President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

SPOTLIGHT ON WATER AND DROUGHT – Thank you to the mayors, councillors and council staff from far and wide who joined us in Albury this week to hear from policy makers and key industry stakeholders at LGNSW’s annual Water Management Conference. Set against the backdrop of the worst drought in living memory, the challenge of providing communities with ongoing supplies of safe water has never been more relevant. We appreciate how badly the drought is impacting councils, water utilities and communities and we know rural and regional councils are doing it particularly tough, with water shortages posing a threat to the very existence of some smaller communities across NSW. Meanwhile, in major cities there’s still time to plan and invest wisely.
 
Thanks to NSW Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey for giving the opening address at the conference, and to the Shadow Federal Minister Terri Butler and Shadow State Minister Clayton Barr for attending to speak with delegates. Thanks also to Mayor Kevin Mack and AlburyCity Council for being such fantastic hosts. 

We are proud that with your help we have been able to secure a commitment from the NSW Government to protect local ownership and management of council-owned water utilities. We're really pleased to have convinced the government to drop its cost-benefit criteria for the $1b Safe and Secure program and are continuing to fight for more emergency funding, not just for water, but to help maintain local economies. We also welcome Minister Pavey’s recent announcement that the government will invest $78m for water initiatives to help drought-affected communities facing water shortages and restrictions in the Macquarie Valley.  

If your council needs LGNSW support to manage drought issues, or to discuss water issues in more detail contact LGNSW Senior Policy Officer Mark Hely.
 
ADVOCACY WIN: MUSIC FESTIVALS REPORT ADDRESSES COUNCILS’ CONCERNS – In a win for LGNSW advocacy, the music festivals regulation inquiry has published a report closely reflecting the issues raised in our submission. The report recognises that: consultation on new regulations was inadequate; regulatory cost increases for festivals are unsustainable; and councils play an important role in regulating, organising and supporting festivals. 
 
Recommendations of the report include: establishing a roundtable for music festivals regulation involving NSW Government, local government, music industry and harm minimisation experts (to be in place before the upcoming music festival season); and based on broad industry support, disallowing the new music festival regulations and putting in place immediate measures to assist the industry. Contemporary music and festivals contribute enormously to the cultural and economic vibrancy of NSW. Councils are ready to work with the NSW Government to make workable regulations without creating new problems. To find out more or discuss further, contact LGNSW Senior Policy Officer Elizabeth Robertson.
 
INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS UPDATE – The Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal recently handed down its 2019 determination. For full details see our Weekly article and for industrial relations support email our dedicated team.
 
COUNTDOWN TO CONFERENCE – Finally, with just over a month to go until the 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference (Warwick Farm, 14-16 October) the LGNSW Board’s Motions Sub-Committee is working through the more than 200 submissions received so far. Motions for debate will be listed at the front of this year’s business paper, while other motions – assessed as consistent with current policy and actions – will be listed at the back. If you haven’t already done so, register online now or submit your motion by 16 September (midnight) and we’ll see you in October!

Photo: Federal MP for Griffith and Shadow Minister for Environment and Water Terri Butler with LGNSW Chief Executive Tara McCarthy at this week's LGNSW Water Management Conference.

Terri Butler and Tara McCarthy

 

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20-year Waste Strategy for NSW

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment, including the Environment Protection Authority, is seeking feedback from the waste sector, local government and communities about the problems facing the waste industry and how to address them as part of its development of a 20-year Waste Strategy for NSW.

Please provide initial feedback via this short online form by Monday 23 September 2019. 

Additional documents and attachments can be submitted via email.

Feedback will also inform new state-based initiatives, such as the NSW Plastics Plan announced in July.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector. To provide input please email comments and/or a copy of your council’s submission to LGNSW Senior Policy Officer Liz Quinlan.

There will be further opportunities to offer feedback including roundtables and workshops, an issues paper and potential reform directions to be released at the end of 2019, followed by a draft strategy.

For more information email the department.

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Updated Contaminated Land Guidelines Consultation

The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is seeking feedback on two draft contaminated land guidelines, one for consultants reporting on contaminated land and the other for assessing and managing hazardous ground gases.

To view and submit feedback visit the EPA’s consultation website.

Consultation is open until 8 October 2019.

For more information contact Environment Line on 131 555, or email the contaminated land team.

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Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention Program

Local Aboriginal land councils can apply for funding to clean up and combat illegal dumping on their land under the current round of the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s (EPA’s) Aboriginal Land Clean Up and Prevention Program.

The councils and/or their partners can apply for up to $75,000 in funding to help clean up illegal dumping, install infrastructure, enagage with communities and rehabilitate land impacted by illegal dumping.  

Visit the EPA website to find out more and apply.

Applications close 30 September 2019.

Contact the project team by email or call 02 9995 5596.

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Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program

NSW Health is offering funding partnerships to councils through its Aboriginal Environmental Health Officer Training Program to employ new trainee officers.

The program was launched in 1997 to develop an Aboriginal workforce with the leadership and technical skills to manage environmental health issues – a key skills shortage for councils across NSW.

It provides employment and training, university education (by distance learning) and support for the trainees over six-year period.

Under the program, NSW Health and council each fund 50 per cent of the trainee’s salary, education and training costs (approximately $35,000 per year per trainee) but different arrangements are available.

Staff from NSW Health’s Aboriginal Environmental Health Unit are available to visit councils to discuss options.

To find out more visit the NSW Health website, or contact the team by email.

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Domestic Violence Prevention Grants

The Australian Government’s Department of Social Services is currently inviting applications for two grant programs for primary prevention of violence against women projects.

Councils wishing to apply are required to partner with specialist organisations with expertise in family, domestic or sexual violence, primary prevention or gender equality.

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Cricket NSW – State Infrastructure Strategy

Councils are invited to contribute to a new state infrastructure strategy being developed by Cricket NSW to guide investment in facilities.

The strategy will evaluate current facilities across the state, identifying priority areas in need of attention and shaping the direction of future provision.

During September and October, Cricket NSW is holding a series of workshops for councils and other stakeholders to explore current perceptions of existing facilities and identify key issues.

To find out more and get involved vist the Cricket NSW website.

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Disaster Preparedness for Community Organisations

The NSW Office of Emergency Management has released online resources to help community organisations and their clients prepare for emergencies.

Topics include:

  • how to create a disaster-resilient community service organisation
  • how to prepare clients for emergencies
  • existing emergency management plans
  • the role of community service organisations in recovery.

Councils are encouraged to share these resources with community development and community service organisations in their areas.

For more information visit the NSW Office of Emergency Management website.

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Electric Vehicle Fleets

Councils can save money by switching to electric vehicles (EVs) according to a recent study by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).

The collaboration between ClimateWorks Australia and MAV showed that over the six years of ownership (and by assessing a range of factors including resale value, maintenance and fuel costs) the total cost of ownership of EVs was similar to, or lower than, internal combustion engine fleets.

Since the study was published the range of EVs available to councils has grown with new models from Nissan, Hyundai and Telsa reaching the market.

Mack trucks also recently launched its first EV-based garbage trucks, increasing the scope of EV choices for councils to consider.

Council adoption of EVs can also help boost their wider adoption by the general public through the introduction of shared charging stations in local communities.

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National Heavy Vehicle Law Review

LGNSW has made a submission on the National Transport Commission’s ‘Easy Access to Suitable Routes’ issues paper.

The paper outlines proposed changes to access permits for restricted access vehicles and forms part of NTC’s ongoing review of National Heavy Vehicle Law.

NTC has received submissions from a range of stakeholders including other state-based council member associations, industry, and various state and federal government agencies.

LGNSW’s submission argues that councils are best placed to assess the suitability of routes to safely and sustainably support restricted access vehicle movements and recommends councils’ existing role in the decision-making process remains unchanged.

See our submission.

For more information contact LGNSW Senior Policy Officer Roads and Transport Sanjiv Sathiah.

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Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal Increase

A 2.5 per cent increase has been granted to the total remuneration packages of general managers and senior staff engaged under NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) standard contracts.

Subclause 8.5 of OLG’s Standard Contracts of Employment for General Managers and Senior Staff provides that:

  • On each anniversary of the commencement date, the total remuneration package will be increased by a percentage amount that is equivalent to the latest percentage amount increase in remuneration for senior executive office holders as determined by the Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal.

On 27 August 2019 the Statutory and Other Officers Remuneration Tribunal handed down its 2019 determination.

The effect of subclause 8.5 and the 2019 determination is that total remuneration packages of general managers and senior staff employed under the standard contracts are to be increased by 2.5 per cent on the anniversary of contract commencement dates falling between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

Following the 2019 determination, as at 1 July 2019, the minimum total remuneration package payable under s.332(2)(b) of the Local Government Act 1993 (NSW) is $192,600 per annum.

For further information call LGNSW’s Industrial Relations Unit on 02 9242 4142.

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State Wage Case 2019

Councils are advised that rates of pay and work-related allowances in several state awards have been increased.

The increases were granted by an order of the NSW Industrial Relations Commission on 2 September 2019 in the State Wage Case 2019.

Rates of pay and work-related allowances in the following awards have been increased by three per cent, operative from the first full pay period on or after 28 September 2019:

  • Marine Charter Vessels (State) Award
  • Local Government (Electricians) (State) Award
  • Nursing Homes, &c., Nurses' (State) Award
  • Entertainment and Broadcasting Industry – Live Theatre and Concert (State) Award
  • Local Government, Aged, Disability and Home Care (State) Award
  • Nurses' (Private Sector) Training Wage (State) Award.

The Order does not apply to the Local Government (State) Award 2017.

Councils who subscribe to the Award Supply Service will receive a hard-copy update by post reflecting the new rates and allowances in the Local Government (Electricians) (State) Award.

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Feedback Sought on Draft Local Government Qualifications

SkillsIQ is seeking feedback on significant changes to the qualifications and units proposed in the new local government training package.

Changes include reducing the number of local government qualifications from 23 to six and halving the number of units of competency.

Two streams of qualifications are proposed:

 

  • Certificate III, IV and Diploma Local Government
  • Certificate III, IV, Diploma in Public Infrastructure.

For more information visit the SkillsIQ website and provide feedback by Friday 27 September.

Human resources, and learning and development staff are encouraged to attend one of the following consultation sessions:

To provide feedback directly to LGNSW, email Service Development Consultant Jennifer James.

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