President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

24 August 2021

Local government elections

The NSW Electoral Commissioner has told State Parliament’s Budget Estimates Committee that he simply does not have the resources, time, nor legal capacity to conduct the upcoming 4 December local government elections via a universal postal vote.

While it is critical for local democracy that elections be held before the end of the year, LGNSW conference resolutions have consistently been strongly opposed to universal postal voting. The Commissioner – and our entire sector – must now grapple with the challenge of conducting these elections safely.

The Commissioner advised he is working with the NSW Government on options. LGNSW will of course continue to call on the NSW Government to provide advice and certainty for candidates, councils and their communities as soon as possible. 

Infrastructure contributions: let your voice be heard

As reported previously, we are pushing back hard on the NSW Government’s proposed infrastructure contribution rule changes under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill 2021.

I was pleased the NSW Parliamentary Committee listened to our concerns and recommended that the changes be put on hold.

While the Inquiry’s recommendation is welcome, it is not a fait accompli. On your behalf, I have actively advocated this week to the Planning Minister and many other members of the NSW Government, reinstating our calls for this Bill to be scrapped.

There is no guarantee the Government and Parliament won’t just ignore the Upper House inquiry’s recommendation and plough on ahead with the changes.

We must continue to keep this issue on the front burner.

Thank you to our many members who have already adopted Mayoral Minutes in support of our sector-wide advocacy. I encourage all of our councils to resolve this Mayoral Minute and alert their ]communities and local media to individually and collectively voice their opposition to these proposed legislative changes.

We must ensure Government takes note of our opposition to these rule changes, which will hurt our communities by impacting finances needed to build critical support infrastructure to meet the demands of increased development.

LGNSW is considering how best to assist each and every council to highlight to our communities just how negatively changes to this funding stream could affect them. I will have more to report on this soon.

Win: vaccination rate figures by councils

As you know, LGNSW has advocated for the NSW Government to release vaccination rate breakdowns by Local Government Areas (LGAs) to help our efforts to educate our communities about the COVID vaccine program and encourage people to get vaccinated.

I am pleased to report that NSW Health has started publishing vaccinations by home postcode.

This is far more granular than the Federal Government’s statistics by region, which have previously been made available and will help our efforts to support our communities through this trying time.

Map of NSW vaccinations by home postcode

We will continue to advocate for the publication of vaccination rates and vaccine availability by LGA.

Please join me in encouraging everyone you know to get jabbed: vaccination is quite simply the best and most effective way we have to protect our friends, families, loved ones and communities.

What we are working on for you

Let me conclude this week’s President’s Message with an update on a number of ongoing issues we are working on with the NSW Government on your behalf.

Greater Western Sydney COVID rules: I have written to the Premier requesting a meeting between her, the Minister for Health, NSW Police Commissioner, LGNSW and mayors, councillors and general managers in local government areas of concern to discuss the effects of the COVID-19 rules and restrictions on their local communities.

Increased funding for COVID sewage testing: I have also written to the Treasurer and NSW Health Minister, calling for increased funding to guarantee capacity for universal sewage testing for COVID. Some areas are not getting access to testing and this is concerning for councils where COVID outbreaks may be occurring.

Update on council-voted mayors legislation: I wrote to the Minister for Local Government requesting she address an anomaly in the Local Government Act resulting in mayors elected by councillors not continuing in their roles post-election. 

The Minister has declined to address the anomaly. The consequence is that 90 councils will not have an elected person in office from 4 December until their first council meetings from mid-January 2022.

This is unacceptable, particularly during peak bushfire season where local leadership is critical, and I encourage affected councils to join us in continuing to raise the issue with the Minister on behalf of our communities.