The Committee for Sydney is expanding, kicking off 2017 with the appointment of two new directors, James Hulme as director of advocacy and Victoria Black as director of partnerships.

Director of policy Eamon Waterford told The Fifth Estate the appointments would strengthen the committee’s engagement with members and partners through the director of partnerships and strengthen its ability to advocate to both government and the community.

“We have grown in the last four years from three staff to eight staff so there’s been significant growth within the organisation and that is reflective, I suppose, on good engagement with the business community, good engagement with government and effective policy development.”

Mr Hulme has held senior positions at Transport for NSW and the Department for Family and Community Services, working on groundbreaking initiatives including social housing reform and major investments in Sydney’s transport infrastructure. He previously worked in the UK as head of public affairs for the business organisation London First, and head of communications for the independent think-tank New Local Government Network.

Ms Black was the strategic marketing manager at SMART Infrastructure Facility at the University of Wollongong, one of the largest research institutions in the world dedicated to helping governments and businesses plan for the future. In 2016 Ms Black was chosen to attend The Women’s Leadership Forum at Harvard Business School. She is a national committee member for the Australia Harvard Women’s Group and an associate fellow of the Australian Institute of Management.

The expansion of the Committee for Sydney team has been funded through the membership, which has grown from 31 to 126 members in the past five years.

“We’re proud to have a diverse membership of Sydney’s key business, local government, educational, cultural and not-for profit organisations,” Mr Waterford said. New members include the Sydney Fish Markets, Sydney Local Health District, the Sydney Dance Company and WSP Parsons Brinkerhoff.

Mr Waterford said the Committee for Sydney was delighted with its recent success.

“We’ve been instrumental to the discussions around the formation of the Greater Sydney Commission, to discussion around City Deals, to the emerging discussion around smart cities, and essentially we want to take the next step,” he said.

“Some of the key areas we have identified that are important for the committee are maintaining our focus in the planning and transport areas, but strengthening our offer when it comes to culture and liveability, and also in the smart cities space.”