President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000

18 September 2020

LGNSW President Cr Linda Scott

This week I represented you at two important forums - the NSW Government Sydney Summer Summit and the Upper House inquiry into the NSW Government's management of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Both events enabled Local Government NSW to talk about the important role of local government in driving a locally led recovery that will help get our State’s economy back on track.

We are also calling on the NSW Government to provide $100m funding for councils and businesses to support and grow local economies, and cultural and business precincts in a locally led and sustainable way – in line with the Victorian model.

This investment would enable councils to further invest significant time and resources so public spaces used by the public, including restaurants and cafes for outdoor dining, beaches, parks and other outdoor places, are clean, vibrant, well-maintained and effectively regulated to ensure safety. It would also provide a welcome boost for our State’s arts and culture sector, supporting council-owned, funded and managed public spaces where live events and activations occur and where our small and medium-size cultural institutions and artists thrive.

Preparations are well under way for our first online Annual Conference. All member councils are asked to register their voting delegates as soon as possible. Please also submit motions and sign up to attend. For further information visit the LGNSW website or email with the subject line “Annual Conference”.

Advocacy Wins! This week:
Local Government Authorities (LGAs) to receive over $3 million Arts and Cultural Program funding: Congratulations to the 29 LGAs (including 19 in the regions and eight in Western Sydney) who will share in over $3 million in arts and cultural funding in 2020/21 for programs, including the creation of new works, exhibitions, publishing and recording, and conservation or development of collections and equipment purchases. LGNSW has been strongly advocating for increased State and federal support for local government-led cultural and creative activities for some time. For further information, email Elizabeth Robertson Senior Policy Officer.

Fixing Country Bridges Program: Following feedback from councils and LGNSW advocacy, Transport for NSW is providing a two-week extension to the application period for the Fixing Country Bridges program. Applications will now close on Friday 9 October 2020. Joint Organisation of Councils can also now apply for funding on behalf of eligible councils in their region. For further information, email Sanjiv Sathia Senior Policy Officer.

Sydney 24-Hour Economy Strategy: LGNSW has been calling for an after dark master plan to help economic development occur in a safe and lively manner, including at last year’s Parliamentary Inquiry into Sydney’s night time economy.  I am pleased the NSW Government’s recently released 24-Hour Economy Strategy for Sydney recognises the roles of councils and the Night Time Economy Councils’ Committee and would like to see the strategy expanded to cover all of NSW. LGNSW also advocated for greater cross-departmental coordination and we look forward to the appointment of a Coordinator General, who will roll out the strategy. For further information, email Elizabeth Robertson, Senior Policy Officer.

Help amplify our sector’s advocacy work
Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock has launched a campaign to inspire and encourage women in NSW to run as candidates in the 2021 local government elections. I think you would agree this is something we can all get behind.  Please view and share the campaign video series and promotional content with your networks, including via social media.

Government Update
Proposed Australia’s Foreign Relations (State and Territory Arrangements) Bill 2020
.  Executives from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade have briefed LGNSW about the possible implications of the proposed Bill on local government, including the Minister’s power to prevent or object to state and territory government entities, local governments and universities from entering into or remaining in arrangements with foreign government bodies if those arrangements go against Australia’s foreign policy. LGNSW has requested that the Federal Government properly resource the department to ensure timely assessment of proposed arrangements and Ministerial decisions and for clear guidelines to be available to councils to help their assessment of which arrangements are covered under the new legislation. More information will be provided as it becomes available. In the meantime, please email Kelly Kwan, Executive Manager, Advocacy.

Determining local housing supply targets and how they are accommodated: The Minister for Planning and Public Spaces has confirmed via letter to Ku-ring-gai Council that councils are ultimately responsible for deciding the number of dwellings in their local housing supply targets and how they are accommodated within the local government area. Targets discussed with the Greater Sydney Commission are not a legal requirement upon councils by the NSW Government. Refer to Ku-ring-gai Council media release for further information.

Professional opportunities
LGNSW is calling for Expressions of Interest from general managers of metropolitan councils to join the Research and Innovation Advisory Committee. The committee meets several times a year to select council projects that are supported by the fund ­– new areas of research, policy development and innovation for the advancement of local government in NSW. For more information, please see the Terms of Reference and email your application to Jennifer James.