21 March 2023
State election now just days away
The State Election is now just days away and, as to be expected, voters have been bombarded with a flurry of promises and sweeteners from all the major parties and local candidates.
This election is taking place at an important time, not just for the State as a whole but also particularly for our sector as we face growing challenges on all fronts.
As members are aware, LGNSW issued our 2023 Election Priorities late last year and has been calling on all parties and candidates to commit to these priorities.
The priorities seek to address the critical issues facing the local government sector and detail what must be done if councils are to continue providing the essential services our communities deserve.
They include Financial Sustainability, Resilience to Natural Disasters, Roads and Infrastructure, Housing and Homelessness, Environment and The Circular Economy, an Intergovernmental Agreement, Stronger Communities, Rural, Regional and Community Health, Planning, and Skills and Labour Shortages.
How the Parties Responded
I’ve highlighted quite a few announcements and pledges relating to our advocacy in previous editions of The Weekly, but in this last week of the campaign I thought it might be useful to bring together a summary of the various responses we have received, for your consideration.
Each of the links below contains the written responses to our pre-election priorities from each named individual on behalf of their Party.
LGNSW looks forward to working with whichever party or parties form Government after March 25, and we will be holding the next Government to account to ensure they fulfill their commitments to our sector and to the communities we represent.
I’d also like to wish all State Election candidates the very best for 25 March.
Serving the community as an elected representative is an honour and a privilege, and I know many of this weekend’s candidates have already amassed significant community experience in their current roles as local councillors. I’d urge each of you to keep that experience top of mind should you be elected, and to become a strong ally of our sector within the NSW Parliament.
Successful candidates who have served their communities on council know better than anyone the very real and increasing challenges we all face in this difficult economic climate. Your support and advocacy has the advantage of further amplifying the voice of your former council colleagues – and the real winners from this will be the communities we all represent.
State Election Resources
We recently heard from the NSW Electoral Commission asking us to share a range of resources with members, so you are equipped to answer any questions you may get from your communities about the State Election itself.
You can find candidate information, voting options, how to apply for postal voting and assistance with voting on the NSW Electoral Commission website, and they have also made available a community resource hub with downloadable resources to support greater access to voting. The hub includes animated videos, in-language information, Auslan videos, easy read guides, fact sheets and other assets to help your communities understand elections and voting.
Federal Budget Advocacy
While the understandable focus is on the NSW State Election, we are of course getting very close to Federal Budget night on May 9.
Our colleagues at ALGA are hard at work arguing the case for better funding support for councils, particularly in relation to the priorities outlined in their pre-Budget Submission.
The number one priority is, of course, restoring Financial Assistance Grants to at least one per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. The Federal Government has committed to “fair increases” to Financial Assistance Grants, and we will work with and through ALGA to help hold them to this commitment.
Other major Budget priorities include:
- Making the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program permanent with ongoing funding of $500 million a year, and annual indexation
- An increase in Roads to Recovery funding to $800 million a year, and
- $300 million a year for four years for a strategic local roads program to address road congestion and first and last mile issues.
Please help by seizing every opportunity to speak to your local Federal MP about the importance of supporting local government, especially in the wake of recent natural disasters and rising inflation.
We’re all painfully aware of the immense financial pressures on councils, and the urgent need for increased investment if we are to continue to provide the services and facilities our communities need now and into the future.
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