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  • Happy New Year for 2021! A very warm welcome to you all at the start of what is likely to be another tumultuous year when local governments will be stretched and tested in many ways. National Cabinet Advocacy – Striving for Your Seat at the Table In 2020, local governments gave such magnificent support for+

  • Regional Express is planning to introduce new routes as well as increase services to country centres to support its new capital city services starting in autumn. The airline will begin flying between Sydney and Melbourne on 1 March with a Sydney-Brisbane service scheduled for after Easter. It eventually hopes to have at least 10 Boeing+

  • The outlook for Australia Day activities organised by local governments remains fluid, with many councils reviewing planned events because of Covid-19 health concerns and crowd restrictions. In late November, ALGA News reported that Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, North Sydney, Inner West, and the Hills Councils in NSW had all cancelled events – as had the Perth+

  • The NSW, Victorian and South Australian recycling industries are in line for $73 million in grants as money from the Commonwealth’s $190 million Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) starts to flow. The Federal and NSW State Governments today announced a $35 million grant round for recycling companies, and earlier this week, the Federal and South Australian+

  • It was an honour to represent you at today’s inaugural National Federation Reform Council, a meeting of the Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers and the Treasurers, in Old Parliament House in Canberra. Formed when COAG was abolished, the Council will meet annually to discuss issues of national significance. I was pleased to hear the Prime+

  • Four hundred forty-five councils, or 83 percent of all local governments, have now provided data for the 2021 National State of the Assets (NSoA) Report. This is an increase of 13 percentage points in the overall participation rate since 2014, and eight percentage points since 2018. The Australian Local Government’s Association’s NSoA project has regularly+

  • The Commonwealth should expand its regional infrastructure spending to drive economic recovery – consulting with local and state governments to avoid a one-size-fits-all approach. This approach would help underpin economic recovery from the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Senate Economics References Committee said last week. In the final report from its inquiry into the+

  • A unified waste management approach across the states and territories is critical to developing a national circular economy, a new federal parliamentary report says. Developing a national framework which features an appropriate blend of regulation, incentive-based actions, taxes and levees, and long-term policy certainty, would foster innovation and lead to new opportunities that will create+

  • This week, as we celebrated the International Day of People with Disability, I’m proud to have signed on behalf of our nation’s local councils a statement of continued commitment by all governments to deliver a new 10-year National Disability Strategy. This is very positive news to the 4.4 million Australians with disability – including my+

  • Local government planners sometimes fail to appreciate that valuations of coastal wetlands as disaster risk-reduction ecosystems can improve decision-making. To help address the failure to adequately consider valuations, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has published the results of a study into the economic valuation of the disaster risk reduction services provided+

  • Australian and New Zealand Health Ministers have failed to agree to allow fresh fruit juice with no added sugar to score up to five on the Health Star Rating (HSR) system. The ABC has reported that last Friday’s Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation voted down a proposal by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud that fresh+

  • Greater collaboration will be necessary to ensure packaging and plastic waste in remote and regional areas are properly managed in future, a new report says. To that end, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) paper identifies 22 opportunities for improvement across capability development, waste collection, transportation, recycling, and end markets. These include actions by all+

  • In two weeks’ time, it will be my honour to represent you at the first-ever meeting of the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC). The NFRC was set up, if you recall, after intergovernmental reforms triggered by the scrapping of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) – of which ALGA was a foundation member. ALGA was+

  • Fact sheets setting out carrier obligations before and during 5G infrastructure installations are being developed for local governments, utilities, and infrastructure owners. The information will help parties understand their right to object to proposed activities and the timeframes for making objections, the Federal Government said this week. The Government was responding to a Parliamentary inquiry+

  • Several councils in NSW and WA have cancelled their Australia Day events, blaming Covid-19 restrictions and ongoing health concerns. Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, North Sydney, Inner West, and the Hills Councils in NSW have all cancelled events – as have the Perth metropolitan councils of Armadale and Bassendean. It is believed other councils are reconsidering Australia+

  • Telstra payphones with large digital screens are not “low-impact facilities” and the company must obtain council planning permission to install them, the Federal Court has ruled. The decision overturns a previous Federal Court ruling that allowed Telstra and its outdoor media company business partner, JCDecaux, to install large digital billboards as part of a roll-out+

  • Local Government Minister Mark Coulton has congratulated Linda Scott on her election as ALGA President, saying he looks forward to “a fruitful partnership in joint delivery of critical infrastructure and services benefitting all Australians”. Meeting with Cr Scott on the sidelines of the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Wagga Wagga, Minister Coulton said+

  • Efforts to increase agency procurement of recycled content have been boosted with a new report that engages with all levels of governments as well as industry. Published by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) the new report, Supporting government procurement of recycled materials sets out the challenges procurement managers face in buying goods containing recycled+

  • The Commonwealth will set up a standing national resilience and recovery agency and support other key recommendations of the bushfires royal commission. Detailing the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new agency will initially incorporate the functions of the National Bushfire+

  • Australia’s premier local roads conference being held in Wagga Wagga NSW this week has been expanded to address 2020’s biggest events – the Black Summer bushfires and the Covid-19 pandemic. The profound impacts these two disasters have had on local communities will be a major focus of the expanded two-day event being convened by the+

  • Sydney City Councillor Linda Scott has been elected President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) – the national voice of local government representing over 500 councils nationwide. Councillor Scott was elected to the position unopposed at ALGA’s annual general meeting on Friday – and will succeed David O’Loughlin, whose second (and maximum) two-term stint+

  • This is my final contribution to ALGA News as your President with my four-year term expiring today. I’ll miss it, and you. But as I look back there is so much to celebrate and to look forward to. Firstly, it has been an honour and a privilege to be the lead advocate for the local+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for greater support for local government in its pivotal role of developing the creative sector. In a new Arts and Culture Policy Position statement, ALGA says developing the creative sector is essential to the liveability and economic sustainability of all communities. Local government recognition of this was+

  • Local government spent $595 million on household waste collection, treatment, and disposal services in 2018-19, new statistics show. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Waste Account published last week showed households generated 12.4 million tonnes of waste in 2018-19. This was 16 percent of all waste generated in Australia, and up five percent since 2016-17. Households+

  • Directly funding local government investment in the arts would help grow Australia’s $112 billion creative and cultural economy, ALGA has told a federal parliamentary inquiry. In a submission to a House of Representative inquiry into Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions, ALGA said recognising councils as arts organisations (thereby making them eligible to apply+

  • Those who have read the bushfire royal commission’s final report would probably agree it is a compelling document from which the local government sector can take some comfort – except for what it missed. Although the report is cogent, it could – and should – have been broader in its perspectives, stronger in its language,+

  • The Commonwealth should boost funding for road safety, including the Black Spot Program, and work more closely with other governments to reduce road trauma. In a report published last week, the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety – established in August 2019 to inquire into the steps that can be taken to reduce road accident+

  • A long-term strategy is needed to bolster Australia’s resilience to natural disasters, along with greater support for local government, the bushfires royal commission said last week. In a statement accompanying the tabling of the report of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, Commission chairman Mark Binskin said: “While state and territory governments have+

  • The call for Australians to acquire new skills or train for completely new roles has become louder in recent months – and it has created opportunities for us. Covid-19 is the reason federal and state governments are talking up the need for greater flexibility and skills development – particularly at the vocational level – and+

  • The Black Summer bushfires have put out a whole new lens on local infrastructure resilience says a civil engineer eminently qualified to know. Warren Sharpe OAM is Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Director of Infrastructure Services, and he was also the shire’s Emergency Management Officer during the fires that left local communities throughout the NSW South Coast+

  • The Australian Local Government Association will be a member of the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC) and will continue to be involved in relevant meetings and national bodies. However, nearly two dozen former COAG councils and ministerial forums will be disbanded under new streamlined intergovernmental structures revealed last week. Prime Minister Scott Morrison outlined the+

  • With even Tasmania and Queensland border controls easing, infection numbers falling, bushfire recovery underway, and drought still with us but in fewer places, it’s time to turn our minds to creating a brighter future. Talk has begun about how we can make Australia a better place post-Covid – it is an important conversation and a+

  • Tasmania’s Derwent Valley Council was established on 2 April 1994 and includes the localities of Bushy Park, Maydena, and Strathgordon, with New Norfolk being the major town. Ben Shaw was elected to Council as Deputy Mayor in 2014 and became Mayor in 2018. He was elected Vice President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania+

  • Councils can learn a lot about the effectiveness of their communication with local audiences and stakeholders during a crisis like Covid-19. Communications expert Neryl East points to increased levels of public trust in local government during the pandemic as proof that councils have largely been reliable sources of information in 2020. “The health measures imposed+

  • Eliminating council oversight of new mobile phone base stations would represent an unacceptable erosion of environmental and public safety standards, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) warned this week. In a submission responding to proposals outlined in a consultation paper published last month on “Improving the telecommunications powers and immunities framework”, ALGA said carriers generally+

  • The Commonwealth’s support for, and regulation of, regional aviation – always a vexed matter for airport-owning councils – is up for serious discussion. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications published an issues paper this week suggesting the Federal Government will consider: Reducing the regulations to encourage greater competition and local investment; Greater+

  • Commonwealth and state governments have racked up vast deficits responding to the Covid-19 crisis – and while local government is not in the same world of financial pain, its future sustainability is just cause for concern. How the sector deals with Covid-19 and the impacts of bushfire and drought while continuing to deliver the services+

  • A pre-election pledge by the Marshall Government to introduce a cap on council rate rises in South Australia has been dumped. After failing to secure Upper House backing for its rate cap legislation, the Government this week introduced a new council reform plan to State Parliament which proposes an alternative mechanism to “protect homeowners from+

  • Greater local decision-making on council-owned aerodromes may help strengthen regional aviation after Covid-19 restrictions are eased, the Commonwealth says. In an issues paper addressing longer-term policy and reform options to be implemented over the next five years, the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications also suggests a more strategic and coordinated approach+

  • Tuesday’s Federal budget was one that brought home the bacon for local government. An extra $1 billion for local infrastructure, new money ($2 billion) for road safety initiatives, and council access to a wage subsidy scheme worth $1.2 billion to employ new apprentices and trainees. Over and above those big-ticket items, there were many other+

  • Recycling and clean energy have been identified as one of six priorities in a new manufacturing roadmap unveiled by the Morrison Government last week. Around $1.5 billion in new funding will be invested over the next four years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to “make Australian manufacturers more competitive, resilient and able to scale-up to+

  • The Federal Government will invest $7.5 billion in national transport infrastructure to boost the national economy, deliver safer roads, and create new jobs. The announcement, made a day before the Federal Budget was handed down, contains a mix of new projects and additional federal funding for already announced upgrades, including Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI).+

  • This year’s Federal Budget has addressed many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years.  Moreover, the Budget has effectively maintained the level of Financial Assistance Grants, despite the significant economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With declines in Commonwealth tax revenue, population growth and the Consumer Price+

  • Each year, ALGA provides an analysis of the Federal Budget with a specific focus on its impact on local government. The aim of the analysis is to provide local government with information on the total financial assistance it receives from the Australian Government as well as putting this assistance into context with the government’s overall+

  • Further Commonwealth support for local government in the Federal Budget will help deliver the targeted short-term stimulus critical to national economic recovery and growth. Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President David O’Loughlin commended Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s announcement of a further $1 billion investment in the local roads and community infrastructure as a vote of confidence+

  • Great news! The Federal Government has ticked a lot of ALGA’s calls for partnership funding this week, building on the well-received $500 million stimulus fund already rolling out around the nation’s councils. More specifically, our calls for targeted road funding to eliminate more safety and freight productivity black spots, to replace or upgrade substandard bridges,+

  • The Adelaide cave-diver who won national and international renown for helping rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand will be speaking at ALGA’s Special Local Roads and Transport Congress on 16-17 November. Dr Richard “Harry” Harris will relate to delegates how he dived through long and dark tunnels to+

  • Local councils have secured nearly 80 percent of grants awarded under Round Five of the Bridges Renewal Program and Round Seven of Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. In all, proponents of about 350 projects have been awarded a share of $290 million in funding to improve the productivity and safety of bridges and heavy+

  • The NBN Co will invest $300 million to boost connectivity for regional communities as part of its national broadband network upgrade. The $300 million co-investment fund will see NBN Co partner with governments to provide regional households, businesses and communities with enhanced broadband technologies and help meet the diverse and growing needs of Australians living+

  • Cr Wayne Fewster has lived and worked in Gingin all his life, and was first elected to the Gingin Shire Council in 1993; serving 16 years, including two as Shire President. After a break of several years from council, Cr Fewster won election again in 2015, and became  Shire President in 2019. He is a+

  • A national project to assess key assets like bridges and culverts on local government heavy vehicle routes is being expanded to include more councils. The pilot phase of the Strategic Local Government Assessment Project (SLGAAP) involving 12 councils is now well underway, and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is moving to Round 1 of the+

  • Many Victorian councils are expecting to report operating deficits in 2020-21, some for the first time, because of Covid-19 impacts. The revelations come from a survey of Victorian councils conducted by Local Government Finance Professionals and published as a report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) Australia. The FinPro survey found that councils have+