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  • The golden thread running through our 27th National General Assembly of Local Government starting on Sunday is job creation. It’s a capacity that local government has demonstrated in spades since the last NGA in 2019. In the two years since then, our sector has contended with disasters ranging from drought to bushfires, floods, a pandemic,+

  • Elected member conduct and CEO remuneration in South Australia will be overhauled after state parliament passed a new Amendment Bill last week. Under the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020, a new conduct management system will be set up to help councils deal quickly with low-level matters, while an independent Behaviour Standards Panel will+

  • Single-use plastics will be phased out in NSW by 2025 under the state’s new Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 released last week. The plan, backed by $356 million in new funding, will also include: financial incentives for manufacturers and producers to design out problematic plastics; requirements for government agencies to prefer recycled content; mandating+

  • Australia’s solar panel industry has been put on notice and told to step up and embrace product stewardship. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the uptake of millions of solar panels across the country from rooftops to solar farms has been vital to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “[However], the explosion of retailers and importers+

  • This week, I was honoured to represent you at the first meeting of the National Cabinet Reform Committee (Rural and Regional). One of six bodies created in June 2020 to progress the National Cabinet’s job-creation agenda, the Rural and Regional Reform Committee is tasked with promoting economic growth and job creation in rural and regional+

  • An emissions reduction project that’s claimed to be Australia’s largest local government scheme will be implemented next month. From 1 July, 46 Victorian councils will begin taking wind energy supplied by retailer Red Energy to power their town halls, sports grounds, community venues, leisure centres, streetlights, and other infrastructure. Under the terms of the Victorian+

  • Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner wants people back in Australia’s major central business districts and using public transport again. Addressing National Cabinet last week as the chairman of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM), Cr Schrinner said that while office occupancy rates had increased from the historic low experienced last year, there was+

  • Copyright laws should be amended to give consumers and independent repairers access to information and tools enabling product fixes, a new draft report says. The Productivity Commission’s draft report on the “right to repair” found the three main sectors where it was becoming harder to get repairs were mobile phones and tablets, motor vehicles, and+

  • Local governments employ a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians than other government sectors – 4.5 percent versus about 2.3 percent for the state, territory, and federal governments. Councils are at ground zero in facilitating and growing local economies (and jobs), so it is not surprising we should be leading the way in improving employment outcomes+

  • A prototype website providing information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition, and rest area usage has gone live. As well as supporting the day-to-day operations of the transport industry, and providing enhanced freight data across all supply chains, the National Freight Data Hub will enable a data-driven approach for future strategic planning and investment. Deputy+

  • The current accommodation shortage in many regional towns and cities will take time to reverse, the Regional Australia Institute has said. Twenty regions ranging from Port Hedland to Ballina and Townsville to Burnie have residential vacancy rates of 0.5 percent or lower, a situation that threatens to delay work on infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering+

  • Luke Hartsuyker will chair an independent review into the state of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia. Mr Hartsuyker, pictured, is a former Member for the Federal seat of Cowper in NSW, and will be joined on the review committee by Kristy Sparrow, Sue Middleton, Hugh Bradlow, and Michael Cosgrave. Announcing the appointments+

  • I travelled to Parliament House in Canberra this week for talks with senior Morrison Government Ministers Michael McCormack and Mark Coulton and with senior Opposition figures and crossbench MPs. I thanked Ministers McCormack and Coulton for listening to our advocacy around leveraging the potential of local government to drive a locally-led recovery. My discussions with+

  • The City of Sydney Council wants to include energy targets in development applications in a bid to make new buildings more energy efficient. Under a proposal now before the NSW state government, development applications for new office buildings, hotels and shopping centres, and major redevelopments of existing buildings will have to comply with minimum energy+

  • Victorian councils may face “difficult” financial decisions in coming years if revenue growth does not resume post-Covid-19. The warning is contained an Essential Services Commission report on the impact of rate capping on local councils. The Local council outcomes report 2021 found that the sector’s financial health remained strong in general, “putting it in a+

  • Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud has reignited his stoush with Telstra over its regional telecommunications services. In February, Mr Littleproud accused the telco of abandoning its rural customers, particularly in his central Queensland electorate of Maranoa. This week, in an opinion article published in the Weekly Times, Mr Littleproud again said Telstra had “given+

  • Your ALGA has a new chief executive officer, Matt Pinnegar – who takes up his new role when the National General Assembly of Local Government gets underway next month. Many of you probably already know Matt, who is the current CEO of the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA). Matt has seen the LGASA+

  • Matt Pinnegar has been appointed the next chief executive officer of the Australian Local Government Association, succeeding retiring CEO Adrian Beresford-Wylie. Mr Pinnegar is currently CEO of the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA). Before taking the helm at LGASA in 2015, Mr Pinnegar was the external affairs manager for BP in South Australia+

  • West Australian councils have raised concerns about more recyclables ending up in landfill when a federal export ban on some waste plastics comes into force in July. The state’s biggest recycling plant, operated by Cleanaway in suburban Guildford, burned down in late 2019 and is scheduled to re-open just days before stage one of the+

  • A new organisation to “lead efforts” to eliminate plastic in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands was launched in Sydney this week. The ANZPAC Plastics Pact comprises 60 founding members from across the plastics supply chain, including corporations, packaging manufacturers and retailers, resource recovery leaders, governments, and NGOs. Its members have pledged to work+

  • It was wonderful to see strong bipartisan backing for local government’s ability to create jobs and lead economic recovery this week, as part of the Federal Budget and the Opposition Leader’s Budget in Reply speech. The direct wins for local government from the Morrison Government’s third Budget included: $1 billion in new funding to extend+

  • The regions have been major winners from this week’s Federal Budget with significant initiatives aimed at sharpening their appeal as places to live and work. Issues of disaster resilience and water security in regional areas have also been addressed with new money, including $50 million in co-funding for 22 projects under the National Flood Mitigation+

  • Rockhampton Regional Council’s bid to lure Alliance Airlines to its regional airport has been boosted with a $25 million Community Development Program grant. Tuesday’s Federal Budget committed $25 million (under the Community Development Grants Program) towards the construction of a maintenance repair and overhaul facility at Rockhampton airport for Alliance’s use, a move which could+

  • The Federal Government’s waste and recycling funding initiatives from Tuesday’s Budget have drawn a mostly favourable response from stakeholders. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced $77.9 million in new investments to reduce waste impacts on the environment, with $67 million of that to be directed to new food organic and garden organic waste (FOGO) initiatives. A Food+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed the Federal Government’s endorsement of the key role councils are playing in creating jobs and supporting local communities by leading a locally led economic recovery from the COVID pandemic. ALGA President Councillor Linda Scott said the key measures outlined in last night’s Federal Budget, including a $1+

  • Local governments provide a vast array of services, functions, and amenities according to individual state government legislative frameworks. Last night’s Federal Budget contained measures of varying relevance to local governments, depending on their jurisdiction or location. They include (with Budget Paper references): Home Ownership – First Home Super Saver Scheme (BP2 P17) and First Home+

  • This year’s Federal Budget further recognises Local Government’s essential role in supporting local communities, employment and businesses. It also addresses many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years. The level of Financial Assistance Grants is estimated to be 0.6 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. This is unchanged+

  • 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+

  • In tonight’s Federal Budget, local governments welcome that the Morrison Federal Government has listened to ALGA’s advocacy, investing in local government in response to our calls for a locally-led economic recovery for Australia. The Federal Budget includes several wins for Australian councils and our communities, including: Community Infrastructure New funding for $1 billion towards Local+

  • The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed the announcement by the Federal Government of investments in major projects totaling more than $10 billion and called for similar commitments in local government infrastructure. The new commitments, expected to create more than 23,000 direct and indirect jobs, form part of the Commonwealth’s 10-year land transport and infrastructure+

  • In response to sustained local government advocacy, I’m so pleased to welcome the Federal Government’s announcement this week of a properly funded National Recovery and Resilience Agency by July, with former NT Chief Minister Shane Stone as its coordinator-General. Disaster funding must go beyond recovery and reconstruction to embrace mitigation and resilience measures and, this+

  • Insurance costs for flood and cyclone-prone communities in northern Australia are expected to fall when a reinsurance pool is set up next year. Announcing the initiative this week, the Federal Government said insurance premiums for households, strata, and small businesses north of the Tropic of Capricorn should drop by a combined $1.5 billion over 10+

  • The Morrison Government will earmark an additional $250 million for a Sixth Round of Building Better Regions Fund in next week’s Federal Budget. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack made the announcement in a speech at Rockhampton on Wednesday, where he thanked local government for the job “you are doing on behalf of your local communities”.+

  • A new federal agency will support local community responses to major natural disasters and administer a $600 million “Preparing Australia Program”. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new program will enable the Commonwealth to directly fund disaster mitigation and risk-reduction projects. These projects will include flood levees, hardened telecommunications infrastructure, and bushfire and cyclone-proof housing.+

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s revelation that next month’s federal Budget will contain further fiscal stimulus and job-creation initiatives is great news for our sector. As the national focus shifts to creating the infrastructure and jobs needed to sustain a more dynamic and prosperous Australia, ALGA will be stepping up its campaign for funding from the Commonwealth+

  • The Federal and Victorian governments are investing a combined $24 million in Australia’s first drum pulper to recycle mixed waste paper and cardboard. To be installed at a Visy paper mill in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, the drum pulper will process an additional 95,000 tonnes of kerbside waste for manufacture into a range of paper products,+

  • Electric scooters will be trialled for up to a year in three Victorian council areas, the Victorian Government announced last week. Starting later this year, the trial is seeking to ascertain out how e-scooters could be integrated safely into the transport network. It will be conducted in two metropolitan LGAs and one regional LGA. The+

  • Journalist and author Gabrielle Chan knows a thing or three about regional Australia, having moved from Canberra to rural NSW with her farmer husband in 1996. She has described her home town of 25 years, Harden-Murrumburrah, as “the place in which I first understood a sense of belonging, of community, and the impulses to protect+

  • It was an honour to visit Darwin this week, spending time meeting and listening to the magnificent work being done by NT local governments, in towns and remote areas across the vast Territory. Thank you to Darwin’s Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis, President of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT), and the LGANT+

  • The Building Stronger Homes Roundtable wants codes, standards, and land use planning systems revised to promote housing resilience. The roundtable was established by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) to discuss policy changes that make buildings throughout Australia more resilient. ICA chief executive officer Andrew Hall said increased collaboration was+

  • An Australia-wide network of mass immunisation centres, supported by local government, could get the nation’s flagging Covid-19 vaccine program back on track. University of NSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, pictured, said this week that vaccinations would need to be stepped up significantly if most of the adult population is to receive at least one shot by+

  • Telstra has lost its bid to overturn a Federal Court decision preventing it from installing payphones with large digital advertising screens in Melbourne and Brisbane. The High Court’s refusal last week to hear Telstra’s appeal ends a long-running bid by the company to install 1800 “next generation” payphones across capital cities under Under schedule 3+

  • Australia’s first underground automated general waste collection system in Maroochydore, Queensland will be switched on in July. Waste and recyclables from buildings and street bins in the new 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre will be pumped through a 6.5km network of underground pipes at speeds of up to 70km/h to a collection station for transfer to+

  • A digital tool to highlight long-term trends in coastal erosion and growth has been launched by Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia (DEA) program. The tool was developed with input from local councils, state governments, academia and citizen scientists, and will provide scientists, managers, and planners with the means to reliably assess impacts to Australia’s coastlines+

  • Environment Ministers have agreed to a suite of actions to meet National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, included nationally consistent municipal waste collections. This week’s Environment Ministers Meeting (EMM) also agreed in principle to support a roll-out of Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) waste collection services and to implement standards within each jurisdiction for+

  • The recent huge waves of support for women to have their voices heard paid off this week with the Morrison Government saying it will stage a national women’s safety summit in July. The announcement acknowledges that Australian society, by and large, has not done enough to protect or support people who are vulnerable to family+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has received than 160 motions for possible inclusion in the 2021 National General Assembly Business Papers. The motions cover topics such as the lack of local government representation in National Cabinet, funding for local governments, and the role of councils in economic development and job creation. ALGA President Linda+

  • New funding has been announced for recycling and clean energy projects under the Federal Government’s $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI). Initial applications will be limited to the “Translation and Integration” streams of the MMI, with expressions of interest for the larger “Collaboration” stream to open soon. The MMI is intended to help manufacturers in+

  • Australia’s next national plan to reduce violence against women and their children must involve a more uniform approach across jurisdictions, a new parliamentary report says. Whilst noting the achievements of the National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010-22 – including the creation of Our Watch – the House of Representatives Standing+

  • This week, we’ve secured another positive step towards local government’s financial sustainability, which has never been more important as we all recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. As Labor’s National Conference met, mayors and councillors from across Australia secured Labor’s commitment to: Focus on the long-term financial sustainability of local government through increases to grant allocations,+

  • A national approach to public toilets is needed to increase accessibility and participation in social, economic and civic life, a Queensland researcher says. Churchill Fellow Katherine Webber has proposed that key stakeholders able to influence public lavatory design and management (including the Australian Local Government Association and Infrastructure Australia) develop design and functionality guidelines based+

  • Local governments are being encouraged to make the new Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 central to their drowning prevention policies. The strategy seeks to raise awareness about non-fatal drowning incidents, encourage communities to create local water safety plans, and promote access to swimming and water safety skills for all Australians, particularly for those living in+