eNews - Elected Members
Vol 2 Issue 22 – Monday 23 October 2017
Dear Mayors and Councillors
This week I am travelling to Port Augusta for the SEGRA Conference.
Matt and I had a great three days in the Limestone Coast, and I thank all the council members and staff that made time to meet with us.
I always feel I take more away from those visits than I leave behind. There were recurring themes throughout the region and we will be working on each of those items in the lead up to the state election.
LGA President Mayor Lorraine Rosenberg
2017 LGA Conference and AGM
Our 2017 Conference and Annual General Meeting will be held at Adelaide Oval on Wednesday 15 and Thursday 16 November.
The theme of this year’s event is “Relevance, Resilience and Reputation”, and we’ve got some terrific speakers lined up, including Senator Nick Xenophon, who will provide the keynote address.
I’d encourage you to have a think about any questions you may have for the Senator as there will be a short question time after his address.
Our AGM on Thursday morning will provide members with the opportunity to guide the LGA’s programs and priorities for the coming six to twelve months through the notices of motion being considered. Agenda papers with details of these motions are now available, and can be downloaded from the LGA’s website. A draft program for the event is available here.
It’s shaping up to be a great event, and I look forward to catching up with you there.
Setting our priorities
I recently provided an update on your Association’s key priorities for the current financial year.
I want to touch this week on the process that your Board undertakes to determine and adopt these priorities.
Input from members – received through our General Meetings, discussions at LGA events and forums, and our member feedback survey – is the key driver for shaping our annual work plan.
We know, based on the feedback that you’re providing us, that the key issues important to councils are rate capping, cost shifting, asset management/infrastructure, legislation/compliance, economic development, revenue/financial sustainability, shared services, community engagement, planning/urban development, benchmarking and waste.
We also look at the external environment, and what is happening not just in our sector but also in other spheres of government, interstate and in our communities. This includes increasing costs, local government reform, funding for councils, the Federal Government’s agenda, the environment, SA’s economic outlook, sector conduct and morale, and state and local elections.
Consideration is also given to the internal environment of the LGA, including the reviews we are undertaking of our schemes and governance arrangements, internal controls, resourcing, revenue streams, and our value proposition.
The end result is a broad and yet cohesive program focused on advocating for our communities, working with councils to assist them to build capacity, and advancing the professionalism and efficiency of our sector.
The next member feedback survey will be conducted early next year, and your participation will help to shape the future directions of the Association.
It’s been great to see a number of mayors and CEOs speak out against rate capping in the media in the last couple of weeks, and reinforce the threat it presents to our communities.
We are continuing to progress with the second phase of our campaign to oppose rate capping, with a focus on mobilising the sector.
The Board has also requested that the Secretariat prepare to commence the third and final phase, which will be a political campaign in the lead up to the next state election.
The SA Liberal Party remains entrenched in their position, and confident they can convince South Australians that a policy that’s failed elsewhere will work in our State.
Of course, the State’s political landscape has shifted significantly in the past few weeks, with the emergence of Nick Xenophon’s SA Best Party as a potential major player in next year’s election.
We are seeking to meet with Nick in the next few weeks to discuss the key issues for local government, and secure a commitment from him that he will support local democracy, community-based decision making and oppose rate capping.
Free climate risk briefings for council members
The LGA will host two free briefings for council members on the importance of considering climate risks when planning for economic development, and when discharging their financial management obligations.
Code of conduct
Last week I wrote to you about the LGA’s proposal to strengthen and improve the code of conduct for elected members.
Developed in close consultation with councils, this proposal outlines new behavioural standards, and processes for managing complaints and investigations for alleged breaches of these standards.
The behaviour of council members is – by and large exemplary – but we need to stand up as a sector and show our communities that we will not tolerate bullying or harassment of any kind.
A stronger code of conduct including greater penalties for breaches is needed to ensure councils can efficiently and effectively resolve issues, and get on with the job of serving their communities.
The Government are yet to respond to our proposal, and so I would urge you to contact your local MP and let them know you support our sector’s position.
Local Government (Members Contesting State Elections) Amendment Bill
The Shadow Minister for Local Government, David Pisoni MP, has introduced the Local Government (Members Contesting State Elections) Billinto Parliament.
If passed, this Bill would require council members to take leave when standing for election to State Parliament.
As with a similar Bill proposed by the Hon Tung Ngo MLC earlier this year, the LGA is supportive in principle.
However, we have identified a number of additional issues we believe the Bill should address, including:
- The inclusion of a provision to suspend council member allowances for the duration of the leave.
- Allowance for a council to meet without a quorum if necessary during the election period, if the lack of a quorum results from the forced leave arrangements.
- Leave should apply to all council and committee roles.
- The mandated exclusion of council facilities or services for campaigning purposes.
If you have further additional concerns regarding this Bill I would encourage you to contact LGA Director Legislation, Andrea Malone at email@example.com.
Vale John Dyer OAM
I was saddened to recently hear about the passing of yet another giant of our sector – former Charles Sturt Mayor John Dyer OAM.
A long term council member and mayor, John wasn’t just a leader in his own community – he also played a huge role in the development of local government in SA.
Commencing as an LGA Board Member back in the 1970s, he was part of the leadership team that initiated the creation of the Local Government Finance Authority (where he was also a board member), and the LGA Workers Compensation Scheme, which have saved councils hundreds of millions of dollars.
He also provided leadership to the sector and represented us to other spheres of government as President of the LGA from 1993 through to 1995.
John was always a champion for accountable councils delivering better results for communities, and our thoughts are with his friends and family at this time.
For further information or to submit feedback please email: The LGA President or call 08 8224 2000.
148 Frome Street, Adelaide SA 5001 | Phone: 8224 2000 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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