President's Message

Cr Linda Scott

WIN: NSW GOVERNMENT REVERSES ESL BILL – Together, our sustained advocacy has again paid off this week, with the NSW Government announcing it will fund the first year of the emergency services levy price hike for all councils. Congratulations to everyone for their efforts to ensure our voices were heard. 

Our thanks in particular to Acting Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock for our productive meeting last week prior to their announcement on Tuesday that the NSW Government will not charge councils the $13.6m increase this financial year. 

The policy reversal removes levy increases of up to 25 per cent on local government to fund the extension of workers’ compensation coverage to firefighters diagnosed with one of 12 specific work-related cancers.

Our next priority is to sit down with the NSW Government to find a better, long-term solution, ensuring councils have a say and are protected from unexpected increases in the future. 

Please let us know what your funding will now provide for your community and your thoughts on a way forward, to LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride.

YOUR BOARD – The LGNSW Board met in Sydney last Friday to progress key advocacy issues including recycling and the emergency services levy and to congratulate our recent Local Government Week award winners and recipients of public service medals. For a full rundown of proceedings read our Board meeting report.

UNPACKING CROWN LAND MANAGEMENT FOR COUNCILS – Thanks to Lismore Council who this week hosted us for the for the latest LGNSW summit on Crown Land Management and native title. 

With councils managing almost 7,800 Crown reserves across NSW, and 35,000 land claims under assessment, it’s vital our voice is heard, and that we understand your support for, or concerns with , the process. 

For those unable to attend, this summit will be repeated in Sydney on Tuesday 12 November. Register online. This event will be recorded for those who can’t attend either session.

We will continue to strongly advocate for additional funding and resources to be available to help councils implement their plans of management – due to be in place by 1 July 2021.

For more information or to raise issues your council is experiencing contact LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride.

FOCUSING ON THE CHALLENGES OF DROUGHT – Time is running out to register for this year’s LGNSW Water Management Conference (Albury, 2-4 September), exploring the challenges of drought from a variety of perspectives including government policy, innovation, collaboration and community. Registration closes on Monday (19 August), so book online today.

REPRESENTING LOCAL GOVERNMENT AT THE NSW MUSIC FESTIVALS INQUIRY – I was honoured to represent councils’ at the Parliamentary Inquiry into Music Festival Regulations on Tuesday. 

No local government has welcomed the government’s new festival regulations and we are calling for them to be repealed.

While the regulation currently affects only 14 high-risk festivals, it appears to have created a domino effect, resulting in uncertainty and increased costs for all festivals in NSW, including those run by the communities and councils. I urged the panel to engage in genuine conversation with local government on this issue and avoid implementing a one-size-fits-all approach.

COUNCIL VISITS – Thanks to Lismore, Kyogle, Tenterfield Shire, Glen Innes Severn and Armidale Regional councils for taking time out from their busy schedules to meet with me this week – your views and experiences are vital to our ongoing advocacy work.

Photos: Visits to Lismore, Kyogle, Tenterfield and Glen Innes Severn councils.

LismoreKyogleTenetrfieldGlen Innes Severn

 

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Board Meeting Report

 The LGNSW Board met in Sydney last Friday (9 August 2019). 

The Board: 

  • Resolved to ramp up the association’s advocacy on the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) given lack of movement from Government to date, noting that Minister Hancock was supportive.
  • Acknowledged the importance of councils in leading the advocacy for solutions to Australia’s waste and recycling crisis, following calls for federal assistance by up to 900 councils at the recent successful ALGA National Conference.
  • Endorsed LGNSW’s position on the Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Review, being conducted by Professor Ryan, and resolved that the position be put in writing to Minister Stokes to inform him of councils’ views directly.
  • Congratulated nominees and winners of Local Government Week awards. Regional and rural councils took out all but one of the RH Dougherty Awards, demonstrating yet again the enormous amount of best practice community engagement, consultation and communication being delivered across NSW. The Board also thanked Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, Minister for Families, Communities and Disability Services Gareth Ward and Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren for attending the awards evening.
  • Welcomed the long-awaited appointment of David Chandler as NSW Building Commissioner, following our extensive and longstanding advocacy for a stronger regulatory framework for the building industry. The Board supports LGNSW’s ongoing advocacy to ensure this appointment is fully resourced and supported by a team of staff with relevant building experience, along with our continued calls for measures to address concerns about the independence of private certifiers and a commitment to annual audits.
  • Noted various meetings with NSW Government ministers, shadow ministers and members to progress our advocacy and policy agenda; a meeting between President Cr Linda Scott and the new chair of the NSW Aboriginal Land Council Cr Anne Dennis, to discuss common advocacy issues, including crown lands and implications of the Darkinjung SEPP; and continued visits by the President  and LGNSW staff to councils throughout NSW, hearing the views and experiences of members and using them to help shape the work undertaken by LGNSW.
  • Noted LGNSW engagement at the most recent IPWEA conference, Western Division Councils’ mid-term meeting and the Bus NSW conference. 

The Board endorsed several LGNSW draft submissions including: the IPART Review of the Costs of Local Government Elections – Issues Paper and Draft report; a draft position on the Review of the Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Code being undertaken by Professor Roberta Ryan on behalf of the NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces; the Parliamentary Inquiry into Sydney’s Night Time economy; the Parliamentary Inquiry into Music Festival Regulations; the draft Underground Petroleum Storage System Regulation; the IPART Review of Interment Costs and Pricing; the National Transport Commission Heavy vehicle Law review; the Building Stronger Foundations Discussion Paper. LGNSW submissions are available online.

Congratulatory letters have been sent to: 

  • 2019 Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship recipient Courtney McEwen from Nambucca Shire Council.
  • The following Medal of the Order of Australia and Public Service Medal recipients:
    • Mr Peter Astridge
    • Mr Kenneth Halstead
    • Cr Chris Holstein
    • Cr John Medcalf
    • Cr Warren Polgase
    • Glennys James
    • Craig Moffit.

The next LGNSW Board meeting will be held on Friday 4 October 2019.

 

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Local Government Property Professionals Conference

Lake Macquarie City Council will host this year’s Local Government Property Professionals Conference at Caves Beach from 10-11 October 2019.

The program will feature presentations and discussions covering a range of topics affecting property professionals in local government including:

  • planning laws
  • equity in community leases
  • drone operations in local government
  • private public partnerships
  • digital marketing
  • compulsory acquisition

Attendees can also attend workshops on road closures, native title, valuation and plans of management.

LGNSW and the Planning Institute of Australia are running a pre-conference course Planning for non-Planners on Wednesday 9 October. Although this is fully booked, we are accepting waitlisted registrations.

For more information visit the LGNSW website.

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Consultation on Short-Term Rental Accommodation

The NSW Government is seeking feedback on its draft regulatory framework for short-term rental accommodation (STRA), including a state environmental planning policy and a mandatory code of conduct. 

The government is also considering the introduction of a new industry-led STRA property register.

The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and NSW Department of Customer Service released the following draft documents this week:

  • a new regulatory framework discussion paper
  • a draft State Environmental Planning Policy (STRA) 2019 (including a state-wide definition of STRA)
  • a draft code of conduct applying to hosts, guests, online booking platforms and letting agents
  • draft regulations to support the framework, including a Short-term Rental Fire Safety Standard. 

For more information, visit the DPIE website.

Submissions close 11 September.

LGNSW is preparing a submission on behalf of the sector. To provide input email LGNSW Strategy Manager, Planning and Transport Jane Partridge by Friday 6 September.

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Boarding Houses Review

As part of its review of the Boarding Houses Act 2012, the NSW Government is seeking feedback on a discussion paper containing 39 questions for consultation.

It is important to note this review is considering the regulation of boarding houses rather than planning issues relating to them.

Councils have responsibilities under the Boarding Houses Act to monitor and inspect boarding houses and ensure they meet certain safety and accommodation standards.

It is also a matter for councils to decide what action to take regarding breaches identified during inspections, or where residences are suspected of operating as unregistered boarding houses.

Find out more on the NSW Fair Trading website.

Submissions close 8 October 2019.

To provide input to the submission LGNSW is preparing on behalf of the sector, contact LGNSW Strategy Manager Damian Thomas by Thursday 12 September.

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Premier’s Multicultural Communication Awards

Nominations for the Premier’s Multicultural Communication Awards are open until Friday 6 September.

The awards recognise excellence in the multicultural media and marketing industries, and the best and brightest multicultural communicators in NSW.

If your council has worked on a marketing campaign that showcases diversity in an innovative way, visit the Multicultural NSW website to enter.

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Conservation Agreements as Conditions of Consent

The Biodiversity Conservation Trust (BCT) has issued guidelines clarifying its role in delivering conservation agreements associated with development.

These relate to both conservation agreements that are included in a condition of consent for a development or agreed to as part of a planning proposal.

The guidelines apply to local developments where there are:

  • legacy conditions of consent issued before the publication of these guidelines
  • new conditions of consent issued after the publication of these guidelines
  • conservation agreements that are a pre-requisite of a planning proposal.

They also include a schedule of fees for processing applications and ongoing technical support for landholders. 

For more information email BCT.

The BCT was established in August 2017 under the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 to encourage landholders to enter into co-operative arrangements for the management and protection of the natural environment that is significant for the conservation of biodiversity.

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2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit

The 2019 Australian Infrastructure Audit released this week highlights the need for a new wave of investment and reform to ensure Australia’s infrastructure continues to support our quality of life and economic productivity over the next 15 years.

The audit warns the current infrastructure program must do more than plug the immediate funding gap, but instead deliver long-term changes to the way we plan, fund and deliver infrastructure.

Infrastructure Australia is calling for feedback and submissions in response to 136 challenges and 44 opportunities identified in the audit until 31 October 2019. 

Submissions identifying projects and initiatives for the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List are also open until 31 August. 

For more information and to make a submission visit the Infrastructure Australia website.

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