A convention of lord mayors of Australia’s capital cities was held in Adelaide on Thursday, with post COVID-19 recovery on the agenda.
In the first in-person event for the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCLM) since 2019, the lord mayors discussed the economic future of cities and return of international students.
The group believes that boosting investment in cities like Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Hobart is equivalent to restarting ‘Australia’s economic engine rooms’.
CCCLM chair and Brisbane mayor Adrian Schrinner said the resilience cities have shown in light of the ‘devastating social and economic impacts of COVID-19’ was a good way to check the health of Australia’s resilience.
“Our economy, our jobs market and our enviable way of life are all dependent on cities that thrive,” he said.
“CCCLM’s long standing position is that cities matter. As we face the challenges of COVID-19, this has never been so true.”
The CCCLM said the difficulties of COVID-19 shone a light on the vulnerabilities of city-living, particularly for members of the community who are at risk of homelessness or employed in sectors like the arts, hospitality and retail.
The group has made a pre-budget submission to government, calling for cooperation among all levels of government to provide:
- COVID-19 recovery assistance – including city infrastructure funding,
- City initiatives that deliver national climate benefits,
- Support for the culture and the arts sector,
- Social and affordable housing to alleviate housing stress and associated homelessness.
When border and travel restrictions prevented the lord mayors from meeting in person, they convened weekly online meetings to discuss ways that the cities could plan to ‘stay safe and recover financially’, Adelaide mayor Sandy Verschoor said.
“Capital cities across Australia are still doing it extremely tough with the loss of city workers, tourists and international students,” she said.
“I’m looking forward to having productive discussions with the lord mayors about how we continue to support and advocate for our cities.”