President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

Wednesday 1 June 2022

While a couple of seats remain on a knife-edge, Australia has a new Federal Government, with Prime Minister Anthony Albanese announcing his intention to “change the way we do politics” in this country.

From a local government perspective, we will be working hard to ensure this new way involves a strong partnership between all three tiers of government, in the best interests of our communities.

Already we’ve seen results, with the announcement that a local government voice would once again be heard via a position for our federal colleague ALGA, on the National Cabinet.

Congratulations to ALGA President Linda Scott for spearheading this push, and to all those councils who passed Mayoral motions and ensured our united call for action was heard by their local candidates.

ALGA’s Don’t Leave Local Communities Behind campaign, supported by LGNSW and our colleagues in local government throughout Australia, also delivered additional funding in critical areas, including a $750 million extension to the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program and a $200 million Disaster Ready Fund.

Importantly, the new Labor Government has also committed to fair increases to Financial Assistance Grants, which have slipped from 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996 to just 0.55 per cent.

With the financial sustainability of councils under pressure as never before, this is a critical issue for all of us. Rest assured both LGNSW and ALGA will continue to represent our sector and advocate strongly for the restoration of the 1 per cent tax share.

And with the Federal Election now complete, our attention is turning to the NSW state election due in March 2023, and before that the State Budget is due to be handed down next month.

If you haven’t yet seen it, check out our Budget submission on the LGNSW website here for more information on the funding we believe is critical to not only underpin councils’ ongoing sustainability but deliver the infrastructure and services our communities so desperately need.

Our council-determined budget priorities have the potential to create more than 60,000 jobs in NSW, many of them in regional NSW. 

And while the biggest ticket item relates to the construction and maintenance of roads, this category of local infrastructure is far from the only area of investment in which State and local government can work in partnership.

Investment in climate change mitigation actions, affordable housing, accessible infrastructure, water projects, waste and recycling management and skills development are all ways to generate jobs, support businesses and simultaneously deliver public good and the achievement of state outcomes.

Funding for pressing social priorities in the areas of health, including mental health, domestic violence, Aboriginal communities, building regulation and community services delivers similar benefits while helping to prevent future remedial expenditure.

These are the areas in which we’ll be pressing hard in the lead-up to not only the State Budget but the State election. Your LGNSW Board Directors have already turned their attention to planning our campaign in the lead-up to the State election, and I look forward to sharing with you in future how we can all work together to ensure the needs of our communities stay top of mind for our State as well as Federal MPs.

Nominations open for the 77th AR Bluett Memorial Award
A reminder to all councils to nominate for the 77th AR Bluett Memorial Awards. Awarded annually since 1945, a Bluett Award is widely regarded as the greatest accolade a council can receive.

Entries open Wednesday 1 June, with applications to be submitted via the LGNSW Awards portal until Friday 1 August. 

And while we’re on the topic of Awards, I’ll also send a callout to the fantastic communications teams out there. I know so many of you did absolutely fantastic work keeping your communities informed through the turmoil of the last year, and I’d strongly urge you to put that work forward for consideration in our Local Government Week Awards coming up in August. 

At the same time we’ll be announcing our Leo Kelly Award for arts and culture in local government, and the LGNSW Planning Awards: more details on each of these can be found on our event website.

Record Number of Pat Dixon Scholarships Awarded
Huge congratulations to the 2022 Pat Dixon Scholarship winners Bernard Higgins from Wagga Wagga City Council, Malcolm Saunderson from Lismore City Council and Cr Ricky Buchanan of Nambucca Valley Council.

A record number of three scholarships were awarded this year, demonstrating the wealth of talent coming through our council ranks.

The scholarships, designed to support the professional development of young Aboriginal people, were established in honour of Pat Dixon, a Dhanggati woman who became the first Aboriginal woman elected to local government in Australia.

Congratulations to all three winners – we wish you the very best in your studies.

Free LGNSW Webinar on Urban Forest Asset Systems
The LGNSW Greening our City team is hosting a free webinar on Thursday, 9 June from 2.30pm – 4.00pm exclusively for local government employees to learn more on urban forestry asset management systems. Guest speakers will include Tim Johnson of and Joshua Gibson from City of Newcastle.

Yours sincerely,

LGNSW President Darriea Turley AM