TAMWORTH Regional Council’s general manger Paul Bennett has been elected the president of the NSW Division of the Local Government Managers Association (LGMA).
The LGMA in NSW has more than 760 professional members, including about 130 council general managers, directors, managers and other professional staff from across the state.
Mr Bennett’s appointment follows six years as an LGMA board member and two years in the role of vice-president.
The president is elected every two years and is able to serve up to two terms.
Mr Bennett said he was “excited and a bit nervous”, to be taking up the role for the next two years.
“The LGMA will be a major contributor to the activities being undertaken under Destination 2036, the Independent Review Panel, and the rewrite of the Local Government Act,” Mr Bennett said.
“I figure it is much better to step up to the plate and play an active role in helping to shape the future of local government in NSW rather than sit back and simply watch from the sidelines.”
The LGMA is made up of industry professionals with a range of skills and qualifications.
“We try to avoid the politics surrounding discussions about amalgamations and instead focus on developing practical, on-the-ground solutions to the strategic issues being faced by all councils,” he said.
“Of particular importance is developing future funding models that will ensure our assets can be maintained and renewed in a sustainable way, addressing the skills shortage being experienced in both professional and operational areas of local government, and providing input to the rewrite of the Local Government Act.
“That will provide improved flexibility and transparency in the way we operate and respond to community needs.”
Mr Bennett said he felt very privileged to have been selected by his peers to guide the LGMA through what he said was likely to be one of the most important periods of reform the local government sector had ever experienced.