LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM with Narrabri Shire Council Mayor Cr Ron Campbell during a visit to Narrabri last week.
23 May 2023
Emergency Services Levy (ESL)
I continue to hear from councils across NSW on the highly damaging local impacts of the NSW Government’s decision not to fund the ESL subsidy this year, resulting in a $77 million hit to council budgets.
This is not theoretical. By not funding the subsidy the State Government is condemning councils to either job losses, service cuts or fewer opening hours, or all three.
It’s so important that, as a sector, we maintain our pressure on the NSW Government to reinstate the subsidy for 2023/24 and then work with councils to decouple the ESL from the rate peg.
While I have received signs of hope that the new government genuinely wants to seek a new formula for the ESL, that does not help us this year.
The lack of a government ESL subsidy is a savage hit, and we must continue the fight.
Thank you to all councils that have already resolved the mayoral minute and written letters to advance this urgent campaign. For those that have not yet done so, template resources to assist you are available online.
Emergency Services Levy mayoral minute and template letters
Water Management Conference
There is just one month until the LGNSW Water Management Conference in Parkes, from 26-28 June.
We have a jam-packed program that will explore new technologies and innovative solutions to water and sewage management challenges faced by local water utilities across the state.
We’re thrilled that the new State Minister for Water, Rose Jackson MLC, will be joining us on the second day of the conference to provide a special address to delegates and update us on the work the Government is doing.
If you haven’t secured your seat yet, you have until Friday 9 June to register.
Net Zero Webinar Series
The Net Zero webinar series is back in 2023 by popular demand.
The free webinar #2 is Lighting Specifications for Councils and it will take place on Thursday 20 July from 10am-11.30am.
Selecting quality lighting products that comply with standards in a range of different applications can be a challenge.
Councils own many light fixtures with a diverse range of uses. Learn how to approach the market to deliver the best outcome for council.
This session, with Julian Freed, will look at lighting solutions that provide sustainability and energy efficiency outcomes, and include case studies on sports field and building-based lighting.
Planning cadet funding
I’m also pleased to let you know there is also some good news to help ease our shortage of planners, especially in rural and regional communities.
The NSW Government has announced that $25,000 grants are available for 64 councils to be used to fund planning cadets’ university tuition fees.
As many of you will know, the 2022 Local Government Workforce and Future Skills Report identified urban and town planning as the council profession facing the greatest degree of skills shortages in NSW.
While this measure is not a silver bullet, it’s a step in the right direction to a better-resourced sector.
Applications are open now and close on 9 June 2023.
Select Committee to examine remote, rural and regional health
I am pleased to advise that the NSW Parliament has established a Select Committee to examine the implementation of the recommendations of the Upper House Inquiry into Rural and Regional Health.
You’ll recall that full implementation of the recommendations of that inquiry was one of our key 2023 State election priorities, and we welcomed NSW Labor committing to implementing all 44 of the recommendations.
This committee will be an important accountability measure to ensure this commitment is followed through, and we welcome the appointment of Dr Joe McGirr MP as Chair of the Committee.
As a medical practitioner from regional NSW, Dr McGirr is a terrific and well-qualified voice for this committee and we welcomed the opportunity to hear from him at our Rural and Regional Summit earlier this year.
We will keep you updated as opportunities for input to this inquiry arise.
We all know how devastating the floods have been in the past 18 months or more; so many places without the necessary infrastructure to withstand the rising waters.
I was pleased that the Federal Budget committed up to $236 million over the next 10 years (and $13.9 million a year ongoing from 2032/33) to remediate high priority flood warning infrastructure and address critical reliability risks.
The Bureau of Meteorology will acquire, upgrade and integrate local and State government-owned rain and river gauges into its existing flood warning network.
The Australian Government has now advised that detailed planning for this initiative will involve consultation with impacted councils in the near future to determine the schedule of works and consideration of any intersection with other flood warning network systems.
This investment aligns with key LGNSW recommendations to the NSW Independent Flood Inquiry, seeking centralised government ownership of rain and river gauges, better information sharing across catchments and more sophisticated gauge systems and sensors linked to early warning alerts.
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