State, local government strike new agreement

By Angela Dorizas

Local government’s campaign for constitutional recognition has gained momentum, with the signing of an intergovernmental agreement between the NSW State Government and the Local Government and Shires Associations (LGSA) on Monday.

The formal signing of the agreement took place at the annual conference of the Local Government Association in Albury.

It establishes a framework for considering constitutional recognition of local government and begins dialogue on council concerns.

Under the agreement, the NSW Government has committed to working with councils on a joint position in the referendum on constitutional recognition; hold quarterly meetings with LGSA to discuss issues affecting the sector; and work with councils on financial sustainability.

Local Government Minister Barbara Perry said the agreement recognised the “trust and goodwill” between the two tiers of government and emphasised “partnership and cooperation”.

“What we are doing today is establishing a common goal for our two levels of government – to continue to deliver services the community needs and deserves,” Ms Perry said.

“Amongst other things, what the new agreement does is introduce new ways for effective consultation on the delivery of new council services.”

Ms Perry said the intergovernmental agreement would also promote greater transparency and accountability.

“We will continue to work with our local government partners to build a stronger, more productive economy and more open and harmonious communities,” she said.

The outgoing president of the Local Government Association, Genia McCaffery, said it was an “important milestone” for both tiers of government.

“The agreement is crucial to guarantee an efficient, collaborative approach between the two sectors, ensuring we always keep the best interests of our communities at heart,” Cr McCaffery said in a statement.

Shires Association president Bruce Miller said the sector had waited “a number of years” to formalise the local-state relationship.

“It’s great to see NSW finally brought into line with other states,” Cr Miller said.

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