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                    [post_date] => 2017-08-01 11:17:12
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                    [post_content] => 

The NSW Government has once again announced that the Powerhouse Museum will be moved from its current Harris Street, Ultimo location to a riverside site in Parramatta, next to the Riverside Theatre, which will undergo unspecified redevelopment and become 50 per cent state-owned.

The government has remained stum on what it will do with the current Ultimo site, but it is widely expected to be sold off for unit development.

What we know

The NSW Government has reached an agreement with Parramatta Council for a massive investment in new cultural infrastructure in Parramatta, which is the first major step in the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Sydney’s west.

Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “the $140 million agreement laid the foundations for a vibrant arts and cultural precinct in Parramatta and secured the best site for the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta.

“Today is a major step forward in the NSW Government’s commitment to relocating the Powerhouse Museum to Western Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said.

“The relocated Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta will be the anchor for arts and culture for the region, and now the site for the museum is locked in.

“The Powerhouse at Parramatta will include the best exhibits currently at Ultimo, and will build on them. The new Powerhouse in Parramatta will be bigger and better than anything this State has seen and will be a drawcard for domestic and international visitors.”

The $140 million in-principle agreement will see:
  • The NSW Government purchasing the riverfront site for the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences).
  • The City of Parramatta committing $40 million to fund and grow arts and culture in the community over the next 20 years.
  • A partnership between the NSW Government and the Council for a $100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Theatre with the State taking a 50 per cent interest in the project.
The NSW Government said it will retain an arts and cultural presence at the current Ultimo site following the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, and is undertaking a business case to determine the future of the site. More info needed The NSW Labor Opposition said the Berejiklian Government has bungled the Powerhouse Museum move from Ultimo to Parramatta at every step of the process – “continually chopping and changing” and providing no detail on the fate of the Ultimo site. Originally, the then Premier Mike Baird said it would cost “$10 million to relocate the Powerhouse” but it has spiralled to a minimum of more than $1 billion. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Arts Minister Don Harwin have provided no answers for what was going to happen to the Ultimo site and were unable to state the final costs. “Today’s announcement only related to buying the Parramatta land. This also gave rise to even more questions, putting further doubt into the community’s mind on the Government’s ultimate plans for the Ultimo site,” Labor said. “NSW Labor is calling on them to release the business case and detail the scale of the development plans at the Ultimo site.” And Parramatta is stuck with the decision The NSW Government's decision comes just a month before popular council elections are held, which means that councillors elected in September will have to honour the agreement. And the decision to commit to the sale of council assets so close to an election was criticised by at least one community group. "We are highly suspicious of a state government-appointed administrator selling major Parramatta council assets one week short of caretaker mode and six weeks before council elections," Suzette Meade, president of the North Parramatta Residents Action Group told The Sydney Morning Herald.   [post_title] => What will go into the blig black hole in Ultimo? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government will move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-go-blig-black-hole-ultimo [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-01 11:19:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:19:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27734 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27608 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-13 22:10:05 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-13 12:10:05 [post_content] => Hornsby Shire Council has voted to submit a proposal to the NSW Government seeking the return of territory that was lost last year. In May 2016, the NSW Government removed the land south of the M2 Motorway from Hornsby Shire and gave it to the City of Parramatta Council. “We didn’t agree with the loss of that territory,” Hornsby Shire Mayor Steve Russell said. “The government’s declared purpose of its local government reform was to create larger and more financially secure councils, a proposition we agree with in the 21st Century with increasing need for bigger and better facilities." The loss of Epping and other suburbs south of the M2 Motorway has had a severe negative impact on council’s budget, with a reduction of more than $9 million in the recurrent budget surplus. “This is very frustrating, particularly when Hornsby Shire Council was one of the most efficient councils in NSW and an active supporter of the government’s plans for reform. “With Ku-ring-gai Council’s win in court, it is not clear what the government’s position is in regard to continuing with the amalgamation of Hornsby and Ku-ring-gai councils. “We are asking the government to return our lost territory if the amalgamation does not proceed.” An olive branch At this week’s meeting, council also resolved to prepare a second submission that would see a redrawing of the Shire’s southern boundary. It is a compromise proposal that would allow Carlingford to remain in the City of Parramatta and consolidate the Epping town centre in Hornsby Shire. “This proposal would give council added financial security, whilst it would also avoid returning to the situation of having significant town centres managed by multiple councils,” Mayor Russell said. A rebuke of major proportions The Greens, who have been fighting council amalgamations from the outset, see the Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council’s frustrations as the final nail in the coffin of the merger idea. The coalition has lost its last ally in local government, as Hornsby Council delivers a 'stinging rebuke' to the Berejiklian forced amalgamation mess, the Greens said. Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council is the last remaining elected council that supported the Coalition's forced amalgamations. Greens MP and local government spokesperson David Shoebridge said: "Every rat is leaving the Coalition's forced council amalgamations ship and it's well and truly time that Captain Berejiklian scuttled the whole affair. "The Liberal-dominated Hornsby Council had been one of the few elected councils that supported the Coalition's forced amalgamations because they thought they would gobble up Ku-ring-gai. "Now its planned take-over of Ku-ring-gai Council has fallen over, Hornsby Council has turned against the Berejiklian government and is demanding its high-rating land back. "The decision to hand over parts of Epping and Carlingford to Parramatta Council was never about the best interests of those residents, it was designed to deliver money and Liberal votes for a super-sized Parramatta Council. "Treating residents as pawns in the Coalition's politicised boundary changes and forced amalgamations is a very low form of politics that the Greens fundamentally reject. "While there are good democratic and financial reasons to see Hornsby Council restored, it is deeply troubling that the Liberal Council says it wants the decision reversed to get back 'developable assets in the Epping area worth between $50 million to $100 million'" "No Council should be eying off public land solely as a development opportunity. The Greens support restoring Hornsby Council to its former boundaries, but it must be with a promise to keep scarce public land in public hands," Mr Shoebridge said. The council report states: "Council's view is that our ratepayers are likely to judge both the council and the government harshly if council seeks a rate variation to recover a significant portion of the lost revenue.  "The NSW Government's execution of its local government reform agenda has to date comprehensively failed the residents and ratepayers of Hornsby Shire.  "The matter has been made worse by the NSW Government's subsequent inaction and apparent indecisions.  "The council is not even able to carry out something as fundamental as the appointment of a permanent general manager, and has now appointed it's third acting general manager since August 2015.  "No other council in NSW has been subjected to such a significant loss of territory, on top of an amalgamation. The situation is worsened by the fact that the NSW Government never signalled its intention to transfer the area south of the M2 Motorway to Parramatta.  "Since the areas south of the M2 Motorway were removed from Hornsby Shire Council, there have been no formal surveys or other research into the opinions among the local community.  "By the government's action and inaction, it's strongest supporter of local government reform has been left weaker with less scale and capacity than before. And it is the only local government where this has occurred." [post_title] => Give us our land back [post_excerpt] => Hornsby Council resolves to seek the return of its lost territory. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => give-us-land-back [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-13 22:19:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-13 12:19:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27608 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27598 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27599" align="alignnone" width="300"] The grey area shows the area to be relinquished by Shenhua (NSW Government).[/caption] The NSW Government has reached an agreement to protect (some of) the Liverpool Plains by scaling back the section of the Shenhua Watermark Coal exploration licence that encroached on the flat fertile agricultural land of the plains. Minister for Resources Don Harwin said the agreement will see the government refunding around $262 million in exchange for 51.4 per cent of the company’s exploration licence being handed back, originally sold to Shenhua by the previous Labor government. “Any future mining activity will now be restricted to the ridge lands, with a commencement still subject to further management plans and the ongoing monitoring of strict conditions already in place.” Labor is questioning the money NSW Labor is calling on the government to cancel the Shenhua Watermark project altogether, criticising the decision to compensate the company $262 million for 51.4 per cent of their exploration licence, which expired in October 2016. According to the NSW Labor statement, a clause in the exploration license states: “If the licence holder fails to commence substantial development of a mine within eight years of the awarding of the original exploration license… the Minister may cancel any title in place.” NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley said the decision by the Government will inevitably see mining on the fertile Liverpool Plains, and the payment was unnecessary.  “It is outrageous that this government will hand back hundreds of millions of dollars for Shenhua Watermark to continue exploration in Liverpool Plains, after it was already given eight years. The exploration licence needs to be cancelled. “The license holder has not commenced substantial development of a mine, despite receiving an exploration licence almost nine years ago. “Labor is calling on the NSW Government to shut Shenhua Watermark down because the potential impact to the environment is unacceptable.” Shadow Minister for Resources Adam Searle added: “While Shenhua Watermark is free to pursue a new lease, even on a smaller parcel of land, the NSW Government is under no obligation to pay them any money and should not do so – but especially after their exploration license has already expired… This is grotesque corporate welfare when they should be investing in new classrooms and hospitals.” Farmers are not happy, either Liverpool Plains farmers have reacted angrily to the NSW Government’s announcement that it has bought back only half of the coal exploration licence over the Liverpool Plains owned by Shenhua, allowing the company to go ahead with an open-cut coal mine in the midst of NSW’s food bowl. Breeza farmer Andrew Pursehouse, whose property adjoins the proposed Shenhua coal mine, said: “We’ve been betrayed by the NSW Government. If it was serious about protecting farmland, it would have cancelled the coal licence outright and stopped this coal mine. "Carving out areas that Shenhua wasn't going to mine won't change a thing. Anything less than the full cancellation of the Watermark Project will fail to protect the farming systems of the Liverpool Plains. "The community is fully committed to fight this coal mine going ahead no matter what this government decides." National campaigner for Lock the Gate Alliance Phil Laird said: “The NSW Government could have cancelled this licence and banned coal mining on our agricultural land. Instead, they are handing tax-payers’ money to a foreign-owned company and waving them through to mine our food bowl. It beggars belief. “We will support the farming community of the Liverpool Plains to keep this mine out of one of the best agricultural regions in this country. [post_title] => Did the NSW Government have to pay for the coal licence? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government spent $262m, but did it need to pay even a cent? [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-pay-coal-licence [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-12 20:51:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-12 10:51:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27598 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27586 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-11 12:25:26 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:25:26 [post_content] => Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Treasurer Dominic Perrottet have named NSW Customer Service Commissioner Michael Pratt AM as the new Secretary of the Treasury of NSW and Secretary of NSW Industrial Relations. Ms Berejiklian said Mr Pratt’s experience in senior public sector roles, as well as in the banking and finance sector, made him the right candidate to lead the Treasury. "Michael has the perfect mix of private sector and public service expertise, and he will bring the best of both worlds in leading the Treasury at this exciting and important time for our state,” Ms Berejiklian said. “Michael’s focus as Customer Service Commissioner has been on putting people at the heart of service delivery – one of the NSW Government’s key priorities and something he will be bringing to his new job at Treasury. “I look forward to working with him and the Treasurer on making Treasury an even more outcomes and customer focused agency.” Mr Perrottet said Mr Pratt would continue the important work of reforming the way public finances are managed, ensuring taxpayer funds are spent in ways that make a real difference to people’s lives. “I have worked closely with Michael over recent years, and I know he is passionate about reforming Government so that it works harder than ever for the people of NSW,” Mr Perrottet said. “As Customer Service Commissioner, Michael has revolutionised the way the Government delivers services to citizens, and his widely respected financial acumen and capacity to think outside the box are huge assets to the people of NSW. “The task ahead is formidable – continuing to keep NSW finances in excellent shape and laying the fiscal and economic foundations for the future – and I look forward to working with Michael as we face those challenges.” Mr Pratt’s career in banking and wealth management throughout Australia, New Zealand and Asia includes roles as CEO of Consumer and SME Banking, North East Asia, with Standard Chartered Bank, Group Executive of Westpac Consumer & Business Banking, CEO of National Australia Bank in Australia, CEO of Bank of New Zealand and CEO of Bank of Melbourne. Mr Pratt will commence in the role from 1 August. He succeeds outgoing Secretary Rob Whitfield, who announced his resignation in late June. A new Customer Service Commissioner will be announced in the coming months. [post_title] => New NSW Treasury and Industrial Relations Secretary announced [post_excerpt] => Michael Pratt AM is the new NSW Secretary of the Treasury and of Industrial Relations. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => new-nsw-treasury-industrial-relations-secretary-announced [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-11 12:33:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-11 02:33:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27586 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27546 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-05 15:24:04 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-05 05:24:04 [post_content] => On 15 May 2017, the NSW Government announced it will open the Inner West and Southwestern suburbs of Sydney public bus services to tender. These services are currently operated by the government-owned State Transit Authority of NSW (STA) under contract to Transport for NSW (TfNSW) and include approximately 223 routes servicing Lidcombe, Strathfield, Burwood, Five Dock, Ashfield, Marrickville, Kogarah, Leichhardt, Newtown, Balmain, Glebe, Pyrmont and the CBD. The government will make existing assets available to the new operator, including depots at Burwood, Kingsgrove, Tempe and Leichardt. The government will also continue to set fares and regulate safety and operational standards. The contracts may go up to ten years before re-tendering is required.  Travelling public not happy: Commuter Day of Action collects hundreds of signatures Bus drivers and campaign volunteers hit bus stops across Sydney, distributing flyers and talking to commuters as part of the ‘Don’t Sell Our Buses Campaign - Day of Action’ in protest of Transport Minister Constance’s plans to privatise Sydney’s buses. RTBU Bus and Tram Secretary Chris Preston said the ‘Commuter Day of Action’ was organised to inform the public about what is about to happen to their bus services and how they can do something about it. “Bus drivers and campaign volunteers hit the busiest bus stops right across the city to let people know that Andrew Constance is selling off their buses. “The ‘Don’t Sell Our Buses’ campaign has had excellent community support at the events we’ve held in Marrickville, Leichhardt and in the city of Sydney. Many of the volunteers out today had attended those meetings.” 120 rail replacement buses promised for North Shore In the meantime, Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance promised to spend $49 on more than 120 new buses, extra routes and thousands of added bus services to keep commuters moving during the upgrading of the Epping to Chatswood line in late 2018 ahead of the start of Sydney Metro. During the upgrade, travellers will have access to seven new bus routes that will connect customers to impacted stations every six minutes at peak times, including a dedicated shuttle service to Macquarie University. Whether the new services (and the rest of the Sydney bus network) may later be offered up for private tender is an issue that has not been addressed by the government. [post_title] => NSW Government opens bus privatisation tender [post_excerpt] => Bus drivers continue their campaign against the privatisation of 223 bus services in Sydney. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-government-opens-bus-privatisation-tender [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-05 15:24:04 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-05 05:24:04 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27546 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27520 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-07-03 13:35:18 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-07-03 03:35:18 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27521" align="alignnone" width="300"] Photo: supplied / NSW Government.[/caption] The New South Wales Government has committed to investing $207 million over four years to encourage children to be more active outside school, by offering a $100 rebate for sporting and fitness related costs. NSW Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet announced as part of the budget that the ‘Active Kids Rebate’ will be available for every family with children in school from early next year.  Families will be able to claim the rebate on items such as sport registration and membership costs, as well as swimming lessons. From 2018, parents in NSW will be able to claim up to $100 per school-aged child, per year, as a voucher to reduce the cost of after-school and weekend sport, and active recreation activities. The program is aimed at helping to reduce overweight and obesity rates of children by five per cent over 10 years. These activities could include sports such as:
  • netball,
  • football,
  • basketball,
  • swimming classes or lessons,
  • gymnastics,
  • athletics and others.
Sports Minister Stuart Ayres said the annual rebate would be available for every school child wanting to get involved in community sport and fitness. “We would love to see more young people participating in sport, we know promoting active habits early is a key factor for ensuring a generation of healthy kids and tackling rising obesity rates,” Mr Ayres said. Parents will be able to register online and can take a sports voucher to a registered sports club or provider to receive the rebate. Mr Ayres was especially keen for parents of girls to take up the offer, and called on parents and sporting codes to use the introduction of the Active Kids Rebate to spark a major increase in the participation rate of girls in sport. “Only a third of girls aged between 5-8 years participate in organised sport or fitness outside of school hours, and for females aged between 15-17 years the participation rate is 8% less than the state average.” Further detail about the Active Kids voucher is available on the NSW Office of Sport website https://sport.nsw.gov.au/activekids Active Kids Rebate: join the discussion This Active Kids Rebate will reach approximately 500,000 children annually. The $207 million investment is a great start, but what other options do Government and Local Council have to activate their young community? The National Sports Convention taking place in Melbourne from 20-21 July will be exploring this challenge by bringing together global leaders and Australia-wide case studies.  With over 85 speakers at the convention, a key focus will be on young people and participation. There are international speakers advising strategy such as:
  • Jennie Price, Chief Executive - Sport England. England: Growing Participation in Local Settings.
  • Kate Palmer, Chief Executive Officer - Australian Sports Commission. Australia: Reimagining Sports Policy to Position Australia as the World’s Most Successful Sporting Nation.
  • Peter Miskimmin, Chief Executive Officer - Sport New Zealand. New Zealand: Locally Led Planning and Delivery.
  • Cathy Jo Noble, Executive Director - Canadian Parks and Recreation Association. Canada: A Framework for Recreation.
The program also includes a number of presentations and case studies from city councils including Auckland, Blacktown, Brimbank, Logan and Maribyrnong. More information is available at the convention website: www.nationalsportsconvention.com.au. [post_title] => How will you spend your $100 Active Kids Rebate? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government's Active Kids Rebate is set to stimulate discussion on sports participation. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-spend-100-active-kids-rebate [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-04 11:42:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-04 01:42:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27520 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27454 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-23 13:30:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:30:41 [post_content] => NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet announcing the 2017 NSW Budget. Pic:YouTube.      NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet has sprinkled some of his budgetary largesse on local councils and stumped up billions for infrastructure including roads, bridges, schools, hospitals, bike paths and sports facilities and set up a new fund to kickstart a regional economic renaissance in the state. Mr Perrottet’s first budget was fuelled by a $4.5 billion surplus with coffers swollen from the NSW property boom and a major asset sell-off and local government will be more than pleased to rake in some of the spoils gained from stamp duty and the polls and wires sell off. For the Budget NSW overview click here. A new $1.3 billion Regional Growth Fund has been established, focusing on lifting regional economic growth. There are six funds, including strands for infrastructure; sports facilities; improving voice and data connectivity; upgrades to parks, community centres and playgrounds and building and upgrading arts and cultural venues. Another strand also deals specifically with investing in infrastructure for mining communities. Councils, industry, regional organisations and community groups can apply to the funds, which tie in with the NSW government’s 30-year Regional Development Framework. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said the announcement was a positive one for the regions. "LGNSW looks forward to more information from the Deputy Premier's office on how this funding will be allocated and the opportunities for our sector, but overall this looks like very good news for regional communities. "This goes to show that the government does listen when the community speaks, and particularly so when they make their voice heard at the ballot box.” Central Coast Council Administrator, Ian Reynolds, said as he was particularly pleased with the promise to allocate 30 percent of infrastructure spending to the regions. “The $6 billion injection is significant and recognises that regions like the coast are attracting more people who are looking for a better lifestyle away from the big cities and require improved infrastructure to meet their growing needs,” Mr Reynolds. “Roads are a key priority for council because our community wants better roads and it is pleasing to see such a significant injection by the state government into roads here on the coast.” The regions also won another victory, with the government allocating $100 million for palliative care services and staff training, with much of this expected to flow to rural areas where there have been complaints about the dearth of services available. In addition, the government will spend $258 million on supporting and regulating local government through the Office of Local Government, including $2.1 million to optimise the Companion Animals Register and Pet Registry to improve user experience and enhance functionality. But it is not simply a one-way street with all give and no take. Local councils will feel the heat from Mr Perrottet’s push to accelerate house building in the state, including 30,000 new homes in priority precincts in Sydney. The NSW government will spend almost $70 million to speed up major development approvals and help councils rezone land quicker, including $19 million to establish a specialist team to rezone and to help councils accelerate rezonings. Also in the budget is $11.8 million for online, cloud-based housing development applications, especially to help regional councils and small metropolitan councils with low capability. Other key budget points
  • $4.2 billion over four years for education infrastructure, including building new schools and upgrading others
  • A cash injection of $7.7 billion over four years for new hospitals and hospital upgrades
  • Public transport, road building and rail gets $73 billion, including WestConnex, Sydney Metro City rail line and the Pacific Highway upgrade
  • Spending $20.1 million to complete the Service NSW network of service centres by transitioning 24 motor registries in regional and rural communities to Service NSW service centres.
  • Art Gallery of NSW expansion worth $244 million
  • A $1.2 billion package for first home buyers, including stamp duty relief and heavier foreign investor charges
  • $63.2 million to improve child protection, including additional caseworkers, case managers, and case support workers
[post_title] => NSW Budget: the impact on local councils [post_excerpt] => Win for the regions. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-budget-impact-local-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 13:36:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:36:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27454 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27469 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-06-23 13:00:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:00:48 [post_content] => [caption id="attachment_27470" align="alignnone" width="300"] Luke Foley delivering his Budget reply. Photo courtesy of the ABC.[/caption] NSW opposition leader Luke Foley has outlined the Labor Opposition’s reply to the NSW Government’s 2017 Budget, focusing on education, electricity and renewable energy, infrastructure and regional NSW. Education and school funding Mr Foley said a Labor Government would have a school building program that will ensure unused public land goes towards school infrastructure. This will be achieved by the Greater Sydney Commission being given the power to seize surplus government land from other departments and agencies for much-needed schools. Labor will also legislate that every new school built includes childcare or before and after school care facilities on-site. This will help achieve the pledge that every child will have access to at least 15 hours of “affordable preschool education per week, in the year before school”. As well, every primary school student in NSW will be taught a second language. For the youth, Labor announced a jobs scheme for the state’s apprentices and trainees. It estimates the scheme will create thousands of jobs for young people every year. Mr Foley said 63,000 fewer students have enrolled in TAFE after the Coalition Government cut budgets, identified campuses in regional and rural areas for sale or closure and started sacking teachers and support staff. Another 500 were terminated this year, bringing the total to 5,700 since the Liberals and Nationals got their hands on TAFE. He committed a Labor Government would require 15 per cent of all jobs on NSW Government construction projects, valued over $500,000, to be allocated for apprentices/trainees, indigenous people and the long term unemployed. He also committed Labor to re-build TAFE, by guarantee at least 70 per cent of NSW vocational education and training funding going to TAFE. Electricity and renewable energy Mr Foley said a Labor government would re-regulate the electricity market to attempt to lower the price of power in NSW, which has approximately doubled since it was deregulated and bills “are set to increase annually by an average of $300 for residential and $900 for commercial users a year.  He said Labor would also use proceeds from the transfer of the Snowy Hydro to invest in renewable generation across regional NSW, set a minimum solar tariff for households with rooftop solar to be paid for the power they generate, and “massively increase solar energy generation on the rooftops of government buildings”. Infrastructure With Sydney public transport and roads, Labor would prioritise the Western Sydney Metro over the Northern Beaches tunnel. Mr Foley committed to the Western Sydney Metro following the current government specifically excluding in the Budget the fast rail link in favour of the Northern Beaches Tunnel. With the Badgery’s Creek airport, Labor has called for the creation of a joint Commonwealth-New South Wales Western Sydney Airport Co-ordination Authority to coordinate land use and surface infrastructure. The authority would focus on essential connections such as electricity, water and sewerage for the airport’s surrounding employment zones. Labor would also like to see the building of a rail connection from day one so people can get where they’re going and avoid congestion on the roads. A fuel pipeline corridor – similar to the underground pipeline from Kurnell to Sydney Airport – also  needs to be reserved and construction of it accelerated as the current plan to supply jet fuel by road will not be sustainable. Regional NSW Luke Foley has laid out his commitments to regional and rural NSW if elected in 2019, including that 100 per cent of the proceeds of a Snowy Hydro sale will be spent on regional infrastructure. He said Labor’s support for selling the state’s share of the Snowy Hydro scheme to the Federal Government is conditional on the proceeds being spent in regional NSW. The sale would also be on the conditional guarantee of ongoing public ownership of the Hydro. All of the $4 to $5 billion in proceeds would be used to improve regional schools, TAFE, hospitals, roads, energy, water, cultural and sporting infrastructure, he said. Mr Foley promised to continue visiting the regions to hear directly from local communities. Recently, Mr Foley travelled to the North Coast, Monaro, the Upper Hunter and this time last year visited Menindee Lakes as part of two-day tour of Broken Hill. Special treatment for Far West NSW, where regional town populations are falling and businesses are unable to attract and retain staff, would include abolishing payroll tax for all small and medium-sized businesses in the Far West. In the Illawarra, Labor promised to assist the steel industry, and upgrade to the WIN Entertainment Centre.   [post_title] => NSW Budget: the reply [post_excerpt] => NSW opposition leader Luke Foley has outlined his reply to the Government’s 2017 Budget. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-budget-reply [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-23 13:33:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-23 03:33:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27469 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27440 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-20 10:19:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-20 00:19:51 [post_content] => A group of Australia’s largest waste management companies are calling for the NSW container deposit scheme (CDS) to be delayed seven months so it can start on the same day as the Queensland CDS on July 1, 2018. The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC), whose five foundation members are Veolia, JJ Richards, Cleanaway, Remondis and Suez, last week voted to lobby the NSW government to delay the NSW scheme. The NWRIC says the proposed state-wide network of more than 450 collection points that the government has asked network operators to set up is incomplete. The network could face further delays as some collection points need development applications and work on safety and traffic management. The industry group argues that the scheme is not yet ready to be rolled out as scheduled by the NSW government on December 1 and says that pushing ahead with it this year could end in tears. NWRIC CEO Max Spedding said there were several issues yet to be properly thrashed out and the rules around the scheme had been released only six months ago. “The industry feels that the scheme is under done and a bit rushed. We’re concerned that there are still these unknowns that would like to see resolved earlier rather than later,” Mr Spedding said. The issues included: awarding tenders; negotiations between local councils and industry about the ownership of deposit containers; achieving clarity around payment for containers (especially because of new regulations specifying that scrap steel trading must be cashless) and a final decision on which containers are eligible for refunds. “The scheme may commence with sub-standard collection infrastructure and poorly implemented systems. Fraud may occur. This could undermine public confidence in this scheme and the industry more broadly,” he warned. He said operators could pull out if the CDS did not work for them, especially if there was a lack of collection points that made the scheme unviable. Another concern is that by starting the NSW container deposit scheme earlier than Queensland containers are stockpiled or transported across the border to NSW. “This is always a risk where there are cross-jurisdictional market distortions,” Mr Spedding said. “It is industry’s experience that where money can be made by transporting waste, businesses are set up. More than half a million tonnes currently moves between NSW and Queensland to avoid levies.” NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards said regulators were already working to harmonise the rules of both the NSW and Queensland container deposit schemes, so it seemed natural to harmonise their start dates. “By delaying the start date of the NSW CDS by only seven months - to July 1, 2018 - both NSW and Queensland can prevent cross border transport of beverage containers and stockpiling issues,” Mr Richards said. “CDS programs are complex, so it is also important that adequate time is given to network operators to establish collection and administration systems. These systems are needed to reduce disruption and deliver a high quality service to the public.”   But Mr Spedding said the NSW Environmental Protection Authority was adamant that the scheme would start by December at a meeting last week with major players, operators and processors, despite their protestations. Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel shares Mr Spedding’s concerns and agrees the scheme is unlikely to be postponed. “There has already been one extension and it looks extremely unlikely will be granted,” he said. “There will always be problems with any start date and while NSW has left a relatively short period for the roll-out of the infrastructure [collection points and depots] I think all the stakeholders have to work as fast and as constructively as possible.” Mr Angel said the Alliance still had concerns over whether there would be enough collection points and depots to ensure it was convenient for people to take part in the scheme. Under the NSW CDS people can hand in most empty drink containers of between 150 millilitres to 3 litres and receive a 10c refund at a collection depot or reverse vending machine. Exceptions include milk and flavoured milk containers, casks, juice containers and glass containers for wines and spirits. [post_title] => NSW and QLD container deposit schemes should both start in 2018, says waste industry [post_excerpt] => Scheme could fail if rushed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-qld-container-deposit-schemes-start-2018-says-waste-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 10:19:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-20 00:19:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27440 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27411 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-16 11:22:15 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-16 01:22:15 [post_content] =>   The community impact statements (CIS) that NSW pubs, bottle shops, bars and clubs must submit when applying for liquor licenses are being reviewed for the first time in nine years. Community impact statements require the applicant to gather community views on the potential impact that granting a new liquor licence could have on a neighbourhood. These statements must include community opposition or support for the licence. NSW Racing Minister Paul Toole announced earlier this week that Liquor and Gaming NSW will be reviewing the process and is asking for community and industry feedback. “It’s important that those potentially affected by liquor licences have input into the assessment process, whether they be residents, councils, police or others,” Mr Toole said. “But it’s also important that pubs, bars and other venues can continue to provide options for people who want to socialise and enjoy themselves.” The review will examine issues such as: • Whether CIS adequately capture local community views • Are concerns being accurately reported by applicants via the CIS? • Does the CIS identify the risks and benefits of a proposed liquor licence? • Are there opportunities to cut red tape and minimise delays in the CIS process? • Is the feedback and information collected via the CIS useful when deciding applications? • Do the benefits of the CIS justify the costs or time placed on businesses, local residents and other stakeholders? • Are there any applications or venues currently included or excluded from the CIS that should not be? Meanwhile, AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green, welcomed the review, telling Intermedia stablemate TheShout: “The current system has been in place for quite some time, so AHA NSW looks forward to taking part in this review process on behalf of our members.” Submissions close on Wednesday 26 July. Have your say here.  [post_title] => Community feedback on NSW liquor licences reviewed [post_excerpt] => First review in nine years. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => community-feedback-nsw-liquor-licenses-reviewed [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-16 12:02:26 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-16 02:02:26 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27411 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [10] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27402 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-16 10:40:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-16 00:40:21 [post_content] => Hilltops Council is one of the NSW councils facing a bill for its merger. Pic: Facebook.   The NSW government has left some councils with hefty bills to pay since their forced amalgamations in May last year. Government News understands that mergers have ended up costing some NSW councils more than the state government merger and transition funding they were given. Rural and regional councils, in particular, are resentful because they received only half of what metropolitan councils were given to cover the process and yet they often receive much less from rates and have lower reserves. Rural and regional councils received $5 million for each merger, while metropolitan councils were handed $10 million for their mergers under the state government’s New Council Implementation Fund (NCIF). But there were caveats. The funding could only be used for certain things, such as getting expert advice and integrating IT systems, but not to pay ongoing staff costs or council administrators, who replace councillors and mayors until the local government elections in September. Councils were also given between $10 to $15 million of Stronger Communities funding to go towards community projects and infrastructure. Despite the funding, some councils are finding there is a reality gap. Hilltops Council, a merger between Boorowa, Harden and Young Councils in the South West Slopes of the state, estimates that it will end up spending $6.5 million on its merger, a shortfall of $1.5 million. Greens MP and Local Government Spokesperson David Shoebridge said residents of the three former council areas would be ‘shaking their heads’ at the figures and wondering where the $1.5 million extra would come from. “Every independent expert said at the start of this process that amalgamations would be more expensive and more disruptive than the government pretended, and now we are seeing this come true,” Mr Shoebridge said. “The incompetence of the Coalition is really staggering, and now they are expecting residents in the local councils they have destroyed to meet the cost of their failure.” Hilltops General Manager Anthony McMahon said he did not understand the logic behind giving rural and regional councils significantly less funding to cover their merger costs than their metro counterparts. “In our case, we’ve been responsible for bringing three councils together that are geographically separated,” Mr McMahon said. “We’re also a water utility and we have additional constraints in relation to having two former councils with populations under 5,000, which means we have to comply with Section 218CA of the Local Government Act.  These factors are not a consideration for metro councils.” The council will finalise its transitional costs and then consider whether to lobby the state government for the money. “We’re focused on ensuring Hilltops Council is adequately resourced to complete the merger process, and will be making representations to Minister Upton accordingly,” Mr McMahon said. “We’ve made clear our determination in ensuring the community does not pay for merger-related costs.” But it is not only regional councils who have been left to pick up the tab for the mergers most of them fought hard against. Sydney’s Northern Beaches Council, an amalgam of Manly, Pittwater and Warringah Councils, received $10 million for its upfront merger costs and has only $105,000 left in the kitty. The council’s biggest outlays were $2.5 million for staff redundancies and $2.8 million for system integration. Northern Beaches Council acknowledges it faces further restructuring costs in the draft of its 2017-2018 Operational Plan. “It is recognised that council will incur further restructuring costs such as the cost of integration, aligning positions within the new organisational structure and new salary system which will exceed the funding provided,” says the plan. “Accordingly the Long Term Financial Plan has been prepared on the basis that once the NCIF has been fully utilised, existing budgets will firstly be used to pay for those merger and transition costs not funded through this mechanism prior to the identification of net savings.” Brian Halstead President of Save Our Councils Coalition, a community group against forced council mergers, said a funding shortfall had always been on the cards. “The amount that the government allowed was based on the KPMG report, which under costed amalgamations and because they’re not allowing councils to book the ongoing staff costs and administrators against the funding,” Mr Halstead said. He said some council staff were spending 25 per cent of their time managing the merger process, including harmonising service delivery and staff pay and conditions, and that NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian should stump up the extra cash. “If I was a ratepayer, I would be thinking that these amalgamations have been forced on them by state government. It’s only reasonable that the state government bear the costs of amalgamation but I doubt any of the administrators will [ask] because they’re paid public servants.” Local Government NSW (LGNSW) President Keith Rhoades said he was not surprised that merger costs had exceeded the funding available. “LGNSW, along with a number of academics and other experts, argued strongly throughout the process that there was a strong potential for additional costs,” Mr Rhoades said. “It was always clear that the cost of individual amalgamations would vary from council to council depending on readiness, systems compatibility, staff skills etc and in fact this is one reason why forced amalgamations can be more difficult than those that are achieved voluntarily, after extensive meaningful consultation.” Roberta Ryan, Director of the Institute for Public Policy and Governance at the University of Technology Sydney, said it was hard to predict the cost of mergers but the state government had given it their best shot at trying to work it out from past experience. She said the cost of mergers would depend partly upon the extent of co-operation between councils before they merged, for example through shared IT systems and services and the level of regulatory harmony in an area. “I understand there has been a shortfall for a number of councils,” Ms Ryan said. “Many regional and rural councils would have found it harder and more expensive because the amount [they were given] was less and some of them may not have been working towards some of these things that some of the metro councils were.” The ability of new councils to absorb any cost blowout was highly variable, she said. “Some councils have good reserves but some of the smaller ones are very strapped financially.” Asked when the true costs and savings from mergers would be known she said: “Not ever - as we don’t have the base line data available - there can be overall benefits and improvements - that may have happened even if the amalgamations didn’t happen.” The Department of Premier and Cabinet (DPC) would not say whether any NSW councils had approached Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton to fund the shortfall or whether the government would act, should this occur. The DPC statement would only say: “The NSW Government has provided an unprecedented level of support to new local councils. “The NSW Government provided new councils with $375 million to implement the mergers and kick start investment in new services and infrastructure for their residents. “New councils in regional areas received $5 million to cover the costs of merging, as well as $10 million for a merger of two councils or $15 million for a merger of three councils, which is to be used for community, services and infrastructure projects.” [post_title] => NSW councils fork out for forced mergers as government funding dries up [post_excerpt] => Councils could petition Berejiklian for shortfall. 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Pastures new in Camden, south-west Sydney. Pic: Facebook.
By Josh Harris
This story first appeared in ArchitectureAU and appears here by kind permission.
The New South Wales government has unveiled a plan to increase housing supply by making it easier to build in new development areas. The proposed new Greenfield Housing Code would see homes in new release areas approved in 20 days compared to the 71 days it currently takes on average. Minister for Housing and Planning Anthony Roberts said the government was committed to speeding up the delivery of new homes in greenfield areas to meet the needs of the state’s growing population and improve housing affordability. “This type of streamlined approval not only speeds up the delivery of new housing, but makes it easier and cheaper for people to build homes to suit their lifestyles and incomes,” he said. NSW opposition leader Luke Foley said the government was not doing enough to tackle housing affordability. “This Government has had six years to act on housing affordability but has done nothing,” he said. “Labor will take to the next state election a comprehensive plan to level the playing field in favour of home buyers and help those on modest incomes get a roof over their heads.” Following the release of the proposed Greenfield Housing Code, the opposition unveiled its plan to mandate a target for the provision of affordable housing. Read more here
[post_title] => We’re not in the 1950s anymore’: NSW greenfield housing plan ‘not sustainable,’ Institute says [post_excerpt] => Cautions expanding urban sprawl. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => not-1950s-anymore-nsw-greenfield-housing-plan-not-sustainable-institute-says [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-09 10:01:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-09 00:01:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27335 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [12] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27322 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-07 12:59:07 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-07 02:59:07 [post_content] =>   Graduates at Southern Cross University. Pic: Facebook.   NSW universities recorded a combined operating surplus of $631 million last year and have coped with government funding cuts by reining in spending and increasing their income from student fees and other sources, an audit has found. Auditor-General Margaret Crawford’s report, Universities: 2016 Audits, released yesterday (Tuesday) by the Audit Office of NSW, found that the state’s ten universities were managing to stay afloat despite government cutbacks. Ms Crawford said: “Universities are managing the impact of continued downtrend in Commonwealth government grants by diversifying revenue and constraining expenditure.” She said universities were now ‘less reliant’ on government grants. The audit found that all of the universities recorded a surplus in 2016 and their combined growth in revenue exceeded their expenditure growth by 1.1 per cent, compared to a negative position (of 1.3 per cent) in 2015. However, at an individual level, five universities saw their rate of expenditure growth surpassing their revenue growth. Charles Sturt University had the highest negative earnings gap at 1.8 per cent, due to increased tuition contracts, while Sydney University’s negative earnings gap of 1.7 per cent was primarily due to an increased wage bill and a write down of capitalised project costs. Three other universities also had a negative earnings gap: University of New England (1.2%), University of Western Sydney (1.1%) and the University of Wollongong (0.9%). Southern Cross University had the highest positive earnings gap at 10.7 per cent, driven primarily by an increase of $13.4 million in Commonwealth Government Education Investment Fund. Next was University of Technology Sydney at 3.9%; University of NSW with 3.7 per cent; Newcastle University 2.9% and Macquarie University with 2.3%. Much of this financial buoyancy appears to be from a 25 per cent increase ($458 million) in overseas student revenue, a massive jump of 71.4 per cent since 2012. Last year was the first time NSW universities have earned more from overseas students’ course income than from domestic students’ course income. Ms Crawford said: “Some NSW universities' business models depend on international students' intake to be financially sustainable. These universities manage income concentration risk by focusing on increasing the geographical diversity of overseas students.” The balance between income gained from student course fees and government grants has been shifting over the last five years. Income from student course fees jumped from 39 per cent in 2012 to almost 46 per cent in 2016, whereas Commonwealth grants have dropped from 42 per cent of universities’ income in 2012 to 36 per cent in 2016. The report echoes an earlier Deloitte Access Economics study using data from 17 Australian universities, which found that Australia’s universities receive sufficient revenue through government funding and student fees to cover the cost of teaching most degrees. Two major exceptions were dentistry and veterinary science, which were both found to be underfunded. The study compared the average cost of delivering courses and said this had increased by 9.5 per cent between 2010 and 2015 while revenue went up by 15 per cent over the same period. Managing the risks Despite these encouraging numbers from both surveys, universities face an uncertain future after federal Budget measures slugged them with an efficiency dividend of 2.4 per cent in May, alongside hiking up student fees and pushing graduates to repay loans more quickly. The report identifies the top five strategic risks to NSW universities:
  • Government policy changes
  • Technology disruption
  • Increasingly competitive market for international students
  • Future financial sustainability
  • Investment in research not providing the desired outcomes and excellence
The Auditor-General said some universities’ heavy reliance on overseas students made them vulnerable to fluctuations in overseas student numbers and this risk needed to be planned for and managed. Ms Crawford also said universities needed to keep pace with the practical demands of the job market, particularly where technology was concerned. The report said that NSW universities' current course enrolment statistics did not appear to mirror published skills shortages. “Courses with the highest proportion of enrolled students such as creative arts, society and culture do not mirror the skills shortage requirements in NSW for health, ICT and engineering,” it said. “Aligning students' enrolment with the fields of skill shortages within the state would ensure funds are directed to educate graduates that can be employed.” Another risk flagged was the need for universities to have a strategy for dealing with cyber threats and threats to intellectual property by tightening up their information security. “NSW universities need to review the design and effectiveness of their information security controls to ensure intellectual property, staff and student data are adequately protected,” the Auditor-General recommended. This was mainly around password settings and administration of user access. User password settings need to be improved on the financial systems to help to reduce the risk of data leaks and inappropriate access. The 2016 Threat Report of the Australian Cyber Security Centre, identified intellectual property as a potential target for cyber criminals. “Universities generate a significant amount of intellectual property through their investment of public and commercial funds into research. The report also noted that cyber criminals are using increasingly sophisticated ways to elicit this high value,” said the audit. Ms Crawford said that some universities were addressing these risks through ‘stress testing and scenario analysis models’ to understand and plan appropriate responses. [post_title] => NSW universities are doing ok, says audit [post_excerpt] => Overseas student numbers soar. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-universities-ok-says-audit [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-09 10:03:24 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-09 00:03:24 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27322 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [13] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27309 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-06 11:07:45 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-06 01:07:45 [post_content] => Inner West Council meeting. Pic: Facebook. A NSW council has defended itself over criticism that it did not put a $9.4 million IT contract out to tender, saying it followed local government procurement rules and needs to urgently integrate its IT systems post-amalgamation. Inner West Council in Sydney has hired TechnologyOne to consolidate its IT systems following the forced amalgamation between Ashfield, Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils in May last year. Leichhardt and Marrickville Councils already used TechnologyOne but Ashfield used Civica International, TechnologyOne’s main industry rival. A council spokesperson said the decision not to go to open tender complied with Section 55(3)(i) of the Local Government Act 1993, which states “… because of extenuating circumstances, remoteness of locality or the unavailability of competitive or reliable tenderers, a council decides by resolution (which states the reasons for the decision) that a satisfactory result would not be achieved by inviting tenders”. Contracts over $150,000 normally go out to tender but the council is pleading ‘extenuating circumstances’, which it says includes: the council merger; the fact there are only two main industry service providers; the long-term benefits to the council and community and the urgency of integrating IT services across the new council after the merger, arguing that the tender process would ‘add a significant and unreasonable time delay’. The spokesperson said: “Two out of the three former councils already have Technology One licenses and use TechnologyOne products so we are simply continuing an existing relationship with this supplier. This decision was in the best financial and other interests of our residents. “TechnologyOne is an Australian based company and their superior technology will allow council to take a quantum leap forward in how we do business.” But Greens MP and Local Government spokesperson David Shoebridge isn’t buying it. “They’ve rushed headlong into a five-year contract on the basis that there was a desperate urgency,” Mr Shoebridge said. “It is remarkable that what started as a quick patch job has ended up with this almost permanent service provider.” He said Civica provided similar solutions to local government around Australia and would have been ready to respond quickly to an invite to tender to ensure the council got the best IT solution. “These assumptions are best tested through competitive tender process, that’s how you get value for money," Mr Shoebridge said. Meanwhile, Civica has asked why merged councils would sidestep the tender process without testing alternatives. A Civica spokesperson said the company disputed that a single supplier was the best path for councils to go down and said this could push out other vendors.  "We believe that councils want best-in-class solutions and sometimes that can be a mix of suppliers," the spokesperson said. "What was the harm in them going out to tender? We believe that they could have generated a better commercial outcome, even if they continued to go with that provider." Inner West Council’s $5 million IT contract includes integrating its IT and telephone network, external website and intranet and one-time ‘building costs’. A further $4.4 million will cover annual software licencing fees of $1.6 million over five years. TechnologyOne licencing fees will replace existing annual fees. [post_title] => Merged council says it followed procurement rules over $9m IT contract [post_excerpt] => Pleads ‘extenuating circumstances’ [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => merged-council-says-followed-procurement-rules-9m-contract [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-06 11:28:15 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-06 01:28:15 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27309 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) ) [post_count] => 14 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27734 [post_author] => 670 [post_date] => 2017-08-01 11:17:12 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:17:12 [post_content] => The NSW Government has once again announced that the Powerhouse Museum will be moved from its current Harris Street, Ultimo location to a riverside site in Parramatta, next to the Riverside Theatre, which will undergo unspecified redevelopment and become 50 per cent state-owned. The government has remained stum on what it will do with the current Ultimo site, but it is widely expected to be sold off for unit development. What we know The NSW Government has reached an agreement with Parramatta Council for a massive investment in new cultural infrastructure in Parramatta, which is the first major step in the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Sydney’s west. Premier Gladys Berejiklian said “the $140 million agreement laid the foundations for a vibrant arts and cultural precinct in Parramatta and secured the best site for the new Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta. “Today is a major step forward in the NSW Government’s commitment to relocating the Powerhouse Museum to Western Sydney,” Ms Berejiklian said. “The relocated Powerhouse Museum in Parramatta will be the anchor for arts and culture for the region, and now the site for the museum is locked in. “The Powerhouse at Parramatta will include the best exhibits currently at Ultimo, and will build on them. The new Powerhouse in Parramatta will be bigger and better than anything this State has seen and will be a drawcard for domestic and international visitors.” The $140 million in-principle agreement will see:
  • The NSW Government purchasing the riverfront site for the Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences).
  • The City of Parramatta committing $40 million to fund and grow arts and culture in the community over the next 20 years.
  • A partnership between the NSW Government and the Council for a $100 million redevelopment of the Riverside Theatre with the State taking a 50 per cent interest in the project.
The NSW Government said it will retain an arts and cultural presence at the current Ultimo site following the relocation of the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta, and is undertaking a business case to determine the future of the site. More info needed The NSW Labor Opposition said the Berejiklian Government has bungled the Powerhouse Museum move from Ultimo to Parramatta at every step of the process – “continually chopping and changing” and providing no detail on the fate of the Ultimo site. Originally, the then Premier Mike Baird said it would cost “$10 million to relocate the Powerhouse” but it has spiralled to a minimum of more than $1 billion. Premier Gladys Berejiklian and Arts Minister Don Harwin have provided no answers for what was going to happen to the Ultimo site and were unable to state the final costs. “Today’s announcement only related to buying the Parramatta land. This also gave rise to even more questions, putting further doubt into the community’s mind on the Government’s ultimate plans for the Ultimo site,” Labor said. “NSW Labor is calling on them to release the business case and detail the scale of the development plans at the Ultimo site.” And Parramatta is stuck with the decision The NSW Government's decision comes just a month before popular council elections are held, which means that councillors elected in September will have to honour the agreement. And the decision to commit to the sale of council assets so close to an election was criticised by at least one community group. "We are highly suspicious of a state government-appointed administrator selling major Parramatta council assets one week short of caretaker mode and six weeks before council elections," Suzette Meade, president of the North Parramatta Residents Action Group told The Sydney Morning Herald.   [post_title] => What will go into the blig black hole in Ultimo? [post_excerpt] => The NSW Government will move the Powerhouse Museum to Parramatta. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => will-go-blig-black-hole-ultimo [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-08-01 11:19:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-08-01 01:19:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27734 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw ) [comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 349 [max_num_pages] => 25 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => f575ea977a3bcc84e435f968f67e729e [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => 1 [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed ) [compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ) )

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