Meeting Date: Tuesday, 31 July, 2018
Location: Council Chambers, City Administrative Building, Bridge Road, Nowra
Membership (Quorum - 7)
MM18.14..... Mayoral Minute - Report from the National General Assembly..................... 1
Addendum Agenda - Ordinary Meeting – Tuesday 31 July 2018
MM18.14 Mayoral Minute - Report from the National General Assembly
HPERM Ref: D18/255352
1. The General Manager report back to Council on a process for incorporating more recycled product into Council’s general procurement.
2. The General Manager discuss with Hume Council the success of using 10% recycled product in bitumen (plastic and rubber crumb reportedly providing ‘better’ surfaces) and the cost difference between regular and recycled product and report back on the cost differentiation to Council.
3. That council endorse the Mayor’s amendments put forward and accepted at the NGA that have added value for the Shoalhaven.
The National General Assembly Context.
Shoalhaven City Council has sent delegates to the National General Assembly (NGA) and the Regional Summit for many years. The NGA is the peak body to represent local government issues that are of national significance, although parochial local issues do arise from time to time.
In the decade that I have been attending the NGA, Shoalhaven City Council has never had a pre-discussion session about the business papers – this has only occurred once for the NSW Local Government Conference in approx. 2009. Delegates cannot be bound to decisions as voting is confidential.
The system of debate at NGA allows for amendments on motions to come ‘from the floor’. Amendments are debated or incorporated into motions in a similar manner to Council. At all the NGA and NSW Local Government Conferences that I have attended in the last six years, I have been an active participant in many debates and have not let the size of the assembly deter me from contributing that which I believe reflects the sentiment of constituents. Amendments are an ‘opportunistic’ way of introducing complimentary business and don’t necessarily come from a pre-planned position.
In March 2018 Council made a decision to support nine motions to go to the conference, however in May a rescission motion was lodged to remove the following motions:
· National Policy for Coastal Hazards
· Use of Recyclables - develop industries to utilise recyclables
· National Strategy on Gross Pollutant Traps (See March ordinary meeting for full list of motions).
No explanation was offered as to why these motions were deemed unworthy of conference by the same majority who voted for them a few months earlier.
ALGA often group motions of similar intent and many of Shoalhaven’s motions were treated in this fashion. However, through my active participation in the forum I was able to ensure that Council’s motion for the Princes Highway was treated as a significant stand alone motion. This was supported by a significant majority.
Council’s motion as follows:
That the Federal Government be called upon to officially recognise the Princes Highway as a Highway of National Importance as a major freight and tourist route.
As a participant of the assembly I used the opportunistic moment to offer forward amendments on a number of motions that had significant meaning to the people of the Shoalhaven.
1.6 Frankston City Council, VIC
That the National General Assembly endorses the constitutional acknowledgement of Indigenous Australians as the first peoples of this land. Furthermore, the National General Assembly call on Federal Parliament to allow a national referendum for Australians to make a determination on this matter.
For this motion I offered forward an amendment that called for the Uluru Statement from the Heart to be recognised and for no further consultation to be undertaken as the people had spoken through the statement. The amendment was not accepted and failed to gain support from the assembly, with the general thrust of the argument being that constitutional acknowledgement was a much simpler way to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. The original motion was carried with a significant majority. I was approached after the session by Councillors from central Australia thanking me for trying to bring this element to the conference. At the time that I put forward the amendment to the Assembly, Council did not have a qualified position on the Uluru Statement. This amendment had significance to the people of the Shoalhaven as consultation within the Aboriginal community had revealed that this was an issue worth noting. Since the assembly it has come to my attention that a number of Councils’ across Australia, the Australian Medical Association and the ACTU had all carried motions in support of the Uluru Statement from the Heart.
The other significant amendment I put forward to conference relate to this motion.
23 Central Coast Council, NSW
That the National General Assembly call on the State Governments to return all waste levy revenues through their councils’ waste and recycling initiatives. • For example, in 2016/17 the NSW State Government raised $659m from local councils through their waste levy returning only 18% ($118m) to local communities for waste management initiatives.
I was successful in having added to the motion the following wording:
“Furthermore, The State undertakes a thorough review of the classification of council for the primary purpose of raising the levy.”
I was pleased that this was included in the motion as it reinforces the work Shoalhaven is doing to have the levy category for our city changed and therefore save our people some money on the waste levy payment.
There was a great deal of focus at the conference on waste and waste management and even though Shoalhaven retracted its motion on the use of recyclables and the development of local industry to do this work, the following excellent motion was offered by Bayside City Council.
7 . City Council, VIC
That the National General Assembly calls on the Australian Government to:
• Build upon existing initiatives including industry product stewardship schemes, and directives on recyclable packaging, to ensure packaging and products are designed for minimal packaging, re-use, recycling and repair, with the disposal costs included in the purchase or disposal price;
• Ensure the goals and objectives set out in the Australian Packaging Covenant Strategic Plan 2017-2022 are prioritised and achieved as a matter of urgency;
• Financially support regional waste management solutions for advanced alternative waste treatment and processing;
• Ensure government and industry procurement and tenders specify the use of products with recycled content, minimal packaging and repair;
• Develop a national Circular Economy Strategy to develop markets for recyclable products.
The concurrent session also offered a waste stream which was so well attended and discussed mostly product stewardship and recycling reuse options that are available for Councils.
The recommendations I seek Council’s support on today flow directly from my attendance at the assembly and I hope that Shoalhaven City Council can join the league of Councils that are supporting Australian innovation and local manufacturers of recycled product.