President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

LGNSW BOARD WELCOMES FEDERAL SHADOW LOCAL GOVERNMENT MINISTER – Thank you to newly-appointed Shadow Federal Minister for Local Government Jason Clare MP, for attending last Friday’s Board meeting in Sydney (7 June) to hear about key issues facing the sector and how he can help raise these at the highest levels of government. 

I have also held a really constructive conversation with our new Federal Local Government Minister, and former NSW Mayor, Mark Coulton MP. We look forward to welcoming him to a future LGNSW Board meeting. Read our Board report.

ADVOCACY UPDATE: EMERGENCY SERVICES LEVY MOTION PASSED IN NSW PARLIAMENT – Your efforts to ensure the Government reverses their decision to impose significant new charges on councils via the emergency services levy are building momentum. A motion supporting our call for the NSW Government to cover the first 12 months of the extra cost of the emergency services levy was passed by the Legislative Council in Parliament last Thursday (6 June) following the introduction of a private members’ bill by Shadow Local Government Minister Peter Primrose. 

Congratulations to those of you that have won media coverage on this issue, including Oberon, Kyogle and Clarence Valley councils.  

To add your council’s voice, consider our draft mayoral minute and contact Senior LGNSW Policy Officer Mark Hely or LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride to share your action.

WIN ON DROUGHT SUPPORT AND FOLLOW LIVE NSW BUDGET UPDATES – We welcome an announcement by Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Tuesday, confirming that the upcoming State Budget will include $335m to extend emergency drought support and funding to stimulate investment in regional infrastructure, bringing the NSW Government’s investment in drought support to more than $1.8b. 

We met with Minister for Water Melinda Pavey this week to seek more details on this announcement, and repeated our calls for councils to be key partners in the delivery of water infrastructure and drought relief. We welcome the Minister’s willingness to consider specific council issues when they are experiencing hardship through drought or in need of assistance with water issues, and we took the opportunity to raise a number of specific issues with her. 

If you have an issue you need raised with the Minister, please contact LGNSW Director Advocacy Kylie Yates.

Members are invited to follow LGNSW’s live blog of the announcements relevant to local government on State Budget day next Tuesday (18 June).

CELEBRATING WOMEN IN NSW LOCAL GOVERNMENT – It was such a pleasure to see so many women showing leadership and breaking down barriers in local government last week at the 12th annual NSW Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government.
 
I congratulate LGNSW Board member, and Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Cr Phyllis Miller, who was highly commended, and also Cr Susan Price OAM (Moree Plains Shire Council), Cr Wendy Waller (Liverpool City Council), Cr Roslyn Harrison (Northern Beaches Council), and Cr Reena Jethi (The Hills Shire Council).

A special mention goes to Board member and Broken Hill City Council Mayor, Cr Darriea Turley for her role in establishing the awards many years ago.

LGNSW welcomes that Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock made clear her strong commitment to encouraging more women into local government, either as elected representatives or council staff, and we look forward to working with her to achieve this. Read more [link to article].

UPCOMING MINISTERIAL MEETINGS: Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women –I will be meeting with the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women Bronwyn Taylor next week. If you would like us to raise any issues on your council’s behalf, please contact LGNSW Director Advocacy Kylie Yates.

GEARING UP FOR OUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE – I’m very excited to have signed our written invitations to mayors, councillors and general managers this week inviting them to this year’s LGNSW Annual Conference (Warwick Farm, 14-16 October) and outlining important information on registration, voting and motions submission. 

As you know, conference is the main policy-making event for our sector and your council’s opportunity to submit motions for debate and vote for your representatives on the LGNSW Board. 

When submitting motions this year, members are encouraged to refer to our existing principles and positions on issues of importance as set out in the LGNSW Policy Platform. Stay tuned for further details!

LOCAL HEROES RECOGNISED – Congratulations to all those who were recognised for service to local government in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday Honours, announced on Monday, including the following NSW recipients of the Order of Australia:

  • Mr Peter Astridge
  • Mr David Lawrence Borger
  • Cr Ken Halstead, Wingecarribee Shire Council
  • Cr Chris Holsten, Deputy Mayor, Central Coast Council
  • Cr John Medcalf, Mayor of Lachlan Shire Council
  • Cr Warren Polglase, Tweed Shire Council.
     

NSW recipients of the Public Service Medal for local government:

  • Ms Glennys Louise James, Director Planning and Development, Assistant Chief Executive, Blacktown City Council
  • Mr Craig Carlisle Moffitt, retired general manager, Murrumbidgee Council.


HELPING SHAPE OUR NATIONAL PLATFORM – Finally, I will be in Canberra this weekend for the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA’s) National General Assembly, and hope to see many of you there! 

ALGA’s A Fairer Share! campaign is calling upon the federal government for a fairer share of taxation revenue. ALGA has produced an updated advocacy kit for your use, containing letters, briefings, media kits and suggestions for social media and other ways in which you can communicate how such funding would make a difference locally. 

Please contact LGNSW’s Director Advocacy Kylie Yates if you have questions or to let us know if your council takes action (or has already done so).

PS I’m getting ready to take part in this year’s Vinnies CEO Sleepout in Sydney (20 June) to support the many Australians who are experiencing homelessness. Please visit my fundraising page if you would like to support me.

Photo: LGNSW Board and Shadow Federal Minister for Local Government Jason Clare MP last week.

LGNSW Board and Jason Clare MP

 

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Celebrating Women in Local Government

Women showing leadership and breaking down barriers in local government were congratulated by the sector at the 12th annual NSW Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government in Sydney last Thursday.

Those recognised included elected representatives Cr Susan Price OAM (Moree Plains Shire Council), Cr Phyllis Miller OAM (Forbes Shire Council and LGNSW Board member), Cr Wendy Waller (Liverpool City Council), Cr Roslyn Harrison (Northern Beaches Council), and Cr Reena Jethi (Hills Shire Council). 

General managers and senior staff included Morven Cameron (Lake Macquarie City Council), Melissa Boxall (Shellharbour City Council), Simone Plummer (Sutherland Shire Council) and Therese Manns (Randwick City Council). 

A wide range of non-senior staff, and women in traineeships or apprenticeships were also recognised at the awards, with a full list available on the NSW Office of Local Government website.

LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott, who served on the judging panel, said Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock was committed to empowering and supporting women in local government. 

Cr Scott said: “I am very much looking forward to working with Minister Hancock to examine ways to increase the number of women standing for, and elected to, local councils, or taking up staff leadership positions in local government.”

women in local government awards

 

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Board Meeting Report

The LGNSW Board met in Sydney last Friday (7 June 2019).

The Board welcomed newly appointed Shadow Federal Minister for Local Government Jason Clare MP, who attended our meeting to hear about key issues facing local government and how he can advocate for councils at a federal level.

Priorities raised by the Board included: 

  • the financial sustainability of local governments, and need for increased federal assistance grants
  • the need for constitutional recognition
  • the rollout of the national broadband network and its impact on local roads and infrastructure
  • the urgent need for increased drought assistance
  • action on recycling
  • the challenges of delivering effective health care in rural and regional areas
  • ceasing cost shifting 
  • the need for increased investment in regional growth and decentralisation
  • additional funding for childcare
  • attention to address skills shortages in local government
  • paying superannuation to elected members
  • attracting more women into local government.
     

The Board looks forward to welcoming more MPs, both state and federal, to future meetings.

Mr Clare said he was excited to work with local government, emphasising that both he and new Shadow Federal Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese have a strong appreciation of the work councils do and the importance of working in partnership. 

The Board:

  • Congratulated re-elected Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, alongside new key stakeholder ministers – Local Government Minister Mark Coulton MP, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack MP and Minister for Population, Cities and Infrastructure, Alan Tudge MP.
  • Congratulated Board member, and Forbes Shire Council Mayor, Cr Phyllis Miller on being highly commended in the recent NSW Minister’s Awards for Women in Local Government and recognised Board member, and Broken Hill City Council Mayor, Cr Darriea Turley for her role in establishing the awards many years ago.
  • Noted that nominations for this year’s Bluett and Excellence in the Environment awards are open and all councils are encouraged to enter.
  • Noted work to significantly improve the governance and communications between LGNSW and Local Government Super, including a call to enact a communication strategy with members to address concerns and welcomed an agreement from Local Government Super to consult members on the likely amount and timing of contributions to the defined benefits scheme.
  • Noted meetings with several NSW ministers including the ministers for: Local Government; Planning and Public Space; Customer Service; Regional Transport and Roads; the Premier; and members of the Shooters, Fishers and Farmers Party. Meetings with the Minister for Water, Property and Housing and the Minister for Mental Health, Regional Youth and Women were scheduled this week.
     

The Board discussed key issues of concern to members, including the emergency services levy and the Government’s prompt response to our calls for an extension of time for harmonisation of rates across former local government area boundaries.

LGNSW is calling upon the NSW Government to reconsider its decision to increase the Emergency Services Levy by $19m next year, with no warning or consultation with councils. If your councils hasn’t already, please consider passing our mayoral minute.

President Cr Linda Scott noted that LGNSW’s calls on behalf of amalgamated councils to allow more time for the harmonisation of rates had been acted on. In response to LGNSW advocacy, Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock last week introduced legislation giving amalgamated councils an extension until after the 2020 local government elections to harmonise rates across old boundaries.

LGNSW has submitted its NSW Budget submission. Members are invited to follow LGNSW’s live blog of the announcements relevant to local government on budget day, Tuesday 18 June.

The Board endorsed three LGNSW draft submissions including: the NSW Office of the Children’s Guardian’s regulating child safe organisations discussion paper; the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s review of indexation of local infrastructure contribution rates; the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse’s redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse. LGNSW submissions are available online.

The Board sent congratulatory letters to:

  • general manager of Parkes Shire Council Kent Boyd for the award of the Public Service Medal
  • Camden Council’s recently elected Mayor, Cr Theresa Fedeli and Deputy Mayor Cr Rob Mills.


and a letter of condolence to:

  • the family of Cr John Walker from Coonamble Shire Council.


The Board approved the LGNSW’s annual Budget, finalised our policy platform in preparation for the upcoming LGNSW Conference and noted the resolved work of our Capability Committee in rolling out the LGNSW Capability Framework to NSW Councils. 

The next LGNSW Board meeting will be held on Friday 9 August 2019.

Local Government Climate Change Adaptation Grants

The NSW Government and LGNSW have announced the successful applicants in round one of the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grants program.

The following ten recipients will share $1,011,300 to address identified climate risks including extreme heat, flooding, tidal inundation, arbovirus threats and water scarcity:

  • Bega Valley Shire Council
  • Blacktown City Council
  • Central Coast Council
  • Ku-Ring-Gai Council
  • Lake Macquarie City Council
  • Namoi Unlimited
  • Northern Beaches Council
  • Tweed Shire Council
  • Western Regional Organisation of Councils
  • Wingecarribee Shire Council.

The $1.16 million second round of IRCC funding will open on 1 July 2019.

Grants range from $30,000 to $120,000 for individual councils and from $50,000 to $300,000 for regional projects.

To view round one projects and apply for round two, visit the LGNSW website.

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Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee

LGNSW is seeking nominations from councillors and council staff wishing to join the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area Advisory Committee.

The committee is jointly appointed by NSW and federal environment ministers to provide advice on the protection, management and the presentation of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.

Representatives are appointed for three-year terms.

Candidates must represent, or be employed by, one of the 12 councils in the Greater Blue Mountains area including: Blue Mountains, Cessnock, Goulburn Mulwaree, Greater Lithgow, Hawkesbury, Mid-Western, Muswellbrook, Oberon, Penrith, Singleton, Wingecarribee and Wollondilly.

For an information pack contact LGNSW Senior Policy Officer Kirsty McIntyre.

Applications close on Friday 25 June.

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NSW Linear Reserves Forum

The NSW Roadside Environment Committee will host a Linear Reserve Environmental Management Forum at the Aerial UTS Function Centre (Sydney, 21 August).

The forum will provide an opportunity for councils and other linear reserve managers (from roadsides, travelling stock reserves, rail corridors, utility easements) to improve their environmental management practices and innovations.

Keynote speakers include:

  • Dr Peter Spooner from Charles Sturt University, a leading researcher into environmental history and management of linear reserves in Australia
  • Mr Pat Connor, a civil engineer with a background in gas pipeline and road construction.

Places are limited.

Register online.

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Two New Parliamentary Inquiries Announced

LGNSW members are encouraged to provide comments to two new parliamentary inquiries, one into music festival regulation, and the other, into Sydney’s night time economy, including the lockout laws.

The Joint Select Committee on Sydney's night time economy will inquire into measures required to:

·         maintain and enhance community safety

·         maintain and enhance individual and community health outcomes

 

·         ensure existing regulatory arrangements in relation to individuals, businesses and other stakeholders, including Sydney's lockout laws, remain appropriately balanced

·         enhance Sydney’s night time economy.

Submissions close on Tuesday 2 July.

The Regulation Committee will inquire into the impact and implementation of the: 

  • Liquor Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019
  • Gaming and Liquor Administration Amendment (Music Festivals) Regulation 2019.

Submissions close on Friday 5 July.

To provide input to LGNSW’s submissions, contact Senior Policy Officer Elizabeth Robertson by Monday 24 June.

For more information on LGNSW’s work in this space, and the Night Time Economy Councils’ Committee, visit the LGNSW website.

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NHVR Heavy Vehicle Freight Access Strategy 2020-2025 Webinar

The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) will present a free webinar for local government on 19 June, to outline its proposed Heavy Vehicle Freight Access Strategy 2020-2025.

The webinar will provide an overview of the strategy and how NHVR intends to help local government, and outline the public consultation process.

Register online.

If you are unable to take part, contact Brayden Soo, NHVR Freight and Supply Chain Policy Advisor, for more information and to access the slides and notes.

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