29 August 2023
Meeting with Minister Scully
On the back of the Minister’s letters to councils in the Six-Cities Region calling for a collaborative approach to addressing the housing crisis, I met with Planning Minister the Hon Paul Scully MP this week.
It was a positive meeting, with the Minister inviting our suggestions to address the critical housing challenge. I took the opportunity to acknowledge the positive feedback we have had from his department affirming the tremendous efforts of councils to rezone a record number of residential lots in the past year.
I have written to the Minister with some proposals from our sector for addressing the housing supply crisis and seeking confirmation that local government will be consulted on any planning reforms or work on delivering the Housing Accord.
Biodiversity Conservation Act
Last Thursday, Minister for the Environment the Hon Penny Sharpe MLC tabled the five-year statutory review of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 (BC Act), and Minister for Agriculture the Hon Tara Moriarty MLC tabled the review of the native vegetation provisions of the Local Land Services Act 2013 (LLS Act).
The independent review of the BC Act concluded that the Act is not meeting its primary purpose of maintaining a healthy, productive and resilient environment, making 58 recommendations including changes to the Biodiversity Offset Scheme and an emphasis on “nature positive” decisions.
Meanwhile, the review of the LLS Act native vegetation provisions makes 13 recommendations, including strengthened engagement with councils on the Land Management Framework.
Some of the recommendations from both reviews align with recommendations from LGNSW ‘s corresponding submissions and we will be looking more closely at the reports in the coming weeks.
Waste levy increase
The 7.7% increase to the Section 88 waste levy from 1 July 2023 has been a source of agitation for councils in the levy-paying areas in the past week.
While this CPI increase is provided for by legislation, and we understand that costs everywhere are increasing, councils want to see this levy heavily reinvested into the critical waste infrastructure and resource recovery solutions needed to transition to a circular economy.
With less than a decade of landfill capacity in the metro area, and the market access challenges for our rural and regional communities, there is no time to waste.
The long-awaited review of the waste levy is expected to start soon and we are gearing up to engage in this review to ensure the local government voice is heard.
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