O’Farrell compromises over development law battle with councils

By Paul Hemsley New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has yielded, at least in part, to demands from councils that he keep his key election promise to return planning control to local governments after Minister for Planning Brad Hazzard indicated the Macquarie Street may now compromise over electorally unpopular new planning legislation. The Premier’s concession […]

More NSW Budget poured into filling mining potholes

By Paul Hemsley Deteriorating council roads and bridges in regional New South Wales suffering years of costly wear and tear inflicted by the mining industry will finally get increased financial relief worth after the O’Farrell government forked out $120 million in the 2013-14 Budget under the Resources for Regions Program. The state government funding towards […]

NSW councils try to turn Page on referendum ‘yes’ case

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski Councils in New South Wales have repudiated claims by the state’s Minister for Local Government, Don Page, that an amendment to the Constitution to allow financial recognition of local governments will lead to pork barrelling as baseless scaremongering. As the September 14th referendum debate heats up, joint presidents of […]

Panel urges O’Farrell to push ‘voluntary’ council amalgamations

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski A push by the Independent Local Government Review Panel to the New South Wales government to encourage “voluntary amalgamations” of councils has sparked widely divergent reactions from stakeholders as peak body Local Government NSW (LGNSW) continues to argue that forced mergers are not, and should not, be state government […]

NSW Treasury answers councils’ demands to end rate pegging

By Paul Hemsley Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) joint president Ray Donald has said that calls for an end to rate pegging have been backed by the state government in the latest report about the financial sustainability of councils from the NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp). Mr Donald said TCorp’s findings in the Financial Sustainability […]

Positions splinter on NSW planning overhaul

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski Extensive changes to planning and development laws proposed by the New South Wales government have produced widely divergent positions among key stakeholders in the local government and property development sectors as negotiations with Macquarie Street start in earnest. NSW Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard announced the proposed […]

O’Farrell claims deal seals stronger relations with councils

By Paul Hemsley New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrell has signed the state government up for a new deal under which councils will gain more say over plans and initiatives that affect both jurisdictions. The new deal comes in the form of the Intergovernmental Agreement to Guide NSW State-Local Government Relations on Strategic Partnerships which […]

Plan to simplify local laws gets council approval

By Paul Hemsley A push by New South Wales Local Government Minister, Don Page, to rewrite inconsistent and ad-hoc legislation governing the operation of councils into simple and cohesive laws has secured vital backing from the state’s municipal power brokers, clearing the way for a clean-out of defective regulations. The joint-president of Local Government New […]

NSW war on weeds hits the road

By Paul Hemsley Peak body Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) has applauded state government grants worth almost $1 million to nine councils and two regional projects to help rehabilitate and protect endangered plants, ecosystems and native wildlife that live on the sides of the state’s roads. Around $900,000 has been dedicated to restore often […]

NSW councils attack ministerial power grab

By Julian Bajkowski Local governments in New South Wales have slammed moves by the O’Farrell state government to push through new laws that would allow the immediate suspension of councils without prior notice as part of bid to gain greater control over the sector. Peak group Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has demanded the deferral of […]

Page pledges renewed push on Western front in NSW

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski The Local Government and Shires Association of New South Wales (LGSA) has backed a push by the state’s Minister for Local Government Don Page to arrest problems faced by regional councils in Western NSW including population decline, ageing infrastructure and financial sustainability by forging stronger relations between local, state […]

Legal headaches for NSW land values

By Julian Bajkowski and Paul Hemsley The government of New South Wales could soon be in the bizarre position of attempting to sue itself after the head of a parliamentary committee holding an inquiry into the state’s Land Valuation System suggested that Broken Hill City Council consider litigation against the state’s Valuer General. The unprecedented […]

NSW councils lash $500m in cost shifting

By Paul Hemsley and Julian Bajkowski The Shires Association of New South Wales has renewed its attack on cost shifting by the states and Canberra after a survey found that councils were left out of pocket by $499 million in the 2012/11 financial year through cross-jurisdictional financial manoeuvres. The Local Government and Shires Associations of […]

LGSA accelerates social media push

By Paul Hemsley The Local Government and Shires Association of New South Wales (LGSA) has become the latest local government peak body to launch a Twitter account as part of its website redesign and relaunch. The LGSA has joined the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV), the Victorian Local Governance Association […]


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