28 March 2023
Congratulations to Premier-elect Minns and all elected to government
On behalf of LGNSW, sincere congratulations to NSW’s new Premier-elect Chris Minns, and all those elected to the 58th Parliament of NSW.
I’d also like to acknowledge the candidates who were unsuccessful, and those still waiting on the count to be finalised: irrespective of the final outcome, you all deserve commendation for the hard yards you put in to ensure your communities were represented and heard. In this context there are only winners, because strong democracy is dependent on both good government and good opposition, at all levels.
Others have also commented on this but I, too, think it is important to recognise that former Premier Perrottet and Premier-elect Minns ran constructive and respectful campaigns, focusing on issues rather than individuals.
Together they have set a higher standard for civil discourse and policy debate in NSW, and LGNSW looks forward to working in the same vein with all elected MPs: the new ALP Government MPs, Liberals and Nationals, minor parties, independents, and crossbenchers.
Above all, our eyes remain firmly fixed on the community-focused objectives that made up LGNSW’s election priorities and we will continue to work towards their achievement.
There’s still so much to do, particularly around the financial sustainability of local government. The robust responses to our election priorities shows we have strong support right across the political spectrum in the upper house. And, of course, many of our newly elected State MPs come from the ranks of local government; I urge them to continue to represent our sector by continuing to press these priorities at a State level.
During the campaign the new Government made a number of commitments to councils, including:
- A review of the financial model for councils
- New and fairer grant guidelines
- Implementing the changes needed to resolve the Red Fleet matter
- A mandatory requirement for 30% of all homes built on surplus government land to be social, affordable and diverse housing
- Signing an Intergovernmental Agreement with LGNSW setting out key principles for an equal partnership between our two spheres of government
- Implementing all 44 recommendations of the parliamentary inquiry into rural and regional health services.
NSW Labor also announced an Emergency Road Repair Fund worth $670 million over two years for regional roads ($390 million in new funding), and we will seek a briefing on design of this program and its implications for council roads.
Cost of local government elections
While the State Election may be over for another four years, local government elections are scheduled for 2024 and have sparked fresh concerns over significantly increased cost estimates from the NSW Electoral Commission.
While some cost increases can be attributed to the current high level of inflation, the increases are far in excess of the Consumer Price Index and represent another unsustainable financial burden on the local government sector.
The cost of local government elections has been the subject of multiple resolutions at LGNSW Annual Conferences in recent years, with councils calling for:
- a commitment that the NSW Electoral Commission not be permitted to increase the cost of elections by more than the rate cap limit imposed on local government rates, with any shortfall met by the NSW Government
- direct offsetting of the cost of local government elections with significant fine revenue from non-voting, which at present is directed to the NSW Government.
I will urgently raise this matter with the NSW Government and keep you updated.
Local Government Week Awards
Entries for the Local Government Week awards are now open, with all councils invited to submit entries showcasing the great work they’re doing in the areas of arts and culture, planning, special events and community communication.
Entries close on 2 June, with winners to be announced during Local Government Week at a special awards ceremony on Thursday 3 August. Check out the award categories, and get cracking on your entries!
Executive and Administrative Assistants’ Conference
LGNSW members have first access to purchase tickets to the Executive and Administrative Assistants’ Conference event, which will be held on 15-16 June at the Swissotel Sydney.
This event is dedicated to inspiring and empowering local government executive, personal and administrative assistants to further fulfil their potential and achieve new standards of performance.
Learn more about the Conference from past participants, or visit the event website to register.
Net Zero Webinar Series
The Net Zero webinar series is back in 2023 by popular demand, with the first of five FREE webinars taking place on Thursday 27 April from 10-11.30am.
The topic of Net Zero Webinar One is Assessing EV site feasibility, and will feature guest speaker Evan Darmanin from Chargeworks.
I’ll keep you updated on future Net Zero webinars in the coming weeks.
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