Hornsby Shire Council
Attachment to Report No. CC87/08
Executive Manager's Report
Corporate & Community
Date of Meeting :
LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE 2008 -
SUBMISSIONS OF MOTIONS AND NOMINATIONS OF VOTING DELEGATES
The 2008 Annual Conference of
the NSW Local Government Association (LGA) will be held in Broken Hill from 25
October to 29 October 2008. The Conference provides an opportunity for Council
to submit motions for debate and decision by delegates from member local
governments across New South Wales. Each Division of Council has been provided
with an opportunity to prepare draft motions for consideration at this Meeting.
The motions are either based on resolutions made by Council over the past 12
months or are issues which ExCo or the individual Divisions consider
appropriate. The Report also provides information about the proposed method of
determining Council's delegates for the Conference, noting that the first
meeting of the new Council elected on 13 September 2008 will occur on 8 October
The purpose of this Report is to
formally adopt motions to be submitted to the Annual Conference by Council and
to provide information about the nomination of Council's voting delegates.
At the time of writing this
Report, a Conference brochure has yet to be distributed by the LGA to member
councils. Council officers have,
however, contacted staff of the LGA who have verbally advised that relevant information
is expected to be distributed to councils in early July 2008. Those staff have
also advised that the general guidelines for the Conference will remain the
same as in previous years and confirmed the dates applicable to the submission
of motions and the nomination of voting delegates. Should there be any
significant variations evident once the Conference material is received,
Councillors will be advised of such changes.
Delegates for the
Voting delegate entitlements for
each council at the LGA Annual Conference are determined by population of the
council area using Australian Bureau of Statistics figures. As Hornsby Shire
Council's population is greater than 150,000, it is entitled to seven voting
delegates. Council would normally determine its voting delegates for the
Conference at the same time as adopting motions to be submitted to the
Conference i.e. as part of consideration of this Report. However, noting that the local government
elections are to be held on 13 September 2008, it will not be possible for
Council to determine its voting delegates until the first meeting of the new
Council which is scheduled to be held on 8 October 2008. It is recommended,
therefore, that a report be prepared for Council's consideration at the 8
October 2008 Meeting seeking the nomination of Council's voting delegates for
the Conference. This will also allow
Council to advise the LGA of the voting delegates prior to their deadline of 13
Motions for the Conference
The closing date for submission
of motions is 11 August 2008. As
such, it is recommended that Council make a determination at tonight's meeting
of motions to be submitted for consideration at the LGA Conference.
The LGA have previously advised
that motions which seek to vary existing policy or address new or emerging
policy issues will be classified as Category One motions and will be scheduled
for debate at the Conference by inclusion in the Business Paper. All other
motions, which reaffirm existing policy or call for actions to be taken in
relation to existing policy, will be classified as Category Two motions. They
will also be included in the Conference Business Paper and may be individually
brought forward to be debated with the agreement of the Conference, otherwise
they will be referred to the Executive of the Association for
consideration. Where appropriate, some
motions may be actioned before the Conference.
The LGA's 2007 Annual Conference
information booklet required that each motion submitted by Council for debate
at the Conference be formatted in the manner indicated below. Following discussions with the LGA it is
apparent that a similar format will apply for the 2008 Conference. A copy of the 2008 information booklet will
be placed on file when received.
• Motion Text -detailing the proposed addition, deletion or introduction
• Note From Council - a
summary, explaining the reason for submitting the motion and how it alters or
adds to existing policy
• Detailed Supporting Case
- this should be on a separate page giving reasons for raising the issue. It
will be used by the LGA to progress the matter once Conference has dealt with
it. The Supporting Case will not be
included in the Business Paper.
(N.B. Only the Subject/Heading,
Motion Text and Note From Council are included in the Conference
The following is a set of
motions which have been prepared by the relevant Council Divisions for
consideration by Council. They are either based on resolutions made by Council
over the past 12 months or are issues which ExCo or the individual Divisions
have considered appropriate for submission.
Subject: Sustainable Local Infrastructure Funding
That the Local Government Association:
1. Request its
members, particularly those in the Greater Metropolitan Area, to withdraw their
commitment to housing and employment targets until a new and sustainable
infrastructure funding framework is developed and adopted by the State
Government and the Association; and
2. That the new
framework be based on local government accountability and less Ministerial
control, and that it involve either:
a) a reformed
rate pegging approach with IPART recommending rate rises; or
developing endorsed long term infrastructure funding and management plans which
will justify rate rises, with expenditure overseen by an independent body such
as the Auditor General.
Note from Council
The almost insurmountable
problem of financing an immense backlog in infrastructure provision,
maintenance and renewal requires a new and sustainable funding framework with
growth capacity, greater local government control and accountability and less
State Government intervention.
Detailed Supporting Case
There is overwhelming and
undisputed evidence that local government in Australia, and in particular NSW,
faces almost insuperable challenges in coping with the problem of financing an
immense backlog in infrastructure provision, maintenance and renewal. The State
Government’s decision to rush through changes to the setting and collection of
development contributions without considering their long term impact can only
compound the challenges. This is particularly relevant to the provision in a
timely way of the services and facilities required by the new population and
employees targeted by the government, particularly for the Greater Metropolitan
The State Government’s decision
is particularly short-sighted given the:
• findings and recommendations of the 2006 Percy Allan
• Australia 2020 Summit’s conclusion
that one of the principal determinants of community strength is the adequacy of
the physical and social infrastructure in local communities;
• Productivity Commission’s 2008
finding that the State Government has chosen to have more influence on local
government revenue raising capacity than other State Governments (with
deleterious consequences) and the suggestion for periodic reviews of the
restrictions imposed on local government
A review of local and national
public inquiries into local government infrastructure funding supports
Professor Phibbs of UWS in his assertion that the present arrangements are
broken. While Section 94 has operated reasonably well over 30 years, recent
experience suggests that it is no longer a sustainable funding source. Other
available funding sources, such as rates, have limited growth capacity
particularly with Ministerial control.
The Government has also been reluctant to approve special levies,
imposing tortuous hurdles to their timely implementation. Special purpose
grants are largely short term, are unpredictable and usually require matching
It is time for a new and
sustainable funding framework based on greater accountability by local
government and less control by the State Government.
Subject: Increase in
Public Library Funding
That the Local Government
Association request a meeting with the Premier of NSW to seek an increase in
State Government funding for public libraries so that they are able to continue
to provide vital services and programs to the community.
Detailed Supporting Case:
The NSW Public Library Network
is a cohesive, state-wide network based on cooperation between local councils,
public libraries and the State Library of NSW. Local government meets more than
90% of the costs of the Network. NSW
State Government funding of public libraries has fallen drastically in recent
decades, from 23% in 1980 to 9% in 2007/08. Such a percentage contribution in
2007/08 compares unfavourably to funding provided to public libraries by other
State Governments. For example, in
Victoria, which operates a similar public library system to NSW, public
libraries received funding from their State Government totalling 20% of their
expenditure. Also, in 2007/08, the Victorian state government budgeted for the provision of an extra $2
million to public libraries.
Public libraries play a vital
educational, cultural and social role within the community. Libraries provide services and programs to a
wide range of groups within the community.
There is increasing demand from the community for services and programs
along with pressure from changing demographics. These include the provision
of technological infrastructure
necessary to ensure equitable access to new technologies and e-government
initiatives, and the provision of resources to support literacy programs such
as the Premier's Reading Challenge. These all
place escalating pressure on an already limited budget.
Only with increased funding from
the NSW government can public libraries deliver programs that meet community
and government needs.
Subject: Provision of Appropriate Market Rental Funds
or Significant Capital Funds to Grant Funded Programmes in Order to Reduce
their Reliance on Local Government to Subsidise Rental Costs.
That the Local
Government Association call on the NSW and Federal Governments to increase
rental and capital funding provided to non-government and community based
organisations that auspice and implement state and federally funded programmes
such that the funds provided meet market rental requirements.
Note from Council
Hire fees and charges for
Council owned and operated facilities are heavily subsidised and reflect a partial
cost recovery ethos.
The lack of funding
associated with rental or capital costs within available grants places a
requirement on non-government and community based organisations that auspice
and implement grant funded programmes to seek fee waivers or free accommodation
from local government or other organisations in order to accommodate the funded
Subject: Use of Variable
Message Signs in Road Reserves
That the Local Government
Association seek alterations to the relevant legislation to limit the use of
variable message signs in road reserves to matters associated with road safety
and traffic management only.
Note from Council
Council has become aware of the
increasing use of the variable message signs in road reserves for advertising
purposes. These signs are regularly
placed in locations of high traffic concentration, such as at intersections,
where the variable messages displayed (sometimes flashing with moving text) can
easily distract drivers from the driving task.
Further, drivers have become accustomed to seeing such signs used to
convey messages relating to road conditions and/or safety matters. The short term nature of many advertising
displays means that it is not feasible to pursue the removal of these signs
under existing environmental legislation, and enforcement action (fines, etc)
whilst providing a deterrent, will not create a safer environment for
drivers. It is understood that the
Tasmanian government has recently enacted legislation that achieves this
purpose. There is no objection to the
display of such signs in locations that are not visible from a road.
Subject: Bus Stops -
Compliance with Disability Discrimination Act (DDA)
That the Local Government
Association make representations to the State Government requesting financial
support to councils when implementing improvements to bus stops required to
ensure they are DDA compliant.
Note from Council
Councils are in the process of
ensuring that bus stops in their areas comply with the requirements of the
Disability Discrimination Act (DDA). The
provision of suitable public transport facilities in a council area has become
an increasing responsibility of councils notwithstanding that the Ministry of
Transport actively controls bus routes and public transport matters. The increasing emphasis on the use of public
transport as a substitute for private vehicle based transport imposes
additional cost considerations on councils where such costs have not previously
been required. For many councils the
cost of upgrading bus stops in their area to full compliance with DDA
requirements is likely to be significant.
Financial assistance would be seen as support by the state for councils'
actions in delivering improved public transport which is essentially a state
Subject: Enforcement -
Moving Traffic Offences
That the Local Government
Association make representations to the State Government to provide council
rangers with authorisation to enforce ‘No Right Turn’ and ‘U Turn over barrier
lines' offences in school zones.
Note from Council
Currently, Council rangers are
not authorised to enforce ‘No Right Turn’ and ‘U Turn over barrier lines'
offences. The active patrolling of
school zones and parking activities near schools is seen as a priority by many
councils. Council rangers are regularly
on site and may enforce parking provisions in association with local school
communities. The ability to also enforce
certain moving traffic offences in school zones would provide additional
encouragement for safe driving and parking practices in these critical
locations. It is understood that local
police may have other higher priority matters to attend to at times when
pedestrian activity at schools is high, and the flexibility available to
council rangers to enforce such offences would contribute to improved safety at
Subject: Disabled Parking Spaces
The Local Government
Association support the introduction of time restricted disabled parking spaces
in certain limited circumstances.
Note from Council
Council wishes to provide short
term parking for the disabled in close proximity to shops and other locations
where short term parking is desirable.
Current legislation discourages Council from taking such action, as the
provision of such parking for the disabled could be used for all day parking by
commuters, contrary to its desired function.
The added flexibility created by establishing a separate class of
disabled parking where time restrictions can be implemented in consultation
with local Access Committees, would be to the advantage of the disabled
Subject: Amendment of the Fringe Benefits Tax
That the Local
Government Association lobby the Commonwealth Government to amend the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act
1986 to encourage more sustainable transport practices.
Note from Council
benefits tax concessions on employer-provided motor vehicles promotes greater
usage and results in higher greenhouse emissions. Council is calling on the Federal government
to encourage greater use of public transport by exempting it from fringe
benefits tax and to amend the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to
promote more sustainable vehicle use.
benefits tax on employer-provided motor vehicles currently encourages people to
drive further which is inconsistent with attempts to promote greenhouse
friendly practices of reduced vehicle use and increased public transport
use. According to the National Transport
secretariat, company cars constitute 40% of cars during peak hour and 18% of
total car trips. In many councils and companies cars are offered to staff as a
part of their salary package and require them to travel 25,000 kilometres each
year in order to achieve a lower tax rate. If a staff member is having difficulty
reaching the specific amount of kilometres they often swap vehicles with
someone who drives more often or travels greater distances to reach the
fringe benefits tax arrangement arose out of an attempt to save smaller
companies from having to estimate what proportion of their company vehicle use
was for business purposes and what proportion was for personal use by filling
out time-consuming logbooks. The system
changed by assuming that the more kilometres travelled the greater the
proportion of business use, and the fringe benefits tax payable should
consequently be lower, for example:
- less than 15,000 kilometres, 26% is considered to be
personal and the fringe benefits tax is 26% of the value of the car;
- between 15,000 and 25,000 kilometres, the fringe benefit
tax is 20%;
- more than 40,000 kilometres, the fringe benefits tax is 7%
of the value of the car.
car parking is also exempt from fringe benefits tax in many situations, despite
the clear financial benefit that it provides to employees. If public transport tickets or bicycles are
offered as fringe benefits, they are taxed at the full fringe benefits tax rate
of 48.5% - clearly inequitable with the 7-26% rate applied to cars. In effect the government is encouraging
driving motor vehicles and discouraging cycling or public transport use and
therefore contributing to higher pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
Some examples of current practices around the
world to encourage environmentally friendly transport use are:
- The UK, who previously used
the same method as is currently used in Australia, now calculates fringe
benefits tax based on the amount of CO2
that a car emits - the more CO2 emitted, the higher the tax.
- In the USA, employers can
give their employees tax-free public transport vouchers, passes or fares valued
at up to $100 each month. A study
carried out in Canada found that these amendments would result in a net benefit
from a reduction in required road maintenance, air pollution and traffic
is calling on the Federal government to encourage greater use of public
transport by exempting public transport from fringe benefits tax and to amend
the Fringe Benefits Tax Assessment Act 1986 to encourage more sustainable
Funds have been allocated in the
2008/09 Budget for attendance at the Annual Conference.
Attendance at the Annual
Conference will be in accordance with the Councillors' Expenses and Facilities
Policy. There are no other policy implications other than those raised in the
context of the Local Government
Consultation has been undertaken
with each Division in respect of possible motions for the Conference. Regard
has also been given to Council resolutions over the past 12 months
TRIPLE BOTTOM LINE SUMMARY
Triple Bottom Line is a
framework for improving Council decisions by ensuring accountability and
transparency on social, environmental and economic factors. It does this by reporting upon Council’s
As this Report simply provides
Council with information and does not propose any actions which require a
sustainability assessment, no Triple Bottom Line considerations apply.
The officer responsible for the
preparation of this Report is the Administration Coordinator - Ruth Robins who
can be contacted on 9847 6011.
1. Endorse the submission
of motions included in this Report to the Local Government Association for
consideration at the 2008 Annual Conference.
2. Determine if it wishes
to submit any additional motions for discussion at the 2008 Annual Conference
of the Local Government Association.
3. Note that a further
report will be prepared for consideration at the 8 October 2008 Ordinary
Meeting to determine voting delegates for the 2008 Annual Conference of the
Local Government Association.
ROBYN ABICAIR GARY
Administration Services Branch Corporate and Community Division
required for Meeting: F2004/09974