2 June 2021
Destination and Visitor Economy conference success
I congratulate member council Port Macquarie-Hastings on hosting Local Government NSW’s 2021 Destination and Visitor Economy Conference last week.
I thank LGNSW Board member and LGSW Treasurer, City of Ryde Mayor Jerome Laxale, for representing our Board at this event and congratulate Mayor Peta Pinson and her council on such a successful event.
More than 250 mayors, councillors and local government professionals took part in the three-day conference, which included a strong focus on the major role councils play in economic development in their communities.
The tourism and visitor economy sector is just one way councils are providing a locally led economic recovery for their communities. We can do so much more if funded by State and Federal governments.
2021 Local Roads Congress
Next Monday (7 June) I am looking forward to opening the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA NSW) and LGNSW Local Roads Congress.
LGNSW has a proud history of working with IPWEA to advocate for better funding and provisions for councils and roads. In the past 12 months we’ve helped advocate for a number of wins, including:
- Total Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program funding commitments worth a combined $2.5 billion;
- The NSW Government roll out of new and accelerated funding through its Fixing Local Roads Program and Fixing Country Bridges Program
- $500 million for Targeted Roads Safety Works Program, with $140 million injected directly into road works targeting safety for NSW regional roads.
I look forward to joining with our IPWEA colleagues next week and identifying new ways we can continue to achieve good outcomes together.
LGNSW welcomes Productivity Commission recognition that rate capping needs to be scrapped
There is much in the Government’s Productivity Commission White Paper 2021 Rebooting the economy report released this week that aligns with local governments’ efforts to drive a locally led recovery and create new jobs.
This includes calls to develop a cohesive long-term plan for water security and improvements to infrastructure, and changes to the economically stifling rate pegging system.
We welcome recognition that rate capping should be scrapped, in light of evidence that, on average, NSW rates are 221% lower than those in the ACT or 156% lower than those in Western Australia.
However, the white paper’s proposed changes to the planning system rely on tired old arguments and would erode council controls and community say in the decision-making process.
LGNSW will continue to strongly oppose such moves and will continue to advocate for councils to retain the powers needed to ensure appropriate developments on behalf of their communities.
Kiersten Fishburn takes the reins at OLG
A big welcome to Kiersten Fishburn as the new Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government.
Ms Fishburn - a former Chief Executive of Liverpool City Council - will combine the Local Government portfolio with her management of Planning Delivery. I look forward to working with her in her new role.
Local Government audit 2020 outcomes
The latest Auditor General’s report on local government highlights overall improvements in councils’ performances despite an incredibly challenging 12 months of working through bushfires, floods and the COVID-19 pandemic.
In spite of these major catastrophes, unqualified reports were issued for all but one NSW council in the Auditor General’s Report on Local Government 2020.
Among the positives, the total number of internal controls and governance findings dropped from almost 2000 in 2019 to less than 1500 in 2020.
We welcome the transparency and accountability afforded by these annual audits, and it is encouraging to see continued overall improvements in councils’ financial reporting outcomes.
Local Government Super becomes Active Super
Award-winning superannuation provider Local Government Super is now Active Super.
The rebranding is designed to improve outcomes for existing members by broadening the fund’s appeal in the superannuation sector.
For more information visit the fund’s new website.
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