President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

Farewelling Councillor Lindsay Brown; LGNSW Board casual vacancy – I’m saddened to let you all know that our Local Government NSW Board has accepted the resignation of our Rural/Regional Vice President, Cr Lindsay Brown. We wish him well for the future.

As a result, the LGNSW Board now has a casual vacancy for the position of Vice President Rural/Regional. Our rules require this vacancy to be filled by secret postal ballot. We are working closely with the Australian Electoral Commission, and further information will be provided as soon as possible about how this will progress.

Standing up for disability advocacy – After much work by many councils, advocacy groups such as the NSW Disability Advocacy Alliance’s Stand by Me campaign and Local Government NSW, we were delighted to see the NSW Government’s recent decision to reverse funding cuts to disability advocacy services. 

Disability Services Minister Ray Williams has pledged $26 million dollars for disability advocacy services until June 2020. We have sought information about whether funding for council disability positions is part of this allocation and we’ll keep you posted.

Medium density changes secured – In another win for the councils, Local Government NSW has secured improvements to the Medium Density Code and Design Guidelines, released by the NSW Government last week.

We strongly opposed the extension of complying development to medium density dwellings, arguing medium density development should be open to a merits-based assessment process, preserving communities’ right to have their say. Our continued advocacy has succeeded in several amendments including having the codes restricted to zones where medium density is already permitted, clearer codes which are easier to read and delaying the introduction of the new system for three months. Read more.

I know many of you continue to have concerns about the changes. If you have examples of how it is working, or not, for your council, please get in touch with Jennifer Dennis, Senior Policy Officer, Planning, LGNSW, to let us know so it can inform our ongoing advocacy work. 

Giving young people a voice in cabinet – As Youth Week approaches, Local Government NSW has called upon the NSW Government to mark the occasion with the appointment of a dedicated Youth Minister.

Fairfield City and Wollondilly Shire councils raised the need for dedicated political representation of young people at our 2017 LGNSW Annual Conference.

Young people make up almost one-fifth of the population of NSW, yet they have not been represented by a dedicated minister since 2011. They have the biggest stake in the future of this state, so it’s critical they have a voice when decisions that affect them, now and in the future, are being discussed. Read more in our media release.

Supporting our sister organisations – I was honoured to address the LGANT Biannual General Meeting in Darwin today. It was great to hear about the many common areas of concern with the mayors and councillors of the Northern Territory, and I look forward to building strong links with our partners to progress local government. 

Local Government Week Awards 2018


Make sure your council’s achievements are recognised during Local Government Week by entering our awards.

Presentations will be made during LGNSW’s Local Government Awards Week Awards Evening, at Doltone House, Sydney, on 2 August.

All councils are encouraged to enter at least one of the following:

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Minister for Local Government Gabrielle Upton, Planning Minister Anthony Roberts and Shadow Minister for Local Government Peter Primrose have been invited to attend.

Award criteria and online application forms can be found on the LGNSW website.

Applications close 4 June 2018.

For further information email the LGNSW events team or call 9242 4050.


Open Space Funding

The NSW Government announced a $290 million Open Spaces and Greener Sydney funding package this week.

The package includes:

  • $100 million to identify and purchase land for public open space
  • $20 million for council grants to upgrade or build new playgrounds
  • $30 million for the Share Our Space Program, to provide communities with access to playgrounds, ovals and sports courts at 81 public schools during the coming school holidays. Participating schools will receive $5000 grants to help upgrade their facilities for community and school use.

For more information see the Premier’s media release.


Medium Density and Greenfield Housing Codes

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released its Medium Density Housing and the Greenfield Housing codes, allowing a wider range of development to be approved by the complying development process.

Commencement of both codes has been deferred to 6 July 2018 so councils and industry can prepare for their introduction.

The Medium Density Complying Code and Medium Density Design Guide will allow two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces to be fast tracked as complying development.

It sets out state-wide planning rules, supported by diagrams, for low rise medium density housing that can be approved as complying development where permitted under the local environmental plan (LEP).

The new code is accompanied by a Medium Density Design Guide outlining ways to improve layout, landscaping, private open space, light, natural ventilation and privacy.

Under the two-step approval process for medium density development:

  • the certifier will be required to undertake a ‘tick the box’ assessment of the plans against the planning requirements under the new code
  • an independent designer will be required to verify that the plans meet the new design guide.

Materials to assist councils in understanding the changes is available from the department.

LGNSW opposed the extension of complying development to medium density dwellings arguing medium density development should be open to a merits-based assessment process, preserving the communities right to have a say.

Our continued advocacy on this issue has succeeded in several improvements including having the codes restricted to zones where medium density is already permitted, clearer codes which are easier to read and delaying the introduction of the new system for three months.

LGNSW has been a longstanding member of the complying development expert panel and has actively advocated for:

  • a more concise and readable complying code containing diagrams
  • addressing the design issues raised by councils for in-fill medium density development by introducing a new design code
  • delaying the introduction of the new system for three months.

Other changes include:

The new Greenfield Housing Code will apply to greenfield areas across NSW for one to two storey homes, alterations and additions to be carried out under the fast-track complying development approval pathway.

The code will be included in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (State Policy) that aims to:

  • simplify development standards
  • improve legibility and of the development standards by the inclusion of tables and diagrams
  • align certain standards so they match the standards under the Growth Centres DCPs
  • include a tree to be planted in the front and rear yard of each new home.

For further information visit the NSW Department of Planning and Environment website, send an email or call 1300 305 695.


Planning for the Future of Retail

The Department of Planning and Environment is seeking feedback on its Planning for the future of retail discussion paper.

The paper puts forward three directions aimed at modernising retail planning and achieving the right balance between customer and community amenity:

  • better local strategic planning of retail
  • orderly development of new retail formats in centres
  • adaptability and certainty for retail.

The department is also seeking views on five new defintions of retail activity:

  • an amended definition for bulky goods premises to specialised retail premises
  • a new definition for artisan premises
  • an amended definition for garden centres
  • a new definition for local distribution premises
  • a new definition for neighbourhood supermarkets.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector and welcomes council input. Please email copies of your submissions or comments to Jennifer Dennis, Senior Policy Officer, LGNSW, or call 9242 4094 by Friday 4 May 2018. Thank you to those who have already contributed. 

The closing date for submissions to the department is 18 May 2018.


Annual Fire Safety Statements

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has published information to help building owners and practitioners understand new requirements for Annual Fire Safety Statements.

The department received many enquiries after the fire safety requirements came into effect in October 2017 as part of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000.

View the Frequently Asked Questions on the department’s website.


National Reconciliation Week 2018


Councils are encouraged to deepen their understanding of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander history and culture during National Reconciliation Week by commemorating two significant milestones in the reconciliation journey.

National Reconciliation Week 2018 will begin with the anniversary of the 1967 referendum on 27 May and conclude with Mabo Day on 3 June.

This year’s theme is Don’t Keep History a Mystery.

For further information, resources and ideas for events visit the Reconciliation Australia website.


Apply for a Community Heritage Grant

The National Library of Australia’s latest round of community heritage grants is now open.

The grants help preserve materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs and audio materials.

For further information on the type of projects that are supported, and to apply, visit the National Library of Australia website.


Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill

There’s still time to submit feedback on the NSW Government’s draft Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Bill 2018.

The proposed Bill aims to fulfil the NSW Government’s commitment to deliver stand-alone legislation that respects and conserves Aboriginal cultural heritage and gives Aboriginal people the authority to make decisions about it.

The draft legislation also includes a new system to support the assessment, management and protection of Aboriginal cultural heritage values in the context of land use planning, development assessment and land management.

Make a submission online.

Submissions close 20 April 2018.


Recycling Relief Fund


The NSW Government has launched the first component of its $47 million recycling rescue package in response to China’s National Sword policy.

A $2.5 million Recycling Relief Fund aims to support rural and regional councils outside the waste levy area to temporarily offset some of the extra costs associated with recycling services and support ongoing, uninterrupted delivery of kerbside and drop-off recycling services.

The amount available is capped at $75 per tonne (excluding GST) of dry recycling received from households for up to four months, over the period 1 March 2018 to 31 August 2018.

Applications close on 31 August 2018.

For more information email the NSW Environment Protection Authority.

Announcements regarding other support are expected soon.


NSW Climate Change Adaptation Survey


Councils are encouraged to provide feedback on their status and needs in adapting to climate change via an online survey.

The survey is being conducted by LGNSW in partnership with the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH).

It should take around 20 minutes to complete and will inform future programs and support services for NSW councils in responding to and managing climate risks.

The survey in the latest in a series monitoring understanding of climate change across local government.

Council officers from all areas are encouraged to take part to capture a wide variety of needs.

Responses will remain confidential and no individual person or council will be identified in the survey report.

The survey is open until Friday 4 May 2018.

Complete the survey.

For more information email Louise Askew, Senior Social Scientist, OEH or call 9995 6417.

Photo: Greg D. Jones, Lake Macquarie City Council.


Product Impact Management Strategy

The federal Department of the Environment and Energy is seeking feedback on a draft national approach to product stewardship action to minimise the environmental impacts of waste from products.

The department is seeking submissions on:

  • The Product Impact Management (PIM) Work Plan that will track priorities and progress. The draft 2018-19 Work Plan provides an example.

The AAE process will allow other jurisdictions to identify priority products for inclusion and action on the Work Plan.

This consultation is part of a wider review of the Product Stewardship Act 2011.

Find out more and make a submission online.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector and welcomes contributions from councils.

Please email your comments or a copy of your submission to Liz Quinlan, Senior Policy Officer, LGNSW by 24 April 2018 or call 9242 4095.


LGNSW Tourism Conference 2019

LGNSW is calling for expressions of interest from councils wishing to host the 2019 LGNSW Tourism Conference.

The 2018 conference, held last month in Parkes, was hailed a huge success with more than 200 tourism professionals gathering to find out how best to leverage the economic benefits of tourism for local economies in both metropolitan and regional areas.

Next year’s event is due to be held in a metropolitan or coastal council area and is tentatively scheduled for the week commencing 18 March 2019.

Download the host requirements.

Expressions of interest must address the host requirements and can be sent by post to Meg Fisher, Manager Events and Protocol, LGNSW, GPO Box 7003, Sydney NSW 2001 or by email.

Applications close Monday 7 May 2018.