Your LGNSW Board met today – Your Board met today to consider an enormous range of issues and endorse submissions.
We officially welcomed our new Vice-President Rural/Regional Cr Scott Ferguson, Mayor of Blayney Shire Council to the Board of LGNSW.
In line with the recommendations of our value audit, we have fundamentally changed the annual reporting of the organisation to reflect outputs and value achieved, as well as including both the financial reports for LGNSW and LGP for the first time.
We reported on our work with the chairs of the NSW joint organisations, and our efforts to co-design a way to work together to add value to NSW councils. I thank them for their time and consideration of the important issues in this regard.
We also reported on a range of priority advocacy issues, including:
- Successfully securing a $60 million commitment from the NSW Government to fund public libraries
- Successfully securing an inquiry by the NSW Parliament’s Joint Committee on Electoral Matters into the Electoral Funding Act 2018, rushed through the Parliament in May, and appearing before the Committee to advocate for reform
- Ensuring ALGA will raise our concerns about the impact of cuts of NSW councils early education and care funding at COAG
- Securing amendments to the Fair Trading Amendment (Short-Term Rental Accommodation) Bill 2018 which enable regional and rural councils to impose their own cap of not less than 180 days
- Releasing the ALGA Federal Election Priorities, and working to ensure all NSW councils are sharing these with their communities
- Preparing for the launch of our next campaign, and continuing the call for sustainable funding for public libraries, in preparation for the NSW State Election.
Listening to councils continues: Western Sydney Focus – It was a pleasure to join our Western Sydney Councils this week in Penrith for our Western Metropolitan Summit, and focus on the extraordinary population growth and need for infrastructure for these communities.
We’re continuing to work hard to listen to all our members and offer value to them each and every week. I look forward to seeing members later this month at the LGNSW Annual Conference (Albury, 21-23 October). Register online by Tuesday 9 October.
Renew Our Libraries - Action Needed – While we’re excited that in response to your efforts to date, the NSW Government and the Opposition have committed to providing millions in additional funding to NSW public libraries over four years from 2019 – there’s more work to do!
Win for LGNSW: NSW Government responds to calls to improve certifier independence– LGNSW has long advocated for a stronger regulatory framework governing building certification, particularly private certification, so we welcome the release this week of the Improving Certifier Independence: Options Paper exploring new methods for appointing private certifiers. We will review the options in consultation with councils ahead of preparing a sector-wide submission. Councils wishing to raise issues can contact LGNSW senior policy officers Jane Partridge or Linda Blinkhorn. Read more.
Standing up for drought-affected councils – This week, I urged the Australian Government to get its $1 million funding injection (promised last month) out now to communities struggling through the worst drought in decades. I know from my discussions with rural and regional councillors that their communities are desperate for funding. See our media release and Weekly item. I have also written to the Premier, asking the NSW Government to consider dollar-matching the Australian Government’s $1 million program.
Don’t forget, LGNSW has set up a register to connect councils seeking drought-related assistance with others that can provide it. For further information and to lodge requests contact Shaun McBride.
It is fitting that he first motion for debate at our annual conference – submitted by Bourke Shire Council (and echoed by others) – will call for a clear mechanism for drought declaration, a common definition of drought applicable to all areas and transparent criteria for assistance to farmers and small businesses. Read more. The Conference Business Paper will be issued to delegates next week.