The City has released the visitor accommodation review and action plan, which addresses the need of accommodation for visitors to Sydney. This is an important plan to consider as a global city, in ensuring that the tourism industry is a thriving part of our economy. However, public and affordable housing for local residents must never be overlooked when providing what is often times expensive tourist accommodation, such as Jamie Packer’s Barangaroo Casino. Proposals such as these have little public benefit, and are in fact detrimental in their attempted privatising of public land. We must carefully balance between the needs of visitor accommodation and the needs of our local residents who are in great need of affordable housing as Sydney housing prices continue to swell. We must be conscious of such proposals and not let them come at the expense of our City’s public space or cultural heritage.
I acknowledge however that tourism is necessary for our city, and as an international destination, Sydney must be prepared for the continual influx of tourists. It is encouraging to hear that our City hosted 10.5 million visitors in 2012, which adds to the culturally dynamic atmosphere that our city has, encouraged by such events as Chinese New Year celebrations. This is the second largest event that the City holds annually and promotes a wonderful experience for cultural awareness in our city.
I look forward to working with the City on the many diverse accommodation needs that we face, with public and affordable housing at the top of the agenda.