Editorial – Spring 2018

1 November 2018 | Posted In: #134 Spring 2018, Editorials, Local Government, | Author: Geoff Turnbull | Author: Charmaine Jones

In March 1978, Inner Sydney Regional Council (ISRC) entered the “information game” with the launch of its 62-page newsletter Inner Voice. The editorial suggested it could be the newsletter of Inner Sydney, which it rapidly became. You can see the first editorial in From the Vault and download the first issue from our website. Now as Inner Sydney Voice, we share that forty-year legacy, helping to provide information and insights to those who struggle to live in the inner city.

ISRC was originally set up to work with local councils on social development, so it is fitting this issue focuses on this often misunderstood and changing part of government. In Australia’s System of Local Government we learn that local government employs more people than the mining sector and we explain how local government interacts with federal and state governments. A second article, Local councils: More than roads, rates and rubbish, deals with how council responsibilities have changed how they organise and operate in NSW.

To help clear up confusion about the different Roles and responsibilities of Mayors, Councillors and General Managers in NSW, we have set out the roles from the NSW Local Government Act. Once upon a time when we talked development applications and planning we thought of local government but with planning changes, they are just one of the “consent authorities” that might deal with a nearby development. How to make a planning submission, explains how the system works and what you need to consider. Master planning for sustainable outcomes, explores some of the environmental issues to consider when you assess master plans.

Not everyone just writes a submission, some join resident groups and engage in different ways. Community engagement, participatory planning and the city, looks at a recent study into the experience of community groups. It is timely, as the government will soon roll out community participation plan requirements for all levels of the planning system.

Councils are active also in the social policy area. The City of Sydney, for example, has a homelessness unit and undertakes half-yearly rough sleeper counts that indicate the level of homelessness in the city. In Homelessness emergency, Alex Greenwich reflects on the issue through his experience in SBS’s Filthy, Rich and Homeless TV series.

Council also works, or partners, in other areas such as family and domestic violence.  Over 55s Elder Abuse Referral Hubs in Potts Point and Ultimo is about one of the projects supported by the City of Sydney Council.

The NSW government is rolling out a Safer Pathway around domestic and family violence and we provide details of this program, its design and some of the places to go for help. One of these services specialises in Working with men to end family violence so we explain from two perspectives how the Men’s Referral Service works.

In Tenant Participation Resource Service (TPRS) ends ISV laments FACS’s decision to terminate the TPRS and HCP programs. For over 40 years, ISV has worked with public housing communities, including 23 years through TPRS. The decision creates great uncertainty for the future of tenant participation, advocacy and tenant support. ISV will monitor the impact on tenants.

Charmaine Jones and Geoffrey Turnbull co-editors Inner Sydney Voice.