Regional councils across New South Wales will have access to almost $5 million to digitise their planning processes.
Up to $50,000 will be available to 95 regional councils and the Lord Howe Island Board to help with the transition to the Government’s planning portal, which will streamline council lodgements of development applications and complying development certificates.
Local Government New South Wales (LGNSW) President, Linda Scott said the funding would help councils transition their existing planning procedures to the statewide e-planning platform by 1 July 2021.
“For many years some councils have implemented their own on-line development application (DA) lodgement systems, and when the NSW Government announced plans for a uniform, digitised e-planning portal we were cautiously optimistic.”
“We welcomed the new system but wanted to ensure that councils would not be left holding the can of implementation and upkeep costs.
“While there are still teething problems as councils work to integrate the changes with their own systems, in the long term it will prove to be a time saving and cost saving process for councils that will also make it easier for applicants and local communities.”
Cr Scott said LGNSW had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the NSW Government last July ensuring provision of online tools to maximise ease of use of the new system as well as the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment’s responsibility to protect privacy and maintain the system.
The NSW Government has introduced legislation to Parliament proposing the introduction of superannuation for mayors and councillors, beginning from July 2022.
Australian Local Government Women’s Association and Local Government NSW have supported the proposal as a major step forward.
Local Government NSW President, Linda Scott said, “LGNSW has consistently argued that mayors and councillors should be entitled to receive superannuation, in line with every other Australian employee at work.
“Ensuring elected councillors receive fair superannuation will remove a very real disincentive to stand for elected office, especially for women.
“Research shows that on average, women retire with 47% less superannuation than men, so introducing superannuation to local government will allow more women to consider running to be an elected leader.
"This is critically important at a time when only one in three elected representatives in NSW local governments are women.
“Modern councils are governance-style boards of significant influence, managing community assets of immense value for the public good.
“Introducing superannuation on these earnings is recognition of this commitment, and will help encourage the broadest cross-section of the community to stand for office."
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