Yvonne Welcome recently announced that she will run as an independent candidate for the City of Sydney Lord Mayor, making her the first Indigenous Australian to do so. Urban Village’s Queenie Colquhoun spoke to Yvonne about her goals and motivation in running for office

Yvonne Weldon’s involvement in politics began before she was born.

“My family are the definition of trailblazers and the movement for my people, for all people in this country, this is lifelong and intergenerational,” she says.

“I hope to bring the same audacity, creative energy and fierce optimism to Town Hall that my Great Aunt, Mum Shirl, and Uncle, Paul Coe, brought to their life-long fights to make Sydney a more just, honourable city. I am passionate and committed to serving people, not self.”

Weldon has 30 years’ experience working with key government and Aboriginal organisations, including working in several private and volunteering roles.

These include her experience as the elected Chair of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council, as Deputy Chair of the NSW Australia Day Council and as a Board member for both Redfern Jarjum College and Domestic Violence NSW.

Reflecting on the recent rough years that Sydneysiders have faced at the hands of COVID-19, bushfires and floods, Weldon wants to work towards a future focusing on jobs, the climate emergency and fairness. If elected, she says she will create jobs by backing both big and small business, tourism and revitalising the hospitality industry.

Weldon will also focus on Sydney’s housing affordability crisis. She says: “Sydney’s housing affordability crisis is shutting out the young, the entrepreneurs, and the hardworking people who make our economy and communities tick. We need to build more homes, including more genuinely affordable homes for Sydneysiders.”

Weldon says her core values are transparency and honesty. “I hope to bring improved transparency, real accountability and true consultation. I have extensive experience both in paid and voluntary roles with varied sectors. I will share this expertise to create positive change to this diverse city.”

She discusses a vision for Sydney that prioritises community, culture, and equity, through measures such as affordable housing and career opportunities.

Weldon says: “A Sydney where access to great culture is built into the fabric of the city, with our rich heritage supporting our growing world-class creative industries.”