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Inside track: Local Government

27 January 2021

#Local Government

Inside track: Local Government

In the media

Change management crucial for local government sector in 2021
In 2021, it will be essential that councils prioritise broadening the digital tool kit and ways in which they engage with citizens, mobilise their field workers with cloud-based technologies that enable them to work from anywhere at any time, and reduce costs to service (14 January 2021).  More...


Audit finds gaps in procurement compliance
An audit of NSW councils has found gaps in procurement management that potentially put them at risk of fraud, waste and corruption. The Auditor General’s report, Procurement Management in Local Government handed down late last year looked at procurement practices at six NSW councils. View the Procurement Management in Local Government (15 January 2021).  More...

NSW wants council partnerships on smart places
The NSW Smart Places Acceleration Program allows councils to partner with the state government to drive uptake of smart technologies. The NSW government is aiming to accelerate the development of smart places across the state with the help of local councils (14 January 2021).  More...

How 'heat refuges' could help people like Ian escape sweltering days in Western Sydney
Last summer, Western Sydney residents endured 37 days of over 35 degrees Celsius. As the mercury in the region continues to climb, a Sydney council is trying to convince organisations to create "heat refuges" (14 January 2021).  More...

The building projects set to transform Sydney
Analysts say there are high hopes for the long term viability of Sydney's construction industry with billions of dollars promised for projects including a $500 million 50 storey high-rise two blocks from Circular Quay (11 January 2021).  More...

Council rating reforms on the way
The NSW Government has released a draft Bill for public consultation to implement key reforms to ensure a fairer and more flexible rating system for councils and ratepayers. Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said the Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2020 would implement the Government’s response to IPART’s review of the local government rating system (21 December 2021).  More...

In Practice and Courts

LGs eligible for environmental safe havens funding
Councils have been advised that they can apply for Commonwealth grants to build safe havens for threatened native wildlife species. Local government agencies/bodies can apply for grants ranging from $500,000 up to $1.8 million. The cut-off for grant applications is 11 January 2021, and projects eligible for grants must be completed by 31 May 2023.  More...

Australian Bushfires Disaster Emergency Declaration – understanding your privacy obligations
The Attorney-General has made the Privacy (Australian Bushfires Disaster) Emergency Declaration (No. 1) 2020 (the emergency declaration) under Part VIA of the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) (Privacy Act). The emergency declaration was made in response to bushfires in Australia resulting in death, injury and property damage occurring from August 2019 into 2020. The emergency declaration expired on 20 January 2021.


Draft Local Government Amendment (Rating) Bill 2020
The proposed reforms would see rating income growth aligned with population growth to help councils provide for growing communities while still protecting residents from unfair rate rises through the rate pegging system. The deadline for submissions is 5 February 2021. More information can be found on the Office of Local Government’s website here.

NSW OLG Circulars

20-42 Release of Exposure Draft Bill on local government rating reform
Posted on 22 December 2020.  More...

20-41 Further extension of increased tendering exemption threshold for contracts for bushfire response and recovery to 30 June 2021
Posted on 21 December 2020.  More...

NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program
Funding for the planning, design, construction or land acquisition costs for new and existing public and open space will be made available to 68 councils across NSW that are using (or mandated to use) the ePlanning system, that adopt a Local Acceleration Program, provided they can achieve improvements in assessment activity between 1 September 2020 and 30 June 2021.  More...

Proposed SEPP amendment to allow outdoor dining pilot in Sydney CBD
City Of Sydney – The department is seeking your feedback on a proposed amendment to the Codes SEPP which will facilitate a simplified, streamlined process for small bars and pubs in the City of Sydney to have outdoor dining. The Outdoor Dining Trial will run from 30 October 2020 until 31 October 2021.  More...

NSW Planning Department: Have your say – draft plans and policies

Draft local character clause
The department is exhibiting a draft Local Character Clause which is proposed to be included in the Standard Instrument Local Environmental Plan. The clause will require the council to consider its local character statement when addressing development applications. Notification start-end date 12/11/2020 - 29/01/2021.  More...

Rapid Assessment Framework
The department is working to ensure that State significant projects in NSW are supported by better assessment, better coordination and better engagement. Notification start-end date 14/12/2020 - 12/02/2021.  More...

Western Sydney Aerotropolis draft precinct plans
Penrith City Council, Liverpool City Council. Draft plans for the Aerotropolis Core, Badgerys Creek, Wianamatta-South Creek, Agribusiness and Northern Gateway Precincts are now on public exhibition until 26 February 2021.  More...


25 local government areas to receive new land valuations in 2021
Landowners in 25 Queensland local government areas will receive new land valuations in March 2021 (22 December 2020).  More...



Iontaobhas Pty Ltd v Hawkesbury City Council [2021] NSWLEC 1015
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – subdivision – impact on wetlands – endangered ecological communities.

Kaplan v Waverley Council [2021] NSWLEC 1013
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – secondary dwelling – DCP compliance.

Hassib v Cumberland Council [2021] NSWLEC 1012
APPEAL – development application – place of public worship – headlight glare – whether there is an acoustic impact – adequacy of assessment of calculated noise levels – assessment does not incorporate certain factors – whether the residents will be exposed to unreasonable noise.

Provident Homes Pty Ltd v Bayside Council [2021] NSWLEC 1011
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – boarding house – initial development in precinct up-zoned from low density to high density residential – design excellence – relationship with public reserve – street activation – relationship with adjacent site and its future development prospects.

Kavanagh v Hawkesbury City Council [2020] NSWLEC 1003
DEVELOPMENT APPLICATION – proposed construction of a dwelling house with on-site sewage disposal – Subject Site is flood liable land – Court cannot be satisfied that flooding risk to property and life is managed – insufficient information to assess adequacy of proposed sewage management.


Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020
Assent Act no: 119, Year: 2020, 15 December 2020
Introduced with the Recycling and Waste Reduction (Consequential and Transitional Provisions) Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (General) Bill 2020, Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Customs) Bill 2020 and Recycling and Waste Reduction Charges (Excise) Bill 2020, the bill establishes a framework to: regulate the export of waste materials, in line with the agreement to ban the export of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres by the Council of Australian Governments in 2020; manage the environmental, health and safety impacts of products, in particular those impacts associated with the disposal of products; and provide for voluntary, co-regulatory and mandatory product stewardship schemes.


Bills reminder

Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2020
1.15 Electoral Funding Act 2018 No 20 Schedule 2 Savings, transitional and other provisions – Schedule – Part 4 Provision consequent on postponement of September 2020 local government elections – postponed local government elections to avoid doubt, for the purposes of sections 28 and 31A of this Act, the local government elections to be held on 4 September 2021 are taken to be ordinary.
See No 30 Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2020 No 30

Regulations and other miscellaneous instruments
Local Government (General) Amendment (Tendering) Regulation (No 3) 2020 (2020-741) – published LW 18 December 2020.
Electoral Funding (Adjustable Amounts) (Administrative and New Party Policy Development Funding) Notice 2020 (2020-701) – published LW 4 December 2020 – for the purposes of Schedule 1, clause 5(6) of the Act, the adjustable amounts that are to apply for a calendar year set out in Schedule 1 are the amounts specified in the Schedule. Fees effective from 01 January 2021.

The information in this publication is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, we do not guarantee that the information in this newsletter is accurate at the date it is received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future.

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