As tomorrow’s State Election approaches, I want to thank you for your hard work championing our 12 Election Priorities including libraries and recycling, as we push for better outcomes for our councils and communities.
NSW local governments have achieved so much change by speaking together as one voice.
INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT WIN: Labor commitment – We welcomed Opposition leader Michael Daley’s personal pledge to restore positive and constructive relationships between state and local governments by setting down a new intergovernmental agreement with LGNSW should Labor be elected this weekend. Election Priority #9.
The agreement with LGNSW will include commitments for the State Government to ensure:
- consultation before introducing legislation affecting councils
- regular meetings with the Premier and mayors
- a commitment to allow councils that wish to de-amalgamate to do so.
We call upon the Premier to match this commitment. See our media release.
PLANNING ADVOCACY WIN: LGNSW joined Central Coast Council last Sunday for a forum on local planning panels where we continued our call for planning powers to be restored to communities. Election Priority #4.
My thanks to our host Central Coast Mayor Jane Smith, and our guest speakers Mayor of Hornsby Shire Council Phillip Ruddock, Deputy Mayor of Newcastle City Council Declan Clausen and LGNSW Board member and Mayor of Northern Beaches Council Michael Regan.
We welcomed Labor’s announcement to working collaboratively together on new planning reforms, including:
- an end to developer-led spot rezoning
- an end to ‘planned precincts’ introduced by the current NSW Government.
RECYCLING ADVOCACY PUSH: As part of our Save Our Recycling campaign, I delivered a petition with more than 12,000 signatures to Parliament House on Monday, calling upon the NSW Government to use 100 per cent of the waste levy to tackle the recycling crisis. Over the past few weeks both the Greens and Labor have announced comprehensive waste management policies while the Premier has remained silent on new commitments to recycling. The waste crisis affects us all – now is the time for leaders to act. Election Priority #1.
LIBRARIES ADVOCACY PUSH: In an open letter to NSW political parties on funding libraries this week we outlined the overwhelming response to our Renew Our Libraries campaign. Since its launch in August 2018, 107 NSW councils and more than 12,000 public library supporters from the local community have signed up to support the campaign, emailed candidates and party leaders or signed our petition. There is now a bipartisan commitment to provide around $61 million over four years in new funding but the amount needs doubling and it needs to be ongoing. Our campaign continues. Election Priority #2.
Tourism focus – Thanks to everyone who attended our 2019 LGNSW Tourism Conference this week, including co-host Central Coast Council, and all the speakers and contributors. Presentations are available on our website.
And my council visits have continued this week – thanks to Cessnock, Upper Hunter, MidCoast, Dungog and Port Stephens.
Guidelines for temporary memorial management – In closing, I note the tragic events in Christchurch, New Zealand last Friday with great sorrow. Everyone has the right to be safe and acts of terror have no place in our communities. Our thoughts are with all those affected.
Yesterday, councils across NSW held events celebrating inclusiveness, respect and diversity to mark Harmony Day. Given events in Christchurch, this year’s theme – ‘Everybody Belongs’ – is timely. Communities often express grief through spontaneous memorials and councils have a role in managing these in a respectful manner. The Red Cross has developed guidelines for temporary memorial management which may help.
Until next week!
Photos: LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott speaking at Michael Daley’s press conference this week; Dungog Council visit; MidCoast Council visit; Upper Hunter visit; Port Stephens visit; Central Coast IHAPs Summit.