President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

LGNSW President Linda Scott standing in a white jacket and red dress.

14 July 2021

Ensuring safe and fair council elections

I am pleased to report after meeting with the Office of Local Government and the NSW Electoral Commission last week that we are set for COVID-safe council elections in September.

Changes to State Government regulations announced last week will help support council efforts for fair, transparent and, above all, safe elections, with voters able to vote in person or by post or online using iVote if eligible.

The new rules focus on ensuring COVID-safe voting, which allows every eligible member of the community an opportunity to elect the council of their choice through broadening of pre-poll eligibility to all electors, an expansion of postal voting eligibility and making online voting using iVote available to eligible electors.

The amendments also provide scope for restrictions on campaign posters and handing out electoral materials where these restrictions are necessary for public health reasons.

It’s Time! Local Government NSW Annual Conference 2021 motions
We’re excited to open your online portal for motions to be considered at the November LGNSW Conference. I encourage you to move motions for your councils to consider, and then ensure resolved motions are submitted to help set our LGNSW Policy Platform and advocacy agenda.

You will need to ensure your council has considered any motions so they can be submitted by 27 September 2021. The latest date motions can be accepted for inclusion in the Business Paper is 12 midnight on Sunday 31 October 2021.

I encourage you to review the 2020 Action Report A blue lock icon denoting the information is for members only., which details these updates and links to ministerial response letters, where you can see the progress we’ve made for you.

WIN! Infrastructure contributions inquiry
As mentioned in my last weekly message, LGNSW successfully pushed back on the NSW Government’s Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021 that threatened to impact vital infrastructure contributions.

It has subsequently been referred to an Upper House Committee. We have been quick to weigh in with a submission, opposing the Bill as it stands.

We have called for its withdrawal and for the Government to allow for proper consultation with local government and other stakeholders and ensure councils and their communities will not be worse off under the new rules.

It is premature to push forward with this legislation while so much of the infrastructure reform agenda remains unknown.

Furthermore, LGNSW and the local government sector do not agree with the Government trying to tie rate reform to infrastructure contributions reform and this Bill.

I will be appearing at the Committee hearing this Friday (16 July) to reaffirm these points.

I understand representatives from Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation, Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils and Riverina Joint Organisation will also be appearing at the hearing and look I forward to presenting a united front on this issue.

WIN! one-stop-shop for disaster recovery efforts
I welcome the NSW Government’s one-stop-shop of information to help individuals and businesses recover from natural disasters, which aligns with recommendations in our submission to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

As we argued in our submission, when natural disasters occur, there is a need to provide rapid support to individuals, communities, and councils.

While severely bushfire impacted councils were appreciative of the immediate payment of $1 million under the National Bushfire Recovery Fund, many found navigating the eligibility criteria and pathways for applying for State and Federal recovery funds complex and not clearly communicated.

This new streamlined process follows our recommendations for a review of the governance for recovery funding and improvements to streamline communications, reporting and the sharing of information to and between government agencies to remove or reduce duplication.

SAYING THANK YOU: Honouring mayors and councillors
Speaking of our upcoming annual conference, I want to remind councils who want to honour their long-serving mayors and councillors to make their submissions to the LGNSW Service Awards

These awards are presented at our LGNSW Annual Conference and recognise the many outstanding contributions made by locally elected officials.

The awards eligible for presentation include

  • Emeritus Mayor
  • Outstanding Service
  • LGNSW Medal

Submissions for the Awards close Friday, 15 October.