President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

Wednesday 18 May 2022

As we count down the final days to the Federal Election, the spotlight has firmly fixed on the housing crisis facing so many local government areas across NSW. The vast majority of our council colleagues are continuing to see low- and middle-income workers being priced out of local housing, and this is as true of the regions as in metropolitan areas.

The continued fall in home ownership rates since the mid-1990s, soaring house prices and an increasingly unaffordable rental market has had a knock-on effect and driven homelessness to record levels.

It’s disappointing to hear the same old simplistic, developer-driven claims that housing affordability would increase if only councils would cut red tape and dramatically increase supply. The reality is that this is a complex issue, with housing affordability mainly driven by factors beyond the scope of state and local planning systems: financial and taxation systems, population growth and interest rates.

LGNSW this week issued an open letter to all candidates calling for their commitment to:

  • Investment in a far greater supply of affordable rental housing, for hardworking Australians increasingly facing housing insecurity
  • Substantial federal investment to deliver an additional 5,000 social housing dwellings per year, for the next decade
  • A plan to improve rates of home ownership without supercharging demand and contributing to even higher household debt and worsened affordability, and
  • A Royal Commission into the affordability and future of housing in Australia.

A range of resolutions calling for action on this issue were passed by members at our February Special Conference, with successful lead motions submitted by Ballina Shire, Byron Shire, Shoalhaven City, Wollongong City, Liverpool City and my own Broken Hill City councils, and we will continue to prosecute these critical issues on behalf of our communities.

Rural and Regional Health Forum

Councillors from across NSW will come together on 26 May to attend a special forum on regional and rural health hosted by the Country Mayors Association (CMA). The forum follows the NSW Parliamentary Report issued earlier this month, which found rural and regional communities had significantly worse health outcomes because they could not access high standard healthcare.

Many councils have already shouldered a heavy financial burden by subsidising the running costs of medical facilities, providing critical health infrastructure and housing for doctors and nurses. We can’t do it alone, and we need real, meaningful action and investment by the State and Federal Governments. The CMA Forum will bring impacted councils together to share the measures they have introduced, and to help develop and drive innovative solutions to

We need real, meaningful action and investment by the State and Federal tiers of Government

2% increase to Council Fees

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal has now handed down a 2% rise in fees payable to Mayors and Councillors from 1 July. The Tribunal’s 2022 Determination found that the current classification of councils remains appropriate for now, but noted a major review of these categories would occur in 2023 and some councils may have a better chance of being reclassified at that time.

New Parliamentary inquiry into pandemic elections

The conduct of last year’s local government elections will be included for investigation by the NSW Parliament’s new Upper House Select Committee following strong advocacy by LGNSW. The call to look more closely at how the COVID 19 pandemic impacted our elections follows a successful Special Conference motion submitted by Northern Beaches Council, and our subsequent direct discussions with both the Minister for Local Government and the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters. We’ll keep you updated as further details emerge.

Nominations for Local Government Week Awards now open

Don’t forget to lodge your nominations for a Local Government Week Award, including the prestigious RH Dougherty Awards. Councils can nominate for one or more of the four categories: Reporting to Your Community, Excellence in Communication, Innovation in Special Events, and a special Outstanding Individual Contribution award.

The Awards are always a highlight of Local Government Week, which this year will run from Monday 1 August to Sunday 7 August. More information on how to nominate can be found on our website here.

Employment Law Seminar

We had a great turnout to our annual Employment Law Seminar on Friday 6 May, with 86 Industrial and Human Resources specialists coming together in Sydney to discuss the latest advances in a rapidly changing field. Topics addressed included the flexible workplace, the Modern Slavery Act, workplace investigations and the future of independent contracting. Hear what our attendees thought in this video highlights package from the day.

Official Notice of Annual Conference

Don’t forget to register for this year’s Annual Conference, in the Hunter Valley from Sunday 23 October to Tuesday 25 October. Onsite accommodation is limited, and rooms are already being snapped up at the Crown Plaza Hunter Valley, so I’d urge anyone planning to attend to book as quickly as possible. Preliminary Conference information is available on our Annual Conference 2022 webpage.

Yours sincerely,

LGNSW President Darriea Turley AM