NSW to abolish Office of Local Government

The NSW government will abolish key agencies including the Office of Local Government, the RMS and Jobs NSW under sweeping changes to the structure of the NSW public service.

A memo from the Department of Premier and Cabinet obtained by Government News says the Office of Local Government, along with the Office of Environment and Heritage, will cease to be independent entities and their functions will be absorbed by a Planning and Industry Cluster.

The cluster will cover areas such as long term planning, precincts, infrastructure, open space, the environment and natural resources.

The RMS, coming under the Transport Cluster, will also be scrapped as a separate agency and as will Jobs NSW, which will be merged into the Treasury Cluster.

A spokesman for Premier Gladys Berejiklian said there would be an announcement about changes within government soon.

“There will be an announcement of the machinery of government changing,” he told Government News.

LGNSW seek assurances

Local Government NSW President Linda Scott said the peak would be seeking assurances from the new local government minister, Shelley Hancock, and the Premier, that local governments would be appropriately resourced within the new cluster.

“We’d hope, for example, that the inclusion into a larger cluster will facilitate real analysis of the massive amounts of data collected by Government, which should be shared with the sector to help them deliver great outcomes for the public good,” she told Government News.

“Local governments welcome a new opportunity to work with the State Government to set housing targets with local governments, not for them – to rebalance planning powers by working in partnership with councils and their neighbourhoods on planning decisions that affect them.”

However she said the appointment of Ms Hancock was a stand-alone Local Government Minister was welcomed and had long been advocated for by LGNSW.

A new cluster structure

The memo says the structure of the public service will also incorporate the following clusters: Stronger Communities, Customer Service, Health; Premier and Cabinet, Transport, Treasury and Education.

The following clusters will cease to exist by July 1: Finance, Services & Innovation; Industry; Planning & Environment; Family and Communities; and Justice.

The Secretaries Board will be expanded in members to accommodate more senior public servants to “effectively drive implementation of the Government’s priorities”.

New appointments under the restructure:

  • Michael Coutts-Trotter – Secretary, Families & Community Services & Justice

  • Jim Betts – Secretary, Planning and Industry

  • Glenn King – Secretary, Customer Service

  • Simon Draper – Chief Executive, Infrastructure Australia

First published in Government News.

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