President's Message 12 December 2019

Cr Linda ScottBush fires, drought and water security continue to be the source of concern.

On behalf of the LGNSW Board Members and the team, I wish you a safe and happy holiday season. And we’re hoping for rain – a lot of rain!

For those councillors, staff and mayors on the front lines battling fires and volunteering to support their communities, we thank you and hope that you manage to get some well-earned rest and some time with family and friends.

We appreciate that drought and limited water supplies are also placing many local councils and their communities under pressure.

LGNSW will advise of the priority needs of bush fire affected councils and will request support from councils across the state, when required - based on coordination between the regional general manager reference groups established by Office of Emergency Management and the Office of Local Government. I also encourage you to refer to our web site for information resources and ask that you copy and post the links to council websites.

The LGNSW team ends the year buoyed by the outcomes achieved this year in partnership with member councils and with the NSW government. I thought I would take this opportunity to reflect on just some of our successes this year, including:

  • Signing a new Intergovernmental Agreement, which strengthens the relationship with the state government (working as equal partners) and promises no more forced amalgamations.
  • Securing an additional $150,000 for our Joint Organisations.
  • Additional funding for bushfire-affected communities through affected local councils. This is on top of the $355 million in drought assistance in the NSW Budget, including the $170m Drought Stimulus Package directed through councils for infrastructure projects.
  • An additional $60 million over four years for public libraries, the largest single funding increase since 1939, resulting from the ‘Renew Our Libraries’ campaign. Refer to NSW budget media release.
  • The return of some planning powers to several councils in metropolitan growth areas - Leppington Town Centre, Horsley Park, Riverstone West, Schofields Town Centre and Marsden Park Town Centre, along with Elizabeth­ St Redfern, South Eveleigh, Waterloo Estate, Riverwood, Franklyn St Glebe and Cowper St Glebe.
  • Commitment from the NSW Attorney General to cover the costs of redress payments.
  • Resuscitation of Sydney’s night time economy including NSW Government commitment to support our calls for improved late night public transport, investment in creative cultural and business uses of premises at night time and collaboration with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to explore how councils can be best supported, including through developing model provisions or best practice guidance for councils to adopt, with important provisions for local conditions.
  • The end of expensive asbestos disposal levies.
  • Local water utilities to be kept in local hands.
  • $13.9 million to offset shock increase in ESL contributions.
  • Funding for local infrastructure including local roads and country bridges including:
    • the government’s promise to take back up to 15,000km of regional roads
    • $150 million funding for new public parks
    • $400 million for regional telecommunications towers
    • 13 new bus routes to connect 44 regional towns; and
    • agreement to fast track Sydney’s Metro West project.
  • Greater financial independence, after we forced the release of the IPART review.
  • Fair superannuation and remuneration for mayors and councillors.
  • Additional $100 million from the Stronger Country Communities Fund with up to half dedicated to regional youth infrastructure and programs.
  • The prevention of Crown Land used for recreation from being sold, and funding and support to help councils prepare for Crown land reforms.
  • A pause on the introduction of the medium-density planning code and limits to the size of boarding houses in low-density areas
  • Council control over short-term rental accommodation regulation, giving regional councils flexibility to manage holiday letting.
  • Consistent and equitable expenditure caps and a reasonable level of expenditure to enable local council election candidates to inform voters of what they stand for prior to election day, following the passing of the Electoral Funding Amendment Bill 2019.
  • The Premier’s announcement of a review of the longer-term funding arrangements and management of the NSW Electoral Commission by the Auditor-General.

This is also the last edition of the Weekly for 2019. However, members can call 02 9242 4000 for information on how to contact staff on urgent matters.

LGNSW office holiday opening times