The Minister for Local Government reconvened the Ministerial Advisory Group (MAG) in late 2019 as a commitment by the NSW Government to strengthening collaboration and engagement with the local government sector.

The primary purpose of the MAG is to consolidate the views of key stakeholders and provide strategic advice on relevant issues. The MAG will play a crucial role in establishing a stronger working relationship between the local government sector and the Minister.

The MAG is convened by an independent chair, Mr Peter Duncan AM. Membership was invited from peak bodies including Local Government NSW, United Services Union and Local Government Professionals, NSW Branch.


Chair: Mr Peter Duncan, AM

Peter is an experienced non-executive board director and has an advisory business dealing in management, leadership, strategic advice and infrastructure. He is the chair and non-executive director of the InfraSol group and is a director of the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service.

In August 2017 Peter was appointed as a Commissioner on the NSW Independent Planning Commission. He is a member of the Advisory Board of the Office of Projects Victoria – and has been a member of a number of national and state government ministerial advisory committees since 2004. Peter is currently chair of the Australian Road Research Board and is a senior advisor to the NSW/Victoria governments and ACA facilitated Construction Industry Leadership Forum.

Peter Duncan’s advisory work over the last three years has also covered management consulting, assurance, project health checks and advice in the areas of Health, Justice – Corrections, Water, Agriculture, Housing, Land and Property including unsolicited proposals and construction industry policy.

Prior to moving from his 40-year public service career in 2016, he was Chief Executive of Transport NSW – Roads and Maritime Services and for over 20 years was chief executive or Executive Director in a broad range of agencies including Services, Technology and Administration, Forestry, Olympic Coordination and Premier and Cabinet.

LGNSW representative: Cr Linda Scott

Cr Linda Scott (B.Sc. [Psych.), GAICD, JP) is a City of Sydney Councillor and former Deputy Lord Mayor, first elected in 2012 and re-elected in 2016.

She is currently serving as the elected President of Local Government NSW and elected Vice-President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). Linda is a regular guest on Sky News and a committed advocate for the public good. She serves on the boards of CareSuper, the NSW Environmental Trust, the NSW Public Service Medal Committee, the Road Freight Industry Council and is an alternate delegate to the Central Sydney Planning Committee. Linda is a strong advocate for local government and works to ensure councils across NSW are given the tools and support to invest in the areas that matter to their communities.

She has successfully advocated for significantly increased public funding for libraries, more local government control in planning decisions and a significant reform of local government electoral funding to increase fairness and transparency. She has also successfully fought for City action to create more affordable housing, increased early education and care centres and new skating facilities, the use of historical and indigenous languages in City parks and landmarks and increased City funding for action on dangerous climate change.

LG Professionals, NSW representative:  Mr Stewart Todd

Stewart is fast approaching 20 years’ experience working in local government in NSW. During this time, he has gained a wealth of experience in a very broad range of local government functions, including information technology, parks and landcare management, business management, economic development, communications, internal audit, corporate planning and governance.

He currently holds the position of General Manager at Narrabri Shire Council, a position he has held for the last four (4) years; in late 2018 the Council was awarded the prestigious AR Bluett Memorial Award; being recognised as the most progressive council in the state. The Award is considered the pinnacle of Local Government achievement.

Stewart holds a Master of Business Administration, majoring in Accounting as well as a Bachelor of information Technology and a Graduate Certificate in Economic Development; he is also a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (GAICD) program.

USU representative: Graeme Kelly

Graeme Kelly is the General Secretary of the New South Wales Local Government, Clerical, Administrative, Energy, Airlines & Utilities Union (USU) appointed 10 September 2010 and formally elected in May of 2011. Graeme’s 30 year history with the USU and the former Federated Municipal and Shire Council Employees’ Union (MEU) saw him hold positions as both Organiser in the Metropolitan Region, WHS Officer and Manager of the Southern Region. Graeme was also a Director on the Northern Sydney Waste Board from 1994 to 1998. Graeme is the 10th General Secretary of the MEU/USU in its 117 year history.

Prior to being employed by the Union, Graeme worked for Canterbury City Council where he was also actively involved in Union activities as a delegate.

Since his election, Graeme has served as a Trustee on the Board of Local Government Superannuation and is currently a member of the ALP Administrative Executive Committee, the ALP National Policy Committee, the ALP National Executive, the Ministerial Advisory Committee for NSW Local Government as well as the Australian Services Union National Executive.

Graeme also holds the position of Vice President of Unions NSW and serves as the Chairman of the Bundeena Community Services Club.

In 2019 Graeme was awarded an OAM for his contributions to Industrial Relations.

Additional members

In December 2019 it was resolved that an EOI process would be released in 2020 to seek additional representatives to join the MAG. This process will seek people with suitable experience and expertise in fields related to local government who can contribute to the collective provision of advice to the Minister for Local Government.

Community Representatives

Ms Vanessa Chan

Vanessa is a contemporary local government leader and public sector management consultant with a reputation for innovation and driving sectoral transformation. She has over 20 years experience in strategy and operations across various NSW metropolitan Councils, including almost a decade in executive management. This includes successfully leading Ashfield Council as General Manager before being appointed to lead the Inner West Council merger.

Over the last few years Vanessa has been working in top-tier private sector consulting, including as a Director with the Public Sector Practice at Deloitte and Senior Associate at Spencer Maurice. She has recently worked with the National City District Commission in Port Moresby (PNG’s only local government authority) supporting the Governor to better align local government operations to emerging strategic priorities. Vanessa is the Chair of Head Start Homes, an innovative new social enterprise supporting First Nation families move from social housing into home ownership.


Cr Col Murray

Cr Col Murray has a lengthy history in local government, totalling 16 years. Cr Murray is now in his fourth term on Tamworth Regional Council, and his seventh term as Mayor. He served two years as Deputy Mayor prior to becoming Mayor, and before running for Council he operated two businesses for about 35 years in Tamworth. Cr Murray serves on a number of Boards and Associations.  He has previously served as the elected Chair of the Namoi Joint Organisation, Country Mayor’s Association, and Regional Cities NSW.  He is now the current Deputy Chair of the Namoi Joint Organisations, and Secretary of Regional Capitals Australia. Cr Murray is involved in many Tamworth Regional Council Working Groups and Committees, serving six years on the Audit, Risk and Improvement Committee.


Mr John Roydhouse

John Roydhouse JP is a strong advocate for regional NSW and recognises the essential services provided by Local Government.

For many years, John was the CEO of the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia – NSW Division (IPWEA NSW), working directly with local government engineers and asset managers, advocating on their behalf and developing solutions to assist the sector.

John previously chaired the Australian Industry Skills Council (AISC) Local Government Industry Reference Group during its recent review of the Local Government Training Package providing a focus on skills development and encouraging career pathways in local government.

John currently is a member of the Regional Road Transfer and Road Classification Review Independent Panel and resides in South West Rocks on the Mid North Coast, involving himself in the local Rotary club and Marine Rescue NSW.