Mayor Steve Christou’s Weekly Message

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

17 July 2020

Jobkeeper extension needed

The COVID-19 pandemic has affected communities across the world, with households and businesses greatly impacted.

The devastating consequences of this pandemic will be felt for years to come by our current and future generations.

Some residents in Cumberland City are amongst the poorest in NSW. Local residents and businesses have relied heavily on the JobKeeper program to stay afloat, put food on the table and keep a roof over their family’s heads.

The JobKeeper program is due to come to an end in September. While I am well aware of the financial long-term consequences the Federal Government has incurred through the rollout of this much needed assistance package, I feel it is imperative that JobKeeper be extended beyond September. At the height of this pandemic, the lengthy queue I witnessed outside my local Centrelink in Merrylands was heartbreaking. I am keen to avoid a similar situation if JobKeeper is not extended.

Like most people, I never would have thought that I would experience such a situation in my lifetime. There was no instruction manual on how to deal with COVID-19 and I feel the Federal Government dealt with this pandemic the best way it could.

JobKeeper is one initiative all Councils should be supporting. If it is not extended beyond September, the consequences will be catastrophic not only for the vulnerable residents of Cumberland City but for many Australians across the country.

I urge the Federal Government to extend the Jobkeeper program for the benefit of all Australians.

Public housing

Public housing makes up 5.77% of households in Cumberland City, ranking us 7th in Greater Sydney. Across Sydney, public housing makes up 3.77% of households.

I regularly receive feedback and complaints from Cumberland City residents in relation to their situation. Many of these properties are in a state of disrepair and wait times for maintenance can span over many years.

There is no shortage of horror stories, and the mess I witnessed at a public housing property on Military Road Guildford recently, was amongst the worst cases I’ve seen.

No resident of Cumberland City or any Australian should be forced to live in ghettolike conditions. It’s a sad situation that residents are expected to live like this.

The general theme coming through the complaints from residents seems to be a lack of action by NSW housing authorities.

While many will say housing residents have an obligation to keep their premises clean and tidy, which is entirely correct, housing authorities also have a duty of care to these residents.

I don’t believe that anyone chooses to live in these conditions, and find themselves in this situation for any number of reasons – from unemployment to intergenerational poverty.

Most of these residents are decent people wanting to live a quiet life. Housing authorities need to step up and ensure these properties are liveable and safe. Residents should not have to wait months or years for simple maintenance requests. Housing NSW also needs to evict troublesome, problematic tenants that are causing consistent misery for their neighbours and local community.

The NSW Government needs to ensure a proportionate spread of where these properties are located, across all Local Government Areas. This isn’t an issue we can tackle alone as a Council in Sydney’s west, and we require support from the state government to ensure these responsibilities are met.

School pedestrian crossing for Guildford Public School

I recently visited Guildford Public School to inspect a pedestrian school crossing that had been approved on Military Road Guildford to ensure the safety of the school’s students.

With the support of Deputy Mayor Eddy Sarkis, it’s great that we were able to support this great initiative and help to ensure the safety of Cumberland City residents.

Students Mohamad Elomran and Akram Omar, were the driving forces behind this initiative. I am really proud of their tenacity and perseverance to make this crossing a reality.

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