President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott.

25 May 2021

Mayor and councillor remuneration increase
Mayors and councillors will receive a 2 per cent increase to their sitting fees starting from July 1, 2021.

The Remuneration Tribunal’s decision is a modest but welcome boost for councillors who invest multiple hundreds of hours carrying out their duties over their elected terms.

LGNSW has long advocated for fairer remuneration for councillors, including the recent success of superannuation options in the recently passed Local Government Amendment Bill 2021.

Download the tribunal’s report and determination

LGNSW members to get access to nationally accredited training
Local Government Procurement (LGP) has enhanced its capacity as a training provider for our members after a recent acquisition qualified it as a Registered Training Organisation (RTO).

This means it can now provide nationally recognised accredited vocational courses, adding even greater weight to training and professional development offered through LGP.

LGP’s RTO status is expected to become operational in July under the trading name of Local Government Training Academy. For more details visit the LGP website.

ALGA General Assembly 2021
In less than a month the Australian Local Government Associations’ (ALGA) National General Assembly 2021 will be held in Canberra as well as online.

This year’s theme - Working Together for Our Communities - looks at the impact of a national response to COVID on local government, and how governments at all levels must work together to ensure a fast economic recovery, boosts jobs growth and ensure no community is left behind.

I encourage you to register for the event, June 20-23, and to not miss this opportunity to learn from what other councils are doing, share your knowledge and identify new ways to engage your community.

Local government at the National Press Club
I have been invited to speak in my role as ALGA President at the National Press Club on June 22, where I will be focussing on local government’s response to the COVID pandemic.

We all know councils have played a key role in supporting their communities through the crisis and will continue to do so as we chart a course to a locally led recovery, delivering on infrastructure such as main street improvements, local parks and community centres with a focus on jobs creation.

The lunch event will be held at the National Press Club in Canberra beginning 12pm on June 22, and I hope many of you can come along and take advantage of local government issues being highlighted on this unique national platform. Stay tuned for ticket and further information.

Local Government Amendment Bill 2021
The passage of the Local Government Amendment Bill 2021 marks the culmination of a great deal of LGNSW advocacy on a range of issues impacting our councils.

Most significant is the separation of the ever-increasing Emergency Services Levy (ESL) from the rate peg.

The timing is tight, given the vast majority of our councils have already received ESL invoices - so LGNSW is working to ensure this important change is implemented by the Government in time for the new financial year.

LGNSW wins in the Bill

  • Councils are finally, for the first time, able to pay superannuation to their mayors and councillors, bringing them into line with other workers in NSW.
  • A significant extension to the allowable rate harmonisation period for our amalgamated councils, preventing bill shock for ratepayers by allowing council rate increases as a result of amalgamations to be phased in over an eight-year period.
  • An increase in the term of chairs of county councils to two years, in line with a past LGNSW annual conference resolution and LGNSW and sector advocacy
  • Special rates for jointly funded infrastructure without IPART approval.
  • Increased flexibility through new rating categories to allow for more efficient and equitable allocation of rates.
  • Setting a time limit for the Minister for Local Government to make public any reports on de-amalgamation proposals, making the process more transparent for affected communities.
  • The alignment of council rates with population growth to ensure councils have sufficient funding to provide the infrastructure and services with their growing communities need and deserve.

Deadly politics
Yesterday’s (24 May) Deadly Politics forum was a great opportunity to press the issue of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in local government.

In NSW, just 1.9 per cent of the councillors elected in the most recent round of local government elections identified as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, despite making up 2.9 per cent of the population.

LGNSW, together with Reconciliation NSW and the Local Government Aboriginal Network, jointly advocated to the NSW Minister for Aboriginal Affairs last November, seeking his support for a campaign and resources to encourage more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to stand for election.

This month the Minister responded, and I’m cautiously optimistic that he has – at last – asked NSW Aboriginal Affairs to consider ways in which the NSW Government can support greater engagement with local government.

I encourage our members to contact Damian Thomas and his team at LGNSW to find out ways we can encourage greater Aboriginal involvement in the local government sector. 

Water management conference
One of our key member events on the LGNSW calendar is fast approaching – the 2021 Water Management Conference, which will be held at Narrabri Shire’s The Crossing Theatre from July 7-9.

The conference provides a dedicated forum to discuss up-to-the-minute water policy initiatives and trends.

Program highlights include case studies from councils that have successfully implemented major water infrastructure projects, managing mega-drought projects; a site visit to recently completed state-of-the-art water augmentation and sewage treatments plants and of course our keynote speaker and Commissioner for Resilience NSW, Shane Fitzsimmons.

I hope to see you at the conference and encourage you to register here.