Media release: Local Government - voice of the community

Strong, democratically-elected local government  is the only way to ensure the community continues to have a say in the future of their neighbourhoods and day-to-day lives, Local Government NSW (LGNSW)’s outgoing President Keith Rhoades said today. 

Clr Rhoades – addressing the annual LGNSW Conference for the final time as President – said councils would always remain the closest to and most in touch with every day Australians. 

“There’s no accountability like the ballot box – unless it’s fronting up to your constituency and community every time you do the grocery shopping, or put petrol in the car, or attend the local P&C meeting or even drop into the local for a beer,” Clr Rhoades said. 

“At the end of my two terms representing the local government sector as LGNSW President, I am confident this organisation will never waver in its commitment to serving as the voice of councils and the communities they serve. 

“We will always fight for real and meaningful reform, to fix the rating system, to end government cost-shifting and to access a fairer share of tax revenue to support infrastructure and services.” 

Clr Rhoades was previously President of Local Government Association of NSW (LGA) and Joint President of the Interim LGNSW Board when the LGA and Shires Association of NSW merged to become LGNSW in March 2013.  

He said LGNSW’s achievements over the last 12 months included: 

  • Securing grant programs worth $4.4 million, and playing a part in obtaining a further $1.7 billion funding for roads, regional growth, cultural infrastructure and local water utilities 
  • The provision of 913 individual instances of industrial relations support, including 12 award claims and 193 court and tribunal listings 
  • The delivery of learning and professional development programs to more than 13,000 local government participants, along with a NSW Local Government Workforce Strategy and a game-changing Local Government Capability Framework 
  • The support of council staff through almost 7,000 individual interactions on policy issues and specialist networks of more than 2,000 members; the provision to almost 2,700 people of forums, workshops and conferences designed to keep participants at the vanguard of responsible and fiscally sustainable government 
  • Extensive advocacy work including more than 120 representations to government through parliamentary inquiries, meetings with Ministers, MPs and other stakeholders; 44 detailed submissions on major issues such as the Local Government Act Review, the short-lived Fire and Emergency Services Levy, the Greater Sydney Commission; environmental and planning reform and other related matters. 

“The local government sector has always had a seat at the table and a voice in the debate through LGNSW,” Clr Rhoades said. 

“Sometimes we whisper and sometimes we shout, but one thing that will always remain constant is our commitment to ensuring our councils and their communities are heard in every sphere of government.”

Media Enquiries
LGNSW President, Cr Keith Rhoades: 0408 256 405
Media Toni Allan: 0412 774 441