7 November 2023
Briefing requested to discuss housing density
The Planning Minister Paul Scully has invited me to meet with him on his proposed housing reforms, in a letter which stresses his agreement that local government must be a partner in any attempts to address the housing crisis impacting our state.
I'm pleased the Minister has heard our sector's call for more engagement, and I will reiterate to him that councils and their communities must be involved in future planning reforms if a social license for the reforms is to be assured.
It is also critical that the NSW Government commit to funding critical local infrastructure including roads, public transport, parks, schools, libraries, hospitals and community centres. Without council involvement and collaboration it will be difficult to get community buy-in and confidence that any development is "density done well".
Win – funding for disaster recovery in Central West
In the past week we’ve seen further bushfires impacting parts of NSW, in particular around Tenterfield.
Our thoughts are with all those impacted.
Meanwhile, much of the state is continuing on the long recovery from the severe flooding and torrential rain of last year.
It was so pleasing to see the NSW Government commit $50 million last week for the ongoing flood recovery in the Central West.
Critically, this includes Community Recovery Officers for Cabonne Shire, Forbes Shire and Wentworth Shire councils.
Council-embedded Community Recovery Officers are key to ensuring a deep understanding of each community, and a response specifically tailored to meet local needs, and this is why LGNSW’s advocacy priorities call for an expansion of this program in recognition of the increasing frequency, scale and long recovery timeframes of natural disasters.
Funding boost for councils – walking and cycling gaps
In better news, the NSW Government has announced applications are now open for councils to apply for $60 million in funding to improve walking and cycling facilities.
More than half of the funding will be prioritised for projects in Western Sydney and regional communities.
Funding can be used for a range of the important community infrastructure and upgrades that make our communities more liveable, such as wider footpaths, cycleways, quality crossings, reduced speed zones, new trees, and improved safety features for bike riders and pedestrians.
Applications close on 12 December.
More info online
LGNSW submission on inquiry to prevent privatisation of LWUs
LGNSW strongly advocates for local government ownership and control of LWUs and has resisted threats by successive NSW Governments to privatise, amalgamate or corporatise LWUs in the past.
The parliamentary inquiry is a positive step towards providing essential legislative protection.
NSW LWUs have proven to be effective entities capable of delivering water services safely, securely, and efficiently. Moreover, they have demonstrated their ability to identify challenges and implement necessary reforms, ensuring an integrated and locally appropriate approach to water supply and sewerage management.
Safeguarding local government ownership and management of LWUs is a key advocacy priority for LGNSW. Our strong advocacy for local government ownership and control of LWUs reflects our commitment to maintaining the high standards of service, financial sustainability, and local community involvement in the water supply and sewerage sector.
We remain optimistic that the insights presented in this submission will assist in protecting LWUs and ensure they remain under local government ownership and are pleased to see the cross-parliamentary support for the protection of LWUs.
Just a reminder … we are calling for presentation proposals for the 2024 Water Management Conference, to be held in Goulburn from 23-25 July.
The annual LGNSW Water Management Conference presents the most current and relevant information from a local government perspective on water policy and regulation, water utility management, water security and quality, and service delivery.
The conference is a major annual event that provides a dedicated forum to discuss water policy initiatives and trends, learn about the latest technical innovations and share best practice in water governance and management.
The closing date for submission of proposals is fast approaching – Friday 17 November.
Proposals should be submitted electronically using the online Presentation Proposal Form.
2023 Excellence in Environment Awards
The 43 finalists in LGNSW’s 2023 Excellence in Environment Awards have just been released, as we begin the countdown to the Awards Ceremony in Sydney on Tuesday 5 December.
Our fantastic finalists are in the running across a range of 13 categories from Asbestos Management to (Net) Zero Emissions and represent best-practice in the management and protection of their local environments.
The ceremony is preceded by a special forum showcasing these projects, so you won’t want to miss the opportunity to really drill down into the challenges overcome, solutions developed, and environmental outcomes delivered.
Tickets are now on sale and you can check out the list of finalists on the awards website.
John Davis OAM
It’s with great sadness that I have to report the passing of another of our local government colleagues, John Davis OAM, who was a long-serving mayor of Blayney Shire Council and then the longest-serving mayor of Orange City Council.
John served on local councils for more than 30 years, having served on Blayney Shire Council from 1987 to 2004, 10 years as mayor from 1994 to 2004, and on Orange City Council from 2004 to 2017. Twelve of his 13 years on Orange City Council were spent as mayor.
In 2013 he received the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to local government and to the community of Orange.
On behalf of the local government community, my sincerest condolences to his wife, Kay, and family.
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