8 June 2021
Win! Increase in mental health support for regional and rural NSW
The NSW Government has responded to our repeated calls for more investment in mental health services and announced that $36.4 million for Response and Recovery Specialists across regional and rural NSW will be included in this month’s Budget.
The 57 mental health specialists will provide counselling, coordination with local services and communities, and support to individuals and their families. These specialists will live in their communities.
I am pleased the NSW Government has responded to submissions to the NSW Bushfire Inquiry, the rural and regional health inquiry, multiple Budget submissions on this critical issue and to resolutions from Uralla at the 2019 LGNSW Annual Conference and Leeton at the 2020 Conference.
Win! Managing Crown Lands
The NSW Government has listened to LGNSW advocacy and made regulation amendments to remove the costly requirement for councils to complete Plans of Management for community land on Crown reserves by 1 July 2021.
Councils manage about 7,800 Crown land reserves and share the vision outlined in the Crown Land 2031: State Strategic Plan for Crown Land, but have raised concerns about the requirement to prepare Plans of Management.
Motions on this issue were received at our 2020 and 2019 annual conferences from Blue Mountains City, Greater Hume, Shoalhaven City, Kyogle, Wagga Wagga City, Federation, Cowra Shire, Uralla Shire and Central Coast councils.
I thank the Government for addressing these issues and look forward to continuing our collaborative relationship with NSW Crown Land Commissioner Professor Richard Bush.
Win! $250 million for public spaces
One of LGNSW’s key priorities, as directed by council motions at our annual conferences, is to seek increased State Government grant funding for infrastructure and services.
As a result of our advocacy efforts, I am pleased to note that last week the NSW Government announced $250 million for 100 council public space improvement projects as part of its Public Spaces Legacy Program.
The funding will allow 60 successful councils to improve parks, piazzas, cycleways, foreshores and walking trails.
Almost 100 per cent of our councils met the Government’s ePlanning processing deadlines, a requirement to qualify for funding and a reflection of all the good things councils are doing in a challenging environment.
IPWEA and LGNSW Local Roads Congress
I spoke at the IPWEA and LGNSW 2021 NSW Local Roads Congress yesterday (7 June). The theme of this year’s congress was Reconnecting the Dots in Community Recovery, and I was able to update those attending on our councils’ commitment to recovery and resilience across NSW.
I also outlined our Locally Led jobs plan, designed to focus our efforts on getting the State and Federal funding support necessary for councils to lead the economic recovery of their communities.
I welcomed Minister Toole’s announcement of round three of the NSW Government’s $500 million Fixing Local Roads Program to help councils address their road maintenance backlog and repair.
It was an excellent event and I thank our IPWEA colleagues for our ongoing collaborative partnership.
You’re invited: ALGWA Breakfast
Please join me for the Australian Local Government Women’s Association (ALGWA) annual networking breakfast on June 21 at Canberra’s National Convention Centre.
It is just one of the events happening as part of the Australian Local Government Association’s (ALGA) National General Assembly 2021, the peak annual event for local government that is expected to attract more than 800 mayors and councillors from around Australia.
To find out more about the networking breakfast, contact ALGWA.
National Press Club
As part of the ALGA National General Assembly, I have been invited to speak at the National Press Club on June 22, where I will be focussing on local government’s response to the COVID pandemic.
Councils have led the way supporting their communities through the COVID crisis and will continue to do so as we chart a course to a locally led recovery with a focus on jobs creation.
The lunch event will be held at the National Press Club in Canberra beginning 12pm on June 22. You can come along and take advantage of local government issues being highlighted on this national platform.
Tickets and further information
Auditor-General’s performance audit of the NSW Government’s responses to homelessness
In line with LGNSW advocacy on homelessness, the NSW Auditor-General has recommended in a report that the NSW Government develops a comprehensive strategy to address homelessness linked to its 10‑year plan for social housing and 20‑year housing strategy.
This supports LGNSW’s continued calls, supported by multiple resolutions at Annual Conference, for the NSW Government to increase investment in affordable housing across NSW.
This aligns with resolutions from Shoalhaven at the 2020 Annual Conference and Cumberland, Kyogle and Forbes at the 2019 Annual Conference.
It’s award season at Local Government NSW for our deserving councils!
Nominations are open for our 24th annual Excellence in the Environment Awards. These awards celebrate contributions councils make to their local flora and fauna, recognise their overall environmental efforts and outstanding individual achievements.
Councils can also nominate for the prestigious 76th annual AR Bluett Memorial Award, regarded as the greatest accolade a council can receive. The awards recognise relative progress by member councils of LGNSW, meaning each council receives consideration for achievement irrespective of size.
I urge all councils to use these awards.
Represent LGNSW on Asbestos issues
I encourage applications from mayors and councillors to represent local government on the NSW Government’s Asbestos Coordination Committee (NACC) to ensure the voice of councils is heard.
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