Welcoming our new Chief Executive for LGNSW – I know you will all join me in welcoming our new Chief Executive Tara McCarthy to LGNSW. Tara will begin working with us from Thursday 21 February 2019 when she will travel to her first council visits in Western NSW, following the Western Division Conference in Bourke.
Tara has an accomplished work history, having most recently served as Executive Director at the Point to Point Commission in Transport for NSW. She has experience working with peak bodies, having been a former Director at the Minerals Council and has a breadth of experience with the NSW and federal governments, having worked as the Deputy Commissioner of the NSW State Emergency Service along with roles at Fair Work Australia and NSW Health.
Importantly for the many LGNSW Board members and general managers who served on selection panels for this role, many of Tara’s significant achievements in her former roles centred on working to advance the public good alongside building strong, happy and productive workplace cultures. In her multiple interviews, Tara showed a depth of understanding about the opportunities and risks for LGNSW and local government more generally in NSW. I want to thank you in advance for the efforts I know you will put into supporting her to grow that knowledge, and her relationships in our local government family.
I want to pay a particular tribute to Lillian Tiddy and Kylie Yates, who have both served as Acting Chief Executives during this time. Both have undertaken this task with significant enthusiasm, exceptional good humour, magnificent skill and great wisdom. Both have travelled extensively and worked long hours to add value for all of you – our members – at a personal cost. I am so grateful for their work, and for accepting the roles during such an important transition for LGNSW.
I am looking forward to introducing Tara to you throughout 2019, and to a great future for LGNSW with such a great membership, board and staff.
Seeking urgent action on regional roads – The NRMA’s latest Funding local roads report released this week, identifies a $2.2 billion backlog in the maintenance and repair of NSW’s regional and local roads infrastructure. We support NRMA’s calls for a one-off funding package to upgrade infrastructure and a recategorisation of strategic roads, returning responsibility for them to the NSW Government.
Councils manage more than 90 per cent of all NSW roads at an estimated annual cost of $1.527 billion – a number that will keep rising with increased population and heavy truck movements. NSW won’t be able to reduce its road maintenance backlog until the state and federal governments get realistic about funding. As part of our advocacy platform in the run up to this year’s NSW Election, we’re calling upon all candidates and parties to establish an infrastructure funding program so councils can plan, build and maintain local infrastructure, including roads.
I am looking forward to seeing you all meeting with your local state candidates to ask them to commit to supporting our LGNSW priorities, between now and the election. For more information download our NSW Election Priorities document today!
Calling for investment in our youngest learners – We met with NSW Early Childhood Education Minister Sarah Mitchell this week to call upon the NSW Government to commit to ensuring all three and four-year-old children in NSW have access to affordable, high quality early learning for at least two days a week.
We also called for disadvantaged and/or vulnerable children to be able to fully participate; the development of a ten-year early childhood workforce strategy; and support for the continuation of the National Quality Framework. LGNSW is part of a representative group of 25 early childhood education and care peak bodies, unions, providers, academics and local government seeking these commitments ahead of the state election. To find out more contact Elizabeth Robertson, LGNSW Senior Policy Officer.
Council visits continue; Central Coast – On Monday, I met with Mayor of Central Coast Council Cr Jane Smith to discuss her council’s support for our recycling campaign and their concerns about the roll out of NSW planning panels to the central coast. From city to coast, councils are working with our communities to ensure recycling has a future in NSW. Visit Save Our Recycling and pledge your support today!
Welcoming Australia Day – Finally, as we look forward to diverse Australia Day celebrations and citizenship ceremonies across NSW tomorrow, I encourage all councils to provide feedback by 28 February on the federal government’s proposal to amend the Australian Citizenship Code.
Photos (left to right): meeting with NSW Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell, Elizabeth Death from the Early Learning and Care Council of Australia, and Kay Turner from SDN Children’s Services; meeting with Central Coast Mayor Cr Jane Smith.