President's Message


Leading the call for more women in local government – As the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women were celebrated worldwide this week, it was a delight to join Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton and Minister for Women Tanya Davies at the 2018 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government at Parliament House.

Linda Scott Minister, Gabrielle Upton and Minister for Women Tanya Davies Winners included elected representatives: Cr Lucille McKenna OAM, Inner West Council (metro) and Cr Tegan Swan, Coffs Harbour City Council (rural/regional). Winners in the General Manager/Senior Staff Member category were: Simone Cook from Canterbury Bankstown Council (metro) and Rebecca Ryan, Blayney Shire Council (rural/regional).

Congratulations to all the deserving nominees and award winners doing such great work across NSW. To view a list of all winners visit the Office of Local Government website.

I was also honoured to speak at LGNSW’s first-ever International Women’s Day Luncheon in Sydney, and thank Shadow Ministers Peter Primrose and Jenny Aitchison for attending. 

LGNSW has long argued for the need for more female councillors and senior council professionals. We thank the men and women who attended the lunch and who have actively supported women into positions they are currently in. 

Local government should reflect and represent the communities it serves, yet currently in NSW only 29.5 per cent of councillors and a mere 14 per cent of general managers are women. Whatever their political beliefs or values, women in local government make a tremendous contribution bringing unique perspectives, skills and capabilities to the task. 

LGNSW has introduced a number of initiatives to support women in the sector, including the Local Government Capability Framework, a women’s development program, we endorse and support the work of the Australian Local Government Women’s Association as well as the 5050 Vision - Councils for Gender Equity Program. I am also proud that LGNSW is setting an example with a board comprising 50 per cent women. See our media release.

LGNSW fighting for Councils to keep recycling – We continue to hear from, and work with, a large number of councils who are feeling the impact of China’s policy to limit contamination rates of imported recyclable rubbish. LGNSW is working very hard to see the NSW Government make changes to ensure recycling can continue across our state.

Much of Australia’s ‘yellow bin’ rubbish (plastics, paper and cardboard) used to be sent to China, but under the new policy, China will only accept recyclable rubbish with a contamination rate of less than 0.5 per cent.

As you would all know, this has significant implications for kerbside recycling - and some councils are telling us the viability of their recycling programs are threatened. 

When I attended the NSW Environment Protection Authority’s recycling roundtable on Monday, along with Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton, I advocated for immediate assistance for councils and the waste industry to find solutions. Although recycling is at a critical point, the opportunity now exists to develop recycling processing and remanufacture in NSW, particularly in regional areas - and regional jobs should be created.

I urge all councils to look at their purchasing policies, buy recycled and be on the lookout for opportunities to develop markets for recycled materials - and most importantly, to contact us at LGNSW to keep us up to date with any impacts this is having on your council. 

Linda with John Barilaro and Melinda Pavey

Advocating for councils to the Deputy Premier and Minister for Roads – This week I met with Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey, to express the urgent need for changes needed to better support NSW councils. 

We spoke to the Deputy Premier about the funding problems that continue to beset local government, and about signing an intergovernmental agreement with LGNSW to better work together in the future. 

The Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight gave us a good hearing about the range of local road issues councils have raised with us (thank you Temora and Coolamon Shire Councils, to name a few), ongoing problems with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and the need to work together to seek more federal funding for councils to maintain their assets. 

On behalf of metropolitan councils, we also spoke about the need for the RMS to better reflect the safety of pedestrians, as well as vehicles, in their recommendations about works zones and traffic changes. 

If your council has any concerns you wish us to raise with Ministers and Shadow Ministers, please do let us know.

Warmest wishes,

Cr Linda Scott.


Legionella Control Requirements

Councils will soon have new regulatory responsibilities under the Public Health Amendment (Legionella Control) Regulation 2018 being prepared by NSW Health.

Public health units (PHUs) have been receiving feedback from councils on the draft regulation in recent weeks.

Three further PHU-council liaison meetings to outline the changes are scheduled for:

Contact your PHU (details in the links above) for more information.

The amended regulation, expected to be published in late March 2018, will require councils to:

  • receive certificates of completion for Legionella risk management plans and certificates of audit completion from occupiers of buildings with water cooling towers
  • maintain a register of water cooling systems within their local government area (LGA)
  • issue unique identification numbers for each cooling tower in their LGA.

NSW Health’s Legionella Taskforce is preparing guidelines for councils. These and other updates will be posted on the NSW Health Legionella Control website.

LGNSW is part of NSW Health’s Legionella Taskforce Steering Group.

Council staff with responsibility for legionella control are encouraged join our network. Email Damian Thomas, Senior Policy officer, LGNSW, or call 9242 4063.


Golf NSW


Golf NSW is inviting expressions of interest from councils interested in hosting golfing tournaments during 2019.

Golf NSW oversees more than 200 amateur events annually, many of them state titles, attracting tourists to host regions, with associated economic benefits.

Golf NSW is inviting expressions of interest for the following events in 2019:

  • Men's NSW and Greens Fourball Championship – March
  • Men's NSW Senior Amateur Championship (+ Foursomes) – March
  • Women's NSW Senior Amateur Championship – March
  • NSW Mid-Amateur Championship – May
  • Women's Country Meeting – September (Metropolitan Councils ONLY)
  • Men's NSW Sand Greens Championship – October
  • Women's NSW Sand Greens Championship – October
  • Women's Medal Play-off – state final (2018 and 2019) – December

Golf NSW is the governing body for amateur golf in NSW, managing rules of golf, amateur status, course ratings, handicapping, competitions including inter-club, district, interstate tournaments, and a host of legal, financial, industrial and administrative issues.

For more information email Bernard Bratusa, Government Relations and Communications Manager, Golf NSW or call 9505 9105/0420 581 225.


StateCover and Local Government Super - Call for Nominations for Non-Executive Director Positions

Expressions of interest are now being sought from eligible, suitably qualified councillors who wish to be considered for appointment to the Boards of LGSS or StateCover.

The LGNSW Board nominates four directors to the Boards of LGSS Pty Ltd (LGSS) and StateCover. To be eligible for appointment as a LGNSW representative, applicants must be a councillor of a council that is a member of LGNSW. LGNSW representatives on the StateCover Board must also be a councillor of a council member of StateCover. Appointments may be for terms of up to four years (LGSS) and three years (StateCover).

Local Government Super (LGS) is the default superannuation fund for employees of local government in NSW. It has approximately 90,000 members and manages over $9.5 billion in assets. LGSS Pty Limited (LGSS) is the Trustee for LGS and is responsible for making strategically sound decisions within a competitive commercial environment on behalf of its members.

Successful candidates should demonstrate knowledge of, and experience in, superannuation or the broader investment/finance sectors, as well as skills and experience in business strategy, risk management, IT, governance and working in an APRA regulated environment. They should also demonstrate an understanding of trustee duties, and relevant legislation including the SIS Act and regulations, and the Corporations Act.

Applicants should understand and agree to accept the time commitment involved (approximately 50 days per year) and the ongoing professional development requirements.

StateCover Mutual is an APRA regulated specialised workers’ compensation insurer of NSW local government organisations, insuring approximately 90 per cent of eligible councils with a combined workforce of 30,000. StateCover is a not-for-profit organisation, providing Workers Compensation and Work Health and Safety services to its insured members.

Successful candidates must have Director experience, and should demonstrate knowledge of, and experience in long tail insurance or the broader insurance/finance sectors. Specialised skills and experience are also required in a number of the following areas: business strategy, risk management, finance, actuarial, investment, IT, governance, marketing and operating in an APRA-regulated environment. They should also demonstrate an understanding of relevant legislation including the Corporations Act.

Applicants should understand and agree to accept the time commitment involved (approximately 25 days per year) and the ongoing professional development requirements.

Councillors wishing to be considered for appointment as a LGNSW representative on the Board of LGSS or StateCover must satisfy the requirements of their Fit and Proper Policies.

Information packs containing further details about the positions and the selection criteria must be obtained by prospective applicants, and are available from Bilyana Milenkovski at LGNSW.

Applications close Friday 16 March 2018.


Local Planning Panels Referral Criteria

Referral criteria for mandatory local planning panels no longer include the widely-anticipated $5m value-of-development threshold trigger.

The Planning Minister has issued directions to all Sydney councils, and the City of Wollongong, setting the following criteria for referring development applications (DAs) to local planning panels (LPPs, previously known as independent hearing and assessment panels or IHAPs) for determination:

  • conflict of interest – applications by council, councillors, staff, state MPs etc
  • contentious development – DAs that receive 10 or more objections (or 25 objections for City of Sydney)
  • departure from development standards
  • sensitive development (e.g. designated development, development of residential flat buildings and DAs involving a voluntary planning agreement).

The NSW Government’s decision to remove the value threshold trigger of $5m was made following feedback from affected councils and industry in November 2017.

Councils raised concerns about the number and type of applications that would be captured by the proposed $5m threshold criteria.

For more information visit the Department of Planning and Environment (DP&E) website.

In summary, mandatory LLPs:

  • commenced on 1 March 2018
  • apply to all Sydney councils and the City of Wollongong
  • have four members: chair (chosen by the Minister); two independent experts (from a DP&E pool of pre-approved experts) and one representative from the local community chosen by the council
  • are funded by councils, including remuneration of panel members
  • must conduct meetings in public
  • must give written reasons for decisions and make them publicly available on council websites.

The DP&E is developing an evaluation framework to monitor the operation of the referral criteria and evaluate the outcomes, costs and/or savings of mandatory local planning panels.

Councils are encouraged to report their experiences to DP&E. Feedback will be used to consider whether further changes to the criteria are required.

The NSW Government has undertaken to make fee adjustments where necessary to compensate costs to councils.

LGNSW invites feedback from councils on the operation of their LPPs.

To comment, email Jennifer Dennis, Senior Policy Officer, Planning, LGNSW or call 9242 4094.


Affordable Housing Roundtable


The NSW Federation of Housing Associations invites councils to attend a local government and affordable housing roundtable in Sydney next week (Wednesday 14 March).

Come along and participate in a day of practical discussion on how councils and community housing providers can work together to provide affordable housing in their local areas.

The workshop is free of charge.

View full details of the day’s sessions and register your interest via email

The NSW Federation of Housing Associations is the peak industry body for housing associations in NSW.


Draft Regional Pest Animal Management Plans


NSW Local Land Services is seeking feedback on 11 draft regional strategic pest animal management plans by 20 April.

The plans will guide resource allocation and investment across the state and provide a consistent basis for regional planning and delivery.

Councils are strongly encouraged to review the relevant plans for their regions.

Download the plans.

Feedback is being recorded via a short online survey (five questions).

For information contact Susy Cenedese, Strategy Manager Environment, LGNSW or call 02 9242 4080.


NAIDOC Week Grants


Grants of up to $3,000 are available to fund events celebrating Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories, cultures and achievements, and their continuing contributions to our country, during NAIDOC Week 2018 (8-15 July).

Applicants should provide evidence of how their proposed activity will:

  • celebrate Aboriginal history, culture and achievements and meet the broader objectives of NAIDOC and/or hold events that are aligned with the national theme of NAIDOC Week 2018
  • provide benefit across the broader Aboriginal community and across multiple Aboriginal communities
  • promote a greater awareness and understanding of Aboriginal history and culture within the broader local or regional community
  • where possible, demonstrate contributions and involvement from partner organisations.

For more information and to apply, visit the Aboriginal Affairs NSW website.


Art of Ageing Exhibition


Councils, businesses and community organisations across NSW are being offered the opportunity to host the Art of Ageing photographic exhibition.

An initiative of NSW Family and Community Services’ Ageing Strategy 2016-2020, the exhibition features thirty images of older people from regional NSW.

The Art of Ageing celebrates the value, experience and contribution older people bring and challenges outdated perceptions of ageing.

Each photograph is accompanied by a profile on the subject, highlighting their experiences and reflections on ageing.

For details on how to apply visit the Family and Community Services website.

Applications close 30 March 2018.