President's Message

Linda ScottAdvocacy for local water utilities – I’m delighted to announce LGNSW has established a local water utilities policy advisory group to provide a united voice for councils on water issues following a resolution from last year’s annual conference. The group will hold its first meeting in Sydney next Thursday with member representatives selected from council nominations. We’re looking forward to working with you on this very important issue.

Given the current drought, the security of urban water supply is more important than ever. The NSW Department of Industry is asking local water utilities to report changes in water restriction levels and/or water supply security status to their regional contacts promptly so the department is across emerging issues. To find out more contact Mark Hely, LGNSW Senior Policy Officer.

Juggling the diverse needs of a growing population and more green space – Our final planning breakfast at Parliament House on Tuesday, focussed on open green space and the vital role it plays in encouraging physical activity, reducing traffic congestion, improving air and water quality, enhancing biodiversity and having a cooling effect on the environment.

An additional 725,000 homes are planned for Sydney over the next 20 years and providing open space is a key challenge. State targets specify that higher density development (60 dwellings or more per hectare) should be within 200 metres of quality open space and that all dwellings should be within 400 metres of open space.

After a welcome from the Minister for Planning, it was wonderful to hear presentations by Fiona Morrison, Open Space and Parklands Commissioner from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment and Professor Linda Corkery from the built environment department of the University of NSW. These can be downloaded from the LGNSW website.

Fostering good governance – Councillors, managers and local government professionals gathered in Sydney yesterday for our annual Good Governance Forum. Over recent years councils in NSW have been subjected to increasing levels of scrutiny. We heard from a panel of experts on how to safeguard councils’ reputations and discussed the new role of the NSW Auditor General, which includes oversight of local government performance. Contact Sarah Artist, Innovation and Capacity Senior Manager, LGNSW for more information.

Council visits continue – Thanks to Greater Hume, Wagga Wagga, Randwick, Woollahra and Penrith councils for hosting me this week to discuss our work together.

Wagga and Penrith visits

 

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2020 Local Government Elections

By 12 March 2019, each council in NSW must resolve whether its general manager will administer its 2020 local government election, or if it will arrange for the NSW Electoral Commission to do so.

Since 2012, councils have been able to choose whether to conduct their own elections, or to enter into arrangements with the NSW Electoral Commission.

Most councils have continued to have their elections conducted by the commission.

Each council is required to pass a resolution outlining its choice at least 18 months before the next ordinary election of councils.

Key dates are:

  • Tuesday 12 March 2019 – council must resolve by this date whether to enter into an arrangement with the Electoral Commissioner to administer the elections of the council, or whether the elections of the council will be administered by the general manager of the council.
  • Wednesday 12 June 2019 – if council resolves to enter into an arrangement with the Electoral Commissioner, it must enter into the arrangement by this date.
  • Saturday 12 September 2020 – 2020 Local Government Elections in NSW.

Further requirements, including what to include in council resolutions, is available in section 296AA of the Local Government Act 1993.

For more information email Steve Robb, Director Customer Service and Relationship Management, NSW Electoral Commission, or call 02 9290 5431.

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International Women's Day Lunch 2019 Featuring Leigh Sales

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Leigh Sales, award-winning author, journalist and anchor of the ABC’s 7.30 program, will be the guest speaker at the LGNSW International Women’s Day Lunch 2019 on Friday 8 March.

International Women’s Day is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Leigh will LGNSW members and guests in the elegant surroundings of The Tea Room in Sydney’s historic Queen Victoria building.

This event will sell quickly so we recommend booking online.

If you need accommodation while in Sydney for this event, LGNSW members can enjoy a discounted rate when staying at the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney.

The event is supported by elite sponsor StateCover and distinguished sponsor Newscorp Australia.

Distinguished and networking sponsorship packages are available. For more information email Denise Catt, Events Coordinator, LGNSW.

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Discounted Accommodation for LGNSW members

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LGNSW councillors and staff members can access a discounted rate when staying at the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney.

LGNSW has negotiated a special rate of $265 per night for a deluxe king room or deluxe double (reduced from up to $450 per night, subject to availability).

As an additional benefit, LGNSW members can enjoy a discounted breakfast for $30, reduced from $40.

This special rate, which is particularly useful for those travelling to Sydney for meeting and training, is available to all elected members and staff from LGNSW member organisations.

To take advantage of this opportunity, members must state at the time of booking that their organisation is a member of LGNSW member and provide an LGNSW or member email address.

To book email the Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney or call 02 9696 2500.

Christmas specials

Enjoy a yuletide break in Sydney over the holidays and take advantage of these special offers:

For more information email LGNSW's Meg Fisher, LGNSW Manager Events and Protocol or call 02 9242 4044.

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2019 NAIDOC Week Awards

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Councils are encouraged to nominate community members or staff for 2019 National NAIDOC Awards who have improved the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

The 2019 NAIDOC theme is ‘Voice, Treaty, Truth’ – the three key elements set out in the Uluru Statement of the Heart.

Award categories are:

  • Apprentice of the Year
  • Artist of the Year
  • Caring for Country Award
  • Elder of the Year (Male)
  • Elder of the Year (Female)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award
  • Person of the Year
  • Scholar of the Year
  • Sportsperson of the Year
  • Youth of the Year.

Winners will be recognised at a prestigious ceremony in Canberra on Saturday 6 July 2019.

NAIDOC Week 2019, which will run nationally from 7-14 July, is an opportunity for all Australians to come together to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people - the oldest continuing cultures on the planet.

For more information and to make a nomination, visit the NAIDOC website.

Nominations close Friday 29 March 2019.

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Proposed Changes to Boarding House Provisions

Under an amendment to the Affordable Rental Housing SEPP, proposed by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment, boarding houses in R2 low density residential zones will be limited to 12 boarding rooms.

This follows an amendment on 1 June 2018 increasing car parking requirements for boarding houses.

Visit the department’s website for more information and to provide feedback.

Submissions close on 19 December 2018.

LGNSW is drafting a submission on behalf of the sector. To provide input email Linda Blinkhorn, Senior Planning Policy Officer, LGNSW.

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Waste Management Reforms

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Changes to the Protection of the Environment Operations (Waste) Regulation 2014 affecting the management of construction and demolition waste management came into effect on 16 November 2018.

They include:

  • a prohibition on exhuming waste at current or former landfills
  • increased penalty notice amounts for asbestos waste offences
  • new asbestos screening standards.

Visit the NSW Environment Protection Authority website for full details.

To discuss how these changes affect your council email Daniel Adler, LGNSW Asbestos Policy Project Manager, or call 02 9242 4128.

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Private Native Forestry Review

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on terms of reference for a review of private native forestry by 31 January 2019.

The review seeks to balance sustainable development of the private native timber and agricultural industries with the environmental value of native forestry.

The review is seeking views on:

  • codes of practice
  • rules and regulations
  • authorisation processes
  • training and advisory services.

For more information and to make a submission visit the NSW Local Land Services website.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector.

To provide input email Kirsty McIntyre, Senior Environment Policy Officer, LGNSW, by 9 January 2019.

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Draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting

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The NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) is seeking comment on its draft 2018/19 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting until Friday 11 January 2019.

All members are encouraged to download and review the draft code and and related documents, in particular noting the summary of proposed changes, from the OLG website. (A video and other information will be available soon).

OLG is developing a supplementary accounting code to assist joint organisations with their statutory reporting obligations.

For more information email OLG.

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Debt Management and Hardship Guidelines

The NSW Office of Local Government (OLG) has released new guidelines on debt management and hardship to assist councils to: ensure prompt payment, minimise default, follow up with ratepayers, recover debts fairly, assess hardship claims and monitor debt.

The guidelines have been issued under section 23A of the Local Government Act 1993, meaning councils must take them into account in their next review of debt management and hardship policies and procedures.

For more information email the OLG policy team or call 02 4428 4100.

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Fluoridation of Public Water

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NSW Health is reviewing the NSW Code of Practice for Fluoridation of Public Water Supplies and is asking staff involved in water supply and fluoridation to complete a short, online survey.

Since the last significant update of the code in 2011, changes have occurred in both regulation and technology including:

  • a requirement under the Public Health Act 2010 for water utilities to comply with a drinking water management system
  • advances in monitoring and control systems
  • changes to operator training and certification.

For more information email Josh Tickell, Senior Project Officer, NSW Health or call 02 9391 9030.

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