Mayor Steve Christou’s Weekly Message

An insight into what's happening around our local community.

11 September 2020

Response following release of Council's economic statement

I would like to respond to cowardly, inappropriate, social media postings following the release of Cumberland City Council’s economic statement. Like many businesses and organisations, our Council has been hit hard with the financial impacts of COVID-19. Amalgamation also hasn’t quite delivered the savings that we were promised as a new Council, at least not yet.

Despite this, we aren’t burying our heads in the sand to our financial situation and we’re looking at a number of areas where we can deliver our services in a more cost effective way. Areas being investigated include but are not limited to Council-run child care centres and pools. We are realistic and we know that sometimes the not-for-profit sector can be better equipped to deliver certain services than local government.

We are accountable to all ratepayers, not just the proportion who use our child care services or pools and would like to see these facilities remain in Council ownership. Our 17 childcare centres are running at a loss of $6.4 million dollars, annually. This is not a loss we can continue to wear.

Not everyone agrees with the need to address our situation. Key members in the United Services Union and several Australian Labor party members on our Council engage with the ‘Care for Cumberland’ Facebook page by liking and commenting on certain posts. The page has been lobbying against Council’s plans to explore the possible outsourcing of child care centres.

Whilst I am not against people expressing their opinions, I am against the cowardly and disgusting behaviour demonstrated by the unknown people running this page. Only a few days ago they posted a photo of a baby (my nephew) who had previously appeared in a media article after I restored Council’s nappy allowance for our childcare centre workers.

The photo was captioned ‘she just pooed on my shirt she must have heard I want to sack her carers.’ Those who run the Care for Cumberland page didn’t seek permission from the baby’s parents to use the image. They also mistakenly referred to the baby boy as a ‘she.’ I guess it pays to do your homework, which clearly they didn’t do.

The page also posted a second photo of the baby that made light of his gender and included his name. It wasn’t until the baby’s father complained in the comments section that the two photos were subsequently removed.

Posting the photos shows a lack of regard for privacy and child safety. I find it disappointing that at least one United Services Union official and the State Member for Granville, Julia Finn ‘liked’ this content.

I can assure Ms Finn and various employees of the United Services Union that there is nothing funny about this and the parents of the baby used in the photo were and are very distressed. The matter is serious and options to rectify the issue are being pursued.

For residents of Cumberland City, I’d like to assure you that Council and the majority of Councillors, will do everything possible to ensure we run an effective Council, which is accountable to our entire local community. If you haven’t already, I’d encourage you to read Council’s economic statement at

We will continue to update you on our plans to deliver savings for Cumberland City.

JP services at Council’s Community Service Centre

During my time as Mayor I have identified that there is a shortage of Justice of the Peace Officers that are readily available to assist our local community.

To remedy this issue JP Services are now available at Cumberland City Council’s Merrylands Community Service Centre.

Shop 1/205 Merrylands Road Merrylands.

Monday – Friday 8.30am – 4pm.

No appointment necessary, you can just walk in and be assisted by our friendly staff.

DAs available online

As a further way to make it easier for residents, development applications in Cumberland City can now be lodged electronically through the NSW Planning Portal that is managed by the NSW Government.

Further information on how to lodge applications on the portal is available on

For submissions on current development applications visit or visit to check the status of specific developments

If you have any issues you’d like me to help you with, please contact me by