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New Deputy Lord Mayor’s agenda

A conversation with Phillip Black, newly-elected Deputy Lord Mayor of Sydney by Dorothy McRae-McMahon in the South Sydney Herald in November 2009.

What most attracts you to being a leader in local government?

Phillip says that he likes to contribute to community life and be involved, rather than sitting on the sidelines and just watching. This commitment to community service was instilled in him by his parents. He says, “I learnt by example and contributed from youth to adulthood in things like church fellowship involvement, Boy Scouts, Apex International, the GLBT community, as a heritage and open space advocate and now City Councillor.”

Why did you choose to be an Independent Councillor?

“The reason I'm an independent Councillor is that I don't believe that party politics have a role in local government. I believe that councillors should be representing the community and community interests – that is why I am happy to be part of the Clover Moore Independent Team who are committed to working pro-actively and constructively to achieve an environmental, social, economic and culturally sustainable City of Sydney as both a City of Villages and Australia's leading global city.”

What do you think you might add to the leadership of the City of Sydney Council?

Phillip feels that he has in his mind ideas, proposals and suggestions for debate, alongside a willingness to raise possible solutions. His interests in history and heritage, his past professional work as a geologist, and in a tourism-oriented business together with volunteer experiences stand him in good stead. He believes that he is “lucky to be part of a team where expertise is freely shared”. 

What are the most difficult aspects of working as Deputy Lord Mayor?

The key issue for Phillip, given that, under State Government legislation the role and allowance of a councillor is considered to be part-time, is finding enough time to do what needs to be done. It is a significant challenge to develop effective time-management.

What do you see as most urgent in the policy areas at the moment?

Phillip sees the implementation of Sustainable Sydney 2030, facing Climate Change issues and continuing to give leadership in this area as having priority. This means that the building of creative relationships with other councils and all levels of government in relation to environmental sustainability is critical. 

What are your dreams for the future of the City of Sydney?

The new Deputy Lord Mayor dreams of a city that is tolerant, diverse,

globally connected and culturally dynamic. He would like it to be pedestrian friendly and cycle friendly with effective and efficient mass transit arrangements. He imagines a city with an appreciation and readapting of heritage for the 21st century, open spaces linked for people and wildlife and environmentally sustainable practices.  Quite an agenda!

Photo: Ali Blogg - Deputy Lord Mayor Phillip Black in Surry Hills