President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

Connecting with members – We’ve been in the South East this week for the latest council summit, hosted by Bega Shire Council. While in the region we visited Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley Shire councils. From water to roads, to childcare to superannuation, I am so grateful to those who made the time to attend and assist us to best understand how we can add value to councils. The next summit will be hosted in the Hunter by Maitland City Council, on Thursday 28 June, 10am - 2pm. Register online for upcoming summits.

South East Council Summit

A welcome boost for cross-border communities – We welcome the launch of a new $20 million NSW Cross-Border Commissioner’s Infrastructure Fund by the NSW Government, designed to level the playing field for communities forced to navigate a range of state-based regulations. We have consistently campaigned in support of border councils and their communities on this issue and this move is long overdue.

The NSW’s Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish, whom we met with just last week, will work with communities in NSW and neighbouring states to identify priority projects and secure investment. Projects may include improving electricity supply, developing telecommunications, accessing water supply or providing social and sporting infrastructure. We look forward to our next meeting with the commissioner. Read more.

Calling for sports funding to be shared fairly – Councils across NSW have been disappointed to discover the business case behind the NSW Government’s controversial plans to rebuild Allianz Stadium relies on stealing football fixtures away from locally-owned sportsgrounds.

The business case, prepared by KPMG and released to the public this week, suggests at least two council sportsgrounds (Lottoland, Brookvale and Leichhardt Oval) would be allowed to deteriorate sufficiently to force NRL games to be played at a rebuilt Allianz Stadium.

We have heard loud and clear from councils across NSW that you don’t believe it is in the best interests of the state to have funding directed to elite stadiums when that money could be spent in a fairer way across the state on tennis courts, basketball courts or pools. Read more.

Local heroes recognised – Congratulations to all those who were recognised for service to local government in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours, announced on Monday. NSW recipients of the Order of Australia for service to local government included LGNSW Board member, Cr Karen McKeown, for her service to the community of Penrith and to women.

Also recognised for their service to local government in NSW were:

  • Mrs Christine Ferguson
  • Mr Cecil Burgess
  • Mrs Jennifer Clarke
  • Mrs Sandra McCarthy
  • Dr Johannes Nell
  • Mr Peter Schick
  • Ms Leigh Vaughan.

Recipients of the Public Service Medal:

  • Mr Kent Boyd
  • Mr Kenneth Gainger.

See full list of recipients.

Also, remember to get your Public Service Medal nominations in for staff who are showing outstanding leadership.

Preparing for the state budget – LGNSW has prepared a submission ahead of the state budget for 2018/19 announcement by NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet on Tuesday (19 June). The submission summarises 30 recommendations across 11 Government agencies, developed following extensive consultation with NSW councils. The top six priorities are: waste and recycling; open space; access to Restart NSW and other grants; grant programs for disadvantaged areas; public libraries and road safety. We urge you to reflect these calls in your local media about the NSW State Budget. LGNSW will join the budget lock-up on Tuesday to bring you the latest updates as quickly as possible. These will be posted on our website via a live blog, which will start when NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet rises to make his budget address at noon. To access the information, visit the LGNSW’s website, which will be updated regularly throughout the afternoon. Refresh the page periodically to receive the latest news.

Nominations are now open for the 2018 NSW Volunteer of the Year Awards. Consider nominating people you think have made a valuable contribution, particularly if it’s work being done in collaboration with your council. Find out more.


New Rules for Short-Term Letting

LGNSW welcomes the NSW Government’s package of reforms to regulate short-term residential accommodation.

The changes are designed to ensure that local communities continue to gain from the economic benefits of short-term letting while protecting long-term residents.

They include:

  • A new mandatory code of conduct for online booking platforms, letting agents, property managers, hosts and guests, including a complaints system and penalties for breaches.
  • Amendments to strata law to allow owners’ corporations (by a 75 per cent majority) to adopt a by-law to prohibit short-term letting in their building if the apartment is not the principal place of residence of the person who is letting it out.
  • New planning laws will allow short-term holiday letting under certain conditions. If the host is present, they can use their home for short-term holiday letting all year round as exempt development (i.e. no council approval required).
  • If the host is not present, that residence can be used for short-term holiday letting up to 180 days per year in Greater Sydney. In rural and regional NSW, short-term holiday letting (when the host is not present) will be automatically capped at 365 days, and councils will be given the power to reduce the cap (to no less than 180 days per year) if needed for their community. 

While the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct is a positive move, the code on its own may not be enough to give councils the information they need to regulate providers of short term rental accommodation.

LGNSW believes a centralised register would be an easier way for councils to obtain the relevant information/data they need to effectively regulate operators of short term letting.See our media release.

The government has introduced legislation to NSW Parliament - the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018 – to establish the new mandatory code of conduct and strata changes. Changes to the planning regulatory framework are also planned, but no dates have been given for their introduction.

To find out more visit the NSW Fair Trading web site.


Litter Congress 2018


The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is offering a limited number of sponsored registrations for councils and community groups to attend Litter Congress 2018 (Sydney, 1-2 August).

Hosted by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW, the congress will provide an opportunity for people involved in litter management to get together to discuss ways to tackle littering and promote behaviour change.

Keeping litter out of public spaces requires a holistic approach encompassing behavioural psychology, community engagement, local government initiatives, technology, education, city planning and packaging design.

The program includes:

  • case studies, seminars and discussion
  • presentations from experts on litter reduction
  • practical advice on changing behaviour and targeting local litter issues.

Early bird registration closes 22 June. For more information visit the Litter Congress website.

EPA-sponsored registrations are strictly limited and restricted to one sponsored registration per organisation. Email Keep Australia Beautiful to express interest.


Draft Tree Stock Standard Open for Comment


Standards Australia has developed a draft standard to ensure quality trees are grown, selected and replanted in the landscape and is inviting council input.

The Tree Stock for Landscape Use Standard AS 2303 has been developed in partnership with stakeholders, including local government. It provides technical information to evaluate the quality of tree material grown by production nurseries.

The draft standard is open for comment until 6 August 2018 and is available via the Standards Australia Hub. (You will need to register and create an account).

For further information contact Standards Australia on 1800 035 822 or by email.