Ned Mannoun's first full year as popularity elected mayor was a busy one. Anne Tarasov asked him to reflect on what he sees as the council's greatest achievements of 2013 and look forward to what he hopes to achieve for the area in 2014.
How would you describe how 2013 went?
It was a very positive year. We've had a lot of people showing an interest in investing, a lot of businesses moving here and creating jobs. I like to describe my term using a farming analogy. The first year, you plough and think about seeds and working out your long-term vision. The seeds bear fruit in the following years. But we've had an excellent start.
Which of the council's achievements of the past year are you most proud of?
One of my highlights this year was our first budget and that we spent a record amount on fixing up the areas roads — $29 million, because that was one of our biggest priorities. It's also been great to restructure the staffing of the council.
Now we've got a better structure in place with a more efficient management system it will allow us to achieve more of our goals more efficiently.
This is a less top-heavy structure, so it will allow us to get what we need to get done more quickly.
The CCTV cameras being installed and switched on was a real highlight too, because that's something that I campaigned on in the lead up to the election.
What are your priorities for the council to achieve in 2014?
The council is committed to building a new car park in the southern end of Liverpool's central business district and with the help of Melanie Gibbons we have already received a $10 million grant.
I would also like to see the city revitalisation plan get up and going in 2014. We're going to do a wide community consultation to see exactly what the residents want and get people excited about the plan and then work will start midyear.
The council is also going to continue lobbying the state government for a stadium to be built in Liverpool and will meet with NRL teams and the A-League to get their support. The long-term goal would be to get Premier League team Liverpool FC to set up a team here.
I'm also excited about getting the cafe strip going in the central business district.
We're encouraging businesses to come and open here so people have something to do in the area when they go out at night.
Another one of my goals is to see a University of Western Sydney campus open in Liverpool.
Will we see more support for the Badgerys Creek airport from the council in the coming year?
It seems that the community's attitude about the airport has changed quite a bit.
What we need most in Liverpool is jobs and an airport will create a lot of employment opportunities for the area so the project could benefit the area quite a bit.
Will the council continue to oppose the Moorebank intermodal freight terminal this year?
We will continue to oppose the terminal. Moorebank just isn't the right place for it. If the airport goes ahead, the government should build the intermodal there too. The two would be most appropriate together.
What council initiatives/ plans should Liverpool residents be most excited about in 2014?
I'm really excited about the night markets, which will be held once a month in George Street from the new year. It will be a wonderful event, where you will be able to feed and entertain the whole family for about $20.