19 November 2020
Recent Federal and State budgets have demonstrated support for NSW council efforts to drive a locally-led post-pandemic recovery that sustains local jobs, supports businesses, and invests in communities.
I’m looking forward to hearing your views on the issues important to your Council at the 2020 LGNSW Annual Conference on Monday 23 November. A united voice and persuasive advocacy will be key to our sector’s ability to continue to deliver the infrastructure and services our communities need, particularly in these difficult times.
Championing the role of local government and its contribution to the success and prosperity of our communities is my passion. So, I’m thrilled to also be able to represent you as President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) after recently being elected unopposed.
I fully intend to pick up where my predecessor David O’Loughlin left off in relation to delivering real and meaningful outcomes for the sector, including insisting on local government representation at National Cabinet meetings.
I was pleased to be able to thank David for his efforts in person at the ALGA Roads Regions and Resilience conference in Wagga Wagga. It was a terrific event hosted by Wagga Wagga City Council and attended by the Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton, Shadow Minister Infrastructure, Transport & Regional Development Catherine King and many LGNSW and ALGA members.
The NSW Budget
The Government’s $96 million commitment to finalise its long-term waste strategy and extend the Waste Less Recycle More program is a step in the right direction and reflects at least one part of our campaign to reinvest the Waste Levy. However, the rapidly approaching bans on the export of recycling and waste overseas demands much more. LGNSW is calling on the NSW Government to match Federal and industry funding to divert more than 10 million tonnes of waste from landfill and create 10,000 jobs Australia-wide. We also continue to advocate for the Government to Save Our Recycling by reinvesting the annual $800 million Waste Levy in three remaining ways: council-developed regional waste management plans, revitalised infrastructure, and increased procurement of recycled goods. Refer to the LGNSW Budget media release.
Other State Budget advocacy wins, consistent with our advocacy.
- Universal postal voting is off the table, and $57 million has been allocated to ensure council elections next year are COVID-19 safe. The Minister for Local Government announced that universal postal voting would not be imposed on the 2021 local government elections, ensuring councils retain the right to choose which election options best serve their community to ensure maximum participation in our democratic process. LGNSW thanks the Minister for listening to council concerns and ensuring elections remain cost effective and fair – one of LGNSW’s key advocacy priorities for 2020 Our work on this issue follows a number of 2019 Annual Conference motions put forward by Brewarrina, Newcastle, Canterbury Bankstown, Lane Cove, Albury, Hawkesbury, Shoalhaven and Armidale councils.
- The government is also intending to make iVote available, in line with our advocacy and supported by a resolution of the 2019 Annual Conference put forward by Lismore City Council. For more information, email LGNSW Strategy Manager Damian Thomas.
- An additional $312 million in new funding for the Fixing Local Roads program, targeting high risk roads in the regions. LGNSW will continue to seek a commitment from the NSW Government to ensure councils have the first right of refusal to undertake these road works, supporting local procurement and local jobs.
- Almost $710 million in walking and cycling infrastructure over the next four years.
- $104.5 million for upgrades to arts and cultural assets.
- Almost $15 million over four years to create a digitally streamlined infrastructure contribution system to manage developer contributions.
- $139 million in interest-free loans to replace flammable cladding on high-risk buildings in NSW.
- Forward estimates include $26 million funding for local government in 2021-22, to support the transition from Waste Less recycle More program to NSW’s 20-Year Waste Strategy still in development This funding will ensure that over 100 jobs in local councils and regional waste groups are maintained and momentum in local and regional waste programs can be maintained during the transition.
The Minister for Local Government has written to LGNSW advising Office of Local Government consultation on the Councillor Superannuation Discussion Paper has been deferred …“until such time as Councils are better placed to meet the additional costs of funding councillor superannuation contributions.” LGNSW will continue to advocate for legislative changes on behalf of mayors and councillors, in the interests of fairness and to enhance local government’s capacity to attract talented individuals as elected leaders.
By now you should have received an email with the links and instructions to access and participate in our first-ever online Conference. Please contact email@example.com urgently if you have not received your information or require further assistance. Registered voting delegates MUST also email firstname.lastname@example.org with amendments to conference motions in advance, to ensure smooth proceedings during our new online format.
Are you the new Non-Executive Director of Local Government Super? Please email Bilyana Milenkovski for information. Applications close 25 November 2020.
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