Local Government NSW welcomes reforms that strengthen the sector and accountability to the community, but encourages the Minister for Local Government to focus on real, meaningful change that delivers genuine benefits for communities.
Peak body President Linda Scott said councillors and staff were already subject to much more rigorous standards than State members of Parliament and State Government employees.
Clr Scott said the vast majority of councillors and council staff work diligently and conscientiously to serve their communities – openly, honestly and in good faith.
“When the Minister last announced this nearly 12 months ago, LGNSW noted proposals – such as a councillor having to declare a cup of coffee or even the offer of one – took focus away from important reforms local government needs,” she said.
“Council-bashing never fails to generate publicity, but we call on the Minister to pursue genuine reform to strengthen the sector, especially to allow councils to create better financial sustainability.
“We look forward to working with the Minister to better support councils so they can, in turn, continue to deliver for their communities.
“We need to encourage passionate and skilled people to nominate and work for the sector, not discourage them through unnecessary red tape, and a presumption that they will misuse their power.
“The Government needs to address real financial sustainability issues – such as fixing the rating system, ending cost-shifting and providing a better share of tax revenue to support the local services communities depend on every day.
“LGNSW will continue to progress positive and responsible game-changing initiatives like LGNSW’s world-first Local Government Capability Framework, which defines core knowledge, skills and abilities – including around integrity – for elected members and local government employees.”