5 September 2023
Safety in Council Meetings Webinar
My sincere thanks to our speakers and those who joined us for the Safety in Council Meetings webinar last week.
We heard some of the difficult circumstances councils face and ways in which councils can protect the democratic principles of open meetings while also providing for the safety of staff and councillors.
I will be writing to the State Government to seek support for addressing specific gaps in legislation and guidance identified through the webinar.
IPART Rate Peg Methodology review
Last week, IPART delivered its Rate Peg Methodology Review report to the Minister for Local Government for consideration. We wait with anticipation for the release of the report and the Government’s response.
We hope to see the recommendations from LGNSW’s submission reflected and addressed in these reports.
Interment Industry Scheme
Did you know councils in NSW play an essential role in interment services in NSW, providing almost half of the interments across NSW?
More than 80% of council-run cemeteries are closed or conduct 10 burials a year or fewer. Nonetheless, council-operated cemeteries conduct almost 85% of the interments in regional areas outside of Sydney.
Cemeteries and crematoria are critical services that we all, unfortunately, will need to use for our families and friends over our lifetimes.
Cemeteries and Crematoria NSW (CCNSW) has recently introduced the Interment Industry Scheme as part of the Cemeteries and Crematoria Regulation 2022 – a licensing system for cemetery and crematorium operators.
The Interment Industry Scheme is being rolled out in phases, with full compliance needed to be achieved by all council cemetery and crematoria operators by October 2024.
To assist with a smooth transition for councils into the new scheme, LGNSW has created a cemetery network for operators and managers to seek peer support and information from each other. Any topics relating to cemetery operations can be raised and discussed on this network.
CCNSW has set up a Council Cemetery Working Group, which meets bi-monthly to consult with and share information with council cemetery operators.
I encourage any councils that manage or operate cemeteries and crematoria to get involved in these opportunities to understand the regulations and requirements and support each other’s transition to the new scheme.
The Voice Referendum
The Prime Minister has now formally announced 14 October as the date for the national referendum, where voters will be asked whether to change the Constitution to recognise the First Peoples of Australia by establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice.
The referendum is part of the Australian Government’s commitment to implement the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
Voting in the referendum is compulsory and local government has a role to play in encouraging our communities to take part in this expression of democracy.
It's important that our community members are informed about what they are being asked to vote on and, to assist councils in that process, LGNSW has compiled a range of resources for councils to access:
The next six weeks will be a dynamic time for our communities and I encourage all councils to continue to do what we do best - serving our community, encouraging social cohesion and providing civic leadership.
Net Zero Councils – Mid-Scale Solar
Don’t forget to register for our fourth webinar session in the Net Zero Webinar series on 12 September to learn more about Mid-Scale Solar and transitioning to net zero emissions.
This will be our fourth webinar session in the series, held in partnership with the NSW Government Sustainable Councils team, which aims to provide councils with the tools and knowledge in the sector on how to save on energy costs and transition your council’s facilities to net zero emissions.
Annual Conference – Accommodation in Parramatta selling out fast
A reminder: if you haven’t already booked your accommodation for your stay during our Annual Conference, jump to it as three hotels are now fully booked.
We have negotiated special conference rates at three Parramatta CBD hotels. Bus transfers will be available from these hotels.
Check out the rates and book now
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