President's Message 29 May 2020

This week, National Reconciliation Week, we celebrate two LGNSW Pat Dixon Scholarship winners, Marshandra Naden of Warrumbungle Shire Council and Belinda Coe of Lachlan Shire Council. The Councillor Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trustees are very proud of our two winners – this is a first in the history of the scholarship. Congratulations!

We’re also pleased that LGNSW was able to negotiate a new opportunity for Aboriginal council worker Sheilah Hure of Clarence Valley Council to attend a five-day Social Planning and Community Development course at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) fee free. Congratulations to Sheilah, and a big thanks to the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at UTS for their support.

ADVOCACY WINS! THIS WEEK WE WELCOMED

  • On your behalf, I was pleased to attend the National Meeting of Cultural Ministers to advocate for Council venues, such as the Riverside Theatre in the City of Parramatta, and welcome the $1.7 million for cultural and creative tours, and $1.1 million for exhibition tours in regional areas. This Australian Government announcement is very welcome as LGNSW has advocated for regional touring of arts programs to aid in economic recovery for some time.
  • LGNSW is seeking confirmation that council art and culture institutions will be eligible for the NSW Government’s $50 million support package for the arts sector, announced this week. For further information, email Damian Thomas Strategy Manager, Social and Community.
  • Resilience NSW Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons advised that Community Recovery Officers are to be deployed to local councils to support bushfire recovery. For further information, email Damian Thomas Strategy Manager, Social and Community.

PROGRESS ON LGNSW PRIORITIES

  • Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson MP will join us for our next free weekly forum on the impacts of COVID-19 on Local Government on Friday 5 June from 11am - 12pm. This member's only forum will include a Q&A session with special guest. Be sure to register.  For further information, email LGNSW
  • Thank you to Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean MP for his update at our COVID-19 Forum on 26 May. As deadlines draw closer to the Federal Government’s waste export bans on 1 June, we will continue to advocate to the NSW Government about the need to Save our Recycling, investing the NSW Waste Levy into local government-led waste infrastructure. If your council hasn’t joined the Save our Recycling campaign, please call 9242 4080 or email Susy Cenedese, Strategy Manager – Environment.
  • In line with our key advocacy priority on resilience and recovery from disaster, thanks also to Shane Fitzsimmons (Commissioner at Resilience NSW), Monica Barone (CEO of City of Sydney) and Clare Gardiner-Barnes (Head of Strategy, Planning and Innovation at Infrastructure NSW)  for contributing to an important conversation with members about strengthening resilience beyond drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19. If you would like to be more involved in the Resilience work LGNSW does, please email Kelly Kwan, Executive Manager, Advocacy

COUNCIL ACTION NEEDED

  • URGENT: I strongly encourage all councils to put in an application for assistance from the Job Retention Allowance Program, regardless of whether you think you satisfy the current criteria. LGNSW is continuing to advocate for changes to the criteria to ensure more councils can  access funding assistance. Your application will support our advocacy. For more information, please email Shaun McBride, Chief Economist.
  • I have written to the Minister for Local Government on your behalf to step up representations to avert Ministerial COVID-19 decisions that encroach on council decision making or interfere in operations. It is in this context that we have strongly opposed the Government’s determination to force councils to waive interest payable on overdue rates and charges for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020 and sought advice from the Government on how this decision will be overturned. This decision will have serious implications for council cash flow and liquidity, and we would welcome you also writing to the NSW Government on this matter.  For more information, please email Shaun McBride, Chief Economist.

APPLICATIONS WELCOME: POSITIONS VACANT

State Pest Animal Committee: I encourage councillors to contribute their local government expertise as a representative on the NSW State Pest Animal Committee to support the Government to reduce the impact of pest animals on the community, primary industries and the environment. For further information, call 9242 4080 or email Susy Cenedese, Strategy Manager – Environment.