These peak organisations are the key advocacy and administrative groups with an interest in local government in NSW.
Office of Local Government
The Office of Local Government (OLG) is responsible for councils across NSW. The office has a policy, legislative, investigative and program focus in matters ranging from local government finance, infrastructure, and governance, performance, collaboration and community engagement. The office strives to work collaboratively with the local government sector and is the key adviser to the NSW government on local government matters.
The OLG has responsibility for administering the Local Government Act 1993 which provides the legislative framework reflecting modern community expectations and gives councils broad powers to plan for and provide services to local communities.
Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is the peak industry association representing NSW’s general purpose councils, 12 special purpose councils and the NSW Aboriginal Land Council. LGNSW respects and acknowledges the unique culture, societies, history and traditional lands of Aboriginal Australians in NSW, and holds policies recognising Aboriginal Australians retain distinct cultural identities whether they live in urban, regional or remote areas of Australia. The Association also supports initiatives that bring about reconciliation between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples and the wider community.
LGNSW’s policy includes in-principle support for constitutional recognition of Aboriginal Australians, and the Association encourages all NSW councils to do the same. The LGNSW Position Statement on this issue can be found here.
LGNSW also operates the Local Government Aboriginal Network is made up of Aboriginal Liaison/Community Development Officers and Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal councillors working in NSW councils. The Network is designed to:
- discuss current issues in local government which affect Aboriginal peoples
- maintain a mechanism for support of Aboriginal workers and councillors in local government, along with those involved in Aboriginal Affairs that deal with local government
- create a venue for information exchange on existing and new programs and services in local government that are relevant to Aboriginal communities
- advocate and enhance the interests of rights of Aboriginal peoples in local government
- investigate initiatives to attract Aboriginal candidates to, and to advise those intending to, stand as candidates for local government elections at a local level
- promote reconciliation and best practice between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal peoples in local government
- break down barriers, answer questions and provide feedback to council staff, public and external stakeholders
- deal with sensitive issues associated with Aboriginal peoples, residents and staff
- promote council best practices with other delegates.
- many councils have their own policies at the local level – here are some examples of council statements of commitment