President's Message 17 April 2020

YOU’RE INVITED!

Next week (Wednesday 22 April from 10-11am) Families and Communities Services Minister Gareth Ward will join our LGNSW Mayors and Councillors forum. This is a great opportunity for you to ask about what the State Government is doing to support councils and their most vulnerable communities. 

The first in a series involving Ministers and Shadow Ministers over coming weeks, these forums are designed to give you the chance to engage directly with decision-makers about what your community needs. Invitations to attend via the Microsoft Live Events platform will be emailed shortly, along with an agenda and technical instructions. Please be sure to register in advance.

HISTORIC ACCORD

This week we’ve set a new course for over 100 councils and their staff in the weeks and months ahead, after the Local Government COVID-19 Splinter Award was made by the Industrial Relations Commission of New South Wales on 14 April 2020. The interim arrangements now in place, give participating councils and county councils a new minimum standard during the COVID-19 pandemic. Refer to LGNSW media release. Thank you to Tweed Council, local government unions, the LGNSW workplace relations team and many others for your efforts in quick time. For further information, email LGNSW Workplace Relations Unit or call (02) 9242 4142.

In just a few days and weeks our sector has helped keep as many valuable staff employed to undertake essential local government services, for as long as possible, as we navigate through this pandemic. It is something we can all be very proud of.

GOVERNMENT CHANGES

Today the Local Government Minister announced regulatory changes for local government during COVID-19.Refer to Minister’s media release For further information, email Shaun Mc Bride, Chief Economist.

WIN! More Council Childcare funding

We welcomed the NSW Government’s announcement of $51 million to cover the cost of preschool fees for up to six months, which is great news for the many parents who rely on the 24 council operated preschools and their staff across NSW. This is in addition to the government’s commitment of up to $82 million to support 260 council childcare centres who are not eligible for the JobKeeper payments. I also encourage Councils to consider the eligibility criteria and apply for Federal government funding (Exceptional circumstances Supplementary Relief Payment) to support council run early education and care centres.

WIN! Infrastructure stimulus funding

We also welcomed the NSW Government’s $25 million boost for local councils to rebuild and refurbish infrastructure for up to 171 local showgrounds as part of the NSW Government’s stimulus package. This funding for showgrounds will benefit councils to create and maintain jobs and improve assets. We all look forward to the return of local shows and community events, once COVID-19 Public Health Orders are lifted.  Refer to LGNSW media release. For further information, email Shaun Mc Bride, Chief Economist

WIN! Return and Earn rules to benefit councils

We are pleased Minister Kean has agreed to amend the Material Recovery Facility (MRF) protocol, which should streamline the claiming of container refunds by MRFs and the subsequent sharing of those refunds with councils. LGSNW made representations to the Minister requesting a change to the Return and Earn rules relating to the movement of containers between sites.

HAVE YOUR SAY! Community infrastructure funding

While welcoming the Planning Minister Rob Stokes’ announcement of a review of developer contributions, headed by Productivity Commissioner Peter Achterstraat, it will be crucial for local government to make our voice heard in this process.

We know councils rely on developers paying their fair share, and strongly support greater transparency in our planning system to allow our communities to have full knowledge of the significant costs involved in the infrastructure required to support new developments. This review should also help ensure the shortcomings of developer contribution contracts, state laws and legal agreements are better understood. For further information or to share your submission, email Jane Partridge, Senior Policy Officer - Planning

HELP AMPLIFY OUR SECTOR'S ADVOCACY WORK

LGNSW continues to advocate for government financial assistance and economic stimulus measures, on your behalf. Please help us to let your community and state and federal representatives know just what’s at stake and who will be impacted. I encourage you to:

POSITIONS OPEN

2020 Local Government Week Awards judges: I encourage mayors and councillors to submit an expression of interest to join the judging panels for LGNSW’s RH Dougherty Awards and for the Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Awards. The awards are scheduled to be presented during Local Government Week in August 2020. For further information, email Elizabeth Robertson, Senior Policy Officer.