to utilise the city’s public space to articulate their concerns in a peaceful manner.  The right to be heard is an essential pillar of our democratic freedom, which we should always cherish and defend.

Professor David Harvey has said:

“We live in an era when ideals of human rights have moved centre stage both politically and ethically. A great deal of energy is expended in promoting their significance for the construction of a better world… We live, after all, in a world in which the rights of private property and the profit rate trump all other notions of rights.”

I here want to explore another type of human right, that of the right to the city. I believe that people’s “right to the city” extends to utilising public space for self-expression and to meet for a common purpose without being hindered by undue cost.

It is our responsibility as a Council to ensure that people in our city are free to express themselves, so long as they are complying with laws and regulations, in a peaceful manner.

It has come to my attention that under our current fees and charges, there is no provision to allow people to exercise their right to freedom of assembly and association without having to pay for the use of public space. I believe that this is an oversight on our behalf as it is a common practice within other councils to enable such activities and I also believe that should be the case in Campbelltown. We must uphold our obligation to enable people to exercise their right to peaceful assembly without undue restriction.

As such, with the support of this Chamber, I have asked the General Manager to immediately treat all requests for gathering and assembly in this regard, to not be treated as an “event” rather as a “protest”, separate to our standard fees and charges. I have also asked the General Manager to introduce a policy to enable people of all race, creed or ideology to exercise their right to protest under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights without cost.  

23. The Final Update for 2023

Date: 12 December 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

Thank you

Thank you to my fellow Councillors, Directors and Council staff for your unwavering dedication and hard work throughout the year. Your efforts have been essential in advancing Campbelltown's journey towards our shared vision. We've made significant strides as we continue to foster an environment that prioritises people, ambition, and innovation.

We have deepened our connection with the community, enhanced participation in local decision-making, invested significantly in our cultural identity, and strengthened our reputation as the capital of Macarthur.

We must maintain this momentum, ensuring Campbelltown remains a vibrant, innovative, and welcoming community. Your contributions are invaluable. Together, we will achieve the best outcomes for our residents.

This year, I want to specifically acknowledge our General Manager, Lindy Deitz. Lindy's transformational leadership has enhanced the city's services, unity, and pride. Under her guidance and with the support of our directors, staff, and contractors, we have witnessed Campbelltown's cultural, economic, and social development thrive.

State Government

Last month, I emphasised my dedication to advocating for the interests of our community, regardless of political affiliations or the need to defend state actions. I applaud the New South Wales Minns Labor Government for initiating state-led rezoning in Parramatta. The Campbelltown CBD should receive similar attention to streamline growth and address present challenges.

I have written to the Hon Chris Minns, Premier of NSW expressing our unwavering support for state-led rezoning. My correspondence (refer to Item 7.1) has yet to receive a response.

Concurrently, we received correspondence from the Hon Paul Scully, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces (refer to Item 7.2), highlighting the Government's commitment to the National Housing Accord and their intention to facilitate the approval and incentivisation of 377,000 homes by 2029.

The Minister requested that we review the limitations within our Residential Zones, suggesting modifications to accommodate terraces, townhouses, and two-storey residential flat buildings in low-density R2 zones and residential flat buildings in medium-density R3 zones.

The Minister's letter also noted that the upcoming local government election is scheduled for Saturday, 14 September 2024 and that the caretaker period begins on 16 August 2024. He stipulated that planning assessments and council operations should proceed without disruption, although further clarification is needed regarding the implications of this directive.

As I communicated to the Minister, it is crucial to acknowledge that from 2016 to 2021, the Campbelltown Local Government Area (LGA) exceeded the housing target set by the Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) by 983 dwellings, with a total of 7,783 units approved. Our LGA currently has a housing capacity of at least 45,000 houses, which comfortably exceeds DPE’s five-year target of 7,100-8,250 dwellings. Furthermore, our LGA is well-positioned to meet the long-term projection of up to 24,000 new dwellings by 2041.

It is also important to note the significant availability of medium and high-density zoned land ready for redevelopment, especially in West Glenfield. The state government-owned development organisation, Landcom, plans substantial residential development on the Hurlstone Agricultural College site, which spans roughly 200 hectares near Glenfield Station—a critical rail junction. A project that, unfortunately, has remained dormant for several years.

Our LGA has significantly contributed to housing growth but has yet to receive a corresponding level of infrastructure investment.

Even though we have exceeded our growth targets and currently have a capacity significantly higher than our projected targets, we have a clear preference for densification that we have communicated with the government. 

We still have conducted a preliminary review of our residential zones to expand the R3 and R4 zoned lands. This expansion will focus on areas with robust public transport access to enhance dwelling diversity. We anticipate a minimum increase of 4,000 dwellings through these early proposed amendments to our local planning policies.

On 28 November 2023, the Minns Government announced the introduction of new reforms to expedite the construction of various low- to mid-rise homes. Such homes include residential flats of 3-6 storeys, terraces, townhouses, duplexes, and 1-2 storey apartment blocks. Some of these housing types are currently not permitted in the R2 and R3 zones in Campbelltown, as is the case with many suburbs in Sydney.

The changes, as stated by the Minister, are as follows:

  • dual occupancies (two separate homes on a single lot), such as duplexes, in all R2 low density residential zones across all of NSW.
  • terraces, townhouses and two storey apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R2 low density residential zones across the Greater Sydney region, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra (the Six Cities region).
  • mid-rise apartment blocks near transport hubs and town centres in R3 medium density zones and appropriate employment zones. This will mean more housing just a short 10-minute walk (800m) from transport hubs, shops and amenities.

The Government aims to implement these changes by amending a State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and encouraging councils to incorporate these dwelling types into their local planning rules.

Firstly, I commend the government for utilising the State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) as a tool for bringing about change for a significant reason - political accountability. Our residents must understand that the changes taking place are a direct result of planning instruments introduced by the Minns Government, and the accountability for their success or failure lies solely with the state government.

I genuinely applaud the Minns Government for having the courage to stand by their conviction and not hiding behind post-political systemic changes. The notion of 'post-politics' planning is that specific urban development strategies, such as high-density development and urban consolidation, can become depoliticised and positioned as neutral or inevitable responses to urban challenges, agreed on and delivered by experts.

The transition from a political to a post-political professional planning system, seemingly without any political intervention, is a strategy that I'm afraid I have to disagree with. Post-political is not apolitical. The government exerts control over experts, and we have seen a lot of that since this Government was elected and under the previous government.

A post-political system tends to displace and hide political intervention rather than eliminate it. A political decision made by the elected government ensures greater political accountability and democratic representation. Now, it should be clear, if anyone is dissatisfied with their decisions, they can reach out to their State MP and urge them to "Stop the Squeeze" instead of criticising the Council and its members.

And, of course, as with all political accountability, residents can express their views by voting for or against the Government MPs in the next election.

The concept of building density within a convenient 10-minute (800m) walking distance from transport hubs and town centres is a concept that has been introduced previously. This type of density, commonly referred to as Transit-Oriented Development (TOD), aims to create compact, walkable, mixed-use communities with high-quality public transport as their central focus.

There are several problems with this style of development, mainly when it is done as a blanket approach without proper planning. One major issue is that it ignores community concerns under the cover of stopping NIMBYism. As I mentioned in my Letter to Santa Mayoral Minute (Item 5.3), this sentiment is not a significant problem in Campbelltown.

I will only highlight one key issue of concern: the quality of public transport, which is supposed to be the cornerstone of TOD.

Despite the Campbelltown Local Government Area being serviced by seven electrified railway stations, these services operate beyond their capacity. The latest peak utilisation data shows that trains on the T8 Airport line operated at 148% capacity during the morning peak.

Also, the services from Campbelltown to Parramatta are not direct. This historical connection now requires train passengers to change trains at Glenfield. We were promised this before the election. However, everything has stayed the same.

Many residents in our city cannot reach their nearest railway station within 30 minutes using public transportation, which is necessary for commuting to Metropolitan or Strategic Centres. This is especially true for 35% of the population in Campbelltown, as they live more than 400m away from a regular 30-minute weekday public transport service.

The Metro connection from Glenfield to Western Sydney International Airport, which is relatively short, has not been confirmed for implementation. Similarly, the North-South Metro rail from Western Sydney International Airport to Campbelltown-Macarthur has also not been committed for development. Without these connections, our community cannot access the new Western Sydney International Airport via public transport.

The government is introducing policies to force councils to increase the number and diversity of housing to accommodate the varying demographics around public transport hubs. However, there needs to be a more explicit commitment to improving our public transport system, which is significantly lagging.

Premier Chris Minns has lashed Anthony Albanese and the federal Labor Government for “imposing” ambitious housing supply targets on NSW, demanding taxpayers get their “fair share from the Commonwealth” in return. We have also seen similar and constant criticism from MPs of the previous state Coalition government.

However, no one has mentioned how our Council will receive its fair share. How will we ensure equitable access to public transport, equal employment opportunities, and adequate social infrastructure to address the challenges posed by this rapidly growing and unplanned housing density within the 800m from transport hubs and town centres?


We have been relentless in our advocacy, writing 375 letters to Ministers and MPs seeking support and engaging in 67 meetings.

I have also appeared twice, once as the Mayor of Campbelltown and once as the Chair of the Parks Mayoral Forum, to make representations in line with our submissions to the Parliamentary Inquiry into the Current and Future Public Transport Needs of Western Sydney.

The time has come to increase our efforts and try different strategies that may pressure the government to address some of our issues. I discuss the problem and approach in my Advocacy Petition - Taxes and Public Transport Mayoral Minute (Item 5.2).

Merry Christmas

As I detail in my Christmas message, I would like to take the opportunity to wish our staff, councillors, and community a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

I hope everybody has a restful and safe break.

I look forward to continuing our momentum in 2024!

24. Advocacy Petitions - Taxes and Public Transport

Date: 12 December 2023


  1. That the information be noted.
  2. That the Council joins other councils’ advocacy and petition campaigns to say No to the government tax grab and Yes to enhancing transport infrastructure and connectivity across Western Sydney.

Advocacy Petitions – Taxes and Public Transport

Tonight, I am advocating for the Council to undertake a new advocacy initiative, along with our ongoing efforts, and join other mayors in South Western Sydney to say No collectively and unanimously to NSW Government tax grabs and say Yes to enhancing transport infrastructure and connectivity across Western Sydney.

Rubbish Tax (Waste Levy)

The NSW Government accrues an estimated $800 million annually from state-wide ratepayers through its waste levy alone—a levy that does not directly fund either waste collection or disposal. A mere 10% of these funds are allocated toward waste management and recycling education initiatives. Regrettably, the government has chosen not to give these resources to community-oriented waste projects and has opted to increase the levy by 7.7% as of 1 July 2023.

The NSW Government's rubbish tax (Section 88 Levy) for Campbelltown City Council's ratepayers represents an annual burden of $3.2m.

The waste levy, or rubbish tax, is supposed to promote waste reduction, not generate revenue. The imposition of taxes serves as an economic deterrent to discourage waste generation, thereby adhering to the principle of 'polluter pays'. The fundamental objective is to incorporate the external expenses of waste disposal, which, if not factored into the pricing of goods or services, would result in increased waste production and subsequent environmental deterioration.

However, it is imperative to recognise that a rubbish tax represents a form of taxation that is either flat or regressive. This type of taxation places a disproportionate burden on households already facing financial difficulties. These households tend to allocate more of their income towards purchasing essential goods or services. Additionally, due to the escalating cost of living crises, they are compelled to purchase perishable and short-lived items, resulting in increased waste disposal.

We must advocate for the funds collected by the NSW Government rubbish tax (Section 88 Levy) from Campbelltown and Western Sydney to be returned to the respective councils. This will help alleviate the burden of waste levies on our residents, especially during the escalating living costs crises. Additionally, I am calling on the government to allocate resources towards educational campaigns aimed at waste reduction.

Housing and Productivity Contribution

The recently implemented Housing and Productivity Contribution imposes a fee of up to $12,000 on every new construction venture, regardless of the nature of the dwelling—be it a standalone house, a townhouse, an apartment unit, or an ancillary residential structure such as a granny flat.

Significantly, this charge does not scale with the property's value, leading to a regressive impact where developments in Western Sydney are subjected to a higher effective tax rate relative to the more affluent areas in Sydney's east. For example, a granny flat in Western Sydney, with a construction cost of $120,000, would attract a tax burden of 10%. This starkly contrasts the 1% tax levied on a new $1.2 million dwelling in the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

Such a uniform levy raises significant concerns regarding the fair allocation of tax responsibilities throughout the Sydney metropolitan region, particularly in light of the pressing need to resolve the housing affordability crisis. Implementing a uniform tax rate on every new housing development, irrespective of its market worth or geographical position, disregards the fundamental principle of progressive taxation based on the taxpayer's capacity to pay.

This regressive approach can unintentionally impede progress in regions with a high demand for housing, thereby worsening the already existing affordability problems and potentially discouraging investment in more affordable housing options.

The other aspect of the distributional effects of the Housing and Productivity Contribution, as it presently stands, is that a substantial portion of the tax burden will be borne by residents in Western Sydney, where growth is occurring, with no guarantee that the funds will be spent in the area. Again, this raises considerable questions about fiscal equity and regional fairness, particularly in regions with an acute need for local infrastructure.

A tax that disproportionately targets one region for revenue but distributes the benefits more broadly clearly indicates regional neglect and injustice. This tax policy must be reviewed and potentially restructured to ensure that it raises necessary funds for city-wide development and directly benefits the areas most impacted by the levy.

An equitable tax system should reflect the principles of both capacities to pay and benefits received, thereby ensuring a fair and just distribution of the tax burden and its associated benefits.

Public Transport

The necessity for enhanced public transport connections in Western Sydney is underscored by the region's burgeoning population growth and the imperative to achieve sustainable urban development. The push by the NSW Government to increase density within 800 meters of train stations is a clear indication that public transport is a critical element of sustainable urban growth.

Firstly, from an economic perspective, improved public transport connectivity is pivotal for unlocking the potential of Western Sydney. The data presented by the Australian Automobile Association's transport affordability index starkly illustrates the onerous financial burden of vehicular ownership in Campbelltown, with annual costs averaging around $25,600, where lengthy commutes compound the reliance on multiple vehicles placing considerable strain on household budgets.

Our vehicle numbers are notable; with over 96,900 registered vehicles and more than half of all households owning at least two, it suggests a heavy dependence on private transport. However, this is not a mere preference but rather a necessity. The current exodus of employed residents from Campbelltown—62.1% of whom travel out of the area for work, predominantly by private vehicles (66%)—underscores the critical need for a mode of integrated public transport.

Socially, adequate public transport is integral to fostering social inclusion and equity. Campbelltown’s community is becoming increasingly diverse, but remains socio-economically disadvantaged.  20.5% of our households are classified ‘low income households’, and a number of our suburbs are ranked in the first SEIFA percentile, indicating the highest degree of socio economic disadvantage in Australia.

High-quality public transport ensures that all residents, regardless of income level or car ownership status, can access essential services such as education, healthcare, and recreational facilities. It also connects communities, providing a social infrastructure that is inclusive and accessible, thereby reducing the risk of social isolation and improving the quality of life for residents.

The advancement of public transport connections in Western Sydney is not merely a transportation issue but a cornerstone of broader social and economic policy. It underpins the region's development as a thriving, equitable, and sustainable part of Greater Sydney.

The government must, therefore, prioritise and expedite the investment in public transport infrastructure to meet present and future demands. This requires a comprehensive and strategic approach, integrating land use and transport planning, to optimise Western Sydney's and its residents' benefits.

We have made unprecedented efforts to bring these issues to the attention of Government, to no avail.

We are left with no other option, than to petition the Government with the other Western Sydney Councils to secure action on these issues.

25. Letter to Santa

Date: 12 December 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

The Member for Macquarie Fields, the Honourable Anoulack Chanthivong MP, has consistently corresponded with Santa Claus annually in late November/early December since assuming office in 2015. This year, the author of the annual letter has become a member of Santa’s merry team of helpers and may not, therefore compose a letter.

Mr. Chanthivong corresponded with Santa Claus as he held the belief that our community had experienced a growing sense of dissatisfaction due to perceived neglect and inadequate treatment by the NSW Government.

To continue the longstanding Christmas custom, I am writing to raise a number of items that have been included in past lists of desired gifts. I trust that these lists will not be overlooked. Now that the elves have acquired the ability to enact change, I have carefully selected a range of significant projects to remind Santa for his consideration (attached).

  1. A local Service NSW Centre (2016, 2020) and more local services (2022):
  2. More commuter car parking and less road congestion (2016):
  3. A fairer train timetable (2017)
  4. Stop the extension of the M5 tolls and scrap the M5 East Toll (2017, 2020, 2021)
  5. Stop cuts to health and hospitals (2019)
  6. More secure local jobs (2021, 2022)
  7. Boost local manufacturing (2021) and invest in domestic manufacturing (2022)
  8. Invest in TAFE and training opportunities (2022)
  9. Adequate infrastructure for growing communities (2022)
  10. Stop the Squeeze (2017,2018, 2019, and 2021)

I have crossed from this list the "stop the squeeze" movement, which was prevalent in the years 2017,2018, 2019, and 2021. We endorse the NSW Government's commitment to increasing the housing stock in areas adjacent to both physical and social infrastructure, irrespective of their political affiliation.

This particular form of NIMBY (Not In My Backyard) sentiment is not widespread in Campbelltown. Our community has historically embraced and continues to embrace both internal and external immigration, fostering an environment of inclusivity and acceptance. It is the process of growth and the presence of diversity within our community that contributes to the formation of our distinct identity.

However, as I have highlighted in my other Minute (Item 7.1), it is important to consider the availability and capacity of the public transport network and other infrastructure to support any growth. Overcoming NIMBYism should not be used as a cover to consult with the community, or deliver, the critical support needed for successful growth.


Firstly, I would like to commend the Member for Macquarie Fields for compiling a well-considered wishlist over the years and for his ongoing advocacy. These requests hold significant importance for our city, extending beyond the electorate of Macquarie Fields.

The request for the installation of a lift at Macquarie Fields station since 2016 highlights a more extensive concern regarding the fair and equitable access to public infrastructure. This issue extends beyond mere convenience and underscores the importance of incorporating inclusivity and universal design principles into all government decisions.

Accessibility plays a crucial role in facilitating social integration and economic participation for all individuals, with a particular emphasis on those who have mobility impairments. 

The NSW Government has committed $300 million to upgrade train station car parks and make stations more accessible through the installation of new lifts, ramps and footbridges. While we are not sure about the details, we can assume that Santa may deliver a lift at Macquarie Fields station in the near future. Thank you Santa.

Local Services

The repeated calls for the establishment of a local Service NSW Centre, a more equitable train timetable, the discontinuation of toll extensions, the expansion of local services, and the alleviation of road congestion all demonstrate the changing needs of our growing community. The provision of hospital services, local employment opportunities, and the enhancement of vocational education and training opportunities in our region are of utmost importance for the overall welfare of our residents.

A local Service NSW Centre is a tangible hub for individuals to access state government services and obtain relevant information. The centralisation of services has far-reaching implications beyond administrative convenience. It significantly impacts the residents' capacity to interact with their government and obtain crucial services, such as driver's license renewals, vehicle registrations, and senior card requests.

Elderly members of our community, people with disabilities and those lacking reliable internet access or digital literacy, depend on easy access to physical service centres to assist them in navigating government services. Equally, members of our community that can’t afford private transport need access to government service centres via public transport.

A local Service NSW Centre located close to major public transport hubs, provides equity of access for all people, and particularly more marginalised cohorts of our community.


A fairer train timetable and cessation of the toll extensions are critical for our community as we grapple with the balance between fiscal sustainability and social equity. The imposition of tolls and inadequately designed public transport schedules disproportionately affect our lower-income households. We know that public transport is efficient, reliable, and fairly priced, it can significantly reduce the reliance on private cars, easing road congestion and contributing to environmental sustainability.


When contemplating reductions in health and hospital services, it is important to reflect on the recent decrease in financial support allocated to essential health services in our area, such as the withdrawal of funding for the Glenfield Integrated Health Hub, which may have adverse consequences on the overall well-being of the community and long-term stability local health services.

The previously allocated amount of $243 million for Integrated Community Health Hubs in Liverpool and Glenfield has been withdrawn, despite the fact that our hospital is currently operating at full capacity. I would like to acknowledge the substantial allocation of funds towards healthcare in the recent budget. Regrettably, our city has not received any of it.  

Local Employment and Training

The focus on ensuring the availability of local employment, promoting local manufacturing, investing in domestic manufacturing, and improving vocational education and training opportunities directly aligns with the fundamental principles of resilient cities. The resilience of communities in the face of economic fluctuations and their ability to contribute to a sustainable economic ecosystem depends on the expansion of local job opportunities and the enhancement of workforce skills.

I have previously written to the Premier, together with the Member for Macquarie Fields proposing that Campbelltown Local Government Area would be an ideal location for Labor’s proposed TAFE Domestic Manufacturing Centres of Excellence.


While it is important to emphasise that the sentiment to 'stop the squeeze' will never be our mantra, we acknowledge our responsibility in addressing the housing crisis that such an attitude has created. It is of utmost importance to acknowledge that development, if not accompanied by careful consideration for the creation of jobs and the preservation of public spaces, can result in unforeseen effects, including the deterioration of community cohesion and identity.

Therefore, it is imperative that all stakeholders, including the elves, policymakers, and the government, approach these items on the wish list not as individual requests, but rather as a collective plea for assistance from a growing community that has been neglected and given assurances of equitable treatment by a new Santa Claus.

Other Priorities

This letter only serves as a partial request list and a gentle reminder of the previous requests made to Santa Claus. For a more comprehensive inventory of the whole of Campbelltown’s infrastructure priorities, please see our Call to NSW Government for Support, endorsed at the October 2022 Council meeting, which includes:

  1. Connect Campbelltown: commit to deliver essential transport infrastructure for one of the fastest growing regions in the country.
  2. Invest in jobs and services in our City Centre: including delivering renewed NSW court infrastructure in the Community and Justice Precinct, and a Service NSW Centre in Campbelltown.
  3. Invest in Regional-Scale Infrastructure:

a) Campbelltown Sports Stadium expansion to drive economic activity, increase utilisation, support the growth of women’s and grass-root sport and deliver sport and entertainment facilities to support the region’s growth. 

b) Campbelltown Hospital expansion (stage 3) to support the health of our people living in the fastest growing region in Australia.

We’re happy to work with Santa, the NSW Government and anyone else to support the solution to the state’s housing crisis. As has been said previously, “All we want for Christmas is our FAIR SHARE!” (2020).


5.3.1   Christmas Wish List 2023 (shown below)   

Christmas wish list 2023


26. A Christmas Message - A season of Renewed Hope

Date: 12 December 2023

Recommendation: That the information be noted.

The Australian Christmas traditions are distinctive and full of their own delights, reflecting our unique culture and climate—a reality that isn't always depicted internationally. While the Northern Hemisphere is bundling up for a white Christmas adorned with snow and wintery scenes, Australians are preparing for a summer holiday, typically characterised by sunny days and outdoor celebrations.

As these sunlit days enhance our experiences, Campbelltown's pools, parks, and recreational facilities come alive with joyful gatherings to celebrate this period of great significance—the season of Christmas.

This year, I hope we can pause and reflect on the profound message at the core of this occasion.

More than two millennia ago, in the humble town of Bethlehem, a child was born. This was no ordinary birth; it was a moment that would reshape history and ignite a flame of hope still burning brightly in the hearts of millions. The birth of Jesus Christ, a cornerstone of the Christian faith, symbolises the dawn of a new era and the embodiment of divine love and salvation.

Reflecting on the past year, it is clear that our shared path has been remarkable, marked by both trials and triumphs. As we navigate a world riddled with challenges—be it in our City, our State, our Country, or internationally, amid escalating instability and the humanitarian crises where this story of hope, love, and redemption began—the message of Christmas hope remains ever pertinent.

Hope is not just wishful thinking; it is a vital force, a beacon that guides us through the darkest times. It is the assurance that, despite our circumstances, there is a promise of renewal and redemption.

Our faith acts as a shield against the tides of uncertainty, offering solace and strength to face all challenges. We have witnessed the power of community and the extraordinary resilience of the human spirit throughout history and, more recently, through our challenging times. I am confident that as we hold fast to our hope, we will continue to demonstrate resilience and achieve triumphs.

The Christmas story, as narrated in the Gospel of Luke, resonates profoundly during this season, reminding us of the enduring message of peace and goodwill. "Glory to God in the highest," the angels proclaimed, "and on earth peace, goodwill toward men" (Luke 2:14). This verse is central to our Christmas hope, urging us to embody these principles in our daily lives.

This message of grandeur continues to speak to us today. It calls us to be ambassadors of peace and bearers of goodwill, to look beyond our differences and recognise that we are all part of a greater narrative—a narrative immersed in grace and underpinned by the love of our Creator. As we tackle the complexities of our modern world, let us hold fast to the hope that the Christ child brought into our world. Let us allow His light to inspire us to create a brighter future for all.

In the past few years, we have deepened our comprehension of what it means to care for and support one another in our city, to extend a hand to those in need, and to treasure every diverse connection.

Let us seize this opportunity to express profound gratitude for the blessings we've received and the lessons we've learned. Our resilience has been solidified, our communities have grown closer, and we have rediscovered our appreciation for life's simplest pleasures.

Regardless of whether you subscribe to the Christian narrative of salvation or embrace a different belief system, as you gather with friends and family this session, whether around the table, at church, or in many of our shared public spaces, let us all celebrate the hope we hold.

Let's step into the new year with confidence, recognising that our growth has prepared us for the journey ahead. Let our collective journey be fuelled by this unwavering narrative of hope, love, and redemption.

Let's embrace the true essence of the season, a time where giving outweighs receiving, and love flows without condition. As the festive cheer of Christmas surrounds us, may it also usher in a continuous spirit of generosity and unwavering kindness that guides us into a future full of compassion. Together, let's create unforgettable moments that will invigorate our hopes for years to come.

In our happiness, let's also hold a tender thought for those in need, transforming our prayers into tangible acts of charity. And as we gather with loved ones, let us extend an olive branch of peace and goodwill far beyond our homes—to every corner of our vibrant city, across the vastness of our state, and to every stretch of our nation and the world.

Wishing you all a truly blessed Christmas and a New Year abundant in joy, peace, and prosperity.