With just over two weeks to go before the NSW State Election, LGNSW and the Country Mayors' Association of NSW welcomed speakers from across the political spectrum to our Leaders Debate today to address the issues that matter most to our sector. Pleasingly there was widespread support for our recycling and libraries campaigns, and for a return of planning powers to local government. See our article.
There were many other wins this week:
PLANNING ADVOCACY WIN: Affordable housing SEPP expanded to include all councils – Following successful lobbying by our sector over many years, councils will no longer be required to seek approval to be listed under SEPP 70 before developing an affordable housing contribution scheme. See the NSW Government’s guideline on developing these schemes.
Meanwhile in other planning news, the Seniors Housing SEPP will not apply in heritage conservation areas until 1 July 2020, providing councils with more time to consider seniors housing provisions in their local strategic plans. We also welcome changes to Affordable Housing SEPP, limiting boarding houses to 12 boarding rooms per site within the R2 low density residential zone as a positive first step to helping councils deliver affordable housing. Read more.
RECYCLING WIN: Greens commitment – We stepped up the pressure to Save Our Recycling with a forum in Sydney this week and welcomed a commitment from NSW Greens to our campaign objective – to reinvest 100 per cent of the waste levy in a state-wide approach to recycling and waste management. Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton declined to fully reinvest the waste levy in waste management, calling instead for a national waste levy while Shadow Environment Minister Penny Sharpe said NSW Labor was yet to release its waste policy but acknowledged the need for regional facilities. Visit Support Our Recycling to join the campaign and see NSW Election Priority #1.
EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION WIN: This week Labor committed to invest $500 million in early childhood education in NSW. We call upon the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government to match it. The announcement follows increased advocacy and councils’ concerns over the availability of early childhood education and care, particularly in regional NSW. We continue to push for all NSW children to have access to affordable, high quality early learning for at least two days a week, for two years before formal schooling. See our media release.
Celebrating International Women’s Day – Today we also welcomed guests and key speaker Leigh Sales to a packed-out lunch event to celebrate women’s achievements. Many women make a tremendous contribution to their communities as elected members or council professionals, but in NSW little more than a quarter of our councils’ mayors are women, less than a third of councillors are women and less than a fifth of general managers are women, meaning we lag far behind other states. We can and need to do more.
Photos: LGNSW Chief Executive Tara McCarthy, Leigh Sales and LGNSW President Linda Scott celebrating International Women’s Day; LGNSW International Women’s Day Lunch; LGNSW Save Our Recycling Election Summit; and the Local Government Debate.