Leading the call for more women in local government – As the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women were celebrated worldwide this week, it was a delight to join Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and Minister for Women Tanya Davies at the 2018 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government at Parliament House.
Winners included elected representatives: Cr Lucille McKenna OAM, Inner West Council (metro) and Cr Tegan Swan, Coffs Harbour City Council (rural/regional). Winners in the General Manager/Senior Staff Member category were: Simone Cook from Canterbury Bankstown Council (metro) and Rebecca Ryan, Blayney Shire Council (rural/regional).
Congratulations to all the deserving nominees and award winners doing such great work across NSW. To view a list of all winners visit the Office of Local Government website.
I was also honoured to speak at LGNSW’s first-ever International Women’s Day Luncheon in Sydney, and thank Shadow Ministers Peter Primrose and Jenny Aitchison for attending.
LGNSW has long argued for the need for more female councillors and senior council professionals. We thank the men and women who attended the lunch and who have actively supported women into positions they are currently in.
Local government should reflect and represent the communities it serves, yet currently in NSW only 29.5 per cent of councillors and a mere 14 per cent of general managers are women. Whatever their political beliefs or values, women in local government make a tremendous contribution bringing unique perspectives, skills and capabilities to the task.
LGNSW has introduced a number of initiatives to support women in the sector, including the Local Government Capability Framework, a women’s development program, we endorse and support the work of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association as well as the 5050 Vision - Councils for Gender Equity Program. I am also proud that LGNSW is setting an example with a board comprising 50 per cent women. See our media release.
LGNSW fighting for Councils to keep recycling – We continue to hear from, and work with, a large number of councils who are feeling the impact of China’s policy to limit contamination rates of imported recyclable rubbish. LGNSW is working very hard to see the NSW Government make changes to ensure recycling can continue across our state.
Much of Australia’s ‘yellow bin’ rubbish (plastics, paper and cardboard) used to be sent to China, but under the new policy, China will only accept recyclable rubbish with a contamination rate of less than 0.5 per cent.
As you would all know, this has significant implications for kerbside recycling - and some councils are telling us the viability of their recycling programs are threatened.
When I attended the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s recycling roundtable on Monday, along with Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, I advocated for immediate assistance for councils and the waste industry to find solutions. Although recycling is at a critical point, the opportunity now exists to develop recycling processing and remanufacture in NSW, particularly in regional areas - and regional jobs should be created.
I urge all councils to look at their purchasing policies, buy recycled and be on the lookout for opportunities to develop markets for recycled materials - and most importantly, to contact us at LGNSW to keep us up to date with any impacts this is having on your council.
Advocating for councils to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Roads – This week I met with Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, to express the urgent need for changes needed to better support NSW councils.
We spoke to the Deputy Premier about the funding problems that continue to beset local government, and about signing an intergovernmental agreement with LGNSW to better work together in the future.
The Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight gave us a good hearing about the range of local road issues councils have raised with us (thank you Temora and Coolamon Shire Councils, to name a few), ongoing problems with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the need to work together to seek more federal funding for councils to maintain their assets.
On behalf of metropolitan councils, we also spoke about the need for the RMS to better reflect the safety of pedestrians, as well as vehicles, in their recommendations about works zones and traffic changes.
If your council has any concerns you wish us to raise with Ministers and Shadow Ministers, please do let us know.
Cr Linda Scott.