President's Message 14 January 2020

Cr Linda ScottWelcome to a special edition of The Weekly, as part of the continuing focus on recovery from unprecedented bushfires that have ravaged NSW and beyond, this season.

This week we have welcomed the Federal Government’s initial $60 million commitment to support local government recovery efforts, and we will continue to advocate for funding and the legal or regulatory changes you need to ensure recovery can progress, as quickly as possible.

It is also great to see our calls to “build back better” have been heard by the Federal Government. 

Further funds are to be distributed in cooperation with National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin APM OAM, the NSW government and local councils.

Refer to media release. For information regarding this advocacy, email Shaun McBride, LGNSW Chief Economist – Finance and Utilities

Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support

Last week I mentioned the establishment of the Local Government Bushfire Recovery Support Group - a partnership between the Local Government NSW, the City of Sydney and the Office of Local Government - designed to help expedite and coordinate the recovery process.

The group will:

  • maintain a database of services and resources being offered by local government
  • provide links to organisations that can provide specialised recovery advice
  • serve as a source of information on risks and safe methods of work.

Critically, we will also work to match councils offering support and councils requiring support.

A guide for these supporting councils, including logistical details such as transport, meals, accommodation, staff management and work health and safety is currently being finalised and will be made available as soon as possible.

I’ll ensure members are updated on the work undertaken by this Group in regular editions of The Weekly, but for further information on the Group, please email Elle Brunsdon, LGNSW Policy Adviser.

In the meantime, it is important that any council grappling with the fire emergency must continue to contact and seek support from the usual State Government channels, such as the Office of Emergency Management.

Reopening for Business

With tourism traditionally a key economic driver for so many of our regional areas, the impact of the fires has the very real potential to challenge local communities for years to come.

LGNSW will look closely at how tourism can help local economies recover faster with a special session at our upcoming tourism conference, due to be held in fire-impacted Jindabyne from 16-28 March. Open for business? A conversation about strategies to attract visitors after natural disaster. We’re currently finalising speakers for this session; in the interim the full program is available on the LGNSW website. For more information, email LGNSW Events Team or call 02 9242 4000.

LGNSW Staff Transition

As many of our members worked closely with our Chief Executive, I wanted to let you know that Tara McCarthy has resigned as Chief Executive of LGNSW. At the end of the month she will commence in a position at Transport for NSW.

During her time at LGNSW, Tara’s focus was to work with the Board and staff to continue to improve the value we deliver to our members.

I know you will all join me in thanking Tara for her contribution to Local Government NSW and wish her all the best with her future endeavours.

Meantime, I am pleased to report that Kylie Yates, LGNSW’s Director Advocacy, has accepted the Board’s request to act as Chief Executive until further notice. I know Kylie will work closely with the Board to help ensure members continue to receive the same high level of advocacy support and service delivery while permanent recruitment arrangements take place.