President's Message 30 August 2019

IPART RATES REVIEW: DON’T MISS THE CHANCE TO COMMENT – We’re so pleased to have secured the release of IPART’s Rating Review – a document critical to the future of NSW local government sustainability.

If your council hasn’t already done so, please ensure you make a submission to the NSW Government on IPART’s review of the local government rating system by 13 September.

Whether to give councils the flexibility to calculate rates on capital improved value (essentially the market value of a property) or unimproved value (land only) along with other key recommendations that would provide greater rating flexibility are open for debate.

We strongly encourage you to have your say – this is a unique opportunity for us to influence the future of local government’s financial sustainability.

We are continuing to call upon the NSW Government to reverse its decision that several recommendations are not up for discussion (including outdated rating exemptions for profit-making private health providers). To ensure your feedback is reinforced through our sector-wide advocacy, please email a copy of your submission to LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride.

FIGHTING THE EXPANSION OF MANDATORY LOCAL PLANNING PANELS – We’re incredibly disappointed by the NSW Government’s decision to push ahead with its expansion of mandatory planning panels to areas outside of Sydney and Wollongong, with a new panel announced for the Central Coast. This is a further erosion of the capacity for communities and councils to have a say in the future of their neighbourhoods.

On your behalf, I have already raised our concerns with the Premier personally, expressing our sector’s strong concerns about moves to undermine local planning powers – concerns that have only been exacerbated by the simultaneous decision to call a snap review of planning rules for the Pyrmont area, following a sustained campaign around the proposed luxury apartment and hotel tower at The Star in Pyrmont.  

No community or council wants to see properly developed, consultative strategic plans undermined by political interference.

I have written to the Commission’s Chief, Lucy Turnbull, seeking reassurances that community views are considered and the review is undertaken in a manner that helps to restore public confidence in the planning system.

To discuss further or raise concerns about these issues please contact LGNSW’s Planning and Transport Strategy Manager Jane Partridge or our Advocacy Director, Kylie Yates.

SUPPORTING COUNCILS TO MANAGE FOOD WASTE MORE SUSTAINABLY – What we put in our bins, where it goes and what happens to it has never been more important, so I was delighted to join representatives from councils, state government and the community on Monday for Inner West Council’s War on Food Waste Forum. Inner West and City of Sydney councils are setting aspirational goals of zero waste to landfill by 2036 and 2030, respectively, and the forum provided a timely opportunity to discuss how we can work together to make food recycling a reality. We heard from excellent speakers and Randwick Council kindly offered to host a follow-up event later this year to ensure we keep the momentum going.

LGNSW’s Save Our Recycling campaign, in the lead up to the recent NSW election, received a high level of support from councils and the wider community for action to expand the recycling industry in NSW and we are continuing to call upon the NSW Government to reinvest 100 per cent of the NSW Waste Levy in a coordinated state-wide approach to recycling and waste management. To discuss further, contact LGNSW Environment Strategy Manager Susy Cenedese.

NEW MODEL CODE OF CONDUCT RESOURCES – Councils can download resources from the NSW Office of Local Government website to assist in the implementation of the new Model Code of Conduct, including “at a glance” guides for elected representatives, council staff, committee members and delegates; training packages; and guides for managing code of conduct complaints. LGNSW can provide ongoing support and training to assist councils to satisfy their obligations. If you have questions, contact LGNSW Executive Manager, Industrial Relations and Legal, Jessica Wood.

GET READY FOR OUR ANNUAL CONFERENCE – I’m so looking forward to seeing you all at our Annual Conference!

You can Register for the LGNSW Annual Conference 2019 (Warwick Farm, 14-16 October) by Monday 9 September to secure an early bird discount. Nominations for Office Bearers and the Board of Directors of Local Government NSW are also open – see the election notice and nomination form on the LGNSW website.

Finally, we are still accepting motions for debate until Monday 16 September 2019. This is your chance to submit to shape our policy and advocacy for the year ahead, so don’t miss out! Find out more and see our Motion Submission Guide on the LGNSW website or contact LGNSW Policy Officer Elle Brunsdon.