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20-11 Final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 28) including Joint Organisations Supplement

What’s new or changing The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (update 28) is available for preparing...

20-10 Postponement of the September 2020 Local Government Elections

What’s new or changing? The Minister for Local Government has announced that the September 2020 local government elections will be...

20-09 Compliance with social distancing requirements to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus at council and committee meetings

20-09 Compliance with social distancing requirements to limit the spread of the COVID-19 virus at council and committee meetings

20-08 Release of the Guide to Webcasting Council and Committee Meetings

What’s new or changing? Since 14 December 2019, councils have been required to webcast meetings of the council and committees...

20-07 Department of Premier and Cabinet circulars on employment arrangements and international and domestic travel in relation to novel coronavirus (COVID-19)

What’s new or changing? The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) issued two circulars on 12 March 2020 in relation to...

20-06 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Development Updates

What’s new or changing The NSW Human Influenza Pandemic Plan is the whole-of-government plan for an influenza pandemic in NSW....

20-05 Release of councillor superannuation discussion paper

What’s new or changing The Office of Local Government has issued a discussion paper to seek the views of councils...

20-04 Land use planning changes to assist communities recover from NSW bushfires

Circular Details20-04 / 21 February 2020 / A692152Who should read thisCouncillors / General Managers / Council Land Use Planning staffContact...

20-03 Amendments to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 to increase the tendering exemption threshold for contracts for bushfire recovery and operations

The NSW Government is committed to helping local councils and their communities recover and rebuild in the wake of the recent bushfire emergencies including cutting red tape. Many councils are having to undertake urgent bushfire protection, recovery, and remediation operations to assist their communities.

20-02 Exemption for activities under Part 3 of the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act)

This exemption means that councils can continue to undertake these necessary firefighting, prevention and recovery activities which would usually require approval from the Commonwealth without seeking and obtaining that approval. Councils are reminded that, in undertaking these activities they must continue to comply with all applicable State legislation and requirements of relevant NSW agencies (eg: obtaining a Bush Fire Hazard Reduction certificate from the NSW Rural Fire Service).

20-01 Recovery Information for Councils impacted by bushfires in NSW

The Office of Local Government (OLG) has agreed to be the State coordinating agency between affected local councils seeking assistance and councils who have the capacity to assist. OLG has teamed up with the City of Sydney, Sydney Resilience Office and Local Government NSW to provide a disaster recovery council resource co ordination service to assist councils impacted by the bushfire crisis.

19-30 Review of Impounding Act 1993 and Release of Discussion Paper

The NSW Government has announced the first comprehensive review of the Impounding Act 1993 since it commenced (the Act).

19-31 Amendments to the electoral provisions of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005

Amendments have been made to the electoral provisions of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (the Regulation). The amendments give effect to the Government’s commitment, made in its response to the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal’s review of local government election costs, to modernise the electoral provisions of the Regulation and to align them with the more contemporary and efficient practices used at State elections in time for the September 2020 council elections.

19-29 2019-20 Draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 28)

The draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (update 28) has been released for comment. Guidance material on AASB 16 Leases, AASB 15 Revenue from Contracts with Customers and AASB1058 Income of Not‑for-Profit Entities.

19-28 Annual Report and Annual Performance Statement Checklists

Councils can use the annual report checklist and joint organisations can use the annual performance statement checklist to ensure that all the information required under the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 and other relevant legislation and guidelines is in their annual report and annual performance statement.

19-26 Councils are invited to visit OLG’s trade exhibition display booth at the LGNSW Conference 14-16 October, Warwick Farm

The LGNSW Conference is the annual policy-making event for NSW councils and associate members. It is well attended by mayors/deputy mayors, councillors, general managers and senior staff.

19-25 – Penalties available to councils for code of conduct breaches by councillors

The purpose of this Circular is to inform councils and joint organisations of the recent decision by the Supreme Court in the matter of Cornish v Secretary, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment [2019] NSWSC 1134. The Court’s decision may be found here. The Supreme Court has held that, notwithstanding the penalties available to councils for code of conduct breaches by councillors under the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Procedures), the only disciplinary power available to councils under the Local Government Act 1993 for code of conduct breaches by councillors, is the power to formally censure conferred under section 440G.

19-23 – Constitutional referendums and council polls

Councils are reminded to inform the NSW Electoral Commissioner (NSWEC) if they have resolved for the NSWEC to administer a constitutional referendum or poll in conjunction with the 2020 local government elections.

19-24 – Ward boundary and name changes

Councils must review their ward boundaries and notify the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) of any finalised changes to ward boundaries and/or names before 9 December 2019. Under section 211 of the Local Government Act 1993 councils that are divided into wards must keep ward boundaries under review to ensure the difference in elector numbers between wards does not exceed 10%. For information on how the variation is to be calculated, please consult the attachment to this Circular.

16-37 Local authority mandatory swimming pool inspection program reminder

Local authorities are required to develop and adopt a program for the inspection of swimming pools in their areas to ensure compliance with the requirements of section 22B of the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (the Act).

19-21 – Release of IPC Guideline 1 Returns of Interests

The Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has finalised and issued Guideline 1: For local councils on the disclosure of information contained in the returns disclosing the interests of councillors and designated persons (Guideline 1). Councils should review the positions they currently identify as designated persons in light of Guideline 1 by applying the principles set out in the attachment to this circular.

19-22 – Government response to IPART’s review of local government election costs

On 30 August 2019, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) provided its final report of its review of local government election costs to the Minister for Local Government. IPART’s final report is available here. On 18 September 2019, the Government released its response to IPART’s final report and announced that it intended to fund the NSW Electoral Commission’s (the Commission) core costs in relation to the administration of local government elections, thereby reducing councils’ election costs. The Government response to IPART’s final report is available here. Councils must make a decision on the administration of their elections by 1 October 2019, or soon thereafter, and must enter into any arrangement with the NSW Electoral Commissioner (the Commissioner) to administer their elections no later than 1 January 2020.

19-20 A new internal audit and risk management framework for local councils in NSW – release of discussion paper

The Local Government Act 1993 was amended in August 2016 to require each council and joint organisation in NSW to appoint an audit, risk and improvement committee (ARIC). This requirement will take effect from March 2021 at the earliest. The Office of Local Government (OLG) has developed a draft internal audit and risk management framework to support and inform the operations of ARICs. The proposed framework is based on international standards and the experience of Australian and NSW Government public sector agencies who have already implemented risk management and internal audit but has been adapted to reflect the unique needs and structure of NSW councils and joint organisations.

19-19 Resources to support implementation of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW

Councils and joint organisations were required to adopt a code of conduct based on the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code of Conduct) and associated Procedures based on the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW(Procedures) by 14 June 2019.

19-17 The appointment and dismissal of senior staff

The purpose of this Circular is to remind councils of the requirements of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) relating to the appointment and dismissal of senior staff other than the general manager.

19-16 New Property Acquisition Standards to apply immediately to all acquiring authorities in New South Wales, including all general purpose and county councils

The Department of Finance, Services and Innovation (DFSI) has produced revised Property Acquisition Standards, that apply to all acquiring authorities in NSW, including General Purpose and County Councils.

19-15 End of Year Financial Reporting 2018-19

End of year financial reporting information has been updated for 2018-19. Councils need to review the attached end of year financial reporting information and apply it when completing the Financial Statements and Financial Data Return (FDR).

19-14 Recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993

The Local Government Amendment Act 2019 was assented to on 24 June 2019 and a number of provisions came into effect on 25 June 2019. Further changes have also come into effect, or will come into effect in future by proclamation.

19-13 The development of template social media and councillor/staff interaction policies – initial consultation

In support of the prescription of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW, the Office of Local Government (OLG) is developing template policies on social media use and councillor/staff interactions. The template policies will be designed to be policies that incorporate and reflect best practice in the sector using a “best of breed” approach to existing council policies.

19-12 Consultation by IPART on recommended reforms to local government election costs and extension of the deadline for councils to make a decision on the administration of their elections

The Government has asked the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) to review the costs of conducting local government elections in NSW. IPART is now seeking feedback on its recommended changes to what councils pay for election services provided by the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC).

19-11 Release of IPART Reports into rating and compliance matters for consultation

The Government is releasing the final reports on three IPART reviews for feedback prior to developing final responses including: Review of the Local Government Rating System, Review of Reporting and Compliance Burdens on Local Government, and Review of Local Government Compliance and Enforcement. Councils are encouraged to provide feedback on the recommendations in each report by the relevant closing dates to further inform the Government’s response.

Grants Commission Circular- GC – 148 – 2019-20 Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) – advance payment and on-going transition to implement improvements to the existing allocation model

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP has advised that the Australian Government will again bring forward the first two instalments of the estimated 2019-20 FAGs.

19-10 Consultation on webcasting guidelines

OLG is seeking to provide in its guidance a range of case studies of different webcasting practices. These will offer councils considering options for webcasting their meetings a broad range of examples to draw from. OLG is seeking submissions from councils that are willing to be included as a case study.

19-09 Increase to companion animal registration fees in line with CPI

From 1 July 2019 cat and dog lifetime registration fees will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index as required by the Companion Animals Regulation 2018 and outlined in Circular to Councils 13-54.

19-08 Consultation on revised IPC Guideline 1 Returns of Interests

The draft revised Guideline provides that councillors’ and designated persons’ returns of interests must be made publicly available free of charge on a website maintained by councils, unless there is an overriding public interest against disclosure of the information.

19-07 2019/20 Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (the Tribunal) has determined an increase of 2.5% to mayoral and councillor fees for the 2019/20 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2019. The Tribunal did not undertake a broad review of the categorisation of councils and considered only those requests where an individual submission was made. The Tribunal found that the current allocation of councils into the current categories is appropriate.

19-06 – Changes to emergency services funding arrangements

The NSW Government has made changes to workers’ compensation to provide better protection for volunteer and career firefighters affected by work-related cancers. The reforms reflect existing arrangements in other States and will ensure those who provide vital community services receive adequate medical care and support. This will result in an increase in the cost of providing emergency services across the State, which will be shared, as per the usual funding arrangements between insurance providers, the State Government and local councils.

19-05 – Information about Rating 2019-20

Councils should incorporate these determinations into their 2019-20 rating structures and Operational Plan Statement of Revenue Policies.

19-04 – Final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 27) including Joint Organisations Supplement

The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (update 27) is available for preparing councils’ 2018-19 financial statements.

19-03 – 2018-19 and 2019-20 Joint Organisation Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements

The 2018-19 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements for Joint Organisations is now available. Joint Organisations should use the Calendar to assist in planning strategic and operational tasks for 2018-19 and 2019-20 as applicable.

19-02 – IPART review of the costs of conducting local government elections and extension of the deadline for councils to make a decision on the administration of their elections

Under the proposed amendments, councils will have until 1 January 2020 to resolve to make a decision on the administration of their elections and enter into any arrangements with the NSWEC.

19-01 – NSW Parking Fine – Grace Period Provisions

Commencing on 31 January 2019, councils are required to implement a regulated 10-minute grace period for certain paid parking offences of more than one hour. These changes relate to all parking fine issuing authorities, including NSW government agencies, councils and universities.

18-47 – Amendments to the election provisions of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005

Amendments have been made to the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 (the Regulation) to give effect to the Government’s response to the recommendations of the Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters (JSCEM) in relation to preference counting in local government elections.

18-44 – Commencement of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and Procedures

The new 2018 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code of Conduct) and Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (Procedures) have now been prescribed under the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005. The new prescribed Model Code of Conduct and Procedures are available on OLG’s website.

18-45 – Commencement of the new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW

Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (LGA) in August 2016 by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 (the Phase 1 amendments) provide for a model code of meeting practice (Model Meeting Code) to be prescribed by the Regulation.

18-46 – New Councillor Induction and Professional Development Requirements

Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 in August 2016 saw the inclusion in the prescribed role of councillors under section 232 a responsibility “to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a councillor”. In support of this, regulations have been made for induction and other professional development for mayors and councillors. The new requirements under the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 are outlined in the attachment to this circular. These requirements do not apply to joint organisations.

18-43 – Council decisions on the administration of the September 2020 elections

Under section 296AA of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), councils must make a decision on how their September 2020 ordinary elections are to be administered no later than 11 March 2019.

18-42 – Recent amendments to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009

The NSW Parliament recently passed amendments to the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act). These changes came into effect on 28 November 2018 and will impact on how councils fulfil their obligations under the GIPA Act.The NSW Information and Privacy Commission (IPC) has issued guidance on the changes which can be accessed here. The IPC is also reviewing and updating its guidance material and fact sheets to reflect the amendments to the GIPA Act.

18-41 – Misuse of Council Resources – March 2019 State Election

In the lead up to the March 2019 State election, councillors, council staff and other council officials need to be aware of their obligations under the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code) in relation to the use of council resources.

18-40 – Expanded powers under the Impounding Act 1993 to manage shared bicycles

Councils and other impounding authorities now have expanded powers to manage shared bicycles that cause obstructions, pose safety risks or are left unused in one place for too long based on clear, risk-based time limits.

18-39 – Debt Management and Hardship Guidelines

The Office of Local Government has issued new Guidelines to ensure best practice debt management and hardship practices in all NSW councils.

18-38 – 2018-19 draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update No. 27)

The draft 2018-19 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting has been released for comment.

18-36 – Promoting Water Safety during the 2018-19 Swimming Season

Councils play a crucial role in promoting water safety and in minimising risks associated with aquatic locations under their care and control. Councils are encouraged to promote water safety awareness at key times during the swimming season to help reduce drowning risks in backyard swimming pools, public pools, beaches and other public waterways.

18-37 – Audit Office – Local Government Fraud Control Performance Audit

The NSW Audit Office has undertaken a sector-wide performance audit of fraud controls in councils. Councils’ fraud controls were assessed against the Audit Office’s Fraud Control Improvement Kit.The resulting report, Fraud controls in local councils, found that there is significant variation between councils in the strength of their fraud control systems and that many councils have substantial room for improvement.

18-35 – The new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils

The new Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Meeting Code) has been finalised and will soon be prescribed by the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

18-34 – Reminder of 1 December 2018 deadline for councils to finalise a refund sharing agreement to share in Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) kerbside revenue

Councils must notify the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) that they have reached a refund sharing agreement with their Material Recovery Facility (MRF) operator before 1 December 2018 to enable the MRF to continue to claim refunds for eligible containers and to enable councils to receive a share of CDS revenue from their kerbside recycling stream.

18-33 – OLG Financial Reporting Workshops 2018-19

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is conducting a series of workshops commencing November 2018 and concluding May 2019 on impending Accounting Standards and the auditing of financial statements. A range of council revenue and lease contracts will be reviewed to enable councils to gain an understanding of the issues to consider in determining the impact of the new standards.

18-31 – Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation Guidelines and Process for 2019-20

The timetable for 2019-20 Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation applications has been released. The Guidelines that apply to 2019-20 Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation applications have been published.

18-30 – Changes to GIPA – IPC Advice

Development applications received or made before 1 July 2010 (as well as associated documents and records of decision) are no longer open access information within the definition under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act) and the Regulation. The new GIPA Regulation was made on 31 August 2018. It repeals and relaces the previous Government Information (Public Access) Regulation 2009.

18-28 – Annual Report Checklist

Council can use the checklist to ensure that it has included all of the information required under the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 and other relevant legislation and guidelines in its annual report.

18-29 – New structure for NSW State Emergency Service

A key part of the new structure is the adoption of a new Incident Management Operating Model (IMOM). The IMOM is the structure supporting the operational command and control arrangements of the NSW SES. Under the IMOM, service delivery will be restructured from 17 regions to 5 zones with a ‘zone headquarters’ in each zone as well as staff located at other facilities across the state.

18-27 – Review of Privacy Code of Practice for Local Government

The Code was gazetted on 1 July 2000. The Code has the effect of modifying Part 6 (the public register provisions) of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 and the application of the Information Protection Principles as they apply to local government.

18-23 – Mayoral Elections

Under section 230(1) of the Local Government Act 1993, mayors elected by councillors now hold office for 2 years.

18-24 – Status of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and Procedures

The new 2018 Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code) and Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (Procedures) have been finalised and will soon be prescribed by the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

18-25 – Status of the new Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines

Amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 in August 2016 saw the inclusion in the prescribed role of councillors under section 232 a responsibility “to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a councillor”.

18-22 – Release of the Charter for Public Participation – a guide to assist agencies and promote citizen engagement

The NSW Information and Privacy Commission has released its Charter for Public Participation – a guide to assist agencies and promote citizen engagement (the Charter). The Charter aims to assist NSW agencies to seek effective public input into the development and delivery of policies and services.

18-21 – 2018-19 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements

The 2018-19 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements is now available for councils. Councils should use the Calendar to assist in planning strategic and operational tasks for 2018-19.

18-20 – Guidance to councils on transitioning to the new Australian Accounting Standards

The Office of Local Government has prepared a Guidance Paper, which provides councils with specific direction on adopting the new standards.Further guidance material and information on the new standards will be provided in 2018-19.

18-19 – Changes relating to the publication of notices

The NSW Parliament has passed the Statute Law (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2018, which contains a number of amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act).

18-18 – 2018/19 Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (the Tribunal) has determined an increase of 2.5% to mayoral and councillor fees for the 2018/19 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2018. The Tribunal also reviewed the criteria that apply to the categories of councils and the allocation of councils into those categories. The categories enable the Tribunal to determine the maximum and minimum amounts of fees to be paid to mayors and councillors in each of the categories.

18-17 – End of Year Financial Reporting 2017-18

End of year financial reporting information has been updated for 2017-18. Councils need to review the attached end of year financial reporting information and apply it when completing their Financial Statements and their Financial Data Return (FDR).

18-16 – Increase to companion animal registration fees in line with CPI

From 1 July 2018 cat and dog lifetime registration fees will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index as required by the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 and outlined in Circular to Councils 13-54.

18-15 – Commencement of the Crown Land Management Act 2016

Local councils will commence management of Crown reserves under the Local Government Act 1993 from 1 July, and must be ready to start the transition to the new requirements from that date.

18-14 – Auditor General’s report to Parliament on the 2016-17 financial audits of NSW Councils

Councils are encouraged to review the report and continue working towards strengthening governance, financial management and reporting in the local government sector. Councils are also encouraged to engage early and work with their auditors to continue to improve the quality and timeliness of financial reporting.

18-13 – Local Government Skills Strategy

The Local Government Skills Strategy (LGSS) is being rolled out to councils across the State following a successful pilot program.The program provides local councils with better access to quality professional training to help them meet the demands of a modern local government environment.

18-12 – Management of unsolicited proposals received by councils

The Guide defines an unsolicited proposal as “an approach to Government from a proponent with a proposal to deal directly with the Government over a commercial proposition, where the Government has not requested the proposal”. This may include proposals to build and/or finance infrastructure, provide goods or services, or undertake a major commercial transaction.

18-11 – Companion Animals Regulation 2008 Review

The Companion Animals Regulation 2008 (the Regulation) is undergoing statutory review by the NSW Government. The Regulation, which is made under the Companion Animals Act 1998, provides key information about how companion animals (pet cats and dogs) are identified, registered and managed in NSW.

18-10 – Final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 26)

The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (Update 26) is available for preparing councils’ 2017/18 financial statements.

18-09 – Support for councils in relation to kerbside recycling and the impact of the Container Deposit Scheme (CDS)

The NSW Government will shortly release further information to councils to help negotiate agreements with Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) in relation to sharing the proceeds from the kerbside collection of eligible CDS containers.

18-08 – Information about Rating 2018-19

Councils should incorporate these determinations into their 2018-19 rating structures and Operational Plan Statement of Revenue Policies.

18-07 – Council Crown Land Managers – General Manager and senior staff webinar

The Office of Local Government and the Department of Industry – Crown Land will be co-hosting a webinar for council General Managers and senior staff with public land management responsibilities from 10.30am to 12.00pm on Wednesday 21 March 2018. Webinar RSVP instructions are contained in the attachment to this Circular and will also be emailed through to councils separately.

18-06 – 2018 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP, announced the winners of the eleventh annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government at Parliament House on 7 March 2018.

18-05 – Commencement of the biodiversity offset scheme across most of NSW

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is working in partnership with the Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Planning and Environment to support the commencement of the Biodiversity Offset Scheme.This will include overseeing the establishment of a network of regional biodiversity reform support officers to assist councils.

18-04 – OLG Financial Reporting Roadshows 2018

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is conducting a series of information sessions in March 2018 on impending Accounting Standards and the auditing of financial statements.There will also be an opportunity at the sessions to discuss accounting issues and provide input into OLG’s financial reporting policy and guidelines.

18-03 – Reminder: Invitation for submissions on consultation drafts of the following: Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines and Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW

The purpose of this Circular is to remind councils of the opportunity to make submissions on the Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines and the Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW which are currently on public exhibition.

18-02 – Supporting Joint Organisation success – Consultation on regulations and extension to the nomination deadline

With more than half of regional and rural NSW councils having already resolved to join a Joint Organisation (JO), results have been encouraging. A few councils have requested an extension and, to make it fair across the board, the NSW Government has decided to extend the period by which all councils must submit nominations to be part of a JO to 23 March 2018.

18-01 – Establishment of a Council Engagement Team

OLG is changing the way it engages with councils. A key step is the establishment of a Council Engagement Team. The Council Engagement Team will work closely with councils and Joint Organisations, identify, emerging issues and opportunities for OLG to address, implement programs to support improved council performance and build working relationships with State agencies.

17-43 – Boat Trailer Impounding Guidelines for councils

The Boat Trailer Impounding Guidelines (the Guidelines) provide information for authorised impounding officers about the exercise of functions under the Impounding Act 1993 regarding the enforcement of provisions relating to impounding unattended boat trailers.

17-41 – 2017-18 draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update No. 26)

The draft 2017-18 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting has been released for comment.

17-42 – Changes to Crown reserve management under the Crown Land Management Act 2016

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is partnering with the Department of Industry (DOI) – Crown Land to ensure councils are prepared for commencement of the Crown Land Management Act 2016 (CLM Act), in 2018. The CLM Act will introduce changes to the way Crown reserves are managed by councils. It is crucial that councils understand these changes and are ready for the transition.

17-39 – Consultation on the Proposed Councillor Induction and Professional Development Guidelines

Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 in August 2016 saw the inclusion in the prescribed role of councillors under section 232 a responsibility “to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a councillor”.

17-40 – Consultation on the draft Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW

Amendments made to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) in August last year by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 provide for a model code of meeting practice (Model Meeting Code) to be prescribed by regulation.

17-38 – Update on implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

New applications for development consent or modifications to an approved development under Part 4 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) (not including State Significant Development) will continue to be assessed under former planning provisions until 25 February 2018 in most local government areas.

17-35 – Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation Guidelines and Process for 2018/19

The timetables for 2018/19 Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation applications have been released. The Guidelines that apply to 2018/19 Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation applications have been published.

17-36 – Annual Code of Conduct Complaints Reporting

Under the Model Code of Conduct Procedures, each council’s complaints coordinator must report annually on a range of complaint statistics to their council and to the Office of Local Government within three months of the end of September.

17-34 – GIPA Contracts Register

Councils are reminded of requirements under Division 5 of the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 in relation to maintaining a register of government contracts.

17-32 – 2017 Edition of the Councillor Handbook

The Office of Local Government has issued an updated edition of the Councillor Handbook. General Managers and council governance staff should ensure councillors are aware of the availability of the Councillor Handbook on the Office of Local Government’s website.

17-33 – GIPA Annual Reporting Obligations

Councils are reminded of the requirement to submit their annual report to the Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) on the council’s obligations under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

17-31 – Updated Practice Note 15 – Water Safety

Coinciding with the beginning of the 2017/18 swimming season, Practice Note 15 – Water Safety (the Practice Note) has been updated to reflect key legislative changes and the latest best practice advice.

17-30 – Consultation on drafts of the new Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW and associated Procedures

The Office of Local Government (OLG) is consulting with councils and other stakeholders on changes to the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code of Conduct) and the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Procedures).

17-29 – Investment Policy Guidelines – Interim TCorp Waiver

The NSW Government has provided a waiver to certain provisions within OLG’s Investment Policy Guidelines to allow councils to engage NSW Treasury Corporation (TCorp) in the provision of investment advice.

17-28 – 2017-2018 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements

The 2017-18 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements is now available for councils.

17-27 – End of Year Financial Reporting 2016-17

End of year financial reporting information has been updated for 2016-17. The Financial Data Return (FDR) 2016-17 has also been updated to reflect the changes within the Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update No. 25). Additional worksheets have been included to capture the assets, liabilities and rating information of new entities.

17-26 – 2017 “Hit the Ground Running” Councillor Workshops for councils with elections in September 2017 – promotional flyer and online registrations

A promotional flyer has been produced to provide information to general managers and councillors about the upcoming “Hit the Ground Running” councillor workshops. The promotional flyer is attached to this Circular. Online registrations opened on Monday 11 September 2017 for general managers to enrol themselves and their councillors to attend one of the workshops.

17-25 – Container Deposit Scheme and waste management contracts

The NSW Container Deposit Scheme (the Scheme) will commence on 1 December 2017, with a 10 cent refund claimable on eligible containers. Under the Scheme, operators of Material Recovery Facilities (MRFs) will be able to claim a portion of the refund on containers collected from kerbside recycling using the MRF Protocol.

17-24 – Guidelines for Council When Notification of an Intention to use Fireworks is Received

SafeWork NSW has updated the 2008 Guidelines, which provide councils with a standard framework when deciding whether to raise an objection with SafeWork NSW about a fireworks display for which a council has received notification.

17-23 – Preparing for implementation of the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

In March 2015, the NSW Government committed to all 43 recommendations of the Independent Biodiversity Legislation Review Panel’s review of biodiversity conservation legislation.

17-22 – Oath or affirmation of office by councillors

Under the Local Government Act 1993, councillors (including mayors) are now required to take an oath or affirmation of office. The prescribed words of the oath and affirmation are contained in the attachment to this Circular.

17-21 – Reporting of Rates Permissible Income for 2017-18

On 29 November 2016, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced the 2017-18 rate-peg limit of 1.5%. The Special Schedule 8 Permissible Income Workpapers have been updated accordingly. The rate-peg for 2017-18 will be used to calculate the Permissible Income that will be reported and audited with the Financial Statements for 2017-18.

17-20 – 2017 Local Government elections – Hit the Ground Running workshops

OLG will again be providing support to councils and councillors to help them in their roles by conducting Hit the Ground Running councillor workshops following local government elections on Saturday 9 September, 2017.

17-19 – Stand for your community – candidate guide and candidate diversity resources

The guide for candidates, Stand for your community, and other candidate diversity resources have been updated by the Office of Local Government (the Office) to assist prospective candidates in making informed decisions about standing for election to local government in 2017. The resources also aimed at encouraging candidates from diverse backgrounds to consider standing for election.

17-18 – Increase to companion animal registration fees in line with CPI

From 1 July 2017 cat and dog lifetime registration fees will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index as required by the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 and outlined in Circular to Councils 13-54.

17-17 – Councillor Expenses and Facilities Policy – Better Practice Template

A better practice Councillor Expenses and Facilities Policy template (the Policy template) has been developed and is being made available for use by all councils.

17-16 – Transition from Administration to the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework for merged councils

This Circular provides advice to those councils proclaimed in 2016 in relation to Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) in the lead-up to their first local government elections on 9 September 2017.

17-15 – Release of Discussion Paper – Review of Companion Animals Regulation 2008

The NSW Government is undertaking a statutory review to remake the Companion Animals Regulation 2008 (the Regulation) prior to its automatic repeal on 1 September 2018. Two separate consultations are being undertaken as part of the review. A Discussion Paper about the Regulation has been released for public comment, marking the start of the review.

17-14 – Elections for councils affected by merger proposals on 9 September 2017

On 7 April 2017 the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP, issued an order under section 318C(1) of the Local Government Act 1993 nominating 9 September 2017 as the date on which elections will be held for councils that are the subject of pending and discontinued merger proposals.

17-11 – Council decision-making prior to the September 2017 local government elections

Clause 393B of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 limits councils’ ability to exercise some of their functions in the four weeks preceding the date of a local government election (the caretaker period).

17-12 – “Electoral matter” and use of council resources prior to local government elections

Council officials (including Administrators) must not use council resources, property (including intellectual property), and facilities for the purposes of assisting their election campaign or the election campaign of others unless the use is lawfully authorised and proper payment is made where appropriate.

17-13 – Preparation of non-residential rolls

The Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) requires council general managers to prepare and confirm the rolls of non-resident owners, occupiers and ratepaying lessees of rateable land in the council’s area (the non-residential rolls).

17-10 – Final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting

The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (Update 25) is available for preparing councils’ 2016/17 financial statements. Relevant council staff should note key changes made to this year’s Code.

17-09 – Information about Rating 2017-18

The maximum Boarding House Tariffs and maximum interest rate chargeable on overdue rates and charges for 2017-18 has been determined.

17-08 – 2017/18 Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (the Tribunal) has determined an increase of 2.5% to mayoral and councillor fees for the 2017/18 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2017.

17-07 – Update to Integrated Planning and Reporting Manual – request for feedback

In response to recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993, the Office of Local Government (OLG) is revising the Integrated Planning and Reporting Guidelines.

17-06 – Commencement of Phase 1 Amendments – An Overview

The Office of Local Government has received questions about the commencement dates of amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 made by the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016 (the Phase 1 Amendments).

17-04 – Topics for local government performance audit by Auditor-General of NSW

The Auditor-General of NSW was given the mandate to conduct performance audits of a council, or the sector, as part of the Phase 1 amendments to the Local Government Act 1993.

17-03 – 2017 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Gabrielle Upton MP announced the winners of the tenth annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government at Parliament House on 7 March 2017.

17-02 – Draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 25) and Supplement

The draft 2016-17 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting has been released for comment.

17-01 – Exhibition draft of Bill to amend the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979

As announced in May 2016, the Government is exhibiting draft amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act). The draft Bill will be on exhibition from 9 January 2017 to 10 March 2017.

16-52 – Induction and Ongoing Professional Development for Mayors and Councillors

The recent Phase 1 amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) have seen the inclusion in the prescribed role of councillors under section 232 a responsibility “to make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a councillor”. In support of this, the amendments allow regulations to be made for induction and other professional development for Mayors and Councillors.

16-49 – Fit for the Future Improvement Plans and Integrated Planning and Reporting

In 2015, all councils prepared an Improvement Plan to demonstrate how they would become Fit for the Future. As councils undertake the next cycle of Integrated Planning and Reporting, it is important that the strategies and actions identified in the Improvement Plans are reflected in the new Delivery Program and Resourcing Strategy. Councils are reminded that the Office of Local Government will monitor councils’ performance against the Fit for the Future benchmarks over time.

16-50 – Integrated Planning and Reporting requirements for councils with deferred elections

This Circular provides advice to those councils with deferred elections (see list below) in relation to their Integrated Planning and Reporting requirements until their next local government elections occur.

16-51 – Further Phase 1 amendments to the Local Government Act commence and amending regulation made

s notified in Circular 16-30, the NSW Parliament passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) in the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016. These reforms are known as the Phase 1 amendments.

16-48 – Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation Guidelines and Process for 2017/18

New councils and those where a merger is pending due to legal proceedings will not be eligible for a special or minimum rate variation for the 2017/18 rating year. The Guidelines outline the process for all other councils seeking to apply for a special or minimum rate variation for 2017/18.

16-47 – Update of Parking Area Agreement Guidelines and release of fact sheets on free parking area and strata/community parking area agreements

The Strata Schemes Management Act 2015 commenced on 30 November 2016, allowing strata and community schemes to apply to their local council to enter into an agreement to enforce parking restrictions in a scheme. This complements long-standing powers under the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), allowing private landowners to apply to their local council to enter into a free parking area agreement.

16-46 – Development of a Model Code of Meeting Practice for Local Councils in NSW

The recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) provide for a model code of meeting practice (model meeting code) to be prescribed by regulation. Work on developing the model meeting code has now commenced. The code will contain both mandatory and non-mandatory provisions. Once the model meeting code is finalised, and prescribed by regulation, councils will be required to adopt a code of meeting practice that incorporates its mandatory provisions. Councils’ codes of meeting practice must not contain provisions that are inconsistent with the mandatory provisions of the model meeting code.

16-44 – Election Timing and Cycle of Council Elections

The NSW Government is seeking to clarify the timing of electoral cycles given the ‘pending’ status of a number of merger proposals as a consequence of legal action taken by councils covered by these proposals. The information provided in this circular is based on advice received from the NSW Electoral Commissioner.

16-42 – Review of the Model Code of Conduct and Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct

The recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act) will see the pecuniary interest provisions of the Act and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 incorporated into the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (the Model Code).

16-41 – Annual Code of Conduct Complaints Reporting

Under the Model Code of Conduct Procedures, each council’s complaints coordinator must report annually on a range of complaint statistics to their council and to the Office of Local Government within 3 months of the end of September.

16-40 – 2016 local government elections – survey of candidates and councillors

Councils are required to respond to this information request under section 429 of the Local Government Act 1993.Councils can use the Statistical Information Sheets that candidates completed prior to the elections to complete the survey. Councils are required to retain these sheets under clause 391(6) of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

16-39 – 2016 edition of the Councillor Handbook

The Office of Local Government has issued an updated edition of the Councillor Handbook. The Councillor Handbook has been updated to reflect developments over the last four years and recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993.

16-38 – 2016 “Hit the Ground Running” Councillor Workshops for councils with elections in September and October 2016 – promotional flyer and online registrations

A promotional flyer has been produced to provide information to General Managers and Councillors on the upcoming “Hit the Ground Running” Councillor Workshops. Online registrations are now open for General Managers to enroll themselves and their Councillors to attend one of the workshops.

16-36 – Financial reporting obligations – AASB 124 Related party disclosures

As advised during the Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) Update 24 consultation process, the Australian Accounting Standards Board has determined that, from 1 July 2016, AASB 124 related party disclosures will apply to government entities, including local governments. In the annual financial statements for 2016-17, councils must disclose related party relationships, transactions and outstanding balances, including commitments.

16-35 – More Phase 1 amendments to the Local Government Act commenced by proclamation

As notified in Circular 16-30, the NSW Parliament passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) in the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016. These reforms are known as the Phase 1 amendments.

16-34 – $5 million NSW Boating Now grant program open for boat trailer parking solutions

On 6 September 2016, Transport for NSW (TFNSW) announced that a $5 million Boat Trailer Storage Grants Program is available under the NSW Boating Now program to support the delivery of alternative viable storage facilities and solutions for boat trailers.

16-33 – 2016 Local Government Elections – Hit the Ground Running Councillor Workshops

In collaboration with Local Government NSW, OLG will again be providing support to councils and councillors to help them in their roles by conducting Hit the Ground Running councillor workshops following local government elections on Saturday 10 September, 2016.

16-32 – Oath or affirmation of office by councillors

As a result of the recent amendments to the Local Government Act 1993, councillors (including mayors) are now required to take an oath or affirmation of office. The prescribed words of the oath and affirmation are contained in the attachment to this Circular. Oaths or affirmations of office must be taken by each councillor at or before the first meeting of the council after being elected.

16-31 – End of Year Financial Reporting 2015-16

End of year financial reporting information has been updated for 2015-16. The Financial Data Return (FDR) 2015-16 has also been updated to reflect the changes within the Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update No. 24).

16-30 – Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act

The NSW Parliament has passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) known as the Phase 1 reforms, focussing mainly on improving council governance and strategic business planning. Some of the amendments are now in force. Other amendments will be put in place over time.

16-29 – Changes to the online GIPA Tool for new councils – Update from the Information and Privacy Commission (IPC)

The formation of new councils will have implications for these councils’ management of their obligations under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009 (GIPA Act).

16-27 – Annual reporting requirements for councils with elections in September 2016

The annual report is a key point of accountability between a council and its community. The annual report outlines the council’s achievements in implementing its Delivery Program. The annual report must contain the council’s audited financial statements and notes, and any information required by the Regulation or the Guidelines. The annual report must be prepared within five months of the end of the financial year (i.e. by 30 November). A copy of the report must be posted on the council’s website and be provided to the Minister (achieved by sending an email including a link to the report on the council’s website to olg@olg.nsw.gov.au).

16-28 – Annual and end-of-term reporting requirements for councils with deferred elections

Councils with deferred ordinary elections will have adopted their 2016-17 Operational Plan by this stage and should continue to operate under this plan until 30 June 2017. The standard requirements to review the Community Strategic Plan and develop a new Resourcing Strategy and Delivery Program will be applied following the deferred election. For The Hills Shire Council, the first Community Strategic Plan must be endorsed by 30 June 2018. Councils will receive further advice on IP&R requirements, including timing for developing Operational Plans for 2017-18, in due course.

16-26 – Voting at the upcoming council elections on 10 September 2016

Ordinary local government elections in NSW are scheduled to occur on 10 September 2016 for councils that have not been merged and that are not subject to a merger proposal.

16-25 – Preparing for new Joint Organisations in each region

The NSW Government is pleased to have received 63 submissions and heard from local councils, regional bodies, peak sector bodies and agencies at 10 consultation sessions across the State, on the way forward for Joint Organisations (JOs). The Office of Local Government is leading this work in collaboration with the Department of Premier and Cabinet, local government sector and State agencies to build on lessons from the JO Pilot process, and deliver practical tools to make each JO a success.

16-24 – Section 355 committees

There have been several recent cases of section 355 committees failing to meet basic governance and accounting standards. This creates significant and ongoing risks for councils. Where councils delegate functions to section 355 committees, including the expenditure of council funds, it is important that the activities of these committees remain transparent and subject to critical oversight.

16-23 – Stand for your community guide and candidate diversity strategy publications

A guide for candidates, stand for your community, and other resources have been prepared by the Office of Local Government, in collaboration with Local Government NSW, to ensure candidates reflect the diverse communities they represent. The resources will also assist prospective candidates in making informed decisions about standing for local government elections in September 2016.

16-22 – The Local Government and Elections Legislation Amendment (Integrity) Act 2016

The NSW Parliament has passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) and the Election Funding, Expenditure and Disclosures Act 1981 (the Election Funding Act). The amendments are designed to promote confidence in the integrity of local government elections and the candidates who stand for election to councils, and to offer a more effective deterrent to misuse by councillors of their office for personal gain.

16-21 – 2016/17 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements

The Calendar includes key statutory and other reporting deadlines for general purpose councils. For new councils, some dates may have changed by Proclamation. The following items have been added to the Calendar since last year: − Local Government Elections (unless delayed). An on-line Calendar of Compliance and Reporting is currently being developed. Councils will be advised when the facility becomes available.

16-18 Council decision-making prior to the September 2016 local government elections

Clause 393B of the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005 limits councils’ ability to exercise some of their functions in the four weeks preceding the date of an ordinary local government election (the caretaker period).

16-19 – Preparation of non-residential rolls

Councils need to ensure that everyone eligible to vote in the upcoming local government elections has the opportunity to do so. Councils should include relevant information, including eligibility criteria and the process for making a claim for inclusion on the non-residential rolls on their websites.

16-20 – “Electoral matter” and use of council resources prior to local government elections

Council officials must not use council resources, property (including intellectual property), and facilities for the purposes of assisting their election campaign or the election campaign of others unless the use is lawfully authorised and proper payment is made where appropriate.

16-16 – Final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (update 24)

The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Code) (update 24) is now available for use by councils in preparation of their 2015/16 financial statements.

16-15 – 2016/17 Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal (the Tribunal) has determined an increase of 2.5% to mayoral and councillor fees for the 2016/17 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2016. Sections 248 and 249 of the Local Government Act 1993 require councils to fix and pay an annual fee based on the Tribunal’s determination of 2.5% for the 2016/17 financial year.

16-14 – 2016-17 Youth Opportunities funding now open

Applications are now open for funding from the Youth Opportunities Grant Program for projects to be run in 2017. The Youth Opportunities Grant Program provides one-off, time-limited grants of up to $50,000 to organisations and local councils for youth-led and youth-driven community projects that have a positive youth development focus.

16-13 – Taxation arrangements for new councils

Council finance staff in new councils should take action immediately, if they have not already done so, to ensure that the taxation issues associated with the new council are managed effectively. There are numerous taxation issues that a new council must consider and address early in its establishment.

16-11 – Rating Information 2016-17

Councils should incorporate these determinations into their 2016/17 rating structures and Operational Plan Statement of Revenue Policies. The statutory limit on the maximum amount of minimum rates for 2016/17 has been determined.

16-10 – Model Asbestos Policy Update for NSW Councils

The November 2012 Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils has been updated by the Heads of Asbestos Coordination Authorities (HACA). The updated policy, dated November 2015, incorporates guidance on two new categories of asbestos, being ‘loose fill’ and ‘naturally occurring’.

16-09 – Phase in of new powers to help manage boat trailer parking

The Impounding Act 1993 will now be amended by the Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailers) Act 2015 from 1 July 2016, allowing councils and impounding authorities to ‘opt in’ to take impounding action against boat trailers parked for more than 28 days. To ensure that the effectiveness of the initial implementation is thoroughly assessed, the Office of Local Government (OLG) has invited three council areas where unattended boat trailers are of concern to participate in a program to pilot the new measures.

16-08 – Approval of investigation services suppliers specified under NSW Procurement’s Performance and Management Services Prequalification Scheme for referrals of councils’ code of conduct complaints

The Internal Audit Bureau (IAB) ceased operations in December 2015. It was previously approved as an alternative provider of conduct reviewers under clause 6.2(b) of the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW (Procedures).

16-07 – Special Schedule 8 Permissible Income Workpapers 2016-17

The structure of the Financial Statements has been updated for 2015-16 and as a result Special Schedule 9 has become Special Schedule 8 to fit in numerically with the Financial Statements.On 4 December 2015, the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) announced the 2016-17 rate-peg limit of 1.8%.

16-04 – Draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting for 2015-16 (update 24)

The draft 2015-16 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting has been released for comment. Councils are invited to provide feedback on the draft Code (update 24) by Monday 28 March 2016 to: code@olg.nsw.gov.au. There is an opportunity to learn more about the changes and provide feedback via a webinar on Monday 21 March 2016 (9:30am to 11:00am).

16-03 – 2016 Ministers Awards for Women in Local Government

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP announced the winners of the ninth annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government at Parliament House on 2 March 2016. The Awards were established to recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of women in local government in NSW. The awards are delivered in partnership with the Minister for Women, the Hon Pru Goward MP.

16-02 – Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation Guidelines and Process for 2016/17

To advise councils of the release of the guidelines for Special Variation and Minimum Rate Variation for the 2016/17 rating year. A council that is affected by a merger proposal will not be eligible to apply for a special or minimum rate variation for the 2016/17 rating year. The Guidelines outline the process for all other councils seeking to apply for a special or minimum rate variation for 2016/17.

16-01 – New Local Government Act Development Consultation

Details of proposed phase 1 amendments are available through the Fit for the Future website at www.fitforthefuture.nsw.gov.au, which also provides the opportunity to submit comments online. The Office invites feedback from councils and their communities on the proposed amendments via this online facility.

15-43 – Section 23A Guidelines – Council Decision Making During Merger Proposal Periods

The Chief Executive of the Office of Local Government has issued guidelines to provide instructions to councils that are the subject of merger proposals on the appropriate exercise of their functions during the period in which a merger proposal is under consideration by the Chief Executive, the Boundaries Commission and the Minister for Local Government.

15-41 – Commencement of the Local Government Amendment (Councillor Misconduct and Poor Performance Act) 2015

Amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 made by the Local Government Amendment (Councillor Misconduct and Poor Performance) Act 2015 commenced on 13 November 2015.

15-42 – New powers to help councils and others manage boat trailers in local streets

The Government intends that the Impounding Act 1993 be amended by the Impounding Amendment (Unattended Boat Trailers) Act 2015 from 1 October 2016. This will enable councils and other impounding authorities that ‘opt in’ to take impounding action against boat trailers parked for more than 28 days.

15-40 – Recovery of outstanding Water Charges

What’s new or changing The NSW Ombudsman has advised that some councils are restricting or severing residential tenants’ water supply...

15-39 – GIPA Guideline 1 – Disclosure of information in returns of interests submitted by councillors and designated persons

What’s new or changing Councils are reminded of GIPA Guideline 1 - Local Councils on the disclosure of information (returns disclosing...

15-37 – 50% discounted registration fee for desexed animals sold by an eligible pound or shelter

The Companion Animals Amendment (Registration Fees) Regulation 2015 commenced on 29 October 2015. For dogs and cats sold by eligible pounds or shelters that are desexed at the time of registration, the fee payable is 50% of the fee for a desexed animal referred to in clause 17(1)(a) of the Companion Animals Regulation 2008. This discount also applies to animals transferred from eligible pounds or shelters to a rescue organisation for rehoming. An eligible pound or shelter includes a NSW council pound, the Animal Welfare League NSW, the Cat Protection Society of NSW Inc. and the RSPCA NSW.

15-36 – Release of IPART’s Fit for the Future report – Announcement of Stronger Communities Fund

The NSW Government has released the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) Assessment of Council Fit for the Future Proposals report. There will be a final 30-day consultation opportunity to inform the Government’s position on local government reform and respond to the IPART findings. A Stronger Communities Fund has been announced for merging councils.

15-34 – Annual Code of Conduct Complaints Reporting

Under the Model Code of Conduct Procedures, each council’s complaints coordinator must report annually on a range of complaint statistics to their council and to the Office of Local Government within 3 months of the end of September. The Model Code of Conduct Complaints 2015 collection form has been updated in response to feedback from the sector and to align reporting with the Your Council (previously Comparatives) publication.

15-33 – Review of Swimming Pool Barrier Requirements

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, has commissioned an independent review of backyard swimming pool barrier requirements. The Review is being undertaken by Mr Michael Lambert. The review aims to simplify the regulatory framework and encourage greater barrier compliance in order to help reduce child drowning deaths and near drowning injuries.

15-31 – Managing Aggressive Dogs in the Community – Responsibilities of Councils

Councils are reminded of responsibilities under the Companion Animals Act 1998 (the Act) to help protect their community against the risk of attacks by aggressive dogs. Councils are also encouraged to conduct and maintain records of regular inspections of prescribed enclosures for categorised dogs.

15-30 – Amendments to Australian Accounting Standards – Fair Value Disclosures of Not-for-Profit Public Sector Entities

The Australian Accounting Standards Board has issued an amending standard (AASB 2015-7) changing the levels of disclosure councils need to make in relation to the fair value for particular assets.

15-28 – Joint Organisation Pilot: progress and upcoming consultation

On 10 July 2015 representatives from the five pilot Joint Organisations (JOs), and other key stakeholders, participated in a workshop to mark the midpoint in the JO pilot process. The workshop was an opportunity to reflect on the successes, challenges and learning from the pilot to date and to input into the policy framework for the enablement of JOs.

15-29 – Auditing of the Report on Infrastructure Assets (Special Schedule 7)

The 2013/14 Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update 22) advised that the Report on Infrastructure Assets (Special Schedule 7) would be audited from 2015 onwards. In recognition of work councils are currently undertaking associated with the Fit for the Future reform process, this audit will now be phased in over three stages.

15-27 – Review of Swimming Pool Barrier Requirements

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, has commissioned an independent review of backyard swimming pool barrier requirements to increase backyard pool safety. Councils are encouraged to provide information about backyard pool safety and compliance through the review process.

15-26 – End of Year Financial Reporting 2014/15

End of year financial reporting information has been updated for 2014/15. The Financial Data Return (FDR) 2014/15 has also been updated to reflect the changes within the Local Government Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (Update No. 23).

15-24 – 2015/16 Determination of the Local Government Remuneration Tribunal

The Local Government Remuneration Tribunal has determined an increase to mayoral and councillor fees of 2.5% for the 2015/16 financial year, with effect from 1 July 2015.

15-25 – Increase to companion animal registration fees in line with CPI

From 1 July 2015 cat and dog lifetime registration fees will increase in line with the Consumer Price Index, as recommended by the Companion Animals Taskforce, and outlined in Circular to Councils 13-54.

15-23 – Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (version 23)

The final Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting (version 23) is released for use by councils in preparation of their 2014/15 financial statements.

15-22 – Public Interest Disclosure Obligations

1 March 2015 marked the 20th anniversary of the Public Interest Disclosures Act 1994 (PID Act), an important milestone for integrity and accountability of the NSW public sector. This milestone presents a timely opportunity for General Managers to increase staff awareness by promoting their Councils’ internal reporting policy and procedures.

15-20 – Your Council – Profile & Performance of the NSW Local Government Sector 2013/14

Your Council – Profile & Performance of the NSW Local Government Sector 2013/14 report and supporting data has been released. The report provides councils and their community with information on key measures of local government performance.

15-21 – Filing fees payable by councils for Court and Tribunal matters

The NSW Department of Justice has received advice from the Crown Solicitor that, pursuant to the provisions of the Civil Procedure Regulation 2012, the Corporations Act 2001 (Cth) and the Local Government Act 1993, councils must pay the corporate fee when filing a matter in a court or tribunal. Courts and tribunals have been instructed to charge councils the corporate fee, as opposed to the standard fee, from 1 July 2015. This fee will not be back-dated.

15-18 – 2015/16 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements

The 2015/16 Calendar of Compliance and Reporting Requirements is now available for councils. The Calendar includes key statutory and other reporting deadlines for all general purpose councils.

15-19 – Fixing Country Roads – Grant Writing Workshops

The next rounds of the NSW Government’s Fixing Country Roads grants program are expected to award up to $500 million over a ten year period. This will be complemented by a $400 million Fixing Country Rail program, targeting upgrades to the rail network connecting country NSW to ports.

15-17 – Fit for the Future – Methodology and templates

IPART has issued the final methodology for its assessment of councils’ Fit for the Future proposals, as well as details about the proposal submission that will be through an online portal.

15-16 – Reporting of Rates Permissible Income for 2015/16

On 2 December 2014, the Independent Regulatory and Pricing Tribunal announced the 2015/16 rate-peg limit of 2.4%. The Special Schedule 9 Permissible Income Workpapers have been updated accordingly. The rate-peg for 2015/16 will be used to calculate the Permissible Income that will be reported and audited with the Financial Statements for 2014/15.

15-15 – Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program – Year 2 (2015/16) – Call for applications

The NSW Government has committed $900,000 over 3 years to the Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program (2014-15 through to 2016-17). Applications for the second year of funding for the program can now be made.

15-14 – Information About Rating 2015/16

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, has determined the maximum Boarding House Tariffs and maximum interest rate chargeable on overdue rates and charges for 2015/16.

15-13 – Fit for the Future Expert Panel

The Minister for Local Government has announced that the Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) will undertake the role of the Expert Panel in assessing councils’ Fit for the Future proposals. IPART will be inviting submissions on the proposed assessment methodology.

15-12 – Draft Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting 2014-15

The draft 2014-15 Code of Accounting Practice and Financial Reporting has been released for sector comment.

15-11 – 2015 Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government

The Minister for Local Government, the Hon Paul Toole MP, and the Minister for Women, the Hon Pru Goward MP, announced the winners of the eighth annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government, as part of International Women’s Day celebrations at Parliament House on 3 March 2015. The Awards were established to recognise the outstanding contributions and achievements of women in local government in NSW.

15-09 – Changes to the land acquisition process for acquiring authorities in NSW

The process for acquiring privately owned land by compulsory process has been changed to improve fairness and transparency. The new requirements apply to all acquiring authorities in NSW, including local councils. Compliance with the requirements is mandatory.

15-08 – New NSW Online Registry for court services to save time and money

Councils can now access court services more cheaply and quickly via a new NSW Online Registry.

15-07 – Misuse of Council Resources – 2015 State Election

In the lead up to the 2015 State election, council officials need to be aware of their obligations under the Model Code of Conduct regarding the use of council resources.

15-06 – Information and Privacy Commission – Privacy Governance Framework

The Information and Privacy Commission NSW (IPC) has launched the Privacy Governance Framework (PGF), a new resource to help councils manage their responsibilities under the NSW privacy regime.

15-05 – Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program – Successful Applicants in Year One

Commencing in 2014/15, the NSW Government has committed $900,000 over 3 years to the Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program. Applications for year one of the program have now been assessed and 24 projects with a total project value of $303,375 have been approved.

15-04 – Release of Fit for the Future Template 3 (Rural Council Proposal)

The Fit for the Future Template 3 (Rural Council Proposal) and guidance material has been finalised, following consultation with the sector, and is now available to councils.

15-03 – Disability Inclusion Action Planning requirements of local councils

The Disability Inclusion Act requires all local government organisations to produce a Disability Inclusion Action Plan (DIAP) setting out measures enabling people with a disability to access general support and services and fully participate in the community.

15-02 – Disclosure of Information by Councils to NBN Co Limited for the delivery of the National Broadband Network

The Attorney General has approved the making of a public interest direction under section 41 of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (the PPIP Act), titled 'Direction on the Disclosure of Information by Councils to NBN Co Limited for the delivery of the National Broadband Network'. The public interest direction was signed by the NSW Privacy Commissioner on 7 November 2014 and has effect for a period of 18 months.

15-01 – Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014

The Local Government Amendment (Elections) Bill 2014 has now passed the NSW Parliament. The amendments give effect to recommendations made by the NSW Parliament’s Joint Standing Committee on Electoral Matters in its inquiry into the 2012 Local Government Elections. They are designed to improve the administration of council elections, give councils more choice in the administration of their elections, reduce costs and improve voter participation.

14-31 Announcement of changes to improve boat trailer parking

The NSW Government will make $5 million available for new dedicated off-street boat trailer storage solutions. Next year the Government will seek legislative changes to provide councils with the power to impound boat trailers parked for more than 3 months.

14-22 – Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program – call for applications

The NSW Government has committed $900,000 over 3 years to the Responsible Pet Ownership Grants Program. (2014-15 through to 2016-17). Applications for the program can now be made.

14-02 – Approval of Internal Audit Bureau as an alternative provider of conduct reviewers

As Chief Executive of the Division of Local Government, and in accordance with clause 6.2(b) of the Procedures for the Administration of the Model Code of Conduct for Local Councils in NSW, I have approved the Internal Audit Bureau (IAB) as an alternative provider of conduct reviewers.

13-50 Building a New Local Government Performance Measurement Framework

The Division of Local Government, with local government sector representatives, has commenced work on a new Local Government Performance Measurement Framework and would like feedback on a Discussion Paper. A supporting survey will also be issued to General Managers for completion.

13-23 Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils – S23a Guideline

The ‘Model Asbestos Policy for NSW Councils’ has now been released as a guideline under section 23A of the Local Government Act 1993. This means that councils must consider the Policy when developing, adopting and implementing asbestos policies for their local government areas.

12-20 September 2012 Local government elections – Use of council resources and electoral material

With the upcoming local government elections in September 2012 this circular provides a reminder of the obligations of council officials in relation to the use of council resources and the potential for council publications to be considered ‘electoral material’.

12-19 – September 2012 Local Government Elections Caretaker Provisions

With the upcoming local government elections in September 2012 this circular provides a summary of the new caretaker provisions pursuant to the Local Government Act 1993 and the Local Government (General) Regulation 2005.

12-14 Candidate diversity strategy and thinking about becoming a councillor?

A guide for candidates, stand for your community, and other resources have been prepared by the Office of Local Government, in collaboration with Local Government NSW, to ensure candidates reflect the diverse communities they represent. The resources will also assist prospective candidates in making informed decisions about standing for local government elections in September 2016.

12-12 Amendments to the Local Government Act 1993

The purpose of this circular is to advise councils and other stakeholders of recent changes to the Local Government Act 1993.

12-09 Fair Valuation, infrastructure, property, plant and equipment

In July 2006, the former Department of Local Government mandated that NSW councils commence valuing infrastructure, property, plant and equipment at fair value, in accordance with Australian Accounting Standard AASB 116, "Property, Plant and Equipment". This valuation requirement was introduced using a staged approach. The first asset class to be revalued at fair value was water supply and sewerage services assets.

11-42 Developing a Council Community Events Policy – A Toolkit for NSW Councils

The purpose of this Circular is to advise that Developing a Council Community Events Policy - A Toolkit for NSW Councils is now available on the Division’s website at www.dlg.nsw.gov.au (see ‘Publications’ and ‘Directory of Policy Advice for Councils’ under ‘Events Management and Filming’).

11-23 GST Certificate – Revised Requirements

The purpose of this circular is to advise councils of changes to the requirements for GST compliance for the 2011/12 financial year.

11-27 Findings from review of councillor expenses and facilities policies

A sample of 47 councillor expenses and facilities policies, prepared under sections 252 and 253 of the Local Government Act 1993 and the Guidelines for the payment of expenses and the provision of facilities for Mayors and Councillors in NSW, have been reviewed to assess compliance with the legislation and Guidelines. The Guidelines were first released in September 2006 to promote accountability and transparency in the payment of expenses and provision of facilities to mayors and councillors to meet community expectations.

11-01 – Revised Ministerial Investment Order

A revised Investment Order pursuant to section 625 of the Local Government Act 1993 has been issued. The Minister for Local Government signed the revised Order on 12 January 2011 and it was published in the NSW Government Gazette on 11 February 2011. It replaces the Order dated 31 July 2008.

10-34 Capital Expenditure Guidelines

The Guidelines have been issued pursuant to section 23A of the Local Government Act 1993. As such, councils must consider these Guidelines before committing to capital projects. It should be noted that councils are expected to undertake the processes outlined in the Guidelines, irrespective of the funding sources of projects.

10-33 – Alcohol Prohibited Areas – Amendments to the Local Government Act 1993

The NSW Parliament has passed the Local Government Amendment (Confiscation of Alcohol) Act 2010. The Act was assented to by the Governor on 7 December 2010 and its provisions commenced on that date. The purpose of this Circular is to advise councils of the effect of these amendments.

10-11 Release of Investment Policy Guidelines

The Guidelines have been developed to assist councils with the preparation of an investment policy and the prudent and appropriate management of council’s surplus funds.

09-36 – Release of revised councillor expenses and facilities guidelines

The purpose of this circular is to advise councils of the release of revised Guidelines for the payment of expenses and the provision of facilities for mayors and councillors in NSW.

09-25 – Land Under Roads

The Department has now determined that in accordance with AASB 1051 Land Under Roads, a council may elect to recognise or not to recognise as an asset land under roads acquired before 1 July 2008. Land under roads acquired after that date is accounted for under AASB 116.

09-11 Local Government Filming Protocol

The purpose of this Circular is to advise councils of the release of the revised Local Government Filming Protocol (the Protocol).

08-07 – Valuation Of Property, Plant & Equipment At Fair Value

In preparing and planning for this process, several questions have arisen in relation to the fair value of these asset classes. This circular proposes to address these issues for councils.

07-49 – Criteria For Applications Under Section 358 Of The Local Government Act 1993 – Formation Of Corporations Or Other Entities

This circular is to replace Circular No. 56 of 2006. An additional fourth administrative criteria for assessing applications has now been adopted. Section 358 of the Local Government Act 1993 restricts councils in forming or participating in the formation of a corporation or other entity without first obtaining the consent of the Minister for Local Government. This restriction also extends to acquiring a controlling interest in a corporation or other entity.

07-27 – Approval Of Water Recycling Projects And Private Water Supplies

The purpose of this Circular is to provide local councils with information about the standards and approvals applying to water recycling projects and private water supplies. NSW Health developed this information in consultation with Sydney Water and the Departments of: Local Government; Water and Energy, Environment & Climate Change; and Planning.

06-32 – Provision of financial assistance under Section 356

The department’s Local Government Reform - Promoting Better Practice reviews of councils have identified evidence that some councils are providing financial assistance without complying with their obligations under this section and are failing to make considered and transparent decisions on grants of financial assistance.