Following the response to this week’s Carbon Price and Council Landfill National Forum, convened by ALGA in partnership with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Clean Energy Regulator, a series of future seminars and workshops is now being considered.
About 120 delegates, representing more than 40 councils with landfills likely to be affected by carbon pricing, met in Canberra this week to gain a better understanding of how to manage their responsibilities under the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Act.
With the Australian Government’s Pricing Mechanism (CPM) to commence on 1 July 2012, all landfills, including council landfills, that produce more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per annum will need to factor in the CPM costs associated with the price of disposal from 1 July, 2012.
Commonwealth officials, including the Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus, and representatives of the Clean Energy Regulator and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency were on hand to provide information and demonstrate tools and resources to help councils estimate and measure carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
An online waste calculator is available for all councils that own landfills to estimate whether they are likely to emit more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. The calculator should be used to assess whether their council is liable under the Clean Energy Bill and take appropriate steps to register and manage their carbon liability. To access the calculator, click here.
The forum also heard from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission about fair pricing issues; Ernst and Young’s Sydney Climate Change and Sustainability Services Team; and legal firm Norton Rose.
Given the positive response from councils, the Clean Energy Regulator is now considering holding additional workshops and seminars to provide further information to councils.
For more on the Carbon Price Forum, read ahead to the President’s Column.
The draft report of the Productivity Commission into performance benchmarking of local government’s regulatory activities has highlighted opportunities for improvement by both councils and state governments.
The draft report which was the focus of a roundtable on Tuesday 24 April, was commissioned by the Federal Government as part of a focus by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) on identifying unnecessary compliance costs, reducing duplication and enhancing consistency across jurisdictions.
The draft report noted in particular that a significant proportion of local government’s regulatory responsibilities relates to implementing and enforcing state laws rather than local laws. The Commission concluded that more needs to be done by state governments to support councils and ensure they have the necessary resources and capacities to carry out these regulatory functions. The Commission also identified some leading practices where particular councils or jurisdictions were undertaking regulation more effectively.
The roundtable, attended by ALGA, state local government associations and business representatives also focused on the issues facing small businesses when dealing with council regulation. The Productivity Commission is seeking comments on the draft report by 25 May 2012 and will present its final report to Government by the end of July 2012. The draft report can be found here.
As foreshadowed in recent editions of ALGA News, ALGA is commencing work required to develop a detailed State of the Local Road Assets Report. This work is expected to provide a technical fillip to the broader campaign to renew Roads to Recovery funding.
The work will focus on community service level reporting in terms of the condition and quality of local road networks, their functionality and level of utilisation. The initial phase of the work, based on a sample of councils, will be completed by late October with a report to be provided to the Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart in November 2012. Subsequent phases of the project will expand the collection until a State of the Local Road Assets Report based on all councils can be produced in 2014.
There are three key elements to the first phase of the project:
- Piloting the concept – testing assumptions, agreeing on performance indicators, data capture and analysis;
- Development of national self assessment methodology to meet the requirements of the National Framework on Asset Planning and Management; and
- Reporting to the National Roads Congress in November 2012.
For the purposes of this work, road assets will be categorised as: sealed roads, gravel roads and bridges. The report to the National Roads Congress will:
- Summarise the outcomes of the pilot providing:
- confirmation of the concept,
- confirmation of the efficacy of the performance indicators that have been selected; and
- an assessment of the maturity of councils in relation to adoption of the National Framework on Asset Planning and Management and implementation of Asset Management Plans (AMP).
- Provide an analysis of the outcomes of the initial assessment of local roads for the selected councils - this analysis will be detailed for the pilot councils and extrapolated to provide a sufficiently robust estimate of the state of the local road assets across Australia.
- Provide an outline of the national self assessment and reporting methodology that is to be used in future years.
The project will be undertaken by Jeff Roorda and Associates with oversight being provided by a small reference group comprising representatives from each of the state and territory local government associations and the Australian Centre for Excellence in Local Government (ACELG).
Geoff Thompson (02 6122 9432) will be managing the project for ALGA. The first step will be to ask the state and territory local government associations to nominate a mix of regional and urban councils to participate in the pilot.
I enjoyed chairing the second day of this week’s Carbon Price and Council Landfill National Forum convened by ALGA, in partnership with the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency and the Clean Energy Regulator, which has proven extremely successful in providing councils with the information they need to better understand their responsibilities under the Australian Government’s Clean Energy Act. The first day of the conference was chaired by ALGA’s Vice President, Felicity-ann Lewis.
About 120 delegates from more than 40 councils with landfills which will be affected by carbon pricing met with Commonwealth officials in Canberra to discuss the obligations and opportunities associated with the Carbon Pricing Mechanism (CPM).
Upon commencement of the CPM on 1 July, 2012, council landfills that produce more than 25,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions per annum will be liable and will need to factor in the CPM costs associated with the price of waste disposal.
During the two-day forum, representatives of the Clean Energy Regulator and the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency were on hand to provide information and demonstrate tools and resources for estimating and measuring carbon dioxide equivalent emissions. Having these experts available to explain the technical requirements and how to meet them in a practical sense was incredibly helpful, especially given the Clean Energy Regulator’s role in administering the CPM; the National Greenhouse Energy Reporting Scheme; the Carbon Farming Initiative; and the Renewable Energy Target.
Keynote addresses were provided by Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Mark Dreyfus and Chloe Munro, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Clean Energy Regulator. The forum also heard from councils that have implemented new management and accounting systems to deal with changes to their landfills as a result of carbon pricing. These councils, including the Albury City Council and the Tweed Shire Council, were widely congratulated for their proactive approach.
I have received lots of feedback from councils about how beneficial the forum has been in explaining issues relevant to their individual local government areas.
For those councils that could not attend the forum but would like more information about the CPM, the Clean Energy Regulator will be progressively releasing information and guidance notes to help local governments in meeting their obligations.
Visit www.cleanenergyregulator.gov.au or phone 1300 553 542 to find out more.
Mayor Genia McCaffery
United Cities and Local Government Asia Pacific (UCLG ASPAC) is calling for Mayors and the Heads of Technical Services Departments from councils around Australia to be part of the development of the third Global Report on Decentralisation and Local Democracy (GOLD III).
The GOLD III Report, to be published in 2014, is focusing on Governance, Management and Finance of Basic Local Services by Local and Regional Governments. The first GOLD report released in 2008 was on the theme Decentralisation and Local Democracy. The second one on Local Government Finance was issued in 2010.
In order to gather views on the current situation in local government (within Asia Pacific region) regarding the delivery of basic public services like water, sanitation, transport, solid waste management, electricity and others, UCLG ASPAC has developed questionnaires which are addressed to Mayors and the Heads of Technical Services Departments. The survey seeks information about who is responsible for basic public services, what problems are faced by local governments and how these problems can be solved. Based on the survey results, UCLG ASPAC will formulate recommendations to respond to challenges and help improve citizens’ access to basic services. The finding of this survey will be used to contribute to the GOLD III Report.
For more information about GOLD III and to view copies of the previous two reports, click here.
To be part of this important international research, please complete the online survey available at www.uclg-aspac.com by 30 April 2012.
Western Victorian MP Simon Ramsay has warned that state government may need to find additional money to pay for repairs to roads damaged during the construction of wind farms.
During a speech in Parliament this week, Mr Ramsay asked Victorian Roads Minister Terry Mulder to investigate the problem.
The Glenelg and Moyne shires have complained about the impact of trucks supplying wind farms.
"There is no doubt that councils are going to have to seek some support to deal with this mess ... created by the previous Labor government, not only in road provision but the permits themselves and the impact they are having to communities right across western Victoria," Mr Ramsay said.
He says the Government may have to force wind farm developers to help cover the cost of road repairs.
"How do we now accommodate what we see as a very real need by communities across western Victoria in providing assistance for this deterioration in road networks," he said.
The Australian Electoral Commission says extra elections will take place next month to fill the seven council vacancies across central Australian shires. The elections are set for the 17 May.
Electoral services officer Lindsay Wright says the commission will do early polling in remote areas if it is necessary.
Nominations for positions in the Barkly, MacDonnell and Central Desert shire councils closed this week.
A group of councils says local governments need to have more involvement in responding to floods.
The Orana Regional Organisation of Councils (OROC) has held its annual board meeting in Lightning Ridge.
The chairman and Narromine Shire Mayor, Bill McAnally says the damage from recent flooding in the western region dominated talks, and councils want more say during emergencies.
"We do have to lead a lot of times in these things, especially in the smaller towns and when your numbers are low in your volunteers and your SES, you have to get SES from outside the area without local knowledge and numbers are always thin on the ground and we need those people in there with local knowledge to deal with these emergencies to help these people that come from out of their area."
The group also heard from the developers of a major grain terminal at Newcastle.
Councillor McAnally says it shed light on a broader concern of councils about the region's transport network.
He says local rail and road systems are getting too old and are not secure enough for the large volumes of freight that need to get to coastal ports.
"Infrastructure is very important and I don't think it has grown with the pace of all the other transport we use to carry grain to ports," he said.
"Our trucks are bigger and better and we just haven't grown with the roads system and the rail system to get it there."
The Central Desert Shire is advocating for a sacred sites register to be formed to protect sacred trees across the Anmatjere Ward of the shire.
Shire CEO Royden Robertson says there are concerns that people are unaware of the cultural significance of some trees.
He says it has written to the Central Land Council (CLC) about the issue and will meet a representative from the group.
"Concerned that there was quite a few people who are not aware of trees, mainly sacred trees, and they are wanting to ensure that anything that needs to be safeguarded around them is protected and they thought it would be very helpful if there was this sacred sites register prepared," he said.
"Council agreed to actually write the letter, in fact the letter's been written and hopefully will be in the mail today and we understand there's been ... some talks with the CLC, that they are happy to send someone but we've put it formally to them because council has agreed to the request."
One in five, or 19 per cent of Australian workers were casual employees in November 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) said today. This represents just under 2.2 million people.
The majority (62 per cent) of employed people were employees with paid leave entitlements, while a further nine per cent were either independent contractors, and a similar proportion were other business operators.
Females were more likely than males not to have paid leave entitlements (23 per cent compared with 16 per cent).
More than half (64 per cent) of all employees in the accommodation and food services industry did not have paid leave entitlements. Other industries recording a high proportion of employees without paid leave entitlements include:
- Agriculture, forestry and fishing (48 per cent)
- Retail trade (40 per cent)
- Arts and recreation services (39 per cent).
The ABS also found that there were 605,400 people (five per cent of all employed persons) who found their jobs through a labour hire firm/employment agency in November 2011, of whom 56 per cent were males. Of these, 141,700 persons (23 per cent of those who found their job through a labour hire firm/employment agency) were paid by a labour hire firm/employment agency.
Administrative and support services (20 per cent) and manufacturing (13 per cent) were the industries with the greatest proportion of those who were paid by a labour hire firm/employment agency, while clerical and administrative workers (21 per cent) and machinery operators and drivers (19 per cent) were the most common occupation groups.
More details are available here.
The Australia Award for Urban Design is the premier award for excellence and innovation in all elements of urban design in Australia.
Individuals, groups and organisations in the planning, development and design industries recently involved with Australian urban design initiatives, projects or developments that deserve national recognition are being encouraged to enter.
The Award intent and scope is broad and would include entries for design initiatives, projects, built developments, and publications that will make a significant difference to the places, spaces, buildings and infrastructure of our cities.
Nominations close at 4pm, Thursday, 10 May, 2012.
To download the 2012 Nomination Kit, click here.
Keep Australia Beautiful is calling for grant applications from local communities to implement local beverage container recycling projects.
The Keep Australia Beautiful grants, funded by The Coca-Cola Foundation, are open to all communities across Australia and range from $3,000 to $10,000 for projects that will result in a measurable increase in beverage container recycling within the local communities.
Applications are open to community groups, local associations, schools, small to medium enterprises and local government authorities and will be awarded to:
- projects which address the specific issue of beverage container recycling and its by-products;
- practical local solutions that can be used as examples for others and leave a legacy;
- projects that do not duplicate existing recycling activities; and
- projects that result in measurable volumes of recycled materials.
Applications for the 2012 grants funding close on Friday 15th June 2012 with successful applicants confirmed at the end of July.
Further information and application forms are available here.
MobileMuster, the official recycling program of the mobile phone industry, is calling on local councils that have helped to promote and collect mobile phones for recycling over the last year to nominate for the 2012 MobileMuster Local Government Awards.
This year there are five MobileMuster Local Government Awards up for grabs including Best Promoter, Working with Schools Award, Top Collector / Recycler Overall, Top Collector / Recycler Per Capita and National Excellence.
The awards, established in 2007, acknowledge the great support received from local government in promoting and collecting mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories for recycling. The winning councils will be announced during the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) National General Assembly at the National Convention Centre in Canberra from 17-20 June 2012.
Rose Read, Manager of Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association’s (AMTA) official recycling program, MobileMuster, encourages councils to nominate for the Best Promoter, Working with Schools Award and National Excellence awards.
“Councils play a major role in educating residents about waste and collecting mobile phones for recycling,” Ms Read said.
“In the 12 months to December 2011, local councils diverted almost 2,400kg of mobile phones, batteries, chargers and accessories from landfill. This included over 19,000 handsets and batteries as well as 1,200 kg in accessories. This helped avoid over 14 tonnes of greenhouse emissions.”
Nominations close on Wednesday, 6 June 2012.
For more information go to www.mobilemuster.com.au or call 1300 730 070.
ALGWA and White Ribbon invites all ALGA and RDA delegates, members, supporters and friends to join the ALGWA National Executive for a networking breakfast.
The breakfast will feature White Ribbon Chairman, Andrew O’Keefe.
White Ribbon works to prevent men’s violence against women by changing attitudes and behaviours.
Monday, 18 June
The Murray Room, National Convention Centre
27-31 Constitution Avenue, Canberra
Tickets are $70 and available from www.whiteribbon.org.au/events/algwa
For further enquiries visit www.algwa.net.au, or contact Helen Harris on (03) 9897 1312.
The Outdoor Design Source network of Print & Online is Australia's leading multimedia resource (directory & website) for the external works industry. Featuring 600 pages of landscape products and services, Outdoor Design Source is the most comprehensive resource, covering the entire landscape architecture, design and construction industries. Endorsed by more than 30 industry associations, Outdoor Design Source is distributed each year to more than 16,000 subscribers, including landscape architects, councils and property managers.
Everything featured in the annual directory is also accessible online at www.outdoordesign.com.au. Outdoor Design Source also produces a weekly ODS E-Newsletter featuring all the latest product releases, industry news and events. Register online for free to grab the latest industry news weekly!
All council planners, landscape architects and parks managers, register here (http://www.outdoordesign.com.au/orderods) for your free copy of the 2012 Outdoor Design Source Directory!
5th International Parks Management and Leadership Conference:
Parks Beyond Boundaries
National Wine Centre, Adelaide, Australia 22 – 24 May 2012
Local government, protected area agencies, indigenous land management groups, NGO’s and others are increasingly looking beyond their own boundaries to think about future partners in sustainability of parks and the environment.
‘Parks Beyond Boundaries’ provides an opportunity for leaders in the parks sector and allied sectors to share expertise and ideas, discussing the future of parks and the role they play in environmental, social and community health as well as cultural and economic development.
If we are to tackle the emerging environmental challenges we face, the involvement of a wider range of stakeholders is critical. We invite senior managers and leaders in the business of environmental, social, tourism and human health sectors, who have an eye to the future, to join us in Adelaide in May. Expect to be challenged and inspired by a compelling conference program and fabulous networking opportunities.
To register, visit http://www.parksforumconference2012.org/ and complete the registration form.
For further conference information: