21 September 2021
Win! Deputy Premier commits to councils as part of COVID recovery roadmap
More than 120 regional mayors, councillors and general managers from across the State and I met last Friday in a lively online forum with Deputy Premier John Barilaro.
The LGNSW Forum covered vaccination rates, potential COVID impacts on upcoming elections and the threat to local infrastructure posed by planned developer contribution rule changes.
The Deputy Premier acknowledged the frontline leadership our councils are providing to communities and, most importantly, assured us that local government will be an integral part of the roadmap out of the COVID lockdown impacting much of regional NSW.
I thank Deputy Premier Barilaro for clearing his busy schedule to meet with us, and all the mayors, councillors and general managers who took part.
Win! Premier meets with COVID-hit LGA mayors
I also want to thank Premier Gladys Berejiklian for meeting with 12 western and south-western mayors in Sydney’s worst hit COVID areas last week.
Following the meeting, the Government lifted curfew restrictions for these LGAs and granted longer exercise times and allowances for up to five fully vaccinated people to meet outdoors.
I have written to the Premier to personally thank her for the meeting and am confident she now has an even clearer picture of the challenges facing our councils and communities.
Win! Councils allowed to offer click and collect library services and outdoor pools to re-open
We have also won a heath order exemption that will allow us to offer click-and-collect services in our public libraries, while the Health Minister has given permission for pools across NSW with an approved COVID safety plan to open from next Monday (September 27).
Conflict over infrastructure contributions rules heats up
In response to major concerns from many of you, last week LGNSW hosted a forum updating more than 200 fellow councillors, mayors and general managers on our combined fight against insidious infrastructure contribution rule changes.
These changes redirect developer contributions to State coffers, stripping council capacity to build the vital infrastructure our communities need to cope with increased development.
It is a contributions cash grab that will allow the NSW Government to use these funds however they like, wherever they like, whenever they like.
I have highlighted the issue in the media on your behalf as we continue to make our objections known, and you may have recently seen open letters to the Premier in major newspapers amid the coverage.
Deputy Premier Barilaro has told us he has heard our objections loud and clear and has undertaken to look into this deeply concerning issue.
I encourage you to keep fighting on behalf of our communities: LGNSW has a number of resources to help councils, including this mayoral minute to help you join our sector-wide campaign to call for the legislation to be withdrawn.
Western Sydney’s economic recovery in the spotlight
Last Wednesday, I spoke on behalf of our councils at the Western Sydney Economic Recovery Summit hosted by Opposition Leader Chris Minns, where we examined ways to help these COVID-19-hit communities bounce back from the financial blow they have taken with the extended lockdown.
Local government is well positioned and has the proven credentials to drive a locally led economic recovery for our communities and create new jobs in the process: all we need is a partnership approach from our State and Federal colleagues.
LGNSW’s advocacy efforts to accomplish this are focussed on three key areas:
- Securing continued State support to, and collaboration with, impacted councils, businesses and communities;
- Stopping the attack on infrastructure contributions the State Government is trying to push through the Parliament; and
- Continuing our calls for the NSW Government to fast-track projects and increase economic stimulus funding to help underpin local and state economic recovery.
Expert Housing Advisory Panel - Expressions of Interest
LGNSW is seeking applications from regional mayors and councillors to represent local government on the NSW Government’s Expert Housing Advisory Panel, which will oversee the delivery of the NSW Housing Strategy 2041 and the development of future action plans.
For more information log into the member website.
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