President's Message



Phone: 02 9242 4000 
[email protected]

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott.

20 April 2021

I am pleased to note that Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has been able to achieve a number of positive outcomes for our members this past week.

Win – Government puts short term rental rules on hold
I am proud to report that in response to LGNSW advocacy, the NSW Government reversed its decision last week to implement new short-term rental accommodation (STRA) rules that left councils out of the decision-making loop and hindered the availability of affordable housing.

We have long called for changes to STRA rules, but what the Government proposed would have made councils take a one-size-fits-all approach, forcing them to seek amendments to the state-wide planning policy or prepare a planning proposal to effect changes such as setting cap limits.

The new policy would have also set back councils’ ability to address the growing affordable housing crisis.

Following our efforts, Planning Minister Rob Stokes put the controversial legislation back in the drawer so the Government can undertake further consultation with affected councils.

Rest assured, LGNSW will be working hard to put the case to Government that new rules must allow councils to make their own determination on appropriate levels of STRA for their areas.

LGNSW’s Locally Led campaign launches this week
Tomorrow (April 21), I will officially launch LGNSW’s Locally Led campaign, designed to drive State and Federal partnerships that will empower councils to lead the economic recovery of their communities.

If the past 12 months have taught us anything, it is that councils are the closest form of government to their communities and best placed to know what’s needed to deal with local challenges.

Local government also drives dollars further than any other level of government, and every dollar our State or Federal counterparts entrust with councils achieves significant return on investment.

The core message of the campaign is that strong councils, supported by substantial funding and resources, are key to the recovery, resilience, and growth of local communities.

This campaign will give LGNSW a strong base to advocate on behalf of our members going forward and I hope to see as many of you as possible at the breakfast launch tomorrow, which will take place at The Fullerton Hotel in Sydney. For more information please visit our website.

Win – Funding to help councils to lead next stage of flood recovery
Councils are gearing up to lead the next, more complex stage of flood clean-up and recovery, thanks to support secured from the NSW and Australian governments following LGNSW advocacy.

Funding support for flood-affected councils will be available for items such as waiving of tip fees, contractor and temporary employee costs plus any consultancy costs, the hiring and operation of additional plant and equipment and the costs of council staff overtime incurred in the clean-up.

This is a great example of State and Australian governments partnering with local government to support council efforts to provide hard-hit Aussies with a locally led recovery from disaster.

We are keen to see this level of partnership continue, not just to assist recovery efforts but also into the future to support locally led economic recovery, resilience and growth.

Please contact LGNSW’s advocacy team to find out how to tap into the funding support available to assist in clean-up and recovery efforts.

Coastal repair funds awarded to councils
Good news for our coastal councils last week with the NSW Government announcing the successful recipients of $2.3 million in funding from the 2020-2021 Coastal and Estuary Grants Program's planning stream.

Ballina Shire, Bellingen Shire, Byron Shire, City of Canterbury-Bankstown, Fairfield City, Kiama Municipal councils and Shoalhaven City and Wollongong City in partnership with Shellharbour City councils will receive funding assistance through the grants to help in managing their coastlines.

2021 Western Division Conference
Today I am in Broken Hill, an iconic part of the NSW landscape, where I have the privilege of speaking at the 2021 Western Division Conference.

The Conference is expected to attract about 150 delegates from across 13 councils in Western NSW, and it's theme is - the four pillars of sustainability – human, social, economic and environment. Frankly, it could not be more timely!

I will be speaking on the challenges councils face around financial sustainability and LGNSW's ongoing work to address this hot button issue.

These efforts include our ongoing campaign for rating and tax reform, addressing the rapidly rising Emergency Services Levy (which represents a clear and present danger to council services and infrastructure sustainability), and pushing for increased Federal Financial Assistance Grants.

I will also be there to answer any questions delegates have as part of the event.

I look forward to meeting with my western colleagues and hearing first-hand the challenges they are facing, so our association can effectively advocate on their behalf.

NSW Youth Week
This week is NSW Youth Week 2021 (April 16-24), an opportunity for young people to express their ideas and views and act on issues that affect their lives.

Many of our councils do great work with young people in their communities, and this week will provide the youth of their community with wide range of events and activities aimed at engaging and empowering our next generation of leaders. 

New LGNSW members-only website designed to add value for members
I am pleased to announce that LGNSW has officially launched its members-only website. This exclusive resource is designed to add value by allowing our members to:

  • Set content preferences
  • register for conferences and events
  • access exclusive content such as videos and documents, and
  • update contact details quickly and easily.

This new portal provides a user-friendly experience and will give access to essential information created specifically for members.

It is a first step to a range of exciting features planned for the future, including the launch of an interactive online community hub that will allow local government staff to connect with peers, share knowledge, discuss local government issues and build a network of industry contacts.

Access your account today