President's Message

Cr Linda ScottHave your say on new council obligations for citizenship ceremonies – This week the federal Minister for Immigration wrote to all Australian councils seeking feedback on a proposal to amend the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code, including requirements that: councils hold ceremonies on Australia Day and on Australian Citizenship Day (17 September); federal members of Parliament should read the Minister’s message at ceremonies (if they are attending); ceremonies are not held on parliamentary sitting days; and recommended dress standards.  The proposal also recommends councils will have their authorisation to hold these ceremonies revoked if they do not hold a citizenship ceremony on Australia Day.  

Councils across NSW do a fantastic job holding citizenship ceremonies on multiple dates throughout the year and celebrating in locally appropriate ways. I encourage all councils to provide feedback to the Australian Government on the revised code by the 28 February 2019 deadline.  Interestingly, at the time of publication, we understand the full details of the proposals have not been published online. For more information, email Damian Thomas, LGNSW Strategy Manager.

Your Voice: Preparing for the NSW Election – Last week, we launched our NSW Election campaign, calling upon all parties and candidates to act on 12 critical areas from saving recycling, funding public libraries and restoring planning powers to communities to ending cost shifting, fixing electoral and expenditure laws and addressing skills shortages. View full details in our NSW Election Priorities document. These priorities reflect your resolutions at the 2018 Annual Conference, feedback via surveys and research, and submissions. If you haven’t already done so, now is the time to arrange meetings with your local state candidates, urge them to commit to our priorities and use the priorities as a basis for your advocacy and public comment between now and the election. We are stronger when we speak with one voice, in our role as representatives of NSW communities. If you have any questions contact Kylie Yates, LGNSW Advocacy Director.

Save recycling: Your chance to be involved: Each day, yet more NSW councils resolve to support the state-wide campaign to save recycling. If your council hasn’t joined our Save Our Recycling campaign yet, please do so by ensuring our template mayoral minute is resolved at your first meeting of 2019. Find out more and download resources.

Celebrating inspirational women in local government - The NSW Government is encouraging women to share their career achievements by submitting videos for the NSW Inspirational Women Online Showcase. Read more. Nominations are also open for this year’s Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government. These are fantastic opportunities for women in our sector to promote the unique value of local government and inspire others. See our Weekly item.

LGNSW win! Time left to have your say on private native forestry – LGNSW has successfully secured an extension for feedback on the terms of reference for the NSW Government’s review of private native forestry until 15 February. For more information and to make a submission visit the NSW Local Land Services website. We are also seeking greater direct consultation and engagement with councils in key regions to discuss related issues in more detail. NSW Local Land Services will hold focus group meetings in coming months before drafting and exhibiting draft codes later in this year. LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector. To provide input email Kirsty McIntyre, Senior Environment Policy Officer.

Early bird booking reminder for LGNSW Tourism Conference 2019 – Our popular tourism conference is a must-attend for mayors, councillors and council staff responsible for tourism, events and local economic development. This year’s event will be held in Terrigal from 17-19 March.  Book before 28 January for early bird rates.  This year’s theme, ‘Experience changes perceptions’, focuses on enticing travellers to experience areas off the major highways and rural and regional towns. See program and register online.

P.S. Don’t forget to download our election priorities and start advocating for a better deal for NSW councils and communities today!

Nominations Open for 2019 Women in Local Government Awards

Nominations for the 2019 Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government are open until 28 February 2019.

The awards celebrate the achievements of senior staff and elected representatives as well as women making a difference behind the scenes, and trailblazing women in non-traditional roles.

They also aim to encourage more women to take on leadership roles in local government.

Categories include:

  • elected representatives (mayors and councillors)
  • senior staff members
  • non-senior staff members
  • women in non-traditional roles
  • traineeships/apprentices.

For more information visit the Office of Local Government website.


NSW Inspirational Women Showcase

The NSW Government is encouraging women to share their career achievements by submitting videos for the NSW Inspirational Women Online Showcase, which aims to inspire all women, young and old, to see the broad range of career opportunities available to them and achieve their full potential.

Women aged 18 years or over can film their videos on a smart phone or tablet and submit them online to Women NSW by 31 January 2019.

For more information visit the Women NSW website.


New OneMusic Australia Licence for Councils

OneMusic Australia will introduce a new system for licensing music played by councils later this year.

Councils that play copyright music (e.g. in council buildings and council-owned premises including libraries, offices, depots and community centres; on websites; on the phone including hold music; and at events) are required to pay a licence fee.

Most licensing requirements are met by paying fees to two organisations – the Australasian Performing Right Association/Australasian Mechanical Copyright Owners Society (APRA AMCOS) and the Phonographic Performance Company of Australia (PPCA).

The new OneMusic Australia licence scheme is a joint initiative of APRA AMOCS and PPCA, under which councils will pay an annual fee based on the population of their local government areas.

Councils that do not use copyright music are not required to pay a licence fee.

The proposed scheme is expected to commence from mid-2019.

OneMusic Australia will notify councils that are required to migrate existing licences.

For more information see the OneMusic Australia position paper for councils.


Move It AUS Grants

Councils, sporting and non-government organisations can apply for grants ranging from $25,000 to $250,000 through Move It AUS’s Participation Grant Program.

The program aims to build a more active and healthy Australia by:

  • getting inactive people moving in their local communities
  • building awareness and understanding of the importance of physical activity across all stages of life
  • improving the provision of sport and physical activity by targeting populations at risk of inactivity, across all life stages.

This is a great opportunity for councils to encourage residents who are currently inactive, or experiencing barriers to participation, to increase their physical activity.

Applications close 5pm 18 February 2019.

For more information visit Move It AUS - Participation, call 02 6214 1555 or email SportAus.


Opal Tower Interim Report Released

The NSW Government has released the preliminary findings of an independent investigation into damage to the Opal Tower building, conducted by professors Mark Hoffman, John Carter and Stephen Foster.

The interim report contains a brief description of the investigations carried out to date and presents preliminary findings and opinions.

A full copy of the interim report is available on the NSW Department of Planning and Environment website.


Local Planning Panels Evaluation Report Released

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released its first half-year report on the operation of independent hearing and assessment panels (IHAPs), covering the period from April to September 2018.

The department engaged the UTS Institute for Public Policy and Governance to monitor and evaluate the implementation of IHAPs over their first year of operation.

The key findings include:

  • All 34 panels across greater Sydney and Wollongong are established, operational and working well.
  • Early data about the referral criteria indicates it is largely capturing the volume and type of development applications (DAs) expected, however, some panel members and council staff reported simple DAs being referred to panels.
  • Some panel members and council staff also reported there were some instances where complex DAs did not trigger the referral criteria.
  • There were some issues with panel members and chairs understanding the purpose of the community representative’s role. 

The department is exploring ways to offer flexibility to councils and panels, enabling councils to refer more complex applications to the panel and for panels to refer more straightforward developments back to councils. 

The department has also established quarterly forums for community representatives to build understanding of their role on panels.

Download the report from the department’s website.


Have Your Say on Future Skills

Councils are encouraged to take part in to two national surveys on workforce skills and the vocational education and training system.

National VET Review

The Australian Government’s independent review of the vocational education and training (VET) sector will focus on how investment in VET could be more effective to provide people and businesses with the skills they need.

The terms of reference are broad ranging, with implications for funding, policy, regulatory settings and learners. 

The deadline for submissions is next Friday (25 January).

SkillsIQ – 2019 Future Skills Survey

SkillsIQ is inviting councils to complete its 2019 Future Skills Survey to better understand the workforce challenges and skills needs of the local government sector.

The results will be used to advise the Australian Government on priorities, skills shortages and changes required to national training packages used by local government.

Complete the online survey by Thursday 31 January 2019.


LGNSW Tourism Conference 2019

Register for the LGNSW Tourism Conference 2019 by Monday 28 January to secure an early bird discount.

This year’s conference will be co-hosted by Central Coast Council from 17-19 March 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Terrigal and surrounds.

The theme, ‘Experience changes perceptions’, will focus on enticing travellers to experience areas off the major highways and rural and regional towns.

Group discounts are available.

Find out more and register online.

The 2019 conference is supported by strategic partner Destination NSW. Download the conference sponsorship prospectus from our website.

For information, email Karen Rolls, LGNSW Administrative Officer Communications and Events or call 02 9242 4050.


Bus Stop Guideline and Wayfinding Workshop

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) is seeking input from councils on the development of a bus stop guideline to promote consistency in placement and design, encourage community uptake of public transport and meet bus operators’ needs.

TfNSW is also consulting with councils on the planned rollout of new bus stop wayfinding signage.

A workshop will be held on 7 February 2019 in Sydney. To reserve a place email contact Lee Farrell, Senior Transport Planner, TfNSW.

For more information on the new wayfinding signage email Hamish Drew-Bredin.


NHVR Portal Enhancements Webinar

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) has released a video of its recent portal enhancements webinar.

The NHVR Portal is a new, online system designed to make it easier to apply for a heavy vehicle permit.

View the webinar.