LGNSW President Darriea Turley AM and acting CE Damian Thomas with Camden Council Mayor Cr Ashleigh Cagney and General Manager Andrew Carfield.
22 August 2023
Busy week of council and other visits
Last week I visited Hawkesbury, Camden and Campbelltown councils and met with the Northern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (NSROC) to hear what issues they are facing and how LGNSW can best support them.
As for many councils, financial sustainability and skills shortages are common themes in addition to the need for community infrastructure to support rapidly growing areas.
Federal Housing announcement
Federal Cabinet’s housing announcements last week took centre stage. They include an ambitious national target to build 1.2 million new homes over five years - an additional 200,000 new homes above the National Housing Accord.
States and territories will be pushing to exceed the new target in order to access the $3 billion in performance-based funding under the New Home Bonus.
A highlight of the package is the Housing Support Program, which will provide $500 million in competitive funding to State and local government for essential services and vital infrastructure to support new housing development.
This funding is sorely needed for the parks, roads, schools and sporting grounds needed to create liveable communities.
Other announcements included the National Planning Reform Blueprint, and Social Housing Accelerator plans. We welcome these announcements and look forward to greater collaboration with the State and Federal governments to address the housing crisis.
Minister for Planning writes to councils
Councils have also heard from the NSW Planning Minister this week, asking for a collaborative effort to address the housing crisis and meet the goals of the National Housing Accord.
I want to acknowledge the tremendous work that councils have been already doing to date, rezoning land at record levels and consistently approving 97% of all developments.
Our challenge is to remain committed to addressing the housing crisis and, where we can, to look at where and how we can improve the way we deliver these critical activities.
We are also continuing to call for the enabling infrastructure to support housing. All levels of government need to play their part to build liveable, healthy communities.
Bus Industry Taskforce
The NSW Bus Industry Taskforce released its first report on 14 August. The report presents seven key recommendations for resolving many of the critical service quality and reliability problems plaguing NSW bus services.
- driver shortages in metro, rural and regional areas
- inadequate capital investment in the bus fleet and supporting infrastructure
- a lack of focus on community needs under investment
- poor contract management.
View the first report
The taskforce will provide a second report on 10 October 2023 and a final report and recommendations is due by 1 May 2024.
I am pleased to be representing NSW local government on this important taskforce.
Net Zero Councils: Mid-Scale Solar Webinar
Is your council investigating installing solar energy at one or more of your council sites?
Registrations are now open for webinar #4 in our Net Zero Webinar series, Mid-Scale Solar, which will be held on Tuesday 12 September from 10.00am–11.30am.
Guest speakers from the Office of Energy and Climate Change, Beam Solar and Cobar Shire Council will unpack the Solar Toolkit, which uses satellite imagery, local solar data and your site’s energy use and costs to identify the optimal solar array size and payback for your chosen site.
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