President's Message

Cr Linda ScottWelcoming 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.

Cr Linda Scott's - this week's visits

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Support to Implement the New Model Codes

Councils will be aware of the requirements of the new model codes of conduct and meeting practice prescribed by the NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) on 14 December last year.

Councils have until 14 June 2019 to implement the new model code of conduct and procedures and the model code of meeting practice and LGNSW will provide ongoing support and training to assist councils to satisfy their obligations.

Model code of conduct

  • Councils are required to adopt a new code of conduct based on the model code.
  • All requirements must be adopted in full.
  • Councils may strengthen the standards prescribed under the model code in their code but cannot weaken them.
  • The model code of conduct applies to councillors, council staff and delegates of councils (including members of committees that are delegates of councils).

The OLG has published versions of the model code of conduct for councillors, council staff and delegates of council.  These versions are available on the OLG website

LGNSW will hold a half-day Code of Conduct for Councillors workshop in Sydney on 15 February covering:

  • the requirements of the new model code of conduct
  • pecuniary and non-pecuniary conflicts of interest
  • principles and processes for managing conflicts of interest
  • recognising the responsibility to promote organisational integrity and accountability.

Register online.

LGNSW can also deliver training at councils or for groups of neighbouring councils.

An updated e-learning module is being prepared now and will be available in February 2019.

Model code of meeting practice

The model code of meeting practice has mandatory and non-mandatory provisions.

The non-mandatory provisions include optional rules for:

  • pre-meeting councillor briefings
  • public forums
  • requiring a staff report for motions seeking decisions that do not align with councils’ integrated planning and reporting objectives
  • allowing multiple items to be adopted in a block
  • allowing recission motions to be dealt with at the same meeting in cases of urgency and allowing matters to be recommitted to correct an error
  • placing time limits on meetings.

The mandatory provisions include:

  • New meetings principles.
  • A new requirement for meetings to be webcast: All councils must webcast their meetings and committee meetings, of which all members are councillors, by 14 December 2019 regardless of whether or not they have adopted a new code of meeting practice. Meetings are not required to be webcast live and an audio recording of a meeting posted on council’s website is sufficient to satisfy the requirement. Video recordings of meetings are also appropriate.
  • New rules limiting the use of mayoral minutes without notice to cases of urgency.

LGNSW can provide workshops to help councillors decide which provisions are best suited to their councils.

See the OLG circulars on the new model code of conduct and the new model code of meeting practice.

For further information contact Jessica Wood, LGNSW Legal Officer or call 02 9242 4125.

To discuss your training needs email the LGNSW Learning Solutions or call 02 9242 4081.

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Heritage Grants

The NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the Heritage Council of NSW are offering $6 million in grants over two years (2019-2021) to enable heritage owners and custodians, councils and communities to protect and care for their heritage.

Grants are available in three, broad categories:

  • Aboriginal cultural heritage
  • Community heritage
  • Caring for state heritage. To find out more and apply visit the OEH website.

Applications close at midday on Friday 8 February 2019.

The Heritage Grants Team can be contacted by email or by calling 02 9873 8577.

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Monetary Benefit Orders

In a first for environmental regulators in Australia, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has introduced a framework to strip offenders of the financial advantage gained from breaking environmental laws.

The framework, which can be used by councils, helps regulators determine the benefits offenders gain through environmental crime and pursue recovery by asking the court to impose monetary benefit orders as part of sentencing packages.

A protocol for calculating monetary benefits and further information is available on the EPA website.

Councils instituting criminal proceedings in the Land and Environment Court can apply for Monetary Benefit Orders, but they do not apply in local courts.

The Australasian Environmental Law Enforcement and Regulators network (AELERT) has developed a monetary benefits toolkit in partnership with the EPA. Network members can access these additional resources. Email AELERT to join. 

For more information or to join the email list for updates on MBOs email the EPA.

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Container Deposit Scheme Ministerial Advisory Committee

NSW councillors interested in representing local government on the container deposit scheme ministerial advisory committee are reminded to submit application forms (including a one-page resume) by 31 January 2019.

The committee advises the NSW Environment Minister on relevant aspects of the Return and Earn scheme including:

  • the ongoing administration and management of agreements with key delivery partners such as the scheme coordinators and network operators
  • reviewing the scheme's delivery and operation.

The committee comprises of representatives from the beverage industry, local government, the environment and resource recovery sectors, and regional and legal experts. This is a paid position.

For an information pack email Susy Cenedese, Environment Strategy Manager, LGNSW or call 02 9242 4080.

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Best Practice Asbestos Management for Councils Forum

LGNSW and Wingecarribee Shire Council will host a free forum on best practice asbestos management on 21 February 2019.

The forum will explore the role councils play in the safe management and regulation of asbestos in their communities.

Register online.

Visit our website for more information or email Daniel Adler, Asbestos Policy Project Manager, LGNSW.

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Take Action Website

Youth Action has launched a new website – Take Action – to help young adults get involved in advocacy and make positive change in their communities.

Take Action helps young adults find out more about:

  • the current issues affecting them
  • common approaches to change making
  • developing advocacy action plans
  • politics in general and government processes
  • how to get their voices heard.

The website is particularly useful for youth councils and community groups.

Youth Action is the peak body for young people and youth services in NSW.

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New Electric Vehicle and Mobility Plans

Transport for NSW (TfNSW) has published an Electric and Hybrid Vehicle Plan and a Connected and Automated Vehicle Plan as part of the Future Transport 2056 strategy.

The department intends to roll out the plans in partnership with councils, including considering recommendations on where to install charging stations, and will meet with LGNSW in the coming weeks.

TfNSW has also published the NSW Future Mobility Prospectus, highlighting several new mobility technology trials that are underway, and encouraging industry, academia and start-ups to get involved. Find out more.

Councils may also be interested in a new, six-part online TV series called Move that explores the cutting-edge mobility technologies being explored in NSW.

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Princes Highway Strategy

The federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities has engaged GHD Advisory to develop a whole-of-corridor strategy for the Princes Highway – a vital part of the national road network linking local and regional communities.

Part of Australia’s Highway 1 network, the 1,941 km route extends through NSW, Victoria and South Australia, connecting Sydney, Wollongong, Melbourne, Geelong and Adelaide.

Councils are encouraged to provide feedback on the draft strategy.

For more information email GHD Advisory.

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Oversize Overmass Vehicles Survey

LGNSW is seeking council feedback on the federal government’s Review of Oversize Overmass (OSOM) Access Arrangements.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, has written to the Australian Local Government Association seeking endorsement of 12 out of 38 recommendations identified for immediate implementation.

The federal government is seeking to implement recommendations: 1, 2, 5, 9, 10, 13, 22, 27, 32, 34, 37, and 38.

LGNSW is seeking feedback from councils, particularly on recommendations 22 and 38, via a short online survey, until 1 February.

LGNSW is preparing a response to ALGA on behalf of members.

For further information email Sanjiv Sathiah LGNSW Senior Roads and Transport Policy Officer or call 02 9242 4073.

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