President's Message


Phone: 02 9242 4000
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LGNSW President Cr Darriea Turley.

3 April 2024

Interment Industry Levy will hit rural and regional families

I hope you all had a safe and enjoyable Easter break and were able to rest up ahead of what is sure to be a busy period for the sector.

Last Thursday, the NSW Government announced it was extending an Interment Industry Levy onto all operators. This means council cemeteries will need to charge a levy for each burial and cremation they undertake.

This cost will have to be passed onto grieving families, increasing the costs of burial and cremation at what is an already very challenging time.

LGNSW understands the need for the NSW Government to undertake budget repair, but a cash grab from families of the deceased in the middle of a cost-of-living crisis is not the right way to go about this.

This new tax will particularly hit rural and regional families. Across NSW, council cemeteries undertake more than 40% of all burials, but this rises to more than 80% of all burials in rural and regional NSW.

I have written to NSW Minister for Lands and Property Steve Kamper to ask that he urgently reverse course on this new tax.

Funding for infrastructure projects and planning capability now available

Applications are now open for the Australian Government’s Housing Support Program, which aims to help deliver the National Housing Accord’s target of building 1.2 million new, well-located homes over five years from 1 July 2024.

All councils are eligible to apply for grants of up to $5 million for each project, with no co-contribution requirement, to support:

  • Infrastructure projects that support new housing, such as connecting essential services like water, power, sewerage and roads
  • Infrastructure projects that provide amenities to support new housing, including shared facilities such as community centres and parks
  • Building planning capability, including resources to support increased delivery of new housing and master planning to support increasing housing in well-located areas.

This is a highly important grant program for our sector and closely aligns with our key demand that housing densification must be supported by the strategic planning and enabling infrastructure that makes our communities liveable.

Applications close on 29 April.

Further details

I thank the Australian Government for listening to councils and their communities in delivering this funding opportunity, and I encourage all councils to consider applying for this very important funding.

NSW VET Review interim report

The NSW Government has now published the interim report into the NSW Vocational Education and Training (VET) Review.

Among the interim recommendations are that TAFE NSW needs to be more future-focussed and strategic in meeting the skills needs of NSW and must be more place based and locally focussed.

This aligns with recommendations of LGNSW’s submission to the review and our LGNSW Advocacy Priority on skills and labour shortages. LGNSW called for all areas of NSW to have equitable access to VET, tertiary courses and educational institutions, including face-to-face training and for the NSW Government to consult with councils in identifying needs.

I am pleased to see our sector’s feedback reflected in the interim report and look forward to the final report, which is due in mid-2024.

Outstanding Individual Contribution Award - Nominate a colleague today

Do you know a team member or colleague in your council who has delivered a substantial or outstanding achievement above and beyond “business as usual”?

Nominations are open for the Outstanding Individual Contribution Award as part of the 2024 Local Government Week Awards.

The award falls under the RH Dougherty Award category. Submitting a nomination is easy; it requires a 200-word response to five questions and approval by your general manager. Get in quick, as award entries close next week (on Wednesday 10 April).

Recognise and celebrate the successful achievements of your team.

Nominate now

Net Zero Fleet webinar program released

Our Net Zero Webinar Series continues with the second webinar coming up next week (on Tuesday 9 April) on Net Zero Fleet. The webinar program is now available.

Session speakers include:

  • Evan Darmanin, Principal Consultant, ChargeWorks
  • Kate Barker, Director Regional Programs, Central NSW Joint Organisation
  • Anh Nguyen, Project Officer, Net Zero Fleets, Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water.

View the program or register


Just a reminder that there are some highly significant reviews and inquiries under way for the local government sector.

I know this is a busy period as we prepare council budgets and go about our regular business of service delivery for our communities, but please ensure the voice of local government is heard loud and clear and that your council makes a submission on the following:

Please note that on behalf of the sector, I have written to the State inquiry on financial sustainability and the President of ALGA has written to the Federal inquiry, both seeking extensions to their deadlines.

We will provide any updates as soon as we have them.

Members first-access to purchase tickets

Early-bird Registrations are now open for the 2024 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.

Book now and save $200 on the Standard conference ticket.

Learn more and Register

Calling all Executive and Administrative Assistants

Join us at the 2024 Executive and Administrative Assistants' Conference, dedicated to inspiring and empowering local government executive, personal and administrative assistants to further fulfil their potential and achieve new standards of performance.

The 2023 event was sold out, so don’t miss out in 2024 and buy your early-bird ticket now for this popular conference, which will take place on 6-7 June 2024.

Learn more and register



Darriea sign-off