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  • Simon Atkinson has been appointed Secretary of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, which has responsibility for Local Government. Mr Atkinson was most recently a Deputy Secretary in the Treasury. His former senior roles include helping establish the Infrastructure Australia agency. The Australian Logistics Council said Mr Atkinson’s experience with Infrastructure Australia+

  • The role of regional Australia and alternative fuel sources for transportation are among the areas to be considered in a new Bioenergy plan that the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) will develop on behalf of the Commonwealth Government. Bioenergy, also called biomass, is a renewable energy source created from organic and renewable materials which can+

  • The Civil Aviation Safety Authority wants to hear from local government about two draft advisory circulars about aerodrome standards and aerodrome certification. The consultation, which closes on 27 November 2019, is part of CASA’s efforts to help various sectors understand impending rule changes for aerodromes. Due to take effect in August 2020, amendments to Civil+

  • The WA Local Government Association (WALGA) RoadWise Road Ribbon for Road Safety campaign begins on Sunday 17 November to alert people about road trauma, especially over the Christmas and New Year holidays. Aligned with United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Road Traffic Victims this Sunday, WALGA wants to bring attention to the number of+

  • The head of the Commonwealth’s newly-created Office of Road Safety will outline the body’s goals at the ALGA National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hanhdorf, South Australia, next week. Gabby O’Neill began in the role on 11 November after more than six years with the South Australian Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure, including+

  • Councils and local government associations are invited to comment before 3 December 2019 on the proposed timetable for the waste export ban that the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) agreed earlier this year. Australia’s Meeting of Environment Ministers on 8 November agreed to phase in the export ban from July 2020, starting with waste glass.+

  • A new discussion paper from the Australian Local Government Association  welcomes motions for the next National General Assembly (NGA) of Local Government, which will be held in Canberra from 14-17 June 2020. Motions can be submitted between 18 November 2019 and 27 March 2020, and must address the NGA’s theme of “working together for our+

  • Councils in drought-affected areas are encouraged to apply for the $200m fourth round of the Commonwealth’s Building Better Regions Fund (BRRF), which opened on 14 November and closes on 19 December. There is money for both infrastructure projects and also grants for community investments, and all drought-hit councils can apply, not just the 128  eligible+

  • This week has been National Recycling Week, a chance for councils across Australia to highlight the major role local government plays in dealing with the country’s waste challenges and opportunities. Some held tours of waste transfer and recycling facilities, or promoted the range of recycling services they offer, or will be introducing, or explained the+

  • Three Australian cities in South Australia and Queensland have been named among the world’s 21 smartest communities by the Intelligent Community Forum, a think tank. South Australia’s City of Adelaide and City of Prospect, and the Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Council featured alongside cities and counties from nine countries. The cities applied six factors such as+

  • The WA Local Government Association said road funding support for Wheatbelt communities needs to be urgently overhauled after authorities declined to expand carrying more grain via rail. WA rail freight manager Arc Infrastructure and grain growing cooperative CBH determined grain freight transport by rail won’t be changed until at least 2026. Had rail services been+

  • Australia’s first electric tipper truck – which is now part of the City of Yarra’s fleet in Melbourne – will be on display at ALGA’s 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress which starts 18 November. The truck will complement a discussion on 19 November on the future of transport and how local government can+

  • Local councils keen to promote art venues and activities for deaf and disabled people can now use a newly developed national directory of accessible arts called Choose Art. A collaboration between Arts Access Victoria and a web developer specialising in accessibility,  it was launched in October during the Meeting of Arts and Cultural Ministers and+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s recent advocacy on local councils’ behalf has included submissions to Infrastructure Australia and a parliamentary inquiry into 5G technology. Infrastructure Australia, a Commonwealth agency, is working on its 2021 Australian Infrastructure plan and has sought public comment about its 2019 Infrastructure Audit. ALGA backs the notion of a more robust+

  • Advocacy by ALGA and state and territory local government associations has led to the Commonwealth’s expanded drought assistance, which includes support for child care centres that councils called for at the National General Assembly of Local Government. The Commonwealth on 7 November announced a package which included widening the Drought Communities Extension Programme by six+

  • There are just 10 days left until we welcome delegates to the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf in my home state of South Australia. Around 250 people from around Australia will join us for three days of discussions about the latest developments and trends involving local roads and bridges, traffic management+

  • Nominations have opened for the 2020 Australian Biosecurity Awards which are aimed at recognising groups, organisations and individuals who work collaboratively with the Australian Department of Agriculture to promote biosecurity initiatives. “Our biosecurity system is a significant national asset that safeguards us from a range of significant threats,” Acting Department Deputy Secretary Peta Lane said.+

  • The first Aboriginal artwork commissioned by the City of Hobart now fills the exterior walls of a tourist information centre in Elizabeth Mall. Called Feeling the Country, the contemporary work was created by Indigenous Tasmanian designer, Michelle Maynard, and was inspired by the Mouheneneer people, whose community once lived at the mall site. “I hope+

  • Mental health charity SANE Australia is seeking 7,000 participants for what it hopes will be the country’s largest survey that seeks to understand the experiences of nearly 700,000 Australians living with severe and complex mental health conditions. The Our Turn to Speak survey can be completed online, via the phone, or in person, and features+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture is seeking  responses, in-person and online, to its Drought Resilience Funding Plan 2020-2024. Local councils can submit feedback online, in writing or via a survey by 13 December 2019, or attend consultations around Australia between 5-26 November. The draft consultation paper’s priorities include social resilience for resourceful and adaptable communities,+

  • Better tracking of vehicle fleets and applying the latest developments in road research can help local councils to both improve their governance and also prepare for impending changes in mobility, such as by autonomous vehicles. That’s the message two experts will share at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf 18-20 November. Lou+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s advocacy for a fairer share of Financial Assistance Grants has inspired a council in rural South Australia to publicly thank their local federal Member of Parliament for $500,000 worth of funding in 2019/20. Kingston District Council wrote to Tony Pasin MP after reading President David O’Loughlin’s September 6 column urging+

  • Local Government will have a role to play in the development of an Indigenous voice to the Government, following moves this week by the federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt. Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in 2017, Indigenous Australians have called for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.+

  • Hundreds of delegates from across Australia will learn about the latest developments and trends at the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hanhdorf, South Australia, from 18-20 November. Early bird registrations close at 5pm EDT on 1 November for the Congress, which is presented by the Australian Local Government Association and hosted by+

  • Vehicle Standards have been added to the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator Portal following a site upgrade on 16 October. Users can now lodge Vehicle Standards applications for In-Principle Support, Exemption Permits and Modifications. They can also attach engineers’ reports, images, diagrams and schematics. New services such as the National Heavy Vehicle Accreditation Scheme will be+

  • The Chair of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors has told the Seoul Mayors’ Forum on Climate Change that the Australian Government needs to cut emissions urgently, and help local councils and their communities adapt to weather extremes. Hobart Lord Mayor, Anna Reynolds, also said Australian mayors supported the Global Covenant of Mayors for+

  • The Cities of Sydney and Newcastle say their operations will be powered by renewable energy from 2020, actions that will both save money and reduce emissions, the councils said in separate announcements. The City of Newcastle said it would make NSW history by becoming the first council to use 100 percent renewables for its needs,+

  • The Commonwealth Government has tapped the St Vincent de Paul Society’s National Council to distribute $15m of drought assistance for farmers to local government areas in four states. The money will be shared by 64 LGAs in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and South Australia, while the initiative will be directed from Canberra. Ngaire McCubben, who coordinated+

  • Local Government NSW has launched a new report and campaign to improve recycling, saying the rate of recycling across the state has fallen since the first national waste policy was agreed almost a decade ago. The At The Crossroads: The State of waste and recycling in NSW  report said while local councils work with their+

  • Delegates joining our Road and Transport Congress technical tours on 18 November will visit South Australia’s largest Council wastewater treatment plant and recycled water scheme, which is operated by congress hosts, Mt Barker District Council. One technical tour will visit the council’s treatment plant, while the second will see how council staff are managing major+

  • This week, on your behalf, I was in Canberra for more meetings with Commonwealth Ministers about drought relief, grants, population and settlement, recycling and disaster mitigation. I thanked Mark Coulton, the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, for the Commonwealth’s earlier round of drought relief, which local councils welcomed, and stressed the need+

  • The Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) advised that the deadline for its Closing the Gap survey has been extended to 8 November because of significant interest. The Coalition of Peaks encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations to use the additional two weeks+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture is encouraging organisers of Agricultural Shows in regional areas to apply for  grants of up to $500,000. The Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program (AgShows), valued at $20 million over two years, is designed to help keep regional communities strong and resilient. Grants can be used to upgrade, maintain, purchase and+

  • Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join the Garage Sale Trail around the country this weekend for an activity led by more than 120 local councils. Now in its ninth year, the two-day national sustainability program is designed to reduce waste by encouraging people to buy and sell second-hand items, thereby diverting thousands+

  • Applications will open on 24 October for parties seeking grants from the Commonwealth’s $100m Regional Airports Program. There is a total $45m available in the first round of grants, ranging between $20,000 and $2 million. The money will be for infrastructure including that which improves the safety of aircraft, operators and passengers, or meets the+

  • How does a council respond when its roads funding budget is halved because of austerity measured imposed by a national government? Matthew Lugg OBE will explain what happened next when the United Kingdom-based expert speaks at the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress which runs 18-20 November. “It is a great honour to be+

  • Advocacy by the Australian Local Government Association and others has resulted in Labor and the Coalition agreeing to lift the Commonwealth’s proposed Emergency Response Fund to $200 million a year from $150m, with the extra funding dedicated to mitigation. ALGA’s consistent advocacy over several years on the need for targeted mitigation funding included a submission+

  • This week I want to discuss poverty and drought, and the vital role Local Government plays in trying to reduce both. Local Government could say that scourges like poverty and drought are caused by external factors, for others to deal with, but should we? Anti-Poverty Week, which concludes tomorrow, is an annual assessment of the+

  • Councils and other entities considering ways to transition their fleets to electric vehicles can now use a free calculator that its creators say is the first of its kind in Australia. Charge Together Fleets – created by the Electric Vehicle Council and Evenergi and used by 90 fleets – combines data including the Total Cost+

  • Inaction on addressing homelessness and the lack of social and affordable housing risks entrenching disadvantage among Australians across our capital cities, the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors has warned. The Council convened a national industry roundtable in Melbourne on 10 October, World Homeless Day, which featured community housing and homelessness services providers, business and+

  • Telstra will switch off its 3G service in June 2024, saying it’s no longer feasible to operate the technology, which it launched in 2006 as “NextG”. “Between now and then we’ll be upgrading and expanding our 4G coverage to a materially equivalent size and reach to our 3G footprint,” said Nikos Katinakis, Telstra’s Group Executive,+

  • Sean Holden has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT), following the retirement of Tony Tapsell. A former resident of the Northern Territory, Mr Holden has spent the past three years in Adelaide as the Senior Policy Adviser (Economic Development) with the Local Government Association of+

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  states sea level is rising at an increasing rate, alongside ocean warming and acidification, which will increase risks for low-lying coastal communities and biodiversity. Extreme ocean levels which historically would occur on average once in a+

  • The rise of drones is changing the way assets are managed and goods moved over short distances. The implications of drones for councils will be examined at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress on 19 November in a session involving experts from various sides of this emerging transport sector. “Drones can collect better data+

  • The annual Stay Smart Online Week draws to a close tomorrow, and this is an opportunity for councils to take stock of their online security measures, and also consider the menace of cyber bullying of councillors and staff. The Commonwealth Government says almost one in three Australian adults fell victim to a cybercrime in 2018,+

  • The Commonwealth has announced $8m in the latest round of funding for eligible organisations to perform safety and access works at remote aerodromes and airstrips. Successful applicants can use money from the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Grants Round 7 for eligible projects including upgrading runway surfaces or stormwater drainage, installing or upgrading runway lighting and navigation+

  • Has your council held activities as part of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages? If so, the Commonwealth’s Department of Communications and the Arts is keen to hear from as many jurisdictions and sectors as possible as it prepares a report into Australia’s participation. The department seeks the following information: organisation name, activity description; location/reach;+

  • The Commonwealth Treasury is inviting submissions from local councils for their views on what should be considered priorities in the 2020-21 Federal Budget. ALGA will also be putting forward a submission based on the key priorities we advocated for during the recent federal election.  The highest priority issue will be an increase in the Financial+

  • The Commonwealth’s primary centre for all population matters, the new Centre for Population, has been formally launched in Canberra and will soon begin operations with 20 staff. Based in Treasury, the Centre will work closely with the states and territories, academics and think tanks in order to share data, research, ideas and expertise on population, Minister+

  • The water industry has called for a revised National Water Initiative which focuses on urban water and recognises the challenges of climate change, the ongoing drought, and meeting the water security needs of Australia’s growing population. The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Urban Water Update 2019: Drought, Growth and Liveability said as the constraints+

  • The Australian Local Government Association has told a Senate inquiry that new legislation to create a natural disasters emergency response fund ought to focus on mitigation measures before a calamity occurs, rather than only on recovery efforts. The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee is examining the Emergency Response Fund Bill 2019 and Emergency Response Fund+

  • This edition I want to highlight how local councils around Australia proudly invest in their local communities’ art and cultural sectors. You only need to look at a council’s homepage or its social media presence to see how much we celebrate our artists, festivals and other cultural activities that help define our communities. These activities+