14 September 2021
Premier to meet with mayors after LGNSW advocacy push
I am pleased to note Premier Gladys Berejiklian has contacted a range of mayors in our LGA areas of concern, following extensive advocacy by LGNSW and the affected mayors and councillors.
Throughout the pandemic, we have repeatedly stressed it is critical that as cases rise all levels of government work together for our communities, and it is really pleasing to see the Premier acknowledge the role of local government.
In other good news, Deputy Premier John Barilaro has accepted our invitation to a meeting with LGNSW and regional mayors and general managers this Friday (September 17) to talk about the impacts of the NSW Government health orders that have locked down most of our State.
The forum will be an opportunity to discuss the impacts the lockdown is having on regional communities, including the vaccination rollout, testing facilities, sewer testing and the pathways out of lockdown.
Deputy Premier Barilaro is expected to be joined by Department of Regional NSW (DRNSW) Secretary Gary Barnes and DRNSW Deputy Secretary Fiona Dewar.
LGNSW Infrastructure Contributions Forum addresses local government concerns
Today (September 14) I am hosting a forum for mayors and general managers across NSW to update everyone on our efforts to oppose the NSW Government’s infrastructure contributions reforms, proposed in its Infrastructure Contributions Bill.
This is a vital topic for councils, which rely on these developer contributions to fund essential infrastructure and services. The Government’s proposed rule changes threaten to either defer or reduce them.
The Bill was subject to a recent Upper House Parliamentary Committee Inquiry, where I spoke and outlined our objections on behalf of you all.
While the committee recommended the Government changes be put on hold so councils can have a say, the Government can reject the recommendation and still push through the changes if it decides to.
Councils must continue to call on the Government to withdraw the Bill as it stands, and today’s forum is designed to inform on the best way to do that.
Win for local councils on reopening the NSW-Queensland border bubble
LGNSW has made a considerable effort on behalf of our border councils since COVID-19 restrictions impacted their communities’ abilities to live and work, which is why this week’s new border bubble between NSW and Queensland is welcome news.
Under the border bubble arrangements, northern border residents from 12 affected NSW local government areas can cross the border for essential work, school, shopping, medical reasons or caring for people.
However, crossing the border will require a special travel pass, which can be applied for here.
This outbreak and the resulting restrictions are exacting a heavy toll on our councils, and the sooner we reach the 70 per cent then 80 per cent vaccination targets, the sooner we can open back up and continue to provide the urgently needed locally led economic recovery for our communities.
New DPIE Secretary has local government roots
I congratulate Kiersten Fishburn on her appointment last week to the leadership role as Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Secretary.
Ms Fishburn is well-qualified for the role, having most recently served as Coordinator General of the Planning Delivery Unit and Office of Local Government.
This, along with previous experience as the Chief Executive of the Liverpool City Council, means our councils have someone in a lead role in DPIE who appreciates the challenges local government faces in the complex area of planning and environmental issues.
LGNSW looks forward to working with Ms Fishburn to ensure your voice is heard.
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