President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

26 February 2021

State Budget review shows progress being made
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has been strongly advocating for the NSW Government to support councils across the State in driving a locally led economic recovery for their communities and, as this week’s NSW Government half-yearly 2020-21 State Budget review reveals, we have seen progress.

I am pleased LGNSW was able to help win a range of stimulus funding from the Government. This week’s Budget review shows that thus far the State Government has:

  • Provided more than 90,000 grants to small businesses affected by COVID-19.
  • Supported 10,000 businesses through the Business Connect program.
  • Initiated a $1500 digital voucher scheme (totalling up to $472 million) to support small businesses with the cost of government fees and charges, to roll out in April 2021.
  • Rolled out stage one of the $500 million Dine & Discover program supporting local businesses in The Rocks, Broken Hill, Northern Beaches, Sydney CBD and Bega Valley, with the Statewide rollout commencing in March 2021.

Following LGNSW advocacy, the NSW Government has confirmed that council-run venues will be eligible to participate in the voucher program.

These funding outcomes, along with the Government’s partnership with the City of Sydney to revitalise the city as a great global destination through the 24-hour Economy Strategy that will boost businesses and create new jobs, are good, but councils are still fighting an uphill battle.

LGNSW has been calling for the NSW Government to extend the economic benefits of night-time economies beyond Sydney, by developing a complementary Regional Strategy.

It’s all an encouraging start, but stimulus spending must be maintained and even increased in the 2021-22 Budget to ensure the trend continues in what continues to be a time of uncertainty.

In the lead-up to the 2020-21 State Budget last year LGNSW called on the NSW Government to release a budget that supported councils’ efforts across the State in driving a locally led economic recovery for their communities.

As a result, we saw some encouraging Budget commitments, including:

  • Almost $710 million in walking and cycling infrastructure over the next four years.
  • $104.5 million for upgrades to arts and cultural assets that will support existing and create new jobs in the creative sector.
  • Almost $15 million over four years to create a digitally streamlined infrastructure contribution system that should make it easier for councils to manage developer contributions.
  • Extension of COVID-19 relief funding for community and mobile preschools in 2021.
  • $57 million to ensure COVID-19 safe council elections along with a commitment not to impose postal-only voting.
  • $139 million in interest-free loans to replace flammable cladding on high-risk buildings in NSW.

There is much promised in the Budget that is still to be delivered, especially relating to councils that are seeking to lead their communities out of a devastating season of drought, fires, floods and a pandemic.

LGNSW will continue to work with the Government to ensure delivery of promised Budget funding that supports the tireless work of NSW councils across the state.