President's Message

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Phone: 02 9242 4000 
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26 October 2021

Changes to local government elections rules will not be used to force postal only voting

A Bill to amend local government electoral provisions has been passed by the NSW Parliament, allowing the NSW Government to insert provisions to ensure the 4 December elections can be conducted safely.

The Local Government Amendment (COVID-19 - Elections Special Provisions) Bill 2021 empowers the Local Government Minister to make regulations modifying the electoral provisions of the Local Government Act.

Importantly, the Bill applies only to the 2021 ordinary local government elections and regulations can be made only if they are in accordance with the NSW Electoral Commissioner’s advice.

In line with our 2020 Annual Conference resolution, and in response to our advocacy, the Bill expressly prevents regulations being used to introduce universal postal voting or universal postal and iVoting elections.

For this year’s elections, as noted in the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) 26 October 2021 Bulletin, the usual six metre distance rule from a polling or pre-polling place for handing out electoral information on polling days is being extended to 100m to reduce the risk of COVID transmission.

No posters can be placed, adjusted or altered within 100 metres of the entrance to a polling place or pre-poll venue on polling days between 7am and 7pm.

These directions do not apply to elections for Fairfield and Penrith, which are not being conducted by the NSWEC.

For more information on the rule changes, visit the local government elections page at the NSWEC website or call 1300 135 736.

Win: Funding support for outdoor dining revival

Councils and LGNSW have long advocated for rule changes to allow more outdoor dining to help drive a locally led recovery from COVID, and I am pleased to see the NSW Government’s $66 million Alfresco Restart Initiative in response to our calls.

The initiative provides up to $5000 for businesses to expand or improve al fresco areas, while councils will also be able to access up to $500,000 to improve high streets and surrounding areas.

Importantly, the relaxation of rules are temporary measures and cannot be made permanent without council consent – ensuring local government retains oversight for local amenity.

Win: $200 million Regional Recovery Package including events funding for councils

Following our calls for State and Federal support for our regional and rural councils in providing a locally led economic recovery for their communities that supports jobs growth, the NSW Government recently announced a $200 million regional recovery package.

The package includes:

  • $30 million for the Regional Job Creation Fund Round Two (to be open for applications in early 2022);
  • $50 million for a Regional Events Package, including:
    • $20 million for Regional Events Acceleration Fund Round Two (to be open for applications in early 2022;)
    • $5 million for Country Shows support package;
    • $25 million for Reconnecting Regional NSW: Community Events Package; and
  • $40 million for priority infrastructure projects across Regional NSW.

Final Board meeting before Annual Conference

Thanks to Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock, who attended our last LGNSW Board Meeting of the term of this board this month.

Thank you also to the many LGNSW Board members who are not running again at the upcoming LGNSW elections, including Vice-Presidents Stephen Lawrence and Angelo Tsirekas, alongside Board Directors Lesley Furneaux-Cook, Maz Hadid, and Ruth Fagan.

A special thanks for former LGNSW President Keith Rhodes for his significant contributions over so many years to LGNSW!

I will greatly miss being a part of the hard-working LGNSW team when my presidency ends in November, but I am proud of the achievements the board and staff have accomplished since I joined in 2017.

In the past financial year alone, I’m proud we’ve secured more than $8 billion in financial support for councils from State and Federal governments, in partnership with all of you!

I hope you all take part in our one-hour online Annual Conference on November 29, starting 9.30am. One of my last duties will be presenting our annual report.

LGNSW will also host an in-person Special Conference from February 28 to March 2, 2022, where delegates will set the LGNSW advocacy agenda for the following 12 months.

Your chance to represent the local government sector

LGNSW is seeking applications from mayors and councillors to represent local government on the following significant external committees:

  • Asbestos Coordination Committee: Contribute effectively to the development and implementation of the whole-of-government strategy on asbestos management in NSW.
  • Ministerial Advisory Panel on high-rise dwelling insurance: Develop and assess the potential introduction of Decennial Liability Insurance (DLI) as part of a raft of reforms designed to protect buyers of high-rise apartments. 
  • NSW Housing Strategy Expert Housing Advisory Panel: Oversee the delivery of the NSW Housing Strategy 2041 and the development of future action plans.
  • NSW Roads Directorate: Guide research activities and the provision of technical advice to assist local government in discharging their road management roles.

Representatives are supported by LGNSW staff and are required to provide regular reports on the committee’s operations and key issues to the LGNSW Board.

Applications close Thursday 4 November 2021. For more information log in to the member website.

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