Eighteen months in the making, the City of Sydney’s vision — Sustainable Sydney 2030 — guides every decision the council makes and every cent it spends. CEO Monica Barone says this focus for the future of Sydney has come about through effective collaboration and consultation with diverse groups of community stakeholders. She believes the 1.2 million Sydneysiders living within the local government area have been able to witness positive changes around the city — a result of the City of Sydney’s commitment to its vision, which has fostered a tremendous amount of trust and goodwill. Monica is excited that this trust and goodwill will allow the City of Sydney opportunities to achieve even more for city residents as Sydney grows into the future.

How the City of Sydney has transformed the CBD over the past 10 years

We needed to create a city that is easy to get around, much more calm and quiet, with more walking, cycling and light rail, less congested, and also much more attractive. The centerpiece of that vision was the light rail spine, hanging off that, the renewal of all of the laneways, the small bars, and small businesses. People will say they have really seen the changes in the last ten years. You can see the new trees, and you can see all the new businesses. There are people out every night, everywhere

Looking back, Monica says “We needed to create a city that is easy to get around, much more calm and quiet, with more walking, cycling and light rail, less congested, and also much more attractive. The centerpiece of that vision was the light rail spine, hanging off that, the renewal of all of the laneways, the small bars, and small businesses. People will say they have really seen the changes in the last ten years. You can see the new trees, and you can see all the new businesses. There are people out every night, everywhere.”

Bringing a strategic vision into focus

The Sustainable Sydney 2030 plan is at the heart of the identity, culture, and function of City of Sydney, so its success lies in being succinct. “We got it down to three words,” Monica says. “Essentially, people said they wanted a city that was green, global, and connected. When they said green, they wanted the city to be literally green — trees, parks, and open space. They also wanted the city to perform well environmentally. When they said global, they understood the importance of maintaining the competitiveness of the city, because if you’re not competitive, your economy doesn’t thrive and then you don’t do well. Connected meant physically connected through transport; active transport like walking and cycling. It was also about being socially connected and virtually connected. So everything we do, sits under those three words.”

Communication to lead, govern, and serve

Monica believes that aside from having a clear vision, leadership is about being able to communicate the narrative to a diverse range of people, including customers, stakeholders, and your own workforce. “We spent months facing inwardly with our staff, working out how we would become an organisation capable of delivering the Sustainable Sydney 2030 vision. The internal document we generated is called Capability 2030 and that outlined another three words for what we do with staff: lead, govern, and serve,” she says.
“What I’m most proud of is having developed that outward vision that is transforming the city and the inward vision that is transforming the organisation. Our goal is to be a very capable, accountable, high-performing organisation. I think as a CEO, that’s one of the most important things that you have to accomplish.”


City of Sydney key facts