New code of meeting practice; compulsory webcasting introduced – Compulsory webcasting of council meetings is a key change under the new code of meeting practice, released by the NSW Government today. NSW councils support every opportunity for open, transparent government, however many of you have told us compulsory webcasting is a concern for regional and remote areas with little or no internet access. On your behalf we have expressed concern about the need for the NSW Government to prioritise the issues that matter.
I encourage members to email LGNSW Legal Officer Jessica Wood with any questions about the new code.
Investment in recycling welcome, but more needed – In good news for recycling this week the NSW Government pledged $115,000 to divert 11 million disposable coffee cups from going to landfill within a year. While we welcomed this news, our Save Our Recycling campaign is urging the NSW Government to go much further and reinvest the millions of dollars it collects via the waste levy into waste management and recycling. We have a real opportunity to create a circular economy by reusing more of our own waste, with the added potential of job creation in a modern, smart, homegrown environmental and recycling industry. Contact LGNSW Environment Strategy Manager Susy Cenedese to find out how your council can be more involved with the Save our Recycling campaign.
Meeting the new deputy leader of the Opposition; talking waste levy – Today, we had the opportunity to discuss waste and recycling with Penny Sharpe MLC, the newly-elected deputy leader of the Opposition and Labor’s environment spokesperson. To ensure we are raising issues important to your council at future meetings, please email Susy Cenedese, Environment Strategy Manager, LGNSW.
Sharing knowledge, experience and ideas – We welcomed delegates from far and wide to LGNSW’s annual HR Conference in Sydney this week. The large turnout reflected the growing significance of the management of our people and workplace cultures in local government. Speakers provided great insights on the evolving workforce and current and future skills needs. We are developing a national careers website to highlight the diversity of jobs in local government and associated training, due for launch early next year. We’ll keep you posted!
Local Government Workforce and Future Skills Reports released – We’re proud to have worked with our state and territory counterparts on new ground-breaking research about the state of our current local government workforce and the future skills needs for our workforce to thrive. We will use these reports to advocate for the investment in skills needed to support the local government workforce, and we urge you to do the same.
Court ruling on land categorisation a win for our sector; for now – In a win for local governments across the state, the City of Sydney, Bayside and North Sydney councils this week received a favourable decision from the Court of Appeal on rating categorisation issues involving several Meriton companies. The court held that during the period from the beginning of construction of residential flat and serviced apartment buildings until the issue of an occupation certificate, the land should be rated as business, not residential, supporting the councils’ position. We welcome the ruling, which follows a resolution during our 2017 annual conference to call upon the NSW Government to clarify the statutory and regulatory rating provisions regarding land categorisation. A big thank you to the many NSW councils who have financially supported this appeal, and we await word on whether the matter will be appealed before the High Court before resolving the future of the contributions. Please contact LGNSW Legal Officer Jessica Wood with any questions.
Supporting your planning needs – The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has been holding working groups for councils on the preparation of local strategic planning statements. Staff attending have suggested similar sessions would be useful for councillors given the significant implications of these statements. In response we have organised a workshop for mayors and councillors (Sydney, 5 December). Find out more and book online.
There’s still time to register for our upcoming planning breakfast (Sydney, 27 November) to discuss maintaining open space for communities in the face of population growth and increased housing density in the company of NSW Planning Minister Anthony Roberts. Register online today.
Finally, my visits to metropolitan councils continued this week with Inner West and City of Canada Bay councils sharing their thoughts on how we can work together more effectively.