President's Message 1 November 2019

Some of our country’s biggest challenges have been on the table at all levels of government this week:  climate change, drought, economic disadvantage, and environmental management were all key topics in our most recent advocacy work on your behalf.

Reducing Disadvantage in NSW

It was a pleasure to join NSW Council of Social Service (NCOSS) CEO Joanna Quilty and Sister Carmel Hanson of Vinnies to launch ground-breaking NCOSS research that maps economic disadvantage across NSW. Local governments can see the impacts of disadvantage each and every day, as we offer so many front-line services. This year’s Local Government NSW (LGNSW) conference voted to support calls to raise Newstart and Youth Allowance, supporting those most in need, and this work supports that goal.

You can see the new maps of how poverty is impacting your local area.

Local Government Action on Environmental Management

Local government has long led the way in environmental management, and I congratulate the recently announced 39 finalists in LGNSW’s 2019 Excellence in the Environment Awards. I commend you for your efforts in relation to water recycling, resource recovery, electric vehicle charging, recycling, naturalisation of creeks, and embedding the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Among this year’s finalists: Waverley, Woollahra and Randwick councils, which have banded together to install Sydney’s first public electric vehicle (EV) charging network. Bega Valley Shire Council’s introduction of a food organics garden organics bin, and engagement of young people dubbed ‘Bega Valley Waste Warriors’ to educate local people on the bin’s use and the need to divert waste from landfill. Dubbo Regional Council’s Heat Island Amelioration project to lower the temperature of the CBD and create more shady areas by planting Japanese Elms in specially designed tree pits in the parts of the road that collect stormwater.

WIN! Welcoming NSW Government Roads Announcement

Linda Scott talks to media about NSW Government roads funding

Photo: Media interview about NSW Government roads funding 

The NSW government’s commitment to provide a further $500 million to fix rural and regional roads is welcome news. It came out of last election and was the result of extensive lobbying by LGNSW to address the ongoing shortfall of road funding over many years.

There were many calls for the government to fast track its announced funding two weeks ago at our annual conference, so it is pleasing that the Minister has finally done so. While $500m for country roads sounds like a lot, it’s disappointing that only $25 million was set aside in the 2019-20 State Budget to kick the program off.

Advocating for Recycling: Waste is a Product, not a Problem

I took the opportunity to join NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean and recycling and waste industry leaders at this week’s Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo.

This allowed me to explain our work on your behalf on our Save Our Recycling campaign, which seeks the reinvestment of the State Government’s $770 million waste levy in the development and delivery of council-led regional waste and resource recovery plans, procurement policies which support the growth of locally recycled products, and a badly needed state-wide recycling education campaign.

If you haven’t already, I encourage you to share our latest report  At the Crossroads - the state of waste and recycling in NSW, and to support our campaign by downloading the new recycling support pack.

Linda Scott with Ronni KAHN from OzHarvest

Photo: Ronni Kahn from Ozharvest

Upcoming Ministerial Meeting

I am looking forward to meeting with the Attorney General next week to discuss the redress scheme and other matters. Members are invited to send any issues they would like raised to Advocacy Director Kylie Yates at Kylie.Yates@lgnsw.org.au.