Festival of Repair Launch

Wednesday 9 August, 2023

Speech by City of Sydney Councillor Adam Worling

This inspiring festival is beyond needed. It will help to replace our throw-away culture with a hands-on culture of repair.

Hello everyone, my name is Councillor Adam Worling and I am pleased to represent Lord Mayor Clover Moore who is unable to be here today, and sends her apologies.

I want to acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation, the traditional custodians of our land, and to pay my respects to their Elders. And I acknowledge the people of the many nations who live in our City.

Councillor Adam Worling (right) with War on Waste’s Nina Gabor and Bower General Manager Michelle Sheather at Festival of Repair Launch, 9 August at 107 Redfern St, Sydney. Photo: Alec Smart

Festival of Repair

This inspiring festival is beyond needed. It will help to replace our throw-away culture with a hands-on culture of repair.

It will help attendees build skills and change behaviours. Imagine the sense of accomplishment in learning to reupholster your favourite chair, tackle basic plumbing or hang a shelf. Not to mention the sheer fun of getting together with your neighbours and community to meet with local artists, artisans, the Aboriginal community and fellow DIYers.

Congratulations on this great festival and for helping us repair not just our domestic appliances, but our environment. The City of Sydney will be hosting a stall on the festival’s market day and we look forward to seeing you all there.

The Bower’s great work

Even before many of us knew what the circular economy was, the Bower Reuse and Repair Centre was at the forefront of repairing, reusing and repurposing household items and building materials.

I can’t begin to imagine the sheer volume of items you have saved from landfill. How many people you’ve supported by repairing and re-homing perfectly good items.

25 years is a long time in business; and even more than that, it’s a long time to be dedicated to something. It’s inspiring to see that The Bower is not only still going strong after more than two decades, but that you’re ramping up.

Since 2014, the City of Sydney has provided over $155,000 to The Bower through grants on projects including workshops in environmental sustainability, a household items re-homing service, and a community repair hub. This year, we’re thrilled to also be the major sponsor of this event – Australia’s first ever Festival of Repair. We’ve done this because our values align with yours.

City’s war on waste

More than half of our household and commercial waste goes to landfill. But data shows that by 2034, there will be no capacity at existing landfill sites in NSW. This is not acceptable, and we need to work together, with businesses like The Bower, and our well-intentioned community members, to change bad habits.

Reducing waste and its impact on the environment is one of the key ways to lower emissions and to help us meet our ambitious target to reach net-zero emissions by 2035. 

The City’s local area alone produces 5,500 tonnes of waste every day. And while recycling is important, the market for recycled products can’t keep up with demand.

In May, the Lord Mayor hosted a waste summit for metropolitan councils and State Government agencies to highlight the urgency of all Councils working together to better manage waste. She has continued her advocacy directly with the Premier and State Ministers, too, requesting the State Government invests 100 per cent of its waste levy to accelerate the transition to a circular economy, build waste infrastructure to meet the pressures of population growth, and educate and support people to reduce their waste.

At the same time, she has requested that the Federal Government expedites bans on materials that cannot be recycled or recovered.

We acknowledge the Gadigal people of the Eora nation who are the traditional custodians of this land and pay respect to Elders past, present and future and extend that respect to other Aboriginal people.