President's Message 3 July 2020

Congratulations to the many councils and communities throughout the state who successfully called for the Federal Government to invest in roads, alongside LGNSW. This week, we welcomed a new $497 million in new and accelerated State and Federal funding for local road and road safety upgrade projects.

These important projects will help generate jobs and drive a locally-led economic recovery from the impacts of COVID-19, and we’re proud that LGNSW’s advocacy on locally-led recovery over the past few months continues to be successful. The $497million announced on Tuesday is in addition to more than $150 million funding to go to NSW councils under the Australian Government Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program.

I’m also pleased to have played our part, advocating for increased support for the local government arts sector. This week we welcomed the Australian Government’s announcement of a $250 million package of grants and loans to help re-build the entertainment, arts and screen sectors hard hit by COVID-19. LGNSW is working to ensure local government is be eligible to apply and we look forward to updating you soon. For further information, email Elizabeth Robertson, Senior Policy Officer.

Unfortunately, the enormous challenges associated with prolonged drought, limited water supplies, and the aftermath of bushfires remain for many communities. It was therefore very disappointing to hear reports that the Australian government’s annual fund (created in 2019/20 and worth $50 million) to increase resilience, preparedness, and to reduce the risk of natural disasters remains unallocated. LGNSW will continue to advocate on your behalf so that this funding is carried forward and added to in 2020/21. We argued the case strongly in our recent submissions to the Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements and the NSW Independent Bushfire Inquiry. For further information, email Susy Cenedese, Strategy Manager Environment.

ADVOCACY WINS! This week we welcomed:

  • $497 million in new and accelerated State and Federal funded local road and road safety upgrade projects. This includes:
  • $191 million in new funding from the Australian Government and
  • $191 in new and accelerated funding from the State government for the NSW Fixing Local Roads program. Transport for NSW has written to 80 councils who put forward around 250 successful applications for Round 1 funding which now totals $250 million or ten times the money originally allocated for this round.
  • $144 million Australian Government funding for the new Targeted Road Safety Works program to help NSW councils to reduce road deaths and serious injuries. This will supplement the $258 million already allocated by the NSW Government for the 2020-21 Safer Roads Program. This funding includes $23 million for the mass rollout of rumble strips on country roads. For further information, email Sanjiv Sathiah.
  • Extended rate relief for homes and businesses damaged beyond repair by bushfires. The Government originally committed to provide six months rate relief. The decision to extend relief for a further two quarters is very welcome as it will greatly assist people struggling to recover from the damaging impacts of the bushfires. LGNSW actively advocated the need for rate relief to assist those experiencing financial hardship as the result of the impacts bushfires, drought and COVID 19 and to assist councils maintain liquidity by avoiding rate arrears. For further information, email Shaun McBride, Chief Economist.
  • ePlanning fees and costs waived for councils. LGNSW has spent more than 12 months working closely with Ministers and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment to establish an MoU to smooth the implementation of the government’s mandatory planning portal and we’re pleased councils will not be charged for its use. For further information, email Jane Partridge, Strategy Manager – Planning.

REMINDER

A R Bluett Memorial Award entries close 31 July 2020. Visit the Local Government NSW website for further information.