Are You Serious? The Governance of Metropolitan Sydney

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Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Wednesday, May 16, 20184:00PM - 5:30PM208N, North House, 1 Devonshire Place
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IMFG is delighted to welcome Visiting Scholar Graham Sansom to the Institute this spring. Graham is an Adjunct Professor at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) in Australia, with a long career in local and state government. As part of his visit, he will be speaking at an IMFG seminar on May 16th about some of his research.

Sydney is Australia’s largest metropolis with 5 million people, growing towards 7-8 million by mid-century. It faces serious challenges of infrastructure and service provision, environmental management, and spatial inequality.

Sydney’s metropolitan governance lacks focus. The State government of New South Wales has constitutional authority and dominates planning, infrastructure, and services. But power is dispersed among ten or more ministers. While a Greater Sydney Commission was established in 2015, there is little sign it can effect meaningful coordination. Local government is divided among 34 councils, playing only a minor role at the metropolitan scale. The federal government provides financial support and could exert more influence. It recently fostered a ‘City Deal’ for Western Sydney linked to building a second Sydney airport.

So far, Sydney has muddled through, and currently State revenues from asset sales and a property boom are funding high profile infrastructure projects. But without more coherent governance, can Sydney’s luck hold? What lessons might large cities in Canada and beyond draw from Sydney’s performance?


Graham Sansom is a Visiting Scholar at IMFG. He was the inaugural Director of the Australian Centre of Excellence for Local Government, based at the University of Technology Sydney. Previously he had a long career in local and state government, and as a consultant to all levels of government across Australia.

Seating is limited for the event, and registration is required. Register for this event


Elisa Tate
(416) 946-3688


Graham Sansom
IMFG Visiting Scholar

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