President's Message 18 October 2019

SETTING THE AGENDA: LGNSW ANNUAL CONFERENCE – I am so honoured to be re-elected as President of LGNSW. It’s a pleasure to support, promote and advocate for our sector so councils are in the best possible position to serve their communities for the public good. Thanks for your support and to everyone – from organisers, speakers and delegates to sponsors and especially host Liverpool City Council – for making this year’s annual conference such a wonderful success!

The Australian Electoral Commission formally declared the Board Election results yesterday. Congratulations to new and returning LGNSW Board members: Treasurer Cr Jerome Laxale (City of Ryde); Vice-President Metro/Urban Cr Angelo Tsirekas (City of Canada Bay); Vice-President Rural/Regional Council Cr Stephen Lawrence (Dubbo Regional Council).

Metropolitan Directors: councillors Karen McKeown (Penrith City Council), George Greiss (Campbelltown City Council), Khal Asfour (City of Canterbury Bankstown), Julie Griffiths (Blacktown City Council), Lesley Furneaux-Cook (Burwood Council), Dai Le (Fairfield City Council), and Mazhar Hadid (Liverpool City Council).

Rural/Regional Directors: councillors Darriea Turley (Broken Hill City Council), Phyllis Miller (Forbes Shire Council), Ben Shields (Dubbo Regional Council), Marianne Saliba (Shellharbour City Council), Dominic King (Bellingen Shire Council), Ruth Fagan (Cowra Council), and Keith Rhoades (Coffs Harbour City Council).

Thank you to our outgoing and hard-working board members – Cr Marjorie O’Neill (Waverley Council), Cr Scott Ferguson (Blayney Shire Council), Cr Rod Kendall (Wagga Wagga City Council), Cr Paul Harmon (Inverell Shire Council), and Cr Michael Regan (Northern Beaches Council).

Once again, we showed local government is getting on with the job of good governance for NSW. More than 900 delegates (including members, sponsors and VIP guests) attended the conference over three days. Delegates made decisions on more than 120 motions and heard from prominent politicians including Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock and Opposition Leader Jodi McKay at our Meet the Politicians Breakfast.

We also recognised the sector’s outstanding achievements, launched our updated plan to Save Our Recycling in NSW and drew inspiration from keynote speakers James O’Loghlin, Paul Hawkins and Chris Riddell on how councils can work together to develop innovative approaches to tackle common problems.

INTERGOVERNMENTAL AGREEMENT PROMISES EQUAL PARTNERSHIP – I was delighted to sign a new intergovernmental agreement with Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock on Monday. This signifies a huge step forward in recognising local government as an equal partner and guarantees:

  • no forced council amalgamations
  • the quickest possible return to democratically elected representation following the appointment of any administrators
  • consultation with LGNSW before any laws or significant policy initiatives impacting on the sector.

The agreement also recognises cost shifting and commits the NSW Government to consider councils’ financial capability and budget cycles before they are asked to provide new or expanded functions. It is a really significant commitment that we will use to hold the government to account. See our media release.

URGING ACTION NOW TO SAVE OUR RECYCLING – I opened the last day of the conference by launching our new plan to Save Our Recycling in NSW. The NSW Government must invest in regional scale waste and recycling plans and a major education campaign to help restore ailing recycling services and create new markets for recycled products. We have real opportunities to create jobs and sustainable industries that drive economic development, particularly in regional areas – the time to act is now.

We are calling upon the NSW Government to:

  • Invest: Develop regional plans that deliver the waste and resource recovery infrastructure and services that our cities and regions need. Local councils need to be put front and centre of these plans and provided with the funding to make sure they are delivered.
  • Innovate: Change the rules and regulations to rethink and resolve the recycling mess in NSW. The NSW Government needs to lead and use more recycled content to help create scale and then new markets, jobs and investment will follow.
  • Educate: Fund a large-scale state-wide education campaign to support recycling and markets for recycled products in NSW. It must fund and work with councils to activate this campaign; community by community.

CAREERS AT COUNCIL – I was also delighted to launch an exciting, new careers website this week, created for local government, by local government. The Careers at Council website offers a one-stop-shop of information about the diversity of roles and the skills qualifications required of council employees. I urge you to come on board, promote your employee experiences and post your jobs on the site. For more information contact LGNSW Service Development Consultant Jennifer James.

CELEBRATING YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS – Huge congratulations to outgoing mayors and councillors, especially to Cobar’s Lilliane Brady, retiring after 37 years of local government; Tamworth’s Col Murray and Penrith’s Cr Kevin Crameri OAM. Outstanding Service awards were presented to Cr Ted Seng (24 years), Cr Murray Matson (24 years), and Cr Chris Manchester (32 years). Congratulations to AR Bluett Award winners Bourke Shire Council (rural councils) and Shellharbour City Council (city and regional councils). More about the Bluett Awards in our media release.

EMBRACING INNOVATION – During conference, we announced the shortlisted councils for this year’s Research and Innovation Fund: Willoughby City, Penrith City, Waverley, Liverpool City, Northern Beaches and Central Coast. Details of the shortlisted projects will be circulated to all member councils soon for feedback.

Photos: Signing the intergovernmental agreement with (from left) Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, Premier Gladys Berejiklian, and Deputy Premier John Barilaro; Cobar's Lilliane Brady, retiring after 37 years of local government; outgoing mayors, Tamworth’s Col Murray and Penrith’s Cr Kevin Crameri OAM; AR Bluett Award winners Shellharbour City Council (city and regional councils) and Bourke Shire Council (rural councils).