Media release - Councils prioritise stronger drought measures and recycling growth at annual conference

22 October 2019

Newly re-elected Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Linda Scott says the association will be pushing state and federal governments to support stronger drought measures and recycling growth in partnership with councils as part of a far-reaching new advocacy agenda set at last week’s LGNSW Annual Conference.

Cr Scott will continue to play a key role representing councils across NSW for a second two-year term following elections held at the conference, at which more than 800 councillors and council officers from around the state came together to tackle the burning issues facing their communities. 

“More than 120 motions on a wide variety of issues were up for debate at this year’s conference, with the need for stronger drought and resilience measures to help councils and communities address longer term impacts at the top of the agenda,” she said.

“It takes a long time for communities to recover from the effects of drought and our changing climate, and we will be lobbying for better government partnerships and funding to help affected councils help their communities through that recovery process, and to build more resilient places.”

Cr Scott said LGNSW also launched a campaign to tackle the state’s growing recycling crisis.

“It’s almost 10 years since the launch of a national policy designed to solve waste issues and invigorate sustainable recycling, but every indicator shows NSW recycling rates are declining. We know we can do better, but it requires investment,” Cr Scott said. 

“The Save Our Recycling campaign calls on the NSW government to reinvest the $770 million Waste Levy it collects to councils so they can develop regional plans for the future of waste and resource recovery.

“It also calls for funding for priority infrastructure and other projects, procured by councils, that are needed to deliver regional-scale plans.

“The campaign also pushes for every tier of government to procure more locally-produced recycled products, from recycled plastic play equipment and park benches to crushed glass road bedding, to reinvigorate the state’s recycling industry. 

“And to support these efforts we want government to fund and deliver a state-wide education campaign to support recycling, focussing on the right way to recycle as well as promoting the purchase of recycled products.”

Cr Scott said other outcomes from the conference included:

  • A call for the state government to join 900 governments worldwide in declaring a climate emergency and a bipartisan effort to avert a climate crisis in NSW;
  • Removal of rate exemptions on commercial forestry, commercial leases in national parks and social housing so everyone pays a fair share;
  • A new funding system to address the spike in emergency services costs because of changes to workers' compensation. 

“I want to thank all the councils and delegates who took part in last week’s conference. It has given us a clear mandate on the issues we will be working on to support NSW’s 128 councils and their communities,” Cr Scott said.

A full list of the motions passed at the conference can be found here.

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