LGNSW President, Cr Darriea Turley AM and Cr Jamie Chaffey, Country Mayors Association Chair signing the MOU.
28 November 2023
MOU between LGNSW and the Country Mayors Association
I was so pleased to be able to sign a new MOU with the Country Mayors Association (CMA) on Friday alongside Chair of the CMA, Cr Jamie Chaffey.
The MOU reflects the strong relationship between our two organisations and our joint commitment to improving our communities right across NSW.
ALGA Board Meeting
The Chief Executive and I attended the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Board Meeting in Canberra last week.
These meetings with multiple mayors and local government professionals from across Australia are not only crucial to the administration of ALGA but also a useful networking opportunity to compare notes with others in the sector.
IPART rate peg for 2024-25
I welcomed IPART’s announcement of the rate peg for 2024-25, and particularly IPART’s decision to use a new more realistic methodology for calculating the peg than past years.
The core range for rate pegs will be 4.5% to 5.5%, but for those councils experiencing faster population growth the peg will range up to 8.2%.
While this is no silver bullet for the serious financial sustainability challenges facing our sector, it is certainly an improvement and will go some way to ensuring our sector will be able to pay for the services our communities expect and deserve.
This rate peg and the new methodology are the outcome of sustained advocacy from LGNSW and councils, and a vast improvement on rate peg decisions of recent years.
For the first time, the rate peg also includes an Emergency Services Levy (ESL) factor that reflects the annual change in each council’s ESL bill, as well as an additional special adjustment factor to reflect the impact of the NSW Government discontinuing the ESL subsidy.
Of course, our long-term objective seeks the removal of the ESL from councils altogether, and I am hopeful that the NSW Government’s wide-ranging review of the ESL will achieve this outcome and bring NSW into line with other states and territories.
Appearance at parliamentary inquiry into remote, rural and regional health
On Friday I appeared before the Select Committee on Remote Rural and Regional Health, alongside representatives of Coolamon Shire Council and Inverell Health Forum.
The committee is inquiring into the implementation of the 44 recommendations handed down by an upper house parliamentary committee in 2022 regarding health and hospital services in rural, regional and remote NSW.
One of LGNSW’s key advocacy priorities for 2023 is to call for the NSW Government to implement all 44 of these recommendations, and the oversight role of this committee in ensuring this happens is welcomed.
I highlighted to the Committee that councils play a key role in helping to maintain and improve the health and wellbeing of our residents and that this is especially true in rural, regional and remote communities.
While the provision of healthcare is a state and federal government responsibility, the reality is that in the absence of adequate provision, it is councils that often take on additional responsibilities to ensure communities have access to a health workforce and a fair standard of care.
The provision and maintenance of these services and facilities comes at a significant cost to councils. As well as the very real impact on annual budgets, councils also bear the burden of lost opportunities, having fewer funds to spend on other important infrastructure and services for their communities such as sporting grounds, halls, gyms and swimming pools.
The local government sector needs to be appropriately recognised and resourced for this vital role it plays in supporting the provision of critical health services to communities and in the attraction and retention of medical practitioners in rural, regional and remote NSW.
An intergovernmental approach with all three spheres of government working together will lead to better health outcomes for our communities.
Win - Federal review into equitable distribution of health workforce
In a related matter, I was pleased last week to see that the federal government has announced a wide-ranging review to urgently investigate how to more equitably distribute doctors and other health workers around the country.
The review will explore how to make it easier to see a doctor, nurse or other health worker in the outer suburbs of our major cities and in regional, rural and remote Australia, including by looking at three models the federal government and uses to distribute the workforce:
- Modified Monash Model,
- District of Workforce Shortage, and
- Distribution Priority Area.
LGNSW has been advocating for this review to the federal government, including in response to past resolutions of annual conferences,
Most recently resolution 123 of 2022 Annual Conference from Warrumbungle Shire Council, called for LGNSW to advocate for the Federal Government to review the distribution of doctors to ensure that rural and regional communities and hospitals have reasonable and adequate access to doctors and medical care.
Water Management Conference 2024: Last Chance to submit presentation proposals
A reminder that the closing date for presentation proposals for the 2024 Water Management Conference, is this Friday 1 December.
The annual LGNSW Water Management Conference, to be held in Goulburn from 23-25 July 2024, aims to 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.
Proposals should be submitted electronically using the online Presentation Proposal Form.
Member first access to tickets for International Women’s Day Lunch 2024
LGNSW is hosting its International Women’s Day lunch at the Sydney Hilton on Friday 8 March from 1.00pm – 3.30pm to celebrate the leadership of women in government.
This lunch motivates and inspires women to participate in government and business while further promoting personal development and training.
We are proud to announce our keynote speaker is Dr Jana Pittman, two-time World Champion and four time Commonwealth Champion. Jana is a medical doctor specialising in women’s health and is an ambassador for the Australian Cervical Cancer Foundation, all while being a mother of six.
Member tickets are now available to purchase via the event website.
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