LGNSW Win: NSW Government announces review of electoral funding law – In a win for democracy, the NSW Government has acted upon our call for a parliamentary inquiry into the Electoral Funding Act 2018, rushed through the Parliament in May.
On your behalf, LGNSW has consistently argued for a review to resolve significant legislative flaws, including inconsistent expenditure caps on local government candidates, parties and third-party campaigners.
It is vital that elected representatives make submissions to this inquiry by 14 September.
Under the current law, a candidate for Orange City Council would be allowed to spend $0.17 per voter, compared with $0.69 per voter by a candidate for Dubbo Regional Council. In rural Walcha, the allowable spend is $8.71 per voter.
Meanwhile in metropolitan areas, a Campbelltown City Council candidate would be allowed to spend $0.05 per voter, compared with the $0.44 per voter allowed in Waverley.
On your behalf, LGNSW will make representations about the need for change to ensure electoral funding caps are fair and transparent. Should you have views on how the formula should work for your council or ward, it is vital you also make a submission – and call on your community to do the same.
A win for councils in Legionella control – Last year we secured a place for LGNSW on the NSW Health Legionella Taskforce Steering Group, ensuring our sector had a say in the drafting of the Public Health Amendment (Legionella Control) Regulation 2018 and accompanying guidelines.
We called for the removal of the fixed fees proposed under the Regulation, arguing that councils should be able to set their own fees and charges for Legionella control functions. I’m pleased to report the Government accepted our proposed amendments and the new Regulation, published on 10 August 2018, provides councils with the flexibility they need to cover their costs. Read more. Contact: Damian Thomas, Senior Policy Officer, LGNSW.
Lost opportunity on short-term holiday rental – This week the NSW Upper House passed the Fair Trading (Short-term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018.
The new laws now in place have a blanket maximum 180-day rental cap in Sydney but – because of our advocacy on your behalf - enable regional and rural areas to impose their own caps of not less than 180 days.
While we welcome councils in regional areas having some say on caps that will apply, we’re disappointed the legislation falls short on delivering a robust regulatory system including statewide registration for all short-term rental accommodation – something we had long argued for.
We will hold the Government to its commitment to review the effectiveness and impacts of the new framework in 12 months’ time and continue to work with stakeholders to ensure NSW has a short-term rental system that benefits us all: owners, visitors, residents and local communities. See our media release. Contact Shaun McBride, Chief Economist, LGNSW, if you have any further questions.
Get behind ALGA's national advocacy – The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is about to launch its national federal election advocacy campaign, with the aim of securing a better deal on federal funding for local government from the next federal government. ALGA is calling for upon the next federal government to restore core local government funding of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1% of commonwealth taxation revenue and add funding for partnership programs where agreed. I sent a message to members yesterday on this and urge you to confirm your council’s support by completing this short form.
Conference motions – All members are encouraged to submit a motion for debate at this year’s annual conference (Albury, 21-23 October) by Sunday 26 August. The LGNSW Board’s motions sub-committee met this week to review submissions so far. Members are also reminded to register the names of their delegates for voting on motions during formal business sessions by 2 October. Find out more on the LGNSW website.
Cr Linda Scott, LGNSW President
P.S. Lastly this week – but by no means least – check out this amazing Librarian Rhapsody video by Shoalhaven library staff! In the spirit of Renew Our Libraries, we’re asking if any other councils can match this or do better? The challenge is on!