Council Column- 16 December 2020- Councillor Greg Armstrong


End of Year Update.

LEP Project
Council has forward a draft Planning Proposal  for the comprehensive Hilltops Local Environmental Plan (LEP) to the NSW State Government Department of Planning, Industry and Environment for the purposes of seeking a Gateway determination. Such determination will allow the next phase of the project to be progressed.
Once the Gateway Determination is returned,  Council will review the document and commence extensive public consultation.

 The consultation process will take place early in 2021 and will be heavily advertised by Council.

The LEP process has been an involved and resource hungry one. I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the huge amount of work undertaken by the staff involved in the project and to thank them for their efforts.

Rates Harmonisation
This project was originally  required to be completed by 30/6/20 but received a 12 month extension by the NSW Government.

Rates harmonisation  must be completed for the 2021/2022 rating year and is a mandatory requirement for newly amalgamated Councils.

Council has engaged the firm of Morrison Low to undertake an extensive study into the legacy rating structures of Hilltops Council, and to provide recommendations regarding the options for harmonising the structures to produce a single Hilltops rating structure. This is a complex process that looks at a broad number of factors and means of equitably spreading the rate burden across the Hilltops local government area.

Rates harmonisation does not increase the gross amount of general  rates  and charges that a Council may levy.

Rate Pegging  sets the maximum ordinary amount that a Council  may increase its’ gross general rates in any one year.

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has set the 2021-2022 rate peg for NSW Councils at 2.0 per cent.

What will 2021 Bring ?
As this year comes to an end it is really difficult to imagine the pain, suffering and absolute turmoil that has been the year 2020.

Bushfires, drought, and the global pandemic have changed the way the Australians live, work and play.  It is only human to wish we could go back to the way things were before these events impacted us, and if it was possible, I am sure that it would receive  overwhelming  support  from  all quarters of the country. 

Thankfully, resilience and resourcefulness run strong in mainstream Australian culture and  we are able to acknowledge that our past is not our destiny.

 Ironically, while it is possible to shape our future, sometimes things do not always fall in our favour, and we must learn to compromise and strategise.

With just a spot of luck,  2021 will be a year that allows us to be look forward and not backwards.
Merry Christmas to all – have a safe and happy time.
Greg Armstrong