President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM.

15 November 2022

Government ditches plan to introduce flawed Bill

In a huge win for our sector, the NSW Government will not proceed with a legislative Bill that would have stripped councils’ role as a consent authority for private logging activity.

The flawed Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Private Native Forestry) Bill 2022 had a number of deficiencies. Not only would it have undermined the crucial role councils play in regulating forestry operation, but it also would have weakened environmental protections and placed native habitats at serious risk.

Immediately after the Bill was introduced into parliament, I wrote to the NSW Premier and Opposition Leader and all members of parliament calling on them to prevent it from becoming law.

Thankfully, a number of MPs were very quick in expressing their opposition, forcing the government to confirm last night that it will withdraw the Bill.

I would like to thank the many members of parliament who sided with councils, communities and the environment to stop this Bill in its tracks.

Floods cause more heartache

My thoughts continue to be with the councils that are impacted by the relentless floods that unfortunately show no signs of abating.

As I write this, several communities have been forced to evacuate residents, with more than 100 SES alerts in effect across the state.

LGNSW continues to work closely with our State and Federal colleagues to ensure appropriate support is reaching impacted communities through this challenging period.

While the focus is understandably on ensuring everyone’s safety at the moment, if LGNSW can escalate your council’s recovery concerns through the State Recovery Committee over the coming weeks, please email LGNSW Director Advocacy Damian Thomas at [email protected].

NSW Reconstruction Authority Bill

It was a busy week in Parliament, with the NSW Government also introducing a legislative bill that will establish the NSW Reconstruction Authority – a key recommendation of the NSW Flood Inquiry.

The authority will be tasked with disaster preparedness, recovery and reconstruction from natural disasters.

In general, we support the Bill. In particular, we welcome the Bill’s provisions that ensure the authority will provide assistance to councils to maximise disaster preparedness and reconstruction, as well as alignment of state and local disaster mitigation plans.

However, we are deeply concerned that it does not specify the inclusion of local government representation on the NSW Reconstruction Authority Advisory Board.

Many of the decisions of the powerful authority will have major financial, operational, planning and policy implications for councils.

Given these implications, it would seem obvious that local government expertise would benefit the advisory board and guarantee a truly whole-of-government approach to recovery.

I have written to the Premier, Opposition and crossbenchers seeking urgent amendments to the Bill to address this critical omission.

The NSW Flood Inquiry made it clear in its report that all three spheres of government have vital roles to play in disaster recovery, and it is for this reason that it is essential that local government has input into how this new authority will operate.

Win! Library funding

In excellent news for our communities right across the state, the NSW Government has confirmed that the record funding won for public libraries four years ago is locked in and will continue into the future.

This funding is worth more than $165 million over the next four years and now includes arrangements to provide for population growth.

While the subsidy amount paid to councils remains at $2.85 per capita, this new funding for population growth means that increases in population in faster-growing LGAs won’t lead to a reduction in funding for slower-growing areas, as they will continue to receive a full subsidy adjustment payment from a larger overall pool of funding.

I congratulate the NSW Public Libraries Association for its ongoing advocacy and for partnering with us in calling for increased funding for public libraries.

Update on agritourism reforms

LGNSW continues to make representations to the NSW Government about the concerns many of you have about agritourism reforms, which are due to start on 1 December.

These concerns include the impacts the reforms will have on land-use conflict, council resourcing, compliance and biosecurity.

Despite these efforts, the government is still refusing to postpone the implementation of the reforms for any councils that have concerns (see Departmental response to LGNSW letter)

Given this, I would strongly encourage those councils to pass a Mayoral Minute that a letter be sent from your council to the Planning Minister, Anthony Roberts.

The letter should detail the impacts on your community and call for the Minister to allow your council to opt-out of these reforms until your council is satisfied that suitable mitigations are in place.

In the meantime, I will continue to keep you updated on our advocacy on this matter.

Additional online workshop on rate peg methodology review

Due to strong interest, IPART has announced an additional online workshop to discuss the rate peg methodology review.

This new workshop will be focused on rural and regional issues and will take place on Thursday 24 November between 9am and 12pm.

I would once again encourage all councils to attend one or more of these workshops so you can all provide details on how the current methodology is failing our sector.

More information on the workshops, including dates for each of the locations, is available on the IPART website.

Excellence in the Environment Awards

Tickets are now on sale for the Excellence in the Environment Awards, which will take place at Prince Henry Centre in Little Bay on 6 December.

This event allows us to come together and recognise outstanding achievements by NSW councils in managing and protecting the environment.

A Finalist's Forum will also be held, which will include a keynote address by one of Australia’s leading sustainability experts, Dr Dianne McGrath, as well as information sessions on the built environment and the natural environment.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit the LGNSW website.