A focus on council childcare – On your behalf LGNSW met with Minister for Early Childhood Education Sarah Mitchell to discuss ways local and state government can work together to express our strong joint concerns over the federal government’s recent cuts to funding for states and territories for the regulation of the National Quality Agenda for Early Childhood Education and Care. This funding will cease from 1 July 2018.
In NSW, 52 councils directly provide more than 300 early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, making up 8 per cent of all NSW ECEC services. In some local government areas, our council childcare services are the only ones available – and budget cuts may threaten the viability of these services.
We strongly welcome that the Minister is prepared to work with us on this. In more good news, the Minister confirmed our advocacy about the state government’s legacy funding had been heard, and that councils should soon receive letters confirming the next year of funding. Please contact Elizabeth Robertson, Policy Officer, LGNSW, for further information.
Addressing the critical importance of roads – I was honoured to deliver the opening address at the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) Local Roads Congress in Sydney on Monday. Under the theme ‘Roads as Critical Infrastructure’, congress considered the challenges we face in maintaining and funding local roads, and managing the demands placed on it by communities and other road users. Read more in congress’ communiqué.
This week NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet called upon councils to reduce parking fines on local roads. Parking fines provide a fair and reasonable disincentive to those who breach restrictions designed to manage congestion and road safety. Of course, it will be up to individual councils to decide whether or not to reduce fines in their areas.
I urge members to write to the Premier and Treasurer before the budget to let them know this is an important local government issue, not a political one (as the Treasurer suggested in Parliament this week). See our media release.
Key role for councils in short-term holiday letting – The NSW Government’s announcement this week giving local government a meaningful role in the management of home sharing outside Greater Sydney is welcome, but there is more to do. Short-term holiday letting in rural and regional NSW will be automatically capped at 365 days, but councils will be given the power to reduce the cap if needed. In Sydney, a maximum 180-day cap will apply.
The impact of this issue differs across NSW, and LGNSW has always argued that councils are best placed to determine the caps that best balance economic development via short-term accommodation, with rental affordability and local public amenity. Read more.
Cross-border issues – Surrounded by Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, and surrounding the ACT, cross-border council issues are always a priority for us at LGNSW. On your behalf I met with NSW’s Cross-Border Commissioner James McTavish this week to raise the unique issues our border councils face.
I am pleased he has agreed to meet with us regularly in order for us to ensure he is updated and acting on all council issues – please contact Shaun McBride to keep us updated on the cross-border issues in your area.
Finally, it is with sadness that we note the passing of John Warrington AM this week. John was one of the associations’ longest serving employees, retiring as Director Industrial Relations. We extend our condolences to John’s family.