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  • 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+

  • 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+