Lord mayor of Melbourne to stand down

Wood made his position on the current leadership clear on social media, posting that Capp had “cut and run, leaving the city in debt, disarray and without direction”.

Wood told The Age he was still considering whether to run but had a lot of support from people from all walks of life.

“My fire or desire to play a leadership role in the city hasn’t diminished,” he said.

Guerra and Peacock declined to comment, while Campbell said, “I’m still considering it.”

The only current nominee is Roy Morgan Research executive chairman Gary Morgan, who has vied for the role five times before.

Capp said she encouraged people to run for lord mayor because it’s “the best job going around”.

“Nick Reece will be the lord mayor of Melbourne for the remainder of the term, and it’ll be up to Nick to really shape the story of what his future plans are,” Capp said. “I feel confident that Nick, together with our councillor group, and our executives here at the City of Melbourne, will continue to do a brilliant job.”

She said she had been contemplating her future but only made the final decision this week.

“Most people know I am a full-time sort of person and I put maximum effort into this role, and this was really a key consideration for me as I contemplated the election,” she said at a press conference.

“It’s not so much the election itself,” she said. “It’s really that full commitment to the four-year term that comes afterwards – and I’ve decided that now is the right time for me to move on.”

Capp was first elected mayor of the City of Melbourne at a 2018 byelection triggered by the resignation of Robert Doyle over sexual harassment claims against him.

Capp, a former commercial lawyer and Victorian director of the Property Council of Australia was re-elected in 2020.

“It is with mixed emotions that I am announcing I will not be contesting the next local government election,” she said.

“I love this job – it is an honour and privilege to represent the people of Melbourne.”

Sally Capp with her husband and son after the press conference during which she announced her upcoming resignation as lord mayor of Melbourne.

Sally Capp with her husband and son after the press conference during which she announced her upcoming resignation as lord mayor of Melbourne.Credit: Luis Enrique Ascui

Capp said her time as lord mayor had been eventful and Melbourne had been “in dire need of leadership” when she was elected, with a culture of unacceptable councillor behaviour and delays on major projects, such as the renewal of Queen Victoria Market.

“We faced acts of terrorism in the city, followed by the profound challenges of the global pandemic and long lockdowns,” she said.

Sally Capp enjoys a new Southbank playground in 2022.

Sally Capp enjoys a new Southbank playground in 2022.Credit: Luis Enrique Ascui

“Despite this, together we have driven the revitalisation of this magnificent city – emerging as Australia’s largest city, the world’s third most liveable, and the fourth-best student city globally.

“We have seen record-breaking crowds at every major event recently, driving up foot traffic and boosting business across the city.

“I know hardship is still a reality for many business owners and residents, but the upward trajectory is undeniable. We are once again the driver of Victoria’s economy and a major contributor on the national stage.”


Capp highlighted the Greenline project along the banks of the Yarra, the redevelopment of the Queen Victoria Market and the Make Room homeless shelter and services as her key achievements, although none of the three has been completed.

“I’ve given it my best over the six years, and I’m conscious that for many of these projects – Greenline, Queen Victoria Market, Make Room – they’ve been very associated with me,” she said. “But I think everybody will see now that these are projects with a full endorsement of the council, great popularity and support across community in the private sector. And the saying goes, ‘when you love something, set it free’ – and I am setting those projects free. I’m sure that they will flourish.”

Premier Jacinta Allan said people should thank Capp for her service, telling ABC Radio Melbourne on Thursday morning that it had been “a turbulent time at City Hall” when Capp took over.

“She stabilised the organisation. She had to lead the city through the pandemic. And I know, from first-hand experience, just how hard she has worked over the number of years she’s been the lord mayor,” Allan said.

“Her incredible positivity, too, should not be underestimated in terms of some of the slings and arrows that have been thrown her way. So I think we should all thank her for the commitment she’s made to the role, and wish her and her family all the very best.”

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