Take Action: NSW Election priorities 2019 – Happy New Year! As we begin 2019, we’re launching our NSW Election campaign on your behalf.
Together, local governments will be calling on all parties and candidates to commit to act on 12 critical areas which will improve the lives of our communities by helping local government deliver better infrastructure and services to the people of NSW.
These priorities have been identified by you: by resolution at our 2018 Annual Conference; through your feedback and contributions to member surveys and research, and your submissions. They are reasonable and realistic. They are not party political; but focus on outcomes that will build our state’s economy while making it a better place to live.
2019 NSW Election priorities
- Save recycling: Reinvest 100 per cent of the $727 million NSW Waste Levy collected each year – $300 million from councils alone – to develop a modern, smart resource recovery and recycling industry, generating new jobs and industries, and creating a circular economy to manage our waste right here in NSW.
- Fund public libraries properly: Double library funding by providing an additional $94 million over the next four years with indexation. In line with NSW law, commit to providing 50 per cent of funding required for NSW public libraries, in perpetuity.
- Fund local infrastructure: Commit to an infrastructure funding program allowing councils to keep pace with population growth through planning; building and maintaining local roads and freight routes; delivering cycling and pedestrian infrastructure, green space, community infrastructure such as pools and parks, and sporting facilities.
- Restore planning powers to communities: Restore the right for metropolitan councils to choose whether to use local planning panels, giving neighbourhoods the capacity to make decisions about developments that affect them. Fix the NSW private certification system and work with local government when setting housing targets.
- End cost shifting: Establish a public inquiry into cost shifting, which has seen councils forced to shoulder the burden of more than $820 million shifted from the NSW Government each year. See our latest report here.
- Allow greater financial independence: Allow councils to levy rates up to two per cent over the rate peg limit without having to seek special rate variation approval. Forty years of rate pegging in NSW has crippled councils financially. Variations are overwhelmingly approved, strongly supported by communities, but involve significant and unnecessary red tape.
- Support disadvantaged communities: Provide untied, recurrent grants in identified disadvantaged, low socioeconomic communities so councils can deliver much-needed, local support and services.
- Protect ownership of local water utilities: Commit to protecting local water utilities from privatisation so water supply and sewerage services are secure for the 1.8 million people in regional NSW who depend on them.
- Renew the intergovernmental agreement with LGNSW: Treat councils as an equal in all issues affecting them and the communities they serve.
- Fix local government electoral and expenditure laws: Implement the NSW parliamentary recommendations to fix local government electoral expenditure laws to ensure NSW local government elections are fair.
- Allow fair superannuation for mayors and councillors: Ensure mayors and councillors are entitled to receive superannuation, just like elected state and federal parliamentarians and everyone else in the Australian workforce.
- Address skills shortages in the sector: Fund a new, annual $10 million program to increase the number of cadets, apprentices, trainees and university graduates employed by councils to combat current skills shortages for planners, engineers, building surveyors, tradespeople and others (see our Future Skills report).
We will continue to lobby all parties on these issues in the lead-up to the election and keep an election scorecard. These issues will also be a focus at the upcoming Local Government Debate on 8 March, where major parties will present their views.
I look forward to working with you to advocate for a better deal for NSW councils and communities.
P.S. I encourage you to meet with your local state candidates and urge them to commit to these priorities – and let us know when they do! Share your advocacy work by tagging @LGNSW on twitter and including #LocalGov2019.