A new agreement between councils and the State Government establishes the kind of equal partnership needed to really deliver good outcomes for NSW communities, Local Government NSW (LGNSW) said today.
LGNSW President Linda Scott said the official signing of a new Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) was signed today by Premier Gladys Berejiklian, Deputy Premier John Barilaro, and Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock.
The signing took place at a special event at Warwick Farm, ahead of the opening of LGNSW’s Annual Conference tomorrow.
“Minister Hancock described the IGA as marking a new era of cooperation between the two tiers of government, and I think that is true,” Cr Scott said.
“The lapsing of the last IGA heralded a tumultuous period for the sector involving a wave of forced council amalgamations.
“This commitment to an equal partnership incorporates some very important principles:
- No forced council mergers
- The quickest possible return to democratically elected representation following the appointment of any Administrators, and
- Consultation with LGNSW before any laws or significant policy initiatives impacting on the sector.
“The IGA also recognises cost shifting.
“Importantly, it commits the State Government to consideration of councils’ financial capability and budget cycles before they are asked to provide new or expanded functions.
“Even more importantly, by signing this agreement the Berejiklian-Barilaro Government commits itself to alleviate potential budgetary impacts on councils where possible.”
The new IGA outlines the need to work together to deliver on the key priorities of the Berejiklian-Barliaro Government, including the NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2018-2038 and the Future Transport Strategy 2056.
“The local government sector and the State Government both believe an effective and strong partnership is the best way to drive positive policy outcomes for the people of NSW,” Cr Scott said.
“That’s why it recommends formal Memorandums of Understanding between LGNSW and key State agencies: by further embedding this constructive approach across all levels of government and the public sector we can ensure energy is focussed on delivering for the public good.
“On behalf of the local government sector, I thank Premier Berejiklian, Deputy Premier Barilaro and Mrs Hancock for their commitment to working with the sector in the interests of the communities right across NSW.”