Sydney First

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Sydney First is a lobby group that was launched by major business interests ahead of the March 2007 New South Wales state election.

The Australian Financial Review (AFR) reported that founding members included Craig Pudig, from the law firm Clayton Utz and Patricia Forsythe, the Executive Director of the Sydney Chamber of Commerce. Sydney First, the AFR reported, is modelled on London First, a UK-business lobby group. [1]

While the Daily Telegraph stated that a primary goal of the group is to "remove barriers which impede Sydney's growth and development as a global city" Forsythe sought to explains it in more palatable altruistic terminology. "This project is about business using its expertise to propose publicly policy solutions," Ms Forsythe said. "It's a way of business giving back to the community." [2]

Supporting companies include Qantas, the accountancy firm, KPMG, the freeway and infrastructure company, Transurban, Integral Energy, EnergyAustralia, Macquarie Bank, CrossCity Motorway, Rothschild Australia Ltd, GM Holden, Sydney Airport, Sydney Ports, Sydney Festival, The Heart Foundation and TransGrid.

On its website, the Sydney Chamber of Commerce and Industry state that Sydney First has been established "to provide a unique level of engagement for corporations with a significant presence, interest or stake in the City of Sydney" and that its members "are exclusively engaged in intimate political forums with the Premier and key Government Ministers". [3]

"One of the unique aspects of Sydney First is the commitment of Ministers to attend a series of Forums per annum to progress the Sydney First agenda as it relates to their portfolio, providing Sydney First members with regular and exclusive political access and engagement while supporting the outcomes-driven nature of the program," the Chamber of Commerce states. Membership of the exclusive group, it states, "is limited in number".


  1. Steven Scott, "Lobby puts Sydney First", Australian Financial Review, February 9, 2007, page 27.
  2. Lillian Saleh, "Alliance puts Sydney First", The Daily Telegraph, February 8, 2007.
  3. Sydney Chamber of Commerce and Industry, "About Sydney First", (accessed February 2007).
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