President's Message

Linda Scott

FOCUS ON THE WEST – My week began in far west NSW visiting Broken Hill City Council and Central Darling Council, before travelling to Cobar for the Western Division Councils of NSW Mid-Year Conference. We’re grateful to Adam Marshall, Minster for Agriculture and Western NSW, Roy Butler MP, member for Barwon and Helen Dalton MP, member for Murray, for attending and to all the mayors, deputy mayors, councillors and general managers for their hard work supporting our communities through this crippling drought.

I’ve seen first-hand the devastating impact of drought from my many visits to rural and regional communities over the past 12 months, so we’re pleased that persistent lobbying on your behalf has paid off with an additional $355m allocated for drought assistance during the recent state budget (over and above the $400m commitment made during the election campaign). We’re also pleased that much-needed water security and on-farm assistance programs will be extended. This drought isn’t going to break any time soon, so we’ll continue to lobby hard at all levels.

We also discussed financial assistance grants, the emergency services levy, roads, rural and regional health, community services and local water utilities and recycling. Our Save our Recycling campaign continues, aiming to create real opportunities, including regional jobs, in a home-grown recycling industry. If your council hasn’t already passed our mayoral minute, please consider doing so. Email LGNSW’s Environment Strategy Manager Susy Cenedese for more information or to update us on action taken by your council.

ADVOCACY WIN: MEDIUM DENSITY PLANNING PAUSE EXTENDED – Following our extensive lobbying we’re delighted NSW Planning Minister Rob Stokes has recognised our many concerns and granted a further three-month pause on implementing the medium density housing code. Our core concern is that it removes planning powers from councils, risking poor quality dwellings being built and alienating communities from the development process. The delay will allow councils time to get the right planning instruments in place. See our media release. For more information or to raise concerns, email LGNSW Planning Strategy Manager Jane Partridge.

SHARE YOUR ENVIRONMENTAL ACHIEVEMENTS – There’s still time to enter this year’s LGNSW Excellence in the Environment Awards – the leading environmental awards for local government. If your council has undertaken an outstanding project between January 2018 and June 2019, we want to hear about it! Nominations close on 29 July. Find out more and make a nomination.

FUNDING TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE – Councils are encouraged to apply for grants of up to $300,000 to address climate change risks including extreme heat, flooding, tidal inundation and water scarcity through the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grants program. Round 2 is open until 2 September 2019. Read more.

MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT FOR COUNCILS – As you may be aware, the NSW Office of Local Government issued a circular to councils this week on the development of template policies on social media use and councillor/staff interactions to support the new Model Code of Conduct. The office is seeking examples of councils’ current policies and feedback on what other template governance policies they would like to see developed. To raise any questions or concerns, email LGNSW Legal Officer Jessica Wood.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTORAL EXPENDITURE CAPS PROPOSAL - CALL FOR FEEDBACK – I emailed councillors and mayors this week advising that LGNSW is seeking feedback on our proposal for local government electoral expenditure caps, and whether you agree that we should put forward a proposal that the expenditure cap be calculated at $1 per elector. It is essential that any electoral expenditure arrangements are fair and consistent, but also that they are administratively simple to understand. That’s why fixing these laws is one of our key advocacy priorities for 2019. For further information on the proposal or to provide feedback, contact LGNSW Strategy Manager Damian Thomas

Photos: Broken Hill City Council visit; Central Darling Council visit; LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott addressing the Western Division Councils of NSW Mid-Year Conference in Cobar.

Broken Hill City Council visitCentral Darling Council visitWestern Division NSW Mid-Year Conference

 

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Climate Change Grants

Councils can apply for grants of up to $300,000 under round two of the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change (IRCC) grants program.

The program is delivered by LGNSW, in partnership with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, to help councils address climate change risks and vulnerabilities including extreme heat, flooding, tidal inundation, arbovirus threats and water scarcity.

Grants totalling $1,160,000 are available for projects delivered within two years as follows:

  • $30,000 to $120,000 for individual councils.
  • $50,000 to $300,000 for regional adaptation projects across two or more council areas.


Visit the LGNSW website for Round 2 application forms, grant guidelines and webinar details.

Apply online by Monday 2 September 2019.

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StateCover - Call for Nominations for Non-Executive Director Positions

Expressions of interest are being sought from eligible, suitably-qualified councillors wishing to be considered for appointment to the Board of StateCover Mutual Limited (StateCover).
 
The LGNSW Board nominates four representatives (LGNSW Councillor Directors) on the StateCover Board.  The term of office for two of these directors expires at StateCover’s Annual General Meeting, on 20 November 2019.  Each appointment will be for a three-year term, ceasing at the conclusion of the 2022 StateCover AGM.  
 

To be eligible for appointment as an LGNSW Councillor Director, applicants must be a councillor of a council that is a member of LGNSW, and a councillor of a council member of StateCover. 
 
StateCover Mutual Limited (StateCover) is an APRA-regulated specialised workers' compensation insurer of NSW Local Government organisations, insuring some 94 per cent of eligible councils with a combined workforce of 32,000. StateCover is a mutual providing workers' compensation, safety, and wellbeing services to its insured members. 
 
Successful candidates must have a deep understanding of local government and director experience, and should also have knowledge of, and experience in, long tail insurance or the broader insurance/finance sectors. Specialised skills and experience are also required in a number of the following areas: business strategy, risk management, finance, actuarial, investment, IT, governance, marketing and operating in an APRA-regulated environment. 
 
Applicants should understand and agree to accept the time commitment involved (approximately 25 days per year) and the ongoing professional development requirements. 
 
Councillors wishing to be considered for appointment as a LGNSW Councillor Director on the Board of StateCover must satisfy the requirements of its Fit and Proper Policy.
 
Information packs containing further details about the positions and the selection criteria must be obtained by prospective applicants and are available by emailing Bilyana Milenkovski at LGNSW. 
 
Applications close Friday 19 July 2018.

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Model Work Health and Safety Laws

Safe Work Australia is inviting councils to comment on the recommendations of the  2018 Review of the model Work Health and Safety (WHS) laws.

These include:

  • introducing regulations dealing with psychological health
  • new arrangements for health and safety representatives (HSR) and work groups in small businesses
  • clarifying workplace entry of HSR assistants and WHS entry permit holders
  • providing HSRs with training courses
  • providing a process for resolving WHS disputes
  • including gross negligence as an element of the category 1 offence
  • introducing an industrial manslaughter offence
  • reviewing the definition of a competent person and the skills and experience required for asbestos-related tasks.


For more information visit the Safe Work Australia website.

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Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

Some 45 councils have been granted a further three-month deferral of the Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Code.

The deferral, which ends on 31 October, will allow the completion of a code review by UTS Professor Roberta Ryan.

For more information visit the NSW Department of Planning website.

To raise concerns or make comments, contact Jane Partridge, LGNSW Strategy Manager, Planning and Transport.

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Building Reform

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on a discussion paper outlining proposed reforms to the building and construction sector. 

The paper, titled ‘Building Stronger Foundations - Implementing the NSW Government Response to the Shergold Weir Building Confidence Report’, addresses the government’s response to two recent reviews:

  • a national report by Professor Peter Shergold and Bronwyn Weir titled ‘Building Confidence: effectiveness of compliance and enforcement systems for the building and construction industry across Australia’ (April 2018)
  • an ‘Independent review of the Building Professionals Act 2005’ by Michael Lambert (October 2015).

The NSW Government released its initial response to the Shergold Weir report in February 2019 and the discussion paper now on exhibition is an extension of this.

Download the discussion paper.

Submissions close 24 July 2019.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector.

To provide input, email Jane Partridge, Strategy Manager, Planning and Transport.

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Environmental Education Program Grants

The NSW Environmental Trust is inviting expressions of interest for Environmental Education Program grants.

Councils are eligible to apply for funding for projects that develop knowledge, skills, commitment to, and ongoing participation in, protecting the environment under the following tiers:

  • Tier 1 – grants of up to $60,000 for local projects addressing a specific issue over two to three years. Expressions of interest close on Monday 22 July 2019.
  • Tier 2 – grants from $60,001 up to $250,000 for projects over three to five years. This is a new grant stream for projects supporting contemporary solutions to difficult environmental problems. Expressions of interest close on Monday 5 August 2019.

For more information visit the Environmental Trust website.

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UPSS Training for Council Officers

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has opened registrations for a series of free workshops on underground petroleum storage system (UPSS) regulation for council officers.
 

These one-day workshops (running from August until November in metropolitan or regional centres) will provide officers with information, knowledge and skills to capably, consistently and clearly regulate UPSS sites in their local area.

To register, log onto the EPA Learning Website and search for the UPSS Capacity Building Workshops under the Find Courses tab. (You will need to create an EPA Learning Account before you can view all the sessions being run across NSW.)

The course is geared towards officers with direct responsibility for carrying out inspections and taking compliance action at sites with UPSS. It is recommended that smaller councils send up to two people and larger councils up to four.

The EPA will schedule additional workshops if there is sufficient demand.

From August, councils will be able to access online training modules covering all aspects of the design, construction, operation and regulation of UPSS.

In August and September, councils will receive information about UPSS sites in their local areas and guidance/templates about regulating them.

For more information visit the EPA’s website.

Subscribe to the EPA’s UPSS newsletters by emailing the EPA’s UPSS team.

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NSW Seniors Festival 2020 - Grants Program Now Open

The NSW Government is encouraging councils and local organisations to apply for a 2020 Seniors Festival Grant to run local events and activities that provide opportunities for people over 60 to remain active, healthy, engaged and contributing to their local communities.

Councils are encouraged to collaborate with other councils and community groups when planning events to maximise participation in the festival.

Funding categories:

  • up to $1,000 for small-scale local community events and activities.
  • $1,001 – $5,000 for larger local community events and activities.
  • $5,001 - $10,000 for large scale community and regional events and activities.

Applications are now open and will close on Friday 9 August 2019.

For more information visit the Seniors Festival Website.

Email: NSW Seniors Festival.

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Resources for Child Safe Organisations

The Australian Human Rights Commission has developed tools and resources to assist councils with implementing the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations.

Organisations working with children and young people need to consider how they will implement the principles, which were endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments earlier this year.

Councils may find the Introductory self-assessment tool for organisations the best place to start.

Resources include:

  • child safety and wellbeing policy template
  • example code of conduct
  • charter of commitment to children and young people template
  • checklist for online safety
  • guide for parents and carers.

Download the resources.

Councils can also refer to LGNSW’s submission to the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian Regulating Child Safe Organisations Discussion Paper for more information.

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Jean Hailes Women’s Health Survey 2019

The annual Jean Hailes women’s health survey – one of the country’s most revealing insights into the health concerns and needs of Australian women – is now open.

Jean Hailes is Australia’s leading women’s health organisation, dedicated to improving knowledge of women’s health and providing world-class health services.

By giving less than 10 minutes’ time, respondents can help to bridge the gaps in current knowledge on women’s health and create a healthier future for all women.

All women living in Australia, aged 18 years and over, are invited to complete the online survey by 12 July 2019.

Councils are encouraged to share the survey with their networks.

For evidence-based and expert-reviewed information on women’s health visit the Jean Hailes website.

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National Heavy Vehicle Law Review Issues Paper 4

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is inviting stakeholders to provide feedback on its review of National Heavy Vehicle Law (NHVL).

Consultation began in February 2019 and will conclude in May 2020.

Comments are being sought on a series of eight issues papers, with the fourth one – Safe people and practices – now available on the  NTC website.

Feedback on this paper closes on Friday 30 August 2019.

LGNSW is making submissions on all the papers on behalf of councils. For further information about the review or to contribute to LGNSW’s submissions, contact Senior Policy Officer Sanjiv Sathiah.

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Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Grants Scheme

Councils can now apply for subsidies to help build or upgrade bus stops in regional NSW.

Applications for the 2019/21 Country Passenger Transport Infrastructure Grants program close at midday on 30 September 2019.

More information is available on the Transport for NSW website.