President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

27 July 2021

There must be no more deferrals of local government elections
By now you are all aware of the NSW Government’s deferral of local government elections to December 4.

It is essential that there be no more delays and that the Government absolutely commits to holding COVID-safe council elections before the end of 2021.

Local government has shown great flexibility in adapting to last year’s cancelled September elections because of COVID and is once again being asked to accept a further three-month delay.

Added to that is the burden councils will carry with further resourcing and administrative costs in rescheduling, diverting resources from the hard work we are doing providing a locally led economic recovery for our communities and hindering our job creation efforts.

Mayors: support our sector-wide campaign on infrastructure contributions reforms
LGNSW is actively opposing changes to infrastructure contribution changes that threaten to defer and reduce critical developer payments to our councils, which are being reviewed by an Upper House Parliamentary Committee I spoke at earlier this month.

I encourage you to use this Mayoral Minute to join our sector-wide campaign, which calls for the legislation to be withdrawn, that councils be consulted on the reforms, and that changes do not negatively impact upon councils and their communities.

Council boundary decisions must remain an independent process
I have called on Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock to provide an assurance that the process of determining council boundaries will remain independent following her announcement last week of a review into the Local Government Boundaries Commission.

The review follows the NSW Government’s ruling that the demerger of Snowy Valley Council and the Cootamundra-Gundagai Regional Council, both proposed by their local communities and reviewed by the Commission, will not proceed.

The boundary commissioners, made up of local and State government representatives, give 100 per cent to their role and act with honour, integrity and decency in the work they undertake.

The review process must not jeopardise the Commission’s ongoing role as an independent umpire in local government area boundary decisions

Pushing for changes to rates system
Last Tuesday (20 July) I spoke on your behalf at the iPART Public Hearing into the Review of the rate peg to include population growth.

The iPART proposal to link population growth to rate limits is welcome progress, and it is gratifying that after more than 40 years of denial, we are finally having a serious conversation about the consequences of rate pegging.

Among the more positives of the iPART proposal:

  • It recognises the direct relationship between population growth and costs
  • It applies to all growth and all councils, not just those whose growth rates exceed an arbitrary threshold
  • It ensures that no councils are worse off with IPART modelling, indicating that 93 of 129 councils would have received some benefit over the past four years, with the balance experiencing no change. We consider this an essential requirement
  • It is relatively simple and easy to understand and implement
  • It applies to each council individually, not a one-size-fits-all model.

However, this proposal still falls short of abolishing the antiquated rate pegging system, which continues to be our endgame to ensure the future financial sustainability of our councils.

Win: Rate relief for bushfire victims extended for another six months
I am sure you will join me in welcoming the NSW Government’s $2.5 million commitment this week to provide a further six months’ rate relief for people who lost their main properties in the 2019-20 bushfires.

The decision to extend relief for a further two quarters is very welcome and will greatly assist people in continuing the long road of recovery from the damaging impacts of the bushfires.

Local government has been on the front lines of helping bushfire affected communities rebuild their lives, and this latest round of support from the State Government will greatly assist those efforts.

More about the Government’s bushfire recovery support program