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  • This week, it was a pleasure to meet with our new Assistant Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Kevin Hogan MP, to congratulate him on his new role, and commit to working with him on all matters important to local governments. On your behalf, I raised: Local government financial sustainability questions arising from COVID lockdowns;+

  • A federal parliamentary inquiry has called for a national homelessness strategy recognising the vital role played by local governments. The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs report on homelessness in Australia contains 35 recommendations, including that the Commonwealth develop and implement a 10-year national strategy in consultation with state, territory,+

  • The Australian Council of Recycling (ACOR) will develop a national accreditation/certification scheme to support resource recovery and the circular economy. The project will receive funding from the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment (DAWE) and be aligned to key targets in the National Waste Policy Action Plan. Those action plan targets include reducing total+

  • Regional airports nationwide have been awarded nearly $30 million in grants under Round 2 of the Federal Government’s Regional Airports Program. The 89 projects awarded grants include: Charters Towers Regional Council for airstrip, fencing and other upgrades at Charters Towers Airport in Queensland ($400,000); Kempsey Shire Council for fencing to reduce wildlife intrusion at Kempsey+

  • Nearly six in 10 local government CEOs say the financial sustainability of their councils was negatively impacted by Covid-19, a new survey shows. However, the survey also shows the pandemic has provided the impetus for many councils to “think outside of the box” about how to maximise revenue, keep costs down, and “sweat” their assets+

  • The South East Queensland Council of Mayors (SEQ) did local government proud this week. Six years after they began exploring a Brisbane regional bid for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, the Council of Mayors (working with the state and federal governments) have delivered spectacularly for their communities. The basis for the bid was always about+

  • Testing of Australia’s redesigned fire danger forecasting system has begun in north Queensland, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory. The operational trial of the Australian Fire Danger Rating System (AFDRS) program began on 1 July and will be extended to southern Australia in October when the fire season begins. In the most southerly areas, the+

  • Over 200 dangerous crash sites on NSW, Victoria, SA, Tasmania, and WA roads will get Black Spot Program fixes in 2021-22. Program funding of $86.9 million was announced this week, with the biggest share set to flow to councils in Victoria and NSW. Queensland Black Spot funding of $20.8 million to improve 67 dangerous crash+

  • Many local governments and communities lack the resources to identify appropriate solutions to local telecommunications problems, a new issues paper says. Published as a prelude to the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review, the paper canvasses issues around adequacy, opportunity, and awareness of telco services in both rural, regional and remote areas of Australia. Public consultations for+

  • Thank you to local governments around the nation who have pulled out all the stops to aid the national COVID recovery process, including repeatedly offering to support the vaccination rollout. Given councils have been providing community immunisation services for decades, state and territory health agencies ought to have snapped up offers of local government facilities+

  • Joint Federal and NSW government financial assistance for businesses and households impacted by the Greater Sydney lockdowns has been welcomed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA). The $5.1 billion package includes payments for businesses and households impacted by current lockdowns, and followed calls for support from Local Government NSW, an ALGA member. A Federal+

  • The City of Cockburn will install a fringing reef off a beach south of Fremantle in what it is describing as a unique coastal management trial. Engineered reef modules totalling about 100 metres in length will be anchored 50m offshore at the northern end of C.Y. O’Connor Beach in early 2022 to break down wave+

  • The Federal and Queensland Governments have agreed to invest $20 million each in the Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF). With Queensland industry set to match that $40 million amount, there will be combined $80 million available through the RMF to fund new plastic, glass and tyre recycling infrastructure upgrades across the state. Deputy Premier and Minister+

  • National shortages of civil and transport engineers, urban and regional planners, landscape gardeners, and construction project managers are forecast to last well into the future. The 2021 Skills Priority List compiled by the National Skills Commission and released last week also reveals a national shortage of surveyors, arborists, childcare workers, aged or disabled carers, and+

  • Local government’s willingness and capacity to step up on behalf of local businesses and local communities has again been to the fore this week. Responding to current COVID lockdowns, councils in Brisbane and Sydney put additional support measures in place to protect local jobs and to support local businesses. Councils in all states and territories+

  • Local government road managers will be able to assess up to 1000 bridges, roads and culverts after a $12.1 million funding announcement this week. The new Commonwealth money will go to support a second phase of the Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP). Established by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in 2019 with+

  • Communities in areas badly impacted by the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires can apply for a share of a new $280 million federal grants program. The Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program is prioritising recovery and resilience projects, and has been enabled by a lower-than-expected take-up of programs under the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.+

  • The Federal Government has confirmed funding of $85 million over 10 years to establish the Natural Hazards Research Australia (NHRA) centre. The centre will deliver “evidence-based research to better inform natural disaster preparation and to develop technological solutions to mitigate risks”. A series of workshops and meetings with potential end-users and research partners are planned+

  • We learned this week, via the latest Intergenerational Report, that there are now more people in work than before COVID-19, with a significantly higher participation rate. Our sector can rightly hold its head high for helping engineer this remarkable jobs turnaround. Local governments supported communities through the worst of the pandemic before quickly pivoting to+

  • Local government needs to be involved in decision-making about services, infrastructure, and population growth management, the Federal Treasury says. The 2021 Intergenerational Report released by Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg this week points to a decline in Australia’s population growth triggered by Covid-19 border closures, but projects the population will continue growing faster than most other+

  • Industry players say insufficient capacity to deal with extra recyclable plastics generated by a halt in exports may lead to more plastics being landfilled. As of 1 July, mixed plastic can no longer be sent overseas for processing. Plastic waste sorted into single resin or polymer types can continue being exported, but it too will+

  • Victoria’s state government has earmarked $127 million in funding to help councils to move to a four-bin household waste and recycling system. The new system will add a purple bin for glass recycling, as well as green for food organics and garden waste, yellow for mixed recycling, and red for rubbish. The Victorian government wants+

  • 23 June 2021 The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed Labor’s pledge to include local government in the National Cabinet. Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese told delegates at the 27th National General Assembly of Local Government today that people expected the three tiers of government to work together on their behalf, particularly as the+

  • 22 June 2021 Delegates to the 27th National General Assembly of Local Government have backed moves to give Indigenous Australians a greater say in how they address entrenched disadvantage in their local communities. A motion put forward by East Arnhem Regional Council to support nationally consistent recognition of Aboriginal controlled councils was carried unanimously at+

  • 20 June 2021 A national forum will today look at how rural and regional councils are successfully delivering jobs and economic leadership to ensure the COVID-inspired bush renaissance of 2020-21 is enduring and widespread. Convened by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), the forum will take the bush’s temperature, examine economic and political trends, and+

  • 18 June 2021 Municipal leaders from across Australia will meet in Canberra next week to call for local government to be reinstated to National Cabinet. They are also expected to press the Federal Government to increase financial assistance to local government to ensure councils can respond more effectively to the social and economic impacts of+

  • It was wonderful to be able to connect with so many local government delegates at this week’s National General Assembly. The strength and value of our NGA has always been its diversity of views and opinions – not to mention the unrivalled opportunity to share stories and experiences that ultimately advance our communities’ best interests.+

  • The Local Government Association of Tasmania and member councils have raised concerns about land banking’s impacts on statewide housing supply. LGAT President Christina Holmdahl told local media this week that solutions to the issue were needed. She said councils could work with the government to release land that can be made available for affordable housing,+

  • Australians continue to be avid consumers of news, underscoring the important role newspapers play in the democratic life of local communities. The finding is contained in the 2021 Digital News Report, a survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism based at the University of Oxford. The report found 81 percent of+

  • Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has given the solar industry until June 2022 to finalise a nationwide product stewardship scheme. In a speech to the National Press Club last week, Ms Ley said the lack of an industry-wide approach to collecting and recycling solar panels across the country was concerning given the massive popularity of+

  • 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+