Advocacy 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.