President's Message


Phone: 02 9242 4000
[email protected]

LGNSW Board member Cr Phyllis Miller, Jana Pittman, and LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM.

LGNSW Board member Cr Phyllis Miller, Dr Jana Pittman, and LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM at the International Women's Day Lunch on Friday 8 March.

12 March 2024

Progress on ESL pleasing

I was pleased to see progress on the long-awaited reform of the Emergency Services Levy (ESL) last week, with the Treasurer announcing an expert panel to advise the NSW Government on the way emergency services are funded.

I was glad to be invited to join the panel and represent the positions of the local government sector.

It is a long-standing position of LGNSW that the ESL must be removed from councils and insurance policies, and replaced with a more equitable broad-based property levy.

Public input will also be sought through the release of a consultation paper later this month.

International Women’s Day

Thank you to the 500 people who attended our International Women’s Day lunch last Friday.

Our keynote speech from Dr Jana Pittman was particularly inspirational. Jana is a summer and winter Olympian, a world champion hurdler, a multiple Commonwealth games gold medallist and now a medical doctor and mother of six.

"Count her in" is one of the priority themes for the 68th session of the Commission on the Status of Women, the global intergovernmental body exclusively dedicated to the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of women.

This theme highlights the need to accelerate the progress of gender equality and empowerment of all women worldwide, by addressing poverty and strengthening institutions and financing with a gender perspective.

In local government, there is much we already do, but there remains room for improvement. I am proud of the work councils continue to do to promote gender equality every day.

Greening Our City program

In February 2024, LGNSW’s involvement in administering the Greening Our City grant program came to a conclusion.

The purpose of the grant program (funded by the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure) was to increase urban canopy and green cover, to help prepare for climate extremes and mitigate urban heat islands. 

Since mid-2020, LGNSW has managed more than $30 million in grant funding, with 99 grants awarded to Sydney councils over three rounds (2020, 2021 and 2022). 

More than 79,200 trees have been planted so far (with more than 95,000 expected by April 2025). 

Projects in low canopy areas were prioritised, with 83% of funding awarded to areas with 20% canopy cover or less. 

Some projects will continue to completion under the administration of the Department of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure. 

Many thanks to the LGNSW staff and all the councils that helped to administer and implement this program.

Pat Dixon Scholarship now open

The 2024 Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship is now open for applications from any Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors or employees of NSW councils.

This scholarship, offered annually through the Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship Trust, aims to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander councillors and staff with financial assistance of up to $5,000 to assist with further study, research, or professional development. The scholarship can be used for course fees or associated costs.

Cr Pat Dixon was the first Aboriginal woman elected, in 1983, to Local Government in NSW. She served as an elected representative, including as deputy mayor, in the Armidale community. She is remembered as a trailblazer for advancing female Aboriginal representation in the local government sector.

The Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Trust, named in her honour, determines the Cr Pat Dixon Memorial Scholarship winners.

Applications must be received by close of business on Thursday 2 May.

Apply online

Please share this opportunity within your councils and encourage applications.

For any enquiries email [email protected].

Rural and Regional Summit

After the success of last year's event, the LGNSW Rural and Regional Summit is back in 2024. This crucial one-day event serves as a focal point for deliberating on the pressing challenges facing rural and regional communities.

As a valued LGNSW member, you have access to member pre-sale tickets before they are released to non-members. Purchase your tickets now to take advantage of the member early-bird rate of $540 (a saving of $110!).

Careers at Council Jobs Summit

With councils and communities across NSW continuing to suffer from the impact of skills and labour shortages, addressing skills shortages remains a key advocacy priority for LGNSW.

Our Careers at Council Jobs Summit on Wednesday 1 May, to be held in Sydney, is an opportunity to focus on how we attract and retain our workforce, now and in future years.

Speakers will share data, insights and successful practices that will be valuable for workforce planners, recruiters and those committed to building a skilled and sustainable workforce.

I encourage all councils to send a representative to this important industry summit.


Darriea sign-off