President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

LOCAL GOVERNMENT WEEK: YOUR COUNCIL – Congratulations to all our NSW councils who have celebrated our success this Local Government Week 2019! I’m looking forward to recognising our sector’s achievements during this evening’s Local Government Awards in Sydney, and look out for a full list of winners in next week’s edition.
 
REJECTING INCREASED ELECTION COSTS – We’re urging the NSW Government to throw out a proposal by the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to allow the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) to increase the amount charged to conduct an election by some 62 per cent. If adopted, some larger councils’ costs to run an election will increase by more than one million dollars in 2020. IPART says increasing the amount charged by NSWEC to run council elections will save taxpayers’ money, but the reality is communities will simply bear the burden of more cost-shifting.
 
The proposed IPART model also introduces a gap between the cost for city and country voters, meaning small rural councils would pay an average of $14.37 per elector, while large metropolitan councils would only pay $9.54. We’re committed to working with the Premier and Local Government Minister to find a better way for councils and communities to ensure fair and affordable local government elections in 2020. See our media release and to discuss further, contact LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride.
 
FACING THE CHALLENGES OF DROUGHT – There are only a few weeks left to register for this year’s LGNSW Water Conference, featuring an opening address by NSW Minister for Water Melinda Pavey and a site visit to the magnificent Hume Dam. With much of NSW in the grip of severe drought, this year’s event will provide a timely opportunity to connect with colleagues and share experiences. Register online today. Read more.
 
COUNCIL VISITS – It’s been another busy week visiting members and hearing local perspectives on the main issues facing our sector. Thanks to Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Lithgow, Oberon and Blue Mountains for hosting us this week.
 
UPCOMING MINISTERIAL AND OTHER MEETINGS – I am looking forward to meeting with Deputy Premier John Barilaro, and with Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock in coming weeks. If you would like us to raise any issues on your council’s behalf, contact LGNSW Director Advocacy Kylie Yates.

Photos: Visits to Fairfield, Hawkesbury, Lithgow, Oberon and Blue Mountains councils.

FairfieldHawkesburyLithgowOberonBlue Mountains

 

LGNSW Water Conference 2019

With much of NSW in the grip of severe drought, this year’s LGNSW Water conference (Albury, 2-4 September) will provide a timely and important opportunity to connect with colleagues and seek solutions to water supply and management.

The program will explore the challenges facing communities across the state from a variety of perspectives including government policy, innovation and collaboration.

It will include:

  • an opening address by NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey
  • a presentation on ‘Short-term fixes and long-term solutions, water supply issues in NSW regional towns’
  • a briefing on climate and water for NSW by the Bureau of Meteorology
  • ‘Urban water policy, management and supply - a councillor’s perspective’ panel discussion
  • discussion on water scarcity, security and community resilience
  • a site visit to the magnificent Hume Dam led by WaterNSW and The Murray-Darling Basin Authority, followed by a viewing of the beautiful Wonga Wetlands (a pioneering method for using treated wastewater to improve and enhance the natural environment)
  • a forum for members of the NSW Water Directorate to discuss the management of local water utilities, as an alternative to the site visits.

View the draft program.

Registrations close on 19 August.

For full details, download the registration brochure and book online.

 

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Migration Toolkit

The Regional Australia Institute has developed a migration toolkit to assist rural and regional communities looking to settle migrants, both from Australian cities and overseas (including entrants to Australia on skilled working visas or on humanitarian grounds).

The toolkit is based on interviews with community champions of regional settlement and identifies best practice for settlement success.

Download the toolkit from the Regional Australia Institute website.

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Stronger Country Communities Fund

Regional councils can apply for grants of $50,000 or more for community projects through the NSW Government’s Stronger Country Communities Fund.

Under round three, $100m is available for community projects in regional NSW, with at least $50m earmarked for youth-related projects.

A minimum of $750,000 is available for each regional local government area.

Projects requiring grant funding of more than $1m will be considered where there is a financial co-contribution of at least 25 per cent of the total.

Projects, which must begin within 12 months of receiving the grant, can include:

  • building local infrastructure
  • building a new website or app
  • delivering programs
  • exhibition displays
  • hosting an event.

Applications close at 5pm on Friday 27 September 2019.

For more information and to apply visit the Stronger Country Communities Fund website.

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Save the Date – Water Safety Forum for Multicultural Communities

Wollongong City Council and the Local Government Multicultural Network are organising a forum to explore how government and non-government organisations can work together to deliver water safety initatives for culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities.

The forum is scheduled for Wednesday 18 September (10am-3pm) at City Beach Surf Club, Marine Drive, Wollongong.

For further information email Vimala Colless or call 02 4227 7492.

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Major Resource Recovery Infrastructure Grants

The NSW Government is inviting applications for grants under round four of the Major Resource Recovery Infrastructure Program, which aims to stimulate investment in waste and recycling infrastructure and increase resource recovery to meet recycling targets.

Funding is available to resource recovery facilities to increase recycling of waste materials from households and business as follows:

  • grants ranging from $1m to $5m for projects proposed by private industry and not-for-profit organisations
  • grants ranging from $1m to $10m for infrastructure projects proposed by NSW councils.
     

Applications close at 3pm on Tuesday 27 August 2019.

Visit the EPA website for more information.

An information session and webinar will be held in Parramatta on Tuesday 6 August. Register online.

For more information please email the EPA’s Waste and Recycling Infrastructure Unit or call 02 9995 6179.

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Urban Greening Tour

202020 Vision – in partnership with the Centre for Smart Green Cities, and with support from LGNSW and the Green Building Council of Australia – is inviting elected members and council staff to attend the next in its series of Urban Greening Tours (Macquarie University, North Ryde, 8 August).

The event will include a presentation on new research into community perceptions of green space and provide practical support for both councils and developers.

Guest speakers include: Deputy Secretary for Place Design and Public Spaces at the NSW Department of Planning Alex O’Mara; Sydney Morning Herald journalist Jake Saulwick; Greater Sydney Commission Environment Commissioner Rod Simpson; and NSW Property Council Executive Director Jane Fitzgerald.

Participants can also hear from those who have successfully engaged with the indigenous community, developers and Chinese-Australian communities living in Sydney.

The event will be of particular interest to council staff working in community engagement, planning, communications, and parks and recreation.

View the full program and book online.

 

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Cladding over Asbestos-Containing Materials

SafeWork NSW have released a position paper that encourages all local communities to ensure asbestos is safely removed by a licensed removalist before new cladding is installed.

This position paper relates to a trend in the residential sector where asbestos cement sheeting is clad with new, non-asbestos products.

For more information visit the SafeWork NSW website or call 13 10 50.

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Building Reform

LGNSW has made a submission to the NSW Government’s Building Stronger Foundations discussion paper on proposed building reforms.  

The paper addresses the government’s response to two recent reviews – a national report in 2018 by Professor Peter Shergold and Ms Bronwyn Weir and an independent review in 2015 by Michael Lambert in NSW. 

LGNSW’s submission argues the latest discussion paper only targets part of the problem and does not address issues with the building sector in a comprehensive way.

Details of other important changes promised or proposed by the government are notably absent including: 

  • funding and resources for the new building commissioner
  • measures to address concerns about the independence of private certifiers (conflicts of interest)
  • a four-point plan and commitment to annual audits. 
     

For more information or to raise concerns your council is experiencing, email LGNSW Strategy Manager, Planning and Transport Jane Partridge.

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Professional Development Opportunities for Councils

LGNSW provides a range of support for councils to meet new government regulations requiring ongoing induction and professional development programs for elected members.

We have a longstanding commitment to provide high quality and tailored professional development opportunities to support councillors and mayors to fulfil their roles, meet community expectations and enhance local government’s reputation.

Here’s a reminder of the workshops, online tools and mentoring services currently on offer.

Keep an eye on the LGSNW website and The Weekly for new opportunities.

Workshops

These workshops can be customised and delivered at your council. For more information email Vanessa Bourke or call 02 9242 4004. 

PD in a Box

PD in a Box is a free and confidential portal for mayors and councillors to assess their capabilities and create a personal and professional development plan. Contact Nerida Dawson to set up a login.

eLearning modules

For more information email Nerida Dawson.

Mentoring

Finally, for advice or independent feedback, we offer a free, confidential mentoring service for mayors and councillors. Call Jessica Wood on 02 9242 4125 to discuss.

 

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2019 Taxable Payments Annual Report

The Australian Tax Office (ATO) is reminding government entities that the 2019 taxable payments annual report (TPAR) is due by 28 August 2019.

As a government entity, you need to lodge a TPAR to report:

  • the total payments you make to an entity for providing services
  • grants payments to people or organisations with an Australian business number.

 

Local government entities are not required to report grants.

You can lodge online if your business software offers TPAR.

If you don’t have business software that offers TPAR, you can lodge online using the TPAR online form available via the ATO Business Portal – select ‘online forms’ from the menu then ‘taxable payments annual report’.

Visit the ATO website to find out how to lodge your report online.

If you don’t need to lodge, you can complete the ‘Taxable payments annual report – Not required to lodge’ online form.

For more information email Robert Muscat or visit the ATO website.

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Remuneration Packaging – Motor Vehicle Costs

The NSW Department of Finance, Services and Innovation has issued updated running costs for motor vehicles for 2019-2020.

The following rates are used by councils when calculating the car benefit in remuneration packages for senior staff and lease back arrangements.

The rates are inclusive of GST. In determining the cost to council, the GST exclusive price (net amount) should be used (i.e. 10/11).

Running costs include fuel, tyres, servicing and repairs and are based on a dollar per kilometre figure. There has been a reduction in the number of vehicle categories this year.

The rates are effective from 1 April 2019; rates for different types of vehicles are:

Running Costs

Vehicle Category

Item

$/km

Comment/Example

Passenger

Hybrid

0.113

Hybrid: Toyota Prius, Toyota Corolla Hybrid, Toyota Camry Hybrid

Light

0.154

Light: Toyota Yaris; Ford Fiesta; Kia Rio

Small

0.151

Small: Toyota Corolla, Kia Cerato

Medium

0.148

Medium: Toyota Camry; Ford Mondeo; Skoda Octavia

Large

0.196

Large: Holden Commodore

People Mover

0.208

People Mover: Toyota Tarago, Hyundai Imax

Sports Utility Vehicle

Small

0.206

SUV Small: Holden Trax; Hyundai Kona; Nissan Qashquai

Medium

0.177

SUV Medium: Toyota Rav 4; Mitsubishi Outlander; Kia Sportage

Large

0.199

SUV Large: Kia Sorento; Toyota Kluger; Ford Everest

Upper Large

0.236

SUV Upper Large: Nissan Pathfinder; Toyota Land Cruiser

Commercial

Utility/Crew/Dual Cab

0.222

Toyota Hilux; Mitsubishi Triton; Holden Commodore

 

An updated version of LGNSW’s Guidelines for Providing Cars, including three worked examples, is available on LGNSW’s website.

If you have any further questions about the new rates, please contact an Industrial Officer on 02 9242 4142.

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