FILTER BY:
  • 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+

  • National Cabinet had two jobs: fight Covid-19 and fight for the economy. Big ticks for item one, but how about the economy, and jobs? There is one obvious sector that needs help. Tourism, and the local communities that depend upon it, have been badly affected. This is particularly true for those geared for international tourists.+

  • It has been nearly eight months since I toured bushfire-affected local governments in NSW with LGNSW President Linda Scott, and my impressions of that time remain vivid. We saw councils doing extraordinary things for and behalf of their communities – helping coordinate fire-fighting response, providing equipment to the NSW Rural Fire Service, opening major evacuation+

  • Cr John White was elected to Victoria’s East Gippsland Shire Council in 2016, and became Mayor in October 2019. His involvement in the local East Gippsland community, particularly through local sporting clubs and the Country Fire Authority, dates back to the 1970s. Together with his wife, Leanne, Cr White operates a sheep, cattle and cropping+

  • National Bushfire Recovery Agency deputy coordinator Andrew Hocking will head an impressive array of speakers at ALGA’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in November. After being forced to cancel its annual National General Assembly for Local Government because of Covid-19, ALGA has expanded the National Local Roads and Transport Congress to encompass natural disaster+

  • Reforms to the powers and immunities framework are being considered that could require telecommunications installations to conform to higher safety standards. Under the reform proposals published this week by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the framework could incorporate a “primary safety condition” reaffirming that the “safety of telco installations is+

  • Australia is in recession and about two million Australians are out of work. If we really care about our communities, what is the role of Local Government in driving recovery? And why? The “why” is obvious. Those two million Aussies are our locals. They are our first-jobbers, family-starters, mums and dads, the middle-aged, the “wiser+

  • Liz Campbell was born and educated in the Kempsey District and elected to the Shire Council in 2008. With a background in the travel and tourism industries, Cr Campbell became Mayor in 2011 and was re-elected the following year when Kempsey held its first election for a popularly elected Mayor. Kempsey Shire Council, on the+

  • A contract believed to be the largest local government-led procurement of recycled road-making materials in NSW history has been put to public tender. The open market tender to provide recycled crushed glass (RCG) asphalt for road construction and maintenance activities for the 15 council members of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) was+

  • Creating a single “scalable” national agency to lead disaster recovery and resilience efforts would bring many benefits, an interim bushfires report says. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements released a 40-page list of “interim propositions” last week on Friday for local, state and federal governments to consider and respond to ahead of a+

  • The first major bushfire of the 2020-21 season occurred on Monday near Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, reminding us that bushfires wait for no-one, let alone the outcome of a Royal Commission. Ironically, the Trewantin fire took hold the day before the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements published its interim report – “mindful of the+

  • Councillor Kathy Sajowitz was elected to Oberon Council in 2012, having retired and settled in Oberon in 2005 after many years in office administration. She was elected as Mayor at an Extraordinary Meeting in July 2015. Besides representing Oberon Council on numerous external organisations, Cr Sajowitz is on the executive of the Country Mayors Association+

  • New work to address Australia’s $30 billion infrastructure deficit has begun, with councils being asked to contribute to the next National State of the Assets (NSoA) report. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is partnering with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to produce the report, which aims, among other things, to provide+

  • Local government’s varying ability to manage natural disasters needs to be better understood by the states when delegating roles and providing support. And while many councils share resources during natural disasters to great effect, this warrants greater state backing, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements said this week. In an interim report containing+

  • Are you ready to play an even greater role? Last week, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe provided National Cabinet with an economic update which will have a direct and important bearing on our local government sector. Dr Lowe told first leaders that jobs and unemployment are the biggest economic challenge Australia faces during Covid-19, and+

  • Mark Greenhill has been a Blue Mountains City councillor for 17 years, seven of which he has served as Mayor. In 2016, Cr Greenhill was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to local government and to the Blue Mountains community. When not attending to council matters, he works in industrial+

  • NSW’s rate peg is being blamed for councils not having enough money to provide their rapidly growing communities with new infrastructure. The State is said to have foregone about $15 billion in rates compared with Victoria (which does not cap rates) since 2000, and the NSW Productivity Commission says that except for raising user charges+

  • NSW landowners will have to conduct more prescribed burns after the State Government this week agreed to all 76 recommendations of a statewide bushfire inquiry. The independent inquiry, led by former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens and NSW chief scientist Mary O’Kane, also said local councils and partner agencies should be supported by the+

  • How different would it have been had local government had been represented at National Cabinet meetings when discussions turned to border closures? Completely, I would argue. The substantial risk that comes from sidelining local community voices has been exposed in recent media reports of anomalies arising from Covid-19 border restrictions. One story centred on a+

  • Vic Pennisi has been an elected member of local government since 2004, and was elected Mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council in April this year. He has a background in vehicle fleet maintenance, the horticulture sector, and retail business management. The SDRC is located in Queensland’s Darling Downs region, and was created in 2008+

  • Australian Airports Association (AAA) members are losing around $300 million a month, a Senate select committee on Covid-19 heard on Thursday. Making the case for direct government assistance to airport operators (including local governments), AAA chief executive James Goodwin said the aviation sector has been hit by some of the “deepest lows” of the crisis.+

  • Victorian council elections set down for October 24 will go ahead as planned, the State Government confirmed this week. The decision comes despite claims the polls will be compromised by Covid-19 restrictions. The State Government says it sought advice from the Chief Health Officer before making the decision. “The Chief Health Officer has advised that+

  • Dr Jan-Claire Wisdom was born in Northern Europe and educated in Britain, where she lived until emigrating to Australia in 1991. She has a background in tertiary education and military service, and was first elected to the Adelaide Hills Council in 2010, becoming mayor in 2018. The council is home to 40,000 people in communities+

  • A local government inspectorate to improve the capability and integrity of West Australian councils is probable after a long-running inquiry into the Perth City Council. The review was commissioned in April 2018 after a series of upheavals involving elected members and administrative staff culminated in the council’s suspension on 2 March 2018. The four-volume report+

  • The Federal Government will invest $1.67 billion over 10 years to bolster government, community, and business defences against cyber-attacks. Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says well-equipped and persistent state-sponsored actors are targeting critical infrastructure and stealing Australian intellectual property. In a foreword to the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 published last week, Mr Dutton+

  • If plastics were radioactive we would pay more attention to their half-lives. Even the CSIRO have set an ambitious new mission to “end plastic waste”. If only it wasn’t such a useful material! Plastic has transformed everyday life, being easy to manufacture, durable, strong for its weight, and resistant to shock, corrosion, chemicals, and water.+

  • Over 116,000 Australians – more than the population of the city of Ballarat – were estimated to be homeless on Census night in 2016. Can Local Government help? That figure is almost certainly higher now, with key drivers of homelessness like unemployment and domestic violence having spiked dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. With stage four+

  • Born in Wales, Sharon Tapscott emigrated to Australia with her family and grew in the shadow of the Dandenong Ranges, not far from Melbourne. She moved to Merimbula in NSW with her husband in 1985, where they ran a series of small businesses. She became active in local politics during a campaign to save the+

  • All jurisdictions should work with local government and industry to take Australia to the next level of building climate and disaster resilience, the CSIRO says. This work needs to concentrate on harmonising data governance and the sharing of common technologies so data and information (including a national risk map) can be produced, analysed, and exchanged+

  • A new plastic recycling plant will be built near Albury in what is likely to be a major boost to the development of a circular economy in Australia. Multinational company Asahi Beverages, packaging company Pact Group, and Cleanaway Waste Management confirmed this week they would build the $45 million plant at an industrial estate 10km+

  • It is a rare privilege to have signed such an important agreement on your behalf. The new Closing the Gap partnership, signed by the Commonwealth, the states and territories, and the Australian Local Government Association on Monday, has been hailed as a new chapter in the national effort to reduce Indigenous disadvantage. It sets new+

  • Greg Christensen was elected to the Scenic Rim Regional Council as Mayor in 2016 and successfully re-contested the 2020 election for a second term.  With a professional background in human resources and business improvement, along with a varied career with companies like CSR, Holden, and OneSteel, Cr Christensen is presently the executive officer of Step+

  • A nationwide “single-touch” environmental approvals process will be introduced after a National Cabinet meeting last week agreed to legislative changes. The changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act would see new national standards enacted and the state and territories accredited to carry out environmental assessments and approvals on the Commonwealth’s behalf. Legislation for+

  • A new national agreement to redress entrenched inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians came into effect this week. The latest Closing the Gap agreement sets 16 new national socio-economic targets in areas including life expectancy, birthweight, early childhood education and development, Year 12 and tertiary qualifications, employment, incarceration rates, household safety, and the proportion of+

  • Robert Mustow was born in Casino in northern NSW, and has lived in the Richmond Valley his entire life. After finishing high school, he became a qualified panel beater and successfully operated his own smash repair business for 15 years. With a long-running passion for local sport, especially basketball, he was then employed by Basketball+

  • An expert panel has backed Senate calls for a White Paper supporting a strategic approach to development in regional Australia. It has also recommended the Commonwealth reform its approach to regional development funding and “substantially increase” funding to Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees. The panel was convened by the Federal Government after it agreed to+

  • A federal environmental protection law review has suggested a greater assessment and approvals role for the states and territories. In an interim report into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act published this week, Professor Graeme Samuel says delays caused by the complexity of current processes could be reduced if the Commonwealth devolved more decision-making powers+

  • Coastal councils are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to rising sea levels and storm-related coastal erosion. We saw it demonstrated again this week when the Central Coast Council – under fire from residents whose beachfront properties had been destroyed or damaged by a severe storm the previous week+

  • In the first of an occasional series on the elected leaders of Australia 537 councils, Kangaroo Island Council Mayor Micheal Pengilly answers questions about various aspects of his work and that of the council’s. Councillor Pengilly was born and raised on Kangaroo Island, and he continues to farm a property with his wife on the+

  • State and Territory governments say they oppose the Commonwealth being referred additional powers to deal with or respond to natural disasters. The near unanimous view emerged in submissions to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements made public last week. In its inquiry submission, the WA Government said: “The concept of a ‘national natural+

  • An Australian Airports Association survey has revealed that 24 regional airports, most owned by councils, are owed $10 million in unpaid fees. The survey of 34 members of AAA also showed that 10 large and capital city airports were owed $7 million. AAA chief executive James Goodwin said that while airlines had received significant financial+

  • Place-based deals have been making headlines these past weeks, all of them positive, all of them reinforcing the key role Local Government plays in shaping our economy. The mayors of Albury and Wodonga have signed a statement of intent to develop a Regional Deal based around the two Murray River cities, and new annual reports+

  • The war on waste is proving to be a protracted affair, like any war, but this week’s announcement of $190 million in Commonwealth funding to create a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) is significant in several ways. Besides tipping $190 million into the RMF, the Federal Government is providing $35 million to implement the National+

  • The Commonwealth is investing $190 million to ramp up Australia’s waste processing capacity ahead of bans on exports of unprocessed waste. The money will go to a newly established Recycling Modernisation Fund to finance new infrastructure spending in sorting, processing, and reusing plastic, paper, glass, and tyres. Funding from the RMF will be contingent on+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s annual National Local Roads and Transport Congress has been expanded in 2020 to encompass natural disaster impacts, recovery and resilience, and Covid-19. With few opportunities left in 2020 for the Local Government sector to connect on a national level, the Special Recovery Conference will focus on the issues that have+

  • Are journalists about to return to country council chambers? The Federal Government has thrown the regional media a much needed lifeline – and there was more good news for the sector this week. Further details of the $50 million package to support public interest journalism were announced and the sale of Australian Associated Press (AAP)+

  • Around 80 NSW local councils will receive a share of $382 million in NSW and Federal Government funding to upgrade regional roads, it was announced this week. The money will flow from NSW Government’s Fixing Local Roads Program, to which the Commonwealth and State Governments have both committed $191 million. The two governments have also+

  • The NSW Government should replace transfer duty with a broad-based land tax and work with the other states on a national road user charging scheme for electric vehicles. The recommendations stem from the Review of Federal Financial Relations set up by NSW Treasury  in 2019 to examine how the states and the Commonwealth can work+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is partnering with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to address the country’s $30 billion national local government infrastructure backlog. The two organisations will work together – and with local councils around the country – to produce the “National State of the Assets” (NSoA) report providing detailed+

  • Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has long called for a $200 million Commonwealth Disaster Mitigation Fund to be established, the same amount nominated by the Australian Productivity Commission in its most recent advice on disaster mitigation. “Not only is the Federal Government’s current commitment of only $26.1 million a year clearly inadequate in this light,+