President's Message 28 November 2019

Linda ScottDrought, bushfires and water issues continue to dominate.

It was pleasing to see the Premier and members of Cabinet visiting so many Mayors in Western NSW this week. It was a good opportunity to engage councils and their communities about the enormous challenges they are facing, including drought and bushfires.

LGNSW has been engaged in a range of important policy discussions this week including:

In response to our advocacy, we also welcome explicit recognition from the NSW Government that councils are best placed to identify live music venues and areas where noise conditions should apply, rather than a State-wide approach - part of the government’s response to the NSW Parliament Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night Time Economy.

Meet the Building Commissioner

I hope you will join us for the LGNSW hosted forum with the NSW Building Commissioner, Mr David Chandler OAM. The Commissioner is consulting widely and is keen to work with local government to progress building industry reform.

Date: Friday 6 December 2019

Time: 12pm-2pm (a light lunch will be served)

Location: Customs House, The Barnet Long Room, 31 Alfred Street, Circular Quay, Sydney

For further information, email Planning.Transport@lgnsw.org.au

Drought and bushfire recovery and fundraising

LGNSW is now part of the weekly NSW State Recovery meeting with a large range of government agencies. Our involvement ensures you are well represented at the highest levels on this issue.

It’s so wonderful to see the many fundraising efforts in support of drought and fire-affected towns by metropolitan councils. As a result, communities across the state are investing in practical ways to help. We have also republished a list of how people can donate to bushfire and drought-affected communities. These are the main groups, recognised state-wide, who are working on the ground - as identified by the Office of Emergency Management. We have also republished key sources of drought-related information so members can remain well informed.

For further information, email Damian Thomas, Strategy Manager – Social and Community

Results of Inquiry into Sydney’s night time economy to benefit

In its response to LGNSWs advocacy, the NSW Government’s response to the NSW Parliament Joint Select Committee on Sydney's Night Time Economy addresses several local government priorities, supporting our calls to take appropriate steps to improve late night public transport, encourage creative cultural and business uses of premises at night time. As a result of our advocacy, councils can now expect to work closely with the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to explore how they can be best supported, including through developing model provisions or best practice guidance for councils to adopt, with important provisions for local conditions.

LGNSW has long argued that all councils should be supported in fostering safe, sustainable and vibrant night time economies. We look forward to local councils being part of coordinated approaches with regulatory agencies, operators, and others, to support a night time economy, including encouraging adoption of the Inner West Council's Live Music Venues Good Neighbour Policy. We also look forward to contributing to the government’s efforts to better align licensing and planning systems in the interests of making it simpler, faster and cheaper for customers to start and run a licensed business in NSW.

For further information, email Elizabeth Robertson, Senior Policy Officer Manager – Social and Community.

Resilient communities and the role of councils

LGNSW met with the Commonwealth’s Drought Resilience Fund committee last week to discuss the committee’s draft Funding Plan, and to highlight the unique role councils can play in identifying and delivering appropriate resilience initiatives for their local area. To have your say, you can take an online survey or submit your feedback by 13 December 2019.

For further information, email Mark Hely, Senior Policy Officer.

Soaring election costs to be addressed

LGNSW continues to highlight the urgent need to review soaring local government election costs. We also welcome the State Government’s call for the Auditor General to review funding arrangements of the NSW Electoral Commission, in the interests of addressing cost shifting.

For further information, email Damian Thomas, Strategy Manager – Social and Community.

Creating mentally healthy workplaces in local government

We know that organisations directly involved in Local Government are not immune to the effects of mental ill-health in workplaces. Local Government NSW is supporting a Creating mentally healthy workplaces in local government campaign with many stakeholders in our sector to encourage leadership to promote workplace policies and programs that assist in preventing or reducing the instances of mental illness and connect people in need to support services. I encourage you to join the campaign to help tackle mental ill-health in our workplaces. Jointly branded resources will be made available soon.

For further information, email LGNSW industrial relations unit on (02) 9242 4142