I’m deeply honoured to have been elected as the new President of Local Government NSW, and am so grateful for the confidence NSW mayors and councillors have shown in me.
As I spoke about at our recent conference, I’m committed to supporting every mayor and councillor - no matter where in NSW they come from or what political stripe they wear - to stand up for the rights of their local community.
With the support of the new Board and LGNSW staff, I will be working hard to advocate for support and respect for local government by fighting against any future threats of forced mergers, against removing planning decisions from the hands of local councils and to create a useful Rural and Regional Summit. I look forward to working closely with country mayors.
As a federal election approaches, we must step up the fight for constitutional recognition for local government.
Earlier this week, I spoke with Minister Gabrielle Upton to tell her I am committed to having a positive, collaborative working relationship where we can, but I was clear our sector needs reform and support - and this will be a LGNSW priority for 2018.
I’ve also had the great pleasure of being briefed by our LGNSW staff, and am looking forward to working with them all.
I look forward to travelling and working with people from every region, city and town in NSW to ensure local concerns are taken to the highest levels of government.
LGNSW Board Elections – The AEC declared the election of LGNSW directors. My sincere congratulations to all those elected, and all those who ran. Visit the LGNSW website for more details.
Affordable Housing SEPP 70 – In a win for LGNSW advocacy and affordable housing, the NSW Government has announced the expansion of the affordable housing SEPP to five new Sydney Councils (Randwick City, Inner West, Northern Beaches, City of Ryde and City of Canada Bay). The councils requested the move to make it easier to create rental properties that can be leased to tenants at below-market rates. Read more.
Disaster relief and recovery arrangements – On Tuesday, LGNSW Chief Executive Donna Rygate and senior LGNSW staff attended an Office of Emergency Management (OEM) briefing on proposed reforms to the Australian Government’s Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. Under the new arrangements due to commence 1 July 2018, councils will receive payments based on council estimates of the cost to restore assets to pre-disaster conditions rather than being reimbursed for actual expenditure. While this will speed up payments to councils, councils’ ability to provide asset data to the standard required will be critical. OEM tells us it will consult widely during initial testing and as the arrangements are rolled out. We’ll keep a close eye on it.
Road Freight Industry Council – On Wednesday, Donna and Immediate Past President Cr Keith Rhoades attended a meeting of the NSW Road Freight Industry Council in Sydney. Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey gave an update including about the draft Freight and Ports Plan released last week. Other key issues included road safety and the alarming statistics about deaths on rural and regional roads, freight-related road and bridge funding initiatives and heavy vehicle access.
Finally, as this is the last edition of the Weekly for 2017 I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of all at LGNSW to wish you a safe and happy holiday season. We’ll be back with the first issue of the new year on 12 January.
Please note LGNSW will be closed from Monday 25 December, reopening Monday 8 January. However, members can call us on 02 9242 4000 for information on how to contact staff on urgent matters.
I look forward to working with you in 2018 to achieve the best possible results for our sector.