President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

Your LGNSW Board met today – Your Board met today to consider an enormous range of issues and endorse submissions.

We officially welcomed our new Vice-President Rural/Regional Cr Scott Ferguson, Mayor of Blayney Shire Council to the Board of LGNSW.

In line with the recommendations of our value audit, we have fundamentally changed the annual reporting of the organisation to reflect outputs and value achieved, as well as including both the financial reports for LGNSW and LGP for the first time.

We reported on our work with the chairs of the NSW joint organisations, and our efforts to co-design a way to work together to add value to NSW councils. I thank them for their time and consideration of the important issues in this regard.

We also reported on a range of priority advocacy issues, including:

  • Successfully securing a $60 million commitment from the NSW Government to fund public libraries
  • Successfully securing an inquiry by the NSW Parliament’s Joint Committee on Electoral Matters into the Electoral Funding Act 2018, rushed through the Parliament in May, and appearing before the Committee to advocate for reform
  • Ensuring ALGA will raise our concerns about the impact of cuts of NSW councils early education and care funding at COAG
  • Securing amendments to the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018 which enable regional and rural councils to impose their own cap of not less than 180 days
  • Releasing the ALGA Federal Election Priorities, and working to ensure all NSW councils are sharing these with their communities
  • Preparing for the launch of our next campaign, and continuing the call for sustainable funding for public libraries, in preparation for the NSW State Election.

Western Metro SummitListening to councils continues: Western Sydney Focus – It was a pleasure to join our Western Sydney Councils this week in Penrith for our Western Metropolitan Summit, and focus on the extraordinary population growth and need for infrastructure for these communities.

We’re continuing to work hard to listen to all our members and offer value to them each and every week. I look forward to seeing members later this month at the LGNSW Annual Conference (Albury, 21-23 October). Register online by Tuesday 9 October.

Renew Our Libraries - Action Needed – While we’re excited that in response to your efforts to date, the NSW Government and the Opposition have committed to providing millions in additional funding to NSW public libraries over four years from 2019 – there’s more work to do!

If your council has not yet joined Renew Our Libraries please pass a mayoral minute or notice of motion supporting the campaign. Find out how your council can get on board. Read more.

Win for LGNSW: NSW Government responds to calls to improve certifier independence– LGNSW has long advocated for a stronger regulatory framework governing building certification, particularly private certification, so we welcome the release this week of the Improving Certifier Independence: Options Paper exploring new methods for appointing private certifiers. We will review the options in consultation with councils ahead of preparing a sector-wide submission. Councils wishing to raise issues can contact LGNSW senior policy officers Jane Partridge or Linda Blinkhorn. Read more.

Standing up for drought-affected councils – This week, I urged the Australian Government to get its $1 million funding injection (promised last month) out now to communities struggling through the worst drought in decades. I know from my discussions with rural and regional councillors that their communities are desperate for funding. See our media release and Weekly item. I have also written to the Premier, asking the NSW Government to consider dollar-matching the Australian Government’s $1 million program.

Don’t forget, LGNSW has set up a register to connect councils seeking drought-related assistance with others that can provide it. For further information and to lodge requests contact Shaun McBride.

It is fitting that he first motion for debate at our annual conference – submitted by Bourke Shire Council (and echoed by others) – will call for a clear mechanism for drought declaration, a common definition of drought applicable to all areas and transparent criteria for assistance to farmers and small businesses. Read more. The Conference Business Paper will be issued to delegates next week.


Drought Communities Programme Extension

The Australian Government’s Drought Communities Program has been extended to provide a further $75 million in 2018/19 to eligible councils in drought-affected regions of Australia, to support local community infrastructure and other drought relief projects. 

The funding will:

  • provide employment for people whose work opportunities have been impacted by drought
  • stimulate local community spending
  • use local resources, businesses and suppliers
  • provide a long-lasting benefit to communities and the agricultural industries on which they depend.

Thirty-five NSW councils are currently eligible to apply, based on rainfall deficiency data from the Bureau of Meteorology and reliance on agriculture.

The government will continue to monitor conditions across the country as the drought continues and may consider expanding the program to reach more councils.

For more information including the list of eligible councils visit the refer to the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science website.


LGNSW Annual Conference


If you are planning to attend the upcoming LGNSW Annual Conference (Albury, 21-23 October) please register online by next Tuesday (9 October).

Bookings are also open for training sessions on Sunday 21 October, including presentations from AR Bluett award-winning councils sharing their inspiration and outlining the achievements that won them a podium place in 2016 and 2017.

We would also like to remind you of the following partners’ tours:

  • Albury city tour: enjoy a guided coach tour including the Murray River precinct, the WWI Monument and the grand architecture of Dean Street, the Albury Railway Station and other local highlights of historic and contemporary significance.
  • Yindyamarra sculpture trail: take in the beauty of the majestic Murray River and enjoy the magnificent river-related sculptures as you wind your way between river and the Wonga Wetlands, a peaceful ecosystem of lagoons and billabongs, home to variety of wildlife and ancient river red gums. Enjoy a BBQ lunch, a presentation and walk around the wetlands before returning to central Albury.
  • Corowa full-day tour: on the way to Corowa, enjoy a stop off at Wrenwood gallery and farm shop to take in the variety of artworks, farm and home produce. In Corowa, experience delicious treats at the Corowa chocolate and whisky factory, purchase lunch, and enjoy a factory tour and chocolate tasting. After lunch, visit Federation Museum before returning to central Albury.

If you are arriving in Albury on Sunday afternoon, 21 October, and not attending the training session, you may wish to attend the free Music in the Gardens event, featuring live jazz from 1-3pm.

If you wish to dine out on Sunday night after the President’s official welcome reception, booking is recommended. Refer to the dining guide and note that some venues will open especially for group bookings.


Renew Our Libraries Campaign Update


Thanks to widespread support for our Renew Our Libraries initiative, the NSW Government and Opposition have committed to providing millions in additional funding to NSW public libraries over four years from 2019 – but there’s more work to do!

While these commitments are an important first step, they only go part way to meeting the $94 million Renew Our Libraries objective set at the beginning of our campaign to double the funding. They cut off in 2023 and, without indexation or legislation to protect them, do not deliver long-term funding.

Funding will quickly fall behind, delivering another crisis for public libraries soon.

Renew Our Libraries' goals for the next phase of the campaign are:

  • Double the Funding >> Index the Funding >> Protect the Funding

It is critical that all councils continue to support and promote the Renew Our Libraries within their communities. To get on board visit Renew Our Libraries.

LGNSW continues to call upon councils to pledge their support by passing a mayoral minute or notice of motion.

Sixty-five councils of all political persuasions have already signed up. This campaign crosses political boundaries and follows a LGNSW whole-of-government conference resolution made in 2017.

The greater our unity on this issue, the greater our chances of success.

Contact LGNSW Social and Community Strategy Manager Margaret Kay for further information or to obtain a campaign partner pack.



Improving Certifier Independence: Options Paper Released


The NSW Government is seeking feedback on an options paper exploring the possibility of introducing new methods of appointment for private certifiers.

LGNSW has long advocated for a stronger regulatory framework governing building certification, particularly private certification.

The paper describes thresholds (including if the development is a class 2 to 9 building above three storeys with a total floor area greater than 2,000 square meters and is valued at more at $5 million or more), that if met, would require the development to be subject to one of the following options:

  • Rotation scheme – an eligibility list with certifiers who are selected at random from the list, like a lottery system.
  • Cab rank rule – an eligibility list where the next available certifier would be appointed to work on a development that met the thresholds.
  • Time limit scheme – enforcing a limit on the amount of time a certifier can continually work for the same client and require a certifier to take a three-year break from the client after a certain period.

Submissions close at 5pm, Tuesday 30 October 2018.

LGNSW will be preparing a submission and would welcome feedback from councils via email to Jane Partridge or Linda Blinkhorn.  

For further information visit the Building Professions Board website and the Fair Trading website.


Greater Sydney Citizens’ Panel


The Greater Sydney Commission is establishing a citizens’ panel to track the progress of its A Metropolis of Three Cities – Greater Sydney Region Plan against a set of objectives relating to liveability, productivity, sustainability, infrastructure and collaboration.

The panel will consist of a group of demographically-representative Sydneysiders and meet over two Saturdays in November 2018 to help develop the metrics.

To join the panel, express your interest online by 5pm on Sunday 14 October 2018.

For further information, visit the Greater Sydney Commission website.


Local Housing Strategy Guideline and Template Released

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released a Local Housing Strategy Guideline and Template to support councils in developing their local housing strategies.

The department is also preparing a housing mapping and scenario tool for councils, for release later this month.

For further information and to download the guideline and template, visit the Department of Planning and Environment website.


Changes to Seniors Housing SEPP

The Seniors Housing SEPP has been amended to limit the incremental expansion of land for seniors housing through the site compatibility certificates (SCC) process – a change LGNSW has long advocated for.

SCCs permit new seniors developments on land that adjoins land zoned primarily for urban purposes, land zoned for special uses, existing registered club sites and where a proponent is developing a vertical village subject to meeting certain criteria.

The purpose of SCCs is to ensure development proposals are broadly compatible with surrounding land uses before a development application is lodged.

The SEPP amendments, which commenced on 1 October 2018:

  • require that any new SCC to include additional land cannot be issued unless:
    • the additional land independently meets SCC criteria
    • meets new criteria that limits the type and scale of development on the additional land
  • require a cumulative impact study when an application is lodged within a one-kilometre radius of a site of two or more SCC applications
  • change in the determining authority for all SCCs from the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment to the relevant Sydney District Planning Panel or Regional Planning Panel.

For further information, visit the Department of Planning and Environment  website.


Community Infrastructure Grants

The NSW Office of Responsible Gambling has opened a new round of community infrastructure grants for sport and recreation, arts and cultural, and emergency preparedness projects.

Councils can apply for grants of up to $300,000 for the following:

  • museums, art galleries, Aboriginal keeping places, theatres, libraries
  • bollards or other infrastructure to protect crowded places from terrorism, surf or land rescue vehicles, evacuation centres, training centres, levees
  • local sports ground facilities, public swimming pools or children's play areas.

Funding is available as follows:

  • arts and culture ($50,000 to $200,000 per project)
  • emergency preparedness ($10,000 to $200,000 per project)
  • sport and recreation ($100,000 to $300,000 per project).

Councils are required to match the funding requested.

To find out more visit the Office of Responsible Gambling website and download the Infrastructure Grants Program Guide.

Applications should be made online by 5pm on 22 October 2018.

If you require further information email the Office of Responsible Gambling or call 02 9995 0992.


Fostering Integration Grants Program

Councils can apply for grants ranging from $10,000 and $50,000 to assist migrants to integrate into Australian life and build social cohesion.

The federal Department of Home Affairs has made $5 million available to fund new services and activities for newly-arrived migrants, first and second-generation migrants, and communities that show potential for, or early signs of, low social integration.

Priorities categories include:

  • young people
  • women
  • communities that promote successful regional migration.

The funding cannot be used to subsidise existing programs or initiatives.

To find out more visit the Department of Home Affairs website and download the Fostering Integration Grants guidelines.

Applications should be made online by 2pm, 9 November 2018.

If you require further information please email the Department of Home Affairs or call 1800 020 283.


Activate Inclusion Sports Days 2019

Sport NSW and Variety - Children’s Charity NSW/ACT are seeking expressions of interest from councils wishing to host a 2019 Activate Inclusion Sports Day, to provide opportunities for young people aged five to 18 years with a physical, sensory or intellectual disability to participate in sport and recreation. 

Sport NSW has worked with more than 25 sporting and disability organisations across the state to promote pathways for students, who may not have opportunities within their school, to participate in adapted sport and recreation sessions, enabling them to learn at their own pace in an inclusive environment.

The sports days also provide an opportunity for local organisations to network with schools and staff from Sport NSW, for advice on current disability inclusion projects and other opportunities.

Register an expression of interest online.

For more information visit the Sport NSW website, email Murray Elbourn, Disability Inclusion Manager, Sport NSW or call 02 8736 1278.


NSW Freight and Ports Plan 2018-2023

The NSW Government has launched a new strategic plan for freight and ports, pitching it as a call to action for government and industry to collaborate on clear initiatives and targets to make the NSW freight task more efficient and safe.

The plan builds on the NSW Freight and Ports Strategy released in 2013 and aims to: boost economic growth; improve efficiency connectivity and access; build capacity; and improve safety and sustainability.

The plan includes more than 70 initiatives to achieve the above goals.

Visit the Transport for NSW website for details on the implementation of the plan.

The government has committed to reporting on plan’s progress via a Freight Performance Dashboard, Freight Data Visualisations and Strategic Freight Forecasts.


Heavy Vehicle Access Seminar for Council Engineers


In an Australian first, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will hold a heavy vehicle access seminar for council engineers in conjunction with the Institute of Public Works Engineers (October 22-23, Newstead.

The key objectives of this national event are to provide council engineers with comprehensive knowledge on how to manage their local freight tasks.

Over the two-day course, sessions will include:

  • ways in which heavy vehicle law can be used to help reduce red tape for industry and reduce the administrative burden on councils
  • how the NHVR portal can be used to manage heavy vehicle access applications and freight planning
  • how truck trips can be reduced on council roads by greater take-up of performance-based standards vehicles.

The cost is free, but attendees will need to cover travel and accommodation expenses.

Register online.

For more information email Tim Hansen, NHVR Stakeholder Specialist.