President's Message 7 November 2019

[Photo Linda Scott meeting with Attorney General Mark Speakman SC MPISSUES IN THE SPOTLIGHT

LGNSW has made headway advocating on your behalf on several issues this week and we are pleased to report success on several fronts, including: 

  • Securing a commitment from the NSW Attorney General to cover the costs of redress payments and meet with Mayors to discuss the new plans;
  • A commitment from the NSW Planning Minister to return some planning powers to a number of metropolitan councils;
  • Supporting LGNSWs long-standing calls to end expensive asbestos disposal levies, likely to reduce illegal asbestos dumping, increase public safety and stop cost shifting expensive clean ups to councils;
  • The Minister for Regional Transport and Roads opening up applications for $500m of rural and regional road funding, and
  • The Local Government Minister’s commitment to review the Impounding Act, with a view to empowering councils to act to reduce the impact of abandoned shopping trolleys on local communities.

Drought 

We welcome the Federal Government's new package to support drought-ravaged communities, particularly the inclusion of funding to help stimulate local economies. Local councils know all too well that when farmers suffer, local businesses suffer, and that’s why this package is critically important. Grants for community infrastructure projects provide local employment and help keep money flowing through regional towns and businesses hard hit by drought.

Redress scheme for survivors of institutional child sexual abuse

I met with the Attorney General the Hon. Mark Speakman SC MP this week to discuss the inclusion of councils in the Redress Scheme. I am pleased to report the NSW Government has agreed to cover the costs of redress payments and counselling for the limited  number of claims against councils.

The National Redress Scheme formally commenced on 1 July 2018. It is administered by the Federal government and all State and Territory governments have joined. The scheme brings new obligations to councils including the possibility of Mayors making apologies to victims in some circumstances. Plans are also afoot for a dedicated Redress forum with the Attorney General to take place in early 2020 to allow Mayors and councils to have any questions answered.

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

WIN: Return of council planning controls welcomed

The restoration of planning powers is one of LGNSWs key advocacy priorities, arguing councils are best placed to ensure developments in NSW are well-planned, well-built, and create a sense of place for our communities. (Refer to media release)

After our continued advocacy, we welcome the Planning Minister’s decision to return planning powers to councils in specific metropolitan growth areas including Leppington Town Centre, Horsley Park, Riverstone West, Schofields Town Centre and Marsden Park Town Centre, along with Elizabeth­ St Redfern, South Eveleigh, Waterloo Estate, Riverwood, Franklyn St Glebe and Cowper St Glebe. This is an important first step, but needs to be followed by further state government action to return all planning powers to local governments.

I know those affected councils will be looking forward to working collaboratively with the NSW Government, and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment, to deliver the decisions that can best deliver public good to our communities. Under the plan, memorandum of understandings will be agreed, and we will continue to advocate for your views about what these should include.

For further information, email Linda Blinkhorn, Senior Policy Officer-Planning.

VICTORY: Asbestos waste reform a win for local communities

LGNSW has been calling on the NSW Government to remove the levy from of asbestos waste since it was introduced in 2008. We’re delighted about the recent decision to increase asbestos disposal and end expensive asbestos disposal levies.

However, councils still face the risk of being unfairly penalised when their waste services are contaminated by illegal or improper asbestos waste disposal. LGNSW will continue to advocate for better protection and support for councils plagued by illegally and improperly disposed asbestos waste. (Refer to media release

For further information, email Daniel Adler, Asbestos Program Manager.

Narrabri Council unveils the 2018 A R Bluett Memorial Award plaque

Congratulations to Mayor Cathy Redding of Narrabri Council this week for the unveiling of the 2018 A R Bluett Memorial Award in recognition for being one of the most progressive councils in the state.

Congratulations also to this year’s Stephen Ward Memorial Scholarship winner, Ms Maree Bales. 

Photo: Mayor Cathy Redding and Executive Manager Human Resources Nicholas Ross of Narrabri Council unveiling plaque

First round of the NSW Government’s $500 million Fixing Local Roads program open

In response to LGNSWs advocacy, the first round of the NSW government's $500 million Fixing Local Roads program is now open and will close on 2 December 2019, with successful applications to be announced from February 2020. These projects are part of the NSW government’s commitment to provide a further $500 million to fix rural and regional roads.

While this first round of funding is welcome news and $500m for country roads sounds like a lot, it’s disappointing that only $25 million was set aside in the 2019-20 State Budget to kick the program off. LGNSW will continue its lobbying efforts so the shortfall of road funding is finally addressed.

For further information, email Sanjiv Sathiah, Senior Policy Officer, Roads and Transport.

Welcome acknowledgement of local government key role in recycling waste management

I welcome NSW Environment and Energy Minister Matt Kean’s acknowledgement that councils have been shut out of the waste and resource recovery conversation for too long, during his address at the National Waste and Recycling Industry Council’s Australasian Waste & Recycling Expo industry breakfast, which I attended last week. 

LGNSW is advocating ‘Waste is a Product, not a Problem’ on your behalf and we’re looking forward to being part of an important conversation about the best ways to deliver more sustainable, cheaper waste solutions for NSW. Specifically, we are seeking the reinvestment of the state government’s $800 million waste levy in the development and delivery of council-led regional waste and resource recovery plans, procurement policies which support the growth of locally recycled products, and a badly needed state-wide recycling education campaign.

National Recycling Week 11-17 November

National Recycling Week, which kicks off on Monday, is a terrific opportunity to further improve community knowledge about what can and can’t be recycled. I know many councils throughout the state are offering tip tours, running shopping centre information stalls, making school visits and undertaking other community education and public awareness activities.You can also take action by supporting the statewide Save Our Recycling campaign. The campaign website allows you to download a range of resources from the new recycling support pack. You can also:

For further information, email Susy Cenedese, Strategy manager - Environment.