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  • Advocating for you. Thank you to the Shadow Minister for Local Government, Jason Clare MP, and Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Andrew Giles MP, for their time this week to consider what Australian local governments need to thrive into the future. On your behalf, in a likely Federal Election year, we look forward+

  • Visy Industries plans to offer local councils an extra glass recycling bin to help it increase national glass recycling rates. Visy’s executive chairman, Antony Pratt, pictured, said the company would invest $2 billion in Australian manufacturing over the next 10 years. “It’ll be spent increasing the recycled content of glass bottles from 30 percent to+

  • Airports at Orange, Ballina and the Sunshine Coast have reported strong passenger growth as airlines boost their services to these and other regional centres. South-east Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Airport has gone from having two domestic routes pre-Covid (to Sydney and Melbourne) to seven, with the addition of Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Emerald and Newcastle. Orange, in+

  • The Federal Government has proposed a suite of national actions, including greater consistency of kerbside bin collections, to deal with problematic plastics. Launching the first National Plastics Plan this week, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said it was time to change the way plastics are produced and consumed – and that states, industry, and consumers+

  • This week, it was a pleasure to visit Mayors and elected members from the Albury, Greater Hume, Wagga Wagga, Temora Shire, Lachlan Shire, and Federation councils to better understand the challenges local government is facing. With global waste bans looming, we’re focused on getting results for you to enable to you manage waste and recycling.+

  • Infrastructure Australia’s new focus on ensuring that all communities have access to quality infrastructure has been welcomed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The infrastructure advisory body has added 44 new proposals to its 2021 Infrastructure Priority List prioritising: Improved digital connectivity; Support for economic development in regional communities; Road and freight connectivity to+

  • South Australian company Reclaim PV Recycling has secured development approval for the country’s first solar panel recovery and recycling facility in suburban Adelaide. Reclaim initially hopes to process about 70,000 panels a year at the Lonsdale facility – and to establish facilities in other major metropolitan areas “in the next one to two years”. The+

  • Eight Brisbane City Council waste trucks have caught fire this financial year, prompting warnings from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner. At least two of the fires were started by lithium or lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in laptop computers, mobile phones, and power drills, and which can spontaneously ignite when overheated or damaged. In all+

  • Regional Express (Rex) says it plans to terminate several NSW services as well as its Adelaide-Kangaroo Island route after government subsidies end in March. The decision follows Qantas’s launch of 26 new regional routes, including eight which overlap with Rex’s existing network. In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday, Rex deputy+

  • New technology using video footage and machine learning to automatically assess road conditions is being trialled at a NSW local council. The technology, which has the potential to deliver superior data whilst also saving time and money, is trialled by the Central Coast Council, in conjunction with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)+

  • Local governments have until 10 June 2021 to notify the Department of Foreign Affairs of pre-existing “non-core” foreign arrangements. These are arrangements they entered into with foreign entities before 10 March 2021 – and include sister city arrangements. Additionally, local governments must – from 10 March 2021 onwards – notify the Foreign Affairs Minister before+

  • Wagga Wagga Council has commissioned a report to explore the “benefits” and “consequences” of not renewing the lease on its Commonwealth-owned airport. The council’s lease on the airport land expires in 2025. Councillor Paul Funnell said the request for the report was due to insufficient grant funding to properly upgrade the ageing airport. The report+

  • This week, I joined Mayors from across Australia to honour the life of legendary Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM at her state funeral in Cobar. Her many contributions to local government over 40 years were inspirational and will not be forgotten. Vale. The importance of ALGA being a full member of the new streamlined system of intergovernmental ministerial forums (including National+

  • In February 2021, ALGA make a submission to the Senate Finance and Public Administration References Committee’s inquiry on lessons learnt following the 2019-20 bushfire season.

  • Your ALGA Board was hard at work this week holding strategic planning sessions to ensure we are doing all we can to deliver results for Australian local governments – now and into the future. ALGA does much on your behalf – advocating, contributing to policy development, and serving as a respected member of many interjurisdictional+

  • Federal ministerial responses to motions submitted by councils for debate at the 2020 National General Assembly have been published on ALGA’s website. Although the 2020 NGA was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, ALGA agreed to consider the 153 motions that had been submitted by councils for debate. After deliberations by the Board of Directors+

  • Lilliane Brady, NSW’s longest-serving female mayor and a forceful and effective advocate for her hometown of Cobar, has died aged 90. Cr Brady served on the shire council for 38 years, 20 of them as mayor, and told the ABC’s Back Roads program earlier this month that she planned to retire in September. Cr Brady+

  • Bans on purified recycled water for drinking should be lifted so that all supply augmentation options can be considered in the future, the Productivity Commission says. In a draft report into national water reform, the commission has also called for the removal of exemptions granted to the minerals and onshore gas industries from water consumption+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has renewed calls for public grants to councils and community organisations to be assessed against transparent criteria and awarded on merit. It comes amidst allegations that some state and commonwealth government grants and funding programs, including the Safer Communities Fund, have been “gerrymandered”. ALGA President Linda Scott said the+

  • To ensure the Covid-19 vaccination program is delivered safely and efficiently, the Federal Government should include frontline council workers in the cohort receiving the first shots, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) says. Councils employ a significant number of aged care and disability care staff and ALGA is pleased this cohort has already been identified+

  • ALGA lodged its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission with the Federal Treasury last week – the essence of which is that more federal support for local government will help strengthen Covid-19 recovery. The measures outlined in the submission include: Continuing the $1.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program with a focus on sustainable transport initiatives; Establishing+

  • The Commonwealth can cement Covid-19 recovery by giving greater support to councils, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said this week. In its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission, ALGA urged the Morrison Government to prioritise local jobs, infrastructure investment, and community wellbeing initiatives. Economic recovery from Covid-19 and the 2019-20 droughts, floods and bushfires is imperative –+

  • Support for local government and community repair schemes should be a cornerstone of any future Right to Repair framework, an ALGA submission says. Right to Repair is a regulatory framework entitling consumers to have their consumer durables repaired by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, as well as being able to repair+

  • Recognising and supporting local government’s proven ability to work on behalf of its communities will help cement Covid-19 recovery, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said this week. In its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission, ALGA has urged the Morrison Government to prioritise local jobs, infrastructure investment, and community wellbeing initiatives. Economic recovery from Covid-19 and the+

  • Australia’s communities have been through challenging times in the past 12 months. Now more than ever, Federal Government support for local governments to assist our communities is vital for creating local jobs and strengthening community wellbeing.

  • I was thrilled to see the name of Fay Miller in the list of serving and former local government officials recognised in this week’s Australia Day Honours list. Fay was Mayor of Katherine Town Council from 2012 until her forced retirement last September because of ill health – and in that time she exemplified the+

  • The Upper Hunter Shire Council has approved changes to its ambitious plan to put the Scone Regional Airport on a sustainable footing after years of financial losses. At a special meeting on 7 January, a Council committee supported changes to the construction of the planned terminal, including reducing the building’s overall footprint by 260 square+

  • More markets for recycled materials are needed to build a circular economy, says the CSIRO – along with less contaminated waste streams, and a greater reprocessing capacity. In its Circular Economy roadmap for plastics, glass, paper and tyres, Australia’s national science agency says there is no single “silver bullet” for transitioning to a circular economy+

  • Federal environment laws should be amended immediately to allow states and territories to deliver “single-touch” environmental approvals, an independent review has advised. But the new arrangements must be subject to rigorous, transparent oversight by an independent environment assurance commissioner and underpinned by legally enforceable national environmental standards. The significant environmental law reform is one of+

  • 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+