Rugby Australia will receive $20 million to upgrade facilities but Blacktown City Council will have to go it alone on its planned International Centre of Training Excellence despite recommendations by Infrastructure Australia’s Planning Liveable Cities Report launched last week.
The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on the NSW Government to heed recommendations in the Planning Liveable Cities report which highlights the need to enhance incentives that promote improved governance and better collaboration between all levels of government to achieve the liveability aspirations of our cities.
WSROC President and Mayor of Hawkesbury, Barry Calvert, said, “This is an ongoing challenge for local government. We see the need to make greater investments in liveability infrastructure for our rapidly growing communities but have limited resources to deliver.
“Within the space of two weeks, two announcements were made that demonstrate the lack of sufficient existing incentives for local government to deliver on the key liveability infrastructure their communities want.”
On the 29 November, Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres announced $20 million to Rugby Australia for improved facilities and initiatives.
On the 13 December Blacktown City Council announced that $100 million has been put aside to build and run the Australian-first International Centre of Training Excellence at Rooty Hill.
Mayor of Blacktown, Stephen Bali, said, “We are building facilities that will be ‘elite for all’ — world class infrastructure that will benefit and be available to the whole community.”
The NSW Government has declined to offer support for the Blacktown facility.
Mayor Calvert said, “I find it difficult to see how spending $20 million in Eastern Sydney for a professional sports code has greater merit than spending $20 million for a local government initiative that will benefit all of Western Sydney and a number of different sporting codes.
“This is infrastructure that serves the whole region, and we believe that not enough attention is being directed towards region-shared infrastructure.
“If the State Government wants local government to play a more strategic role in infrastructure delivery then it needs to step up.”
The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is calling for leadership from the Commonwealth following endorsement of the new National Waste Policy (NWP) at the 8th Meeting of Environment Ministers in Canberra last Friday.
ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin, said, “We congratulate the Environment Ministers on the delivery of Australia’s new National Waste Policy, but the job is not done yet.
“The new policy may be full of good intentions and strong principles, but has as much backbone as you’ll find in the average plastic shopping bag.
“Urgent action is needed as Ministers themselves have acknowledged.
“Industry and communities need to see real on-ground action and there is a critical need for national leadership to maintain a unified approach.
“It is essential that councils, federal, state and territory governments increase their procurement of goods and infrastructure that incorporate recycled materials – such as those used in road bases – which will help to reduce items entering the waste stream in the first place and create jobs.”
Mayor O’Loughlin said that there are already many local governments paying for innovative products made entirely or partly from recycled materials, but that state and territory governments also need to take the necessary steps to help the recyclate industry sector go further.
“There is more than $1 billion sitting in state waste levy funds that could be invested in industry innovation, pilot projects and financially supporting transitions from virgin product feedstock to recycled feedstock.
“There’s another $1 billion to be collected next year, but the meeting achieved no strong policy commitment, no agreement on concrete targets or timeframes, miniscule investment and little progress.
“Let’s work together over the next few months, years and beyond to fulfill the vision of a sustainable future - one that supports jobs, local businesses and the environment.”
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