25 September 2020
The NSW government has retained COVID-19 legislative amendments (as per the COVID-19 Legislation Amendment (Emergency Measures) Bill 2020) and emergency orders until 25 March 2021, which will continue to influence essential services delivered by councils.
- The Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 amendments allow councillors and staff to continue to attend meetings by audio-visual links. Council and committee meetings that exclude the public must be live streamed and those that include the public must permit four square metres of space for each person attending.
- The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces also retains Planning powers that include the power to make an order for development to be carried out without the normal planning approval. Changes to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 relate to construction work, temporary cycleways, flexibility for food trucks and dark kitchens, retail trading operating hours, including 24-hour delivery and waste removal, home businesses, public inspection of planning documents and timing of infrastructure contributions payments have been extended.
- 24-hour deliveries to supermarkets and other retail outlets are also set to continue across the State, as per the State Environmental Planning Policy (COVID-19 Response). LGNSW remains opposed to this measure and will continue to represent members in arguing for limits to the timing and frequency of truck movements and deliveries, particularly in residential areas.
Advocacy Wins! This week:
- We welcomed the Premier’s response to LGNSW calls to partner with councils on a Summer Safety campaign. We’re keeping up the pressure for the government’s Safe Summer plan to include funding to properly resource measures to prevent overcrowding, including COVID-safe marshals to support council rangers and police to ensure social distancing and safe practices, and to assist with crowd management during the busiest time of the year – in line with the Victorian model. For further information, email Damian Thomas, LGNSW Strategy Manager.
- Liquor Amendment (24-hour Economy Bill) 2020: The government has listened to advocacy from LGNSW, addressing our concerns about the complexity and overlap in relation to proposed regulation of venue noise complaints. Councils and police will continue to be able to refer complaints to Liquor & Gaming NSW if they are unable to address noise complaints themselves. This Bill proposes to amend the Liquor Act 2007 and Liquor Regulation 2018 and forms part of a second round of liquor law reforms to implement the government’s 2019 response to the NSW Parliament Joint Select Committee’s report on Sydney’s night-time economy. For further information, email Damian Thomas, LGNSW Strategy Manager.
- NSW Building Commissioner Occupation Certificate (OC) Audits commenced 1 September: After much campaigning, it’s great to see the Building Commissioner’s new powers to issue orders to stop work, rectify defects, and in serious cases prevent the issue of an occupation certificate (OC) coming into force. For further information, email Jane Partridge, LGNSW Strategy Manager.
Help amplify our sector’s advocacy work
Support calls for COVID-19 support for people seeking asylum. In line with a 2019 Annual Conference resolution by Cumberland Council, LGNSW has written to the Premier and the Federal Minister for Immigration calling on the government to address this critical need. Please help by contacting your local federal MPs on this issue, in advance of the upcoming federal budget. For further information, email Elle Brunsdon, LGNSW Policy Officer.
Government Integrity: I expressed strong support for fair and transparent allocation of grant funding, regardless of political affiliation, at the Parliamentary Inquiry into the integrity, efficacy and value for money of NSW Government grant programs on Monday. Grants are an essential funding source for councils that are squeezed at both ends by rate-pegging and cost-shifting. For further information, email Kelly Kwan, Executive Manager, Advocacy.
Reminder: Register Now! Help shape the LGNSW policy platform by registering as voting delegates for our online LGNSW Conference as soon as possible. Please also submit motions and sign up to attend. For further information visit the LGNSW website or email email@example.com with the subject line "Annual Conference".
Apply now - AR Bluett Trustee position: Councillors and former councillors from rural councils are encouraged to apply for a position on the AR Bluett Memorial Trust, responsible for the most prestigious award in local government. For further information, please contact Trust Chairman Les McMahon on 0412 303 719. To apply, please email Damian Thomas, LGNSW Strategy Manager, to obtain an information and application pack. Applications close at 5pm on 14 October 2020.
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