Major parties respond to LGNSW election priorities

As the voters of NSW head for the polls this weekend, the state’s peak body for local government has laid out its election priorities – and the major parties have given their response.

Darriea Turley: critical time for local government

LGNSW President Darriea Turley says the election is taking place at a critical time for local government as the sector struggles with cost shifting, a defective rate peg system, disaster recovery and climate challenges, shifting demographics and rising costs.

LGNSW’s says its election priorities, grouped around ten key themes, are focused on ensuring the sector is equipped with resources and support .

In other words, councils want a government that will not only acknowledge the important role of local government in NSW but provide the sector with the money that will free it to do its job.

Key priorities are grouped around financial sustainability, disaster resilience, roads and infrastructure, housing and homelessness, circular economy, communities, rural and regional health, the planning system, skills and labour and collaboration between the state and local government sectors.

Some specific items include:

  • a public inquiry into cost shifting
  • legislation to ensure Rural Fire Service assets are vested in the RFS
  • funding community recovery officers in councils
  • establishment of a homelessness and housing crisis ministry
  • amendment of the Biodiversity Offsets Scheme to address regional development barriers
  • a formal intergovernmental agreement between the Premier and the LGNSW President
  • a local government Closing the Gap grant program

How the parties have responded:


Local Government Minister Wendy Tuckerman says a reelected Liberal and Nationals government hopes to have the opportunity to engage further with the sector.

In a detailed response to LGNSW’s priorities document the government makes broad statements about supporting financial sustainability for local government and recaps assistance already being provided and initiatives being undertaken by the government. Other priorities in the LGNSW document are ”noted”.

The response does not commit to creating a homelessness ministry, saying there is already Minister for Homes, and a Minister for Families and Communities dedicated to addressing homelessness and housing needs.

It’s also clear on the tussle over RFS assets, saying they are not the property of the government and local councils have financial control of the assets. “Councils are therefore required to record and report on these assets in order to comply with accounting standards,” the response says.


Labor doesn’t address LGNSW’s priorites in detail, but opposition local government spokesman Greg Warren says in his response to LGNSW that a Labor Government will be committed to “supporting a local government sector that is focused on sustainable and liveable communities” and commits to an intergovernmental agreement with the peak.

Labor will also implement a review of the financial modelling of councils, he says, describing it as “clearly broken”.


Local government spokesperson Jamie Parker says the Greens will work to return power to local councils and give local communities to opportunity to vote to de-amalgamate councils.

The Greens would also abolish compulsory planning panels, fund community infrastructure with a developer profits tax, boost state government funding to councils and prohibit anyone with developer or real estate interests from holding office or running as a candidate.

“The Greens will also make it easier for councils to adjust rates in response to local conditions, and shift the burden of funding emergency services and disaster recovery away from local ratepayers, back onto the state government,” Mr Parker says in the Greens’ response.

The NSW election will be held on Saturday March 25.

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