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LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley AM.

19 March 2024

IPART to consider inflation adjustment

In response to feedback from councils, in January LGNSW wrote to Carmel Donnelly, the chair of IPART, regarding recent inflation not being factored into the revised rate peg methodology.

LGNSW has now received a response (available online) advising that IPART will consider whether there is a case for a special adjustment factor to be included in a future rate peg.

Ms Donnelly also advised that the new rate peg methodology could allow for a specific adjustment factor to be made for a group of councils where IPART identifies there have been material impacts due to the implementation of the new rate peg methodology.

IPART is establishing a council implementation reference group to assist us in identifying impacts and will involve LGNSW representatives in this group.

While we don’t have a solution just yet, this does appear to be a promising indication of IPART’s willingness to consider this matter.

I thank IPART for continuing to productively engage with local government.

Local Government Funding Inquiry

In very welcome news, this week the NSW Parliament’s Standing Committee on State Development has released terms of reference for an inquiry into the ability of local governments to fund infrastructure and services.

The terms of reference for the review are broad and will include consideration of several long-standing matters of central importance to the local government sector.

As part of its work, the committee will inquire into the adequacy of past rate pegs to meet costs borne by local government, consider alternative approaches to the rate peg and consider the operation and effectiveness of the special rate variation process.

The committee will also examine the impact of cost shifting on service delivery and financial sustainability.

Environmental legislation reforms

I welcome the introduction of the Environment Protection Legislation Amendment (Stronger Regulation and Penalties) Bill 2024, which strengthens penalties and provides additional EPA powers to deal with repeat offenders and substandard practices.

While we are still working through the details of the Bill, we note with positivity the introduction of an offence called the small-scale illegal dumping offence as well as the change to bring EPA-issued and council-issued fines into parity.

Ticketless parking fines

On 10 February, Minister for Finance the Hon Courtney Houssos MP announced she had written to all NSW councils urging those who use ticketless parking fines to "address shortcomings in their approach". 

The Minister also announced she would stop new councils from signing up to the system, pointing to community concerns about the ticketless system, particularly around the timeliness of notifications to drivers. 

Under this ticketless parking fine system, councils provide photo evidence of any infringement to Revenue NSW – at least five photos per infringement – and council officers review the data/photos before they proceed with the fine. 

I am disappointed that the NSW Government has made this sudden announcement with no consultation with the local government sector. At the same time, the NSW Government continues to issue ticketless fines through its own safety initiatives, including for speed and mobile phone detection cameras.

Most importantly, this change disregards the drastic reduction in staff abuse – verbal and physical – experienced by councils using this system. 

Beyond these safety implications, the announcement will have significant financial and logistical implications for councils – many of which have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the technology, cars, cameras and IT to shift to ticketless and automated parking enforcement.

LGNSW has raised its concerns with the NSW Government on this matter, pointing out the potentially dangerous policy outcomes, as well as the disappointing lack of consultation.

Provide input – Submission on health services and specialist care in remote, rural and regional NSW

A reminder that we would welcome councils providing input to our submission to the NSW Parliamentary inquiry into the implementation of the recommendations relating to the delivery of specific health services and specialist care in remote, rural and regional NSW.

Portfolio Committee No 2 is seeking feedback on the progress of the recommendations made from the 2020 inquiry on the health outcomes and access to health services in regional NSW in 2020 (see LGNSW submission). Further, it follows an earlier inquiry on the implementation of workforce and funding issues in 2023 (see LGNSW submission). 

Your feedback on what progress has been made in the implementation of the committee’s recommendations relating to specific health services and specialist care will be most valuable.

The NSW Government is seeking feedback until 12 April 2024. 

To provide input into LGNSW’s submission, please email Elle Brunsdon, LGNSW Senior Policy Officer, Social and Community, by Tuesday 26 March 2024.

Red Fleet – second reading from Marshall

I am pleased that Adam Marshall MP has re-introduced his private members Bill to transfer ownership of RFS assets to the NSW Government.

This issue is a longstanding advocacy priority of the sector and we have thanked Adam Marshall for his support for this objective.

Employment Law Seminar

Join us for the LGNSW Employment Law Seminar 2024 on Thursday 2 May at the Swissôtel Sydney. Hear about integral updates on legislative changes and information needed to successfully manage challenging workplace issues at council.

Tickets are $990 for members and $1,980 for non-members (prices include GST).

This one-day event features a range of keynote speakers and panellists who will explore trending topics, provide expert insights and help enhance your understanding of the legal framework governing employment in local government.

The seminar also provides multiple opportunities to network with your peers and share insights and best practice.

View the full program

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. 

When: Thursday 9 May 2024, 9.00am-5.30pm
Where: Auditorium, State Library of NSW, 1 Shakespeare Place Sydney 2000 

Councils have access to member pre-sale tickets before they are released to non-members.

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 in Sydney is an opportunity to focus on how we attract and retain our workforce, now and in future years.

more information and register


Darriea sign-off