President's Message


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LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley.

26 March 2024

Submission outlines key funding priorities

I’m pleased to share with you LGNSW’s pre-budget submission for the 2024-25 State Budget the Treasurer is due to deliver in June.

LGNSW lodged this submission with the NSW Government in February, highlighting key funding priorities of our sector.  

Like the NSW Government, councils are grappling with inflationary pressures, which are expected to continue impacting council costs. At the same time, council costs remain under the pressure of ongoing disaster recovery and resilience building efforts while infrastructure maintenance and renewal backlogs remain high.

Cost shifting remains a persistent issue for the sector further amplifying the financial sustainability concerns of local government.

Despite these economic challenges, critical investment in infrastructure, including roads and water, remains one of the priorities for local government.

Additionally, collaborative efforts between state and local governments are essential, encompassing climate change mitigation, public and affordable housing, waste management, and social services. These investments not only support job creation and businesses but also contribute to the public good and the attainment of state outcomes.

Funding for pressing social priorities in the areas of health, including mental health, community safety, Aboriginal communities, building regulation and community services delivers similar benefits, while helping to prevent future remedial costs.

And as councils continue to play their role in enabling housing supply, it is vitally important that the NSW Government funds the necessary infrastructure that will support greater density and growing populations.

View LGNSW's submission

Critical inquiry: Ability of councils to fund services and infrastructure

As I highlighted to you earlier this month, 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.

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, consider the operation and effectiveness of the special rate variation process, and examine the impact of cost shifting.

This is such a critically important inquiry for our sector and I strongly urge all councils to make a submission and share your input with LGNSW so we can amplify your priorities in our own submission.

The deadline for submissions is 26 April 2024.

To provide input to LGNSW’s submission, please email LGNSW Chief Economist Shaun McBride by 19 April 2024.

I have also this week written to the chair of the parliamentary committee holding the inquiry, the Hon Emily Suvaal MLC, seeking an extension for submissions so councils can devote to this inquiry the attention it warrants. I will keep you updated on the response.

First meeting of ESL taskforce

I was pleased to attend the first meeting of the Treasurer’s Emergency Services Funding Stakeholder Reference Group last week, which will work to consider options to reform the Emergency Services Levy (ESL).

It is a long-standing position of LGNSW that the NSW Government should remove the ESL from councils and insurers, and replace it with a broad-based property levy, collected directly by the NSW Government.

When I met with the Treasurer last year, he committed to me to undertake a review into the funding arrangements for emergency services and I thank him for honouring this commitment.

The NSW Government will soon release a consultation paper for reform and I look forward to engaging with our sector on this.

Meetings at Parliament

I was pleased to have a number of meetings at Parliament House last week, including with the Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Energy the Hon Penny Sharpe MLC to discuss a range of issues of importance to our sector, including the Waste Levy, recent environmental legislation to increase penalties for wrongdoing, asbestos, and biodiversity reforms.

I also met with the Shadow Minister for Local Government (Wendy Tuckerman MP) and the Shadow Minister for the Environment (Kellie Sloane MP) to discuss local government portfolio priorities generally, as well as our sector’s position on the new Waste Tendering Regulation.

New inquiry: Zombie developments (historical development consents)

In a positive development for our sector, a new parliamentary inquiry has been established to inquire into historical development consents, also known as "Zombie DAs", in NSW.

The inquiry will consider possible policy and legal options to address concerns regarding historical development consents, particularly the non-completion of consents that cannot lapse.

LGNSW has called for the NSW Government to take action on zombie DAs as one of our 2023-24 advocacy priorities. I am so pleased to see the government listen to and respond to council concerns.

Submissions close on 3 June 2024. To contribute to LGNSW’s submission, please email [email protected].

Funding concerns: Companion animals, weeds

I am receiving concerning reports about unexpected funding delays and constraints for two critically important funding programs for local government: the Companion Animals Fund and Weeds Action Program fund.

Councils rely on this funding for essential biosecurity and companion animal programs and it is disappointing that the NSW Government appears to be trying to change arrangements with no warning to our sector.

LGNSW is urgently escalating this matter with the NSW Government and will keep you updated.

Destination and Visitor Economy Conference

Registrations are now open for the Destination and Visitor Economy Conference.

Taking place from Tuesday 28 to Thursday 30 May in Wagga Wagga, Coolamon and Junee, this is your opportunity to become equipped with the tools and knowledge to tap into your LGA's visitor economy potential.

As a valued member, you have first access to tickets. Purchase your tickets now to take advantage of the member early-bird rate of $1,050 (a saving of $200).



Darriea sign-off