Media Release
Calls for a new directly elected Lord mayor for Parramatta as part of governance reform
09 June, 2020

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Matt Levinson

A new directly elected Mayor should be introduced at the City of Parramatta according to a report published today (Tues) by two major Sydney organisations.

The Committee for Sydney and Western Sydney Business Chamber say that a number of reforms are required, including moving to a direct election model for the position of Lord Mayor of Parramatta.

Other proposed reforms include:

  • Abolishing all wards in the City of Parramatta, so that all councillors are equally focussed on the success of the whole council area.
  • Depoliticising the hiring process for the City of Parramatta CEO by moving to a new selection process.
  • Increasing Lord Mayoral and councillor remuneration by reclassifying Parramatta as a Principal metropolitan centre, instead of its current second tier status as a major metropolitan centre.

The report, Leadership for Local Government: A proposal for reform in Sydney’s Central City, argues that the changes would support the City of Parramatta to function more effectively and be able to deliver on its objectives more efficiently.

It proposes that in order to deliver these changes, a new standalone piece of NSW legislation, the City of Parramatta Act 2020, is required. The City of Parramatta is currently governed solely by the Local Government Act. This contrasts with the City of Sydney, which has its own act governing key aspects of the council.

The City of Parramatta LGA is home to almost 250,000 residents and almost 90,000 dwellings. It is home to Sydney’s 2nd CBD, is one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in Greater Sydney and is due to receive a new Metro line as part of Sydney Metro West. It is time that Parramatta was recognised for the vital role it will play in the future of Sydney.

The report argues:

“The City of Parramatta, at the heart of Sydney’s central city, needs strong and stable local government leadership.”

“Parramatta is already undergoing a profound transformation of both urban identity and purpose. We believe that the efficient and effective governance of the City of Parramatta is absolutely vital to the development and success of Greater Sydney.”

David Borger, Executive Director, Western Sydney Business Chamber said:

“It’s long overdue to empower the residents of Sydney’s central city of Parramatta with the election of their Lord Mayor. It’s time to end the deals behind closed doors or the luck of the draw out of a hat to decide who is going to lead the Council every two years.

“Parramatta is a booming city with billions of dollars of investment flowing in. We need strong and stable leadership at the City of Parramatta Council to guide and nurture the shaping of our city in this crucial decade that will unfold.

Gabriel Metcalf, CEO, Committee for Sydney said:

“Parramatta is the beating heart of central Sydney and needs a governance structure that allows it to reach its full potential.

These reforms will bring the LGA in line with other major metropolitan councils in Sydney and create a more stable governance framework. That, in turn, will help with long-term planning and decision making, which will benefit local residents and Sydney as a whole”. 

Note to editors:

  1. The Committee for Sydney is an independent think tank and champion for the whole of Sydney, providing thought leadership beyond the electoral cycle. We bring people together to solve the problems of today and tomorrow.
  2. The Western Sydney Business Chamber is the region’s peak business advocacy organisation, representing and championing the businesses operating in Australia’s third largest economy. Their focus is to champion the future vision for Western Sydney’s public and private infrastructure, to bring jobs to the region and, most importantly, to advocate for economic, social and cultural investment that will improve the quality of life for the citizens of Western Sydney.