Penny Sharpe MLC, LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM, Premier Chris Minns, Cr Marion Browne (Broken Hill City Council), and Rose Jackson MLC.
04 April 2023
Ahead of the holiday break
It was great to catch up last week with the new Premier Chris Minns, along with two of his new Ministers appointed today: Minister for Climate Change, Energy, Environment and Heritage Penny Sharpe MLC, and the Minister for Water, Housing, Homelessness, Mental Health, Youth, and the North Coast, Rose Jackson MLC.
Broken Hill Councillor Marion Browne and I were pleased to congratulate them on their election result, and to welcome their pledge to keep regional communities such as ours top of mind in the 58th Parliament. The trio joined independent MP Roy Butler to visit the site of the recent Menindee Lakes fish kill and announce an independent investigation into this disturbing event.
With Easter and the NSW school holidays rapidly approaching, attention remains firmly focused on the safety of our roads, particularly in the wake of the massive $2.5 billion damage bill from the floods and torrential rains.
I’d urge anyone planning a road-trip throughout regional and rural NSW to take extra care in 2023: so much of the local road network has been impacted by these weather events that even familiar roads can prove unexpectedly treacherous.
Last week I called for the fastest possible disbursement of the $670 million Emergency Road Repair Fund for regional roads promised by the incoming Minns Government, and our colleagues at ALGA are pursuing an additional $300 million in the upcoming Federal Budget for the Roads to Recovery Program. Road funding is such an important issue for everyone in NSW, because getting our roads up to scratch with the ongoing funding to keep them there helps support the economic growth this state needs.
Timeline extensions for Local Roads and Community Infrastructure program
That’s why LGNSW is so pleased to welcome the Australian Government's decision to extend project construction timelines for Phases 1-3 of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program. Phases 1-3 of the program involves $2.5 billion of Australia Government funding for 9,400 projects nationwide.
Councils across Australia now have until 30 June 2024 to complete works, giving them an extra year on the LRCI construction timeframes.
This will help take pressure off councils grappling with staff shortages and supply chain delays for construction materials in line with LGNSW’s ongoing calls for reasonable grant funding flexibility and timeframes.
Red Fleet update
We are disappointed that around one-third of councils have unreasonably received qualified audits as a result of the previous government’s nonsensical position that RFS mobile assets should be recorded in councils’ financial statements.
Councils have no say over the acquisition, deployment or disposal of these assets and it is far more logical that they be recognised as assets of the RFS (in line with the accounting treatment of the SES and NSW Fire & Rescue).
However, I am hopeful that with a new NSW Government in place this longstanding matter can finally be sensibly resolved – in line with the commitment from (then) Shadow Minister for Local Government Greg Warren MP.
I am writing to the new NSW Treasurer, the Hon. Daniel Mookhey MLC, seeking the incoming Government’s urgent action to address this matter and I will keep you updated as this matter progresses.
ALGA calls for Indigenous Partnership Network
The important discussion around the Voice to Parliament referendum continues in our communities, with the Federal Government last week revealing the proposed new Constitutional wording. You may recall LGNSW members in 2022 passed a resolution supporting the call for Indigenous constitutional recognition through a Voice, and we’ll soon be releasing a kit designed to assist councils to inform their communities about the referendum.
Councils are also looking at other ways to Close the Gap, with ALGA seeking Federal Budget funding to facilitate the employment of Indigenous Affairs Policy Officers within the state and federal peak bodies for local government. The proposed $7 million, four-year funding package would establish an Indigenous Partnership Network firmly focused on identifying ways to improve the First Nations representation in local government and promote co-design and decision-making through genuine partnerships with First Nations peoples.
A reminder too that the Cr Pat Dixon Scholarship has this week opened for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors and council employees in NSW, and we are also inviting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors to apply for a position as a trustee on the Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trust.
Destination and Visitor Economy Conference – Early bird tickets extended
The early bird price offer for the 19th LGNSW Destination and Visitor Economy Conference in the iconic location of Manly, on Sydney's Northern Beaches has been extended.
Member tickets are $1,050 (a saving of $200) until COB Thursday 6 April.
This conference hasn't been held in a metropolitan location since 2011. Don't miss your chance to learn how to enhance your council's visitor economy potential and achieve sustainable growth.
Executive and Administrative Assistants' Conference – One month to go
This Wednesday will mark one month until our Employment Law Seminar, to be held on Thursday 4 May at the Swissotel Sydney.
Hear from a range of industry experts about updates on legislative changes and critical information to help manage challenging workplace issues at council. This seminar will benefit those responsible for understanding, interpreting and implementing employment law in the workplace, including general managers, HR professionals and corporate and senior managers.
Tickets are $880 for members and $1,760 for non-members (prices include GST).
Next week’s edition of The Weekly will be delayed by the Good Friday and Easter Monday public holidays, but until next time I wish you all a peaceful, enjoyable and above all safe break.
BACK TO MAIN PAGE