I’d like to begin by congratulating the many councillors and mayors who were elected into NSW local government positions two years ago this week. Thank you for all the work you do, serving your communities in the most valuable sphere of government in our nation.
Your help needed: Federal election focus on local – I’m so proud we joined with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) to launch your federal election document. Our local government platform outlines 12 ways political parties and their candidates can keep the election local and deliver for Australian communities.
The document quotes a YouGov Galaxy poll from June 2018, which found that 81 per cent of Australians agree that political candidates should focus on local issues and local communities at the next federal election.
I’m looking forward to discussing the campaign further at ALGA’s Board meeting in Canberra next week.
All councils are urged to support ALGA’s national advocacy. Visit ALGA’s election advocacy website to find out more.
Review of the planning system; ensuring local government’s voice is heard – We had another positive and productive meeting with Planning Minister Anthony Roberts, raising the many issues you continue to raise with us – including the need for reform of boarding houses, short-term rental accommodation, the need for LGNSW to participate in the Review of Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 and planning skill shortages.
If you would like us to raise anything at our next meeting, email Jane Partridge, Senior Policy Officer, Planning, LGNSW.
I was also pleased to meet with former NSW Deputy Police Commissioner Nick Kaldas this week to provide local government feedback on his review of the decision-making framework, of the NSW planning system.
On your behalf, we raised members’ concerns on matters including spot re-zoning, private certifiers, the Building and Development Certifiers Bill 2018, local planning panels, e-planning, skills shortages and planner qualifications.
Success: IPART announces next year’s rate peg of 2.7% – The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced a 2.7% increase on council rates for 2019/20 this week. The new rate reflects the local government price index, which measures the range of costs borne by local government.
While LGNSW welcomes the rate is higher than in recent years, we argued it still leaves little scope for councils to address infrastructure maintenance backlogs, or to build a more sustainable financial future. It also forces many councils to seek special rate variations to cover the cost of providing vital new infrastructure and services. Read more in our media release and Weekly article.
Increasing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander participation in local government – It was a great honour to address delegates at the 30th NSW Local Government Aboriginal Network Conference, and thank you to Mayor Cathy Redding and Narrabri Shire for hosting us this week.
The conference brought together delegates from across the state to discuss current and emerging issues facing councils, Aboriginal communities, businesses and the wider community. I encourage councils to make use of LGNSW’s Collaborate NSW website and resource kit to support the inclusion of Aboriginal communities in council decision making, service development and delivery.
For more information contact Margaret Kay, Strategy Manager, LGNSW.
The fight for increased funding for public libraries continues – If you’re currently considering or have passed a mayoral minute to support our Renew Our Libraries campaign, we still need your support despite the NSW Government’s announcement of $60 million in new funding! We’ve been examining the detail of the funding package and how it measures up against other states. What we know so far is that it’s not enough and it cuts off in 2023. Look out for further communication on this shortly.
Your Help Needed: Councillor Work Value Project - In response to your requests, we’re conducting a significant new review of the appropriateness of the remuneration paid to mayors and councillors in NSW in order to make the case for increased remuneration and conditions.
In addition to the significantly increased workloads of elected members, the review will consider complex changes including the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework, the introduction of joint organisations and recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 concerning the role of the governing body and elected members.
The review will also collect feedback on the classification criteria under the Act for future submissions (the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal will next consider categorisation in 2020). The survey will be distributed to member councils in early October 2018 – so keep a look out to ensure your voice is heard! Members’ participation is crucial to the success of this project and I thank you in advance for your support. Read more .