Changes, challenges top LGA agenda

THE Local Government Association annual conference kicked into full gear yesterday, with delegates being addressed by the Minister for Local Government, Paul Lynch and the Minister for Planning, Frank Sartor.

Both addressed key issues relevant to this year's conference theme 'Anchoring the Future'.

Mr Lynch explained his intentions for local government in the coming year.

"I believe in the local government system," he said.

"What we must understand is that nothing stands still everything changes, and we must prepare for that. There are three main themes that council will face changes, challenges and opportunities," he said.

He congratulated local government's refusal to cut social services, urged them to stand firm against WorkChoices, and expressed his opposition for forced amalgamation.

"I do not oppose voluntary amalgamation, however," Mr Lynch said.

Keeping with the climate change theme of the conference, Mr Sartor pointed out the successes that the Building Sustainability Index had achieved for NSW.

"Other states are lamenting that they did not implement BASIX. NSW is now leading the country," he said.

He also said that the issue of housing affordability needed to be addressed.

"There are many things that influence housing affordability land supply, interest rates, disposable income, the property cycle and state and local taxes and charges," Mr Sartor said.

"The government is shouldering its share of the burden, and is committed to contributing an extra $2 billion over the next 25 years," he said.

"The success of local government depends on vision and performance."

The Shadow Minister for Local Government, Chris Hartcher, will address the delegates tomorrow.

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