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  • The Federal Government has created a new industry group to advise the Department of Agriculture about current and emerging biosecurity threats and Australia’s national and international obligations. Biosecurity Futures features an initial eight members from entities including the Freight and Trade Alliance, Australian Pork Limited, and the Tourism and Transport Forum. “This group was one+

  • Members of the Local Government Safe Cities Network have met in Parramatta to share ideas and projects that are in place or are proposed. Representatives from the City of Parramatta presented their draft night city framework and crime prevention plan, which included a walking tour after the 14 November meeting to see the plans in+

  • Local councils have until 14 February 2020 to apply for $60 million worth of grants for emergency accommodation which the Commonwealth says will provide up to 450 places for women and children experiencing domestic and family violence. The money will help organisations to construct, repurpose, renovate or purchase new buildings to create additional safe places.+

  • The Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) will from January 2020 provide procurement advisory services to the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT) and its 18 member councils. The new service, Local Procurement NT, works as a subscription and is similar to the Procurement Subscription Service WALGA members use. The presidents of both+

  • Tiny houses are one way to help address Australia’s affordable housing shortage and alleviate homelessness, but their potential has been hindered by a lack of a coherent regulatory and policy framework and variable community support, a new paper says. The paper by Liz de Chastel, a Senior Policy Officer with the Australian Local Government Association,+

  • The Morrison Government says merging the Department of Communications and the Arts into the current Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development will result in improved communications and regional services for people outside metropolitan areas. The public service restructure will trim the number of departments to 14 from 18, while 10 departments will be+

  • This week I’d like to update you on my meetings with Ministers in Parliament House, a day that proved how the last sitting week of the year is an intense and busy time. I had a fruitful discussion with Paul Fletcher, the Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, about a range of matters,+

  • Eight years of efforts haven’t achieved the safety or productivity gains expected by proponents of reforms to Australia’s transport sector, and changes have been “disappointingly slow”, the Productivity Commission said. Speaking after releasing its draft report on National Transport Regulatory Reform on 12 November, the Commission said the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL) was “inflexible”+

  • Penrith City Council (NSW) has collected two prizes at the National Growth Areas Alliance’s (NGAA) annual awards night that honour projects and work by Australia’s fast-growing outer suburbs. Penrith claimed the Partnerships and Building Connections category for its Health Action Plan, and also the Advocacy category. The health plan is a partnership with three levels+

  • The Commonwealth’s Department of Communications and the Arts invites feedback from local councils and the wider community before 17 January 2020 as part of its review of the 2015 Telecommunications in New Developments policy. Developers are currently responsible for installing telecommunications infrastructure in new developments, but this does not always occur. The Department wants to+

  • Advocacy by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) on behalf of its member councils has helped streamline permits required for crane operations in the Sunshine State. The new Queensland Class 1 Crane Permit Scheme follows work by LGAQ, the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR), and the Crane Industry Council Australia. The changes benefit both+

  • Are there initiatives or projects your local government is undertaking to improve your community that you think deserve national recognition? Nominate them for the 2020 National Awards for Local Government, entries for which close 7 February 2020. Entries can be projects or initiatives of any size that are delivering positive community benefits, or are expected+

  • The Insurance Council of Australia has responded to claims that parts of the country could be uninsurable or unaffordable by the end of the century because of the consequences of climate change. It follows reports of a consultant’s analysis claiming hundreds of thousands of properties would be uninsurable by 2100 if emissions keep rising, and+

  • Two years ago, I spoke to the federal government about the importance of our work in art and culture at the grass roots, particularly the direct benefits for our communities’ health and well-being and social cohesion. It’s terrific to see our role reflected in a new report, and its call for greater recognition of Local+

  • Councils are encouraged to comment by 15 December on the Department of Health’s National Obesity Strategy which its authors say will counter a projected trend of more than 18 million Australians becoming overweight or obese within a decade. Public responses can include commenting on the consultation paper or completing either of two surveys: a short+

  • Local road managers can learn how to use the Austroads Data Standard and locate, supplement and transform such information in a free webinar on 29 November. Austroads said the Australasian Data Standard for Roads seeks to harmonise transport information across Australia and New Zealand and help local government asset management planning and maintenance. Topics to+

  • Public submissions have opened for the first review of the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act in a decade. Led by Professor Graeme Samuel AC, the review’s terms of reference includes that the panel make recommendations to modernise the Act after consultations with State, Territory and other levels of government. Respondents can read this discussion+

  • A number of councils and water utilities across three states in eastern Australia are imposing tighter water restrictions due to the ongoing drought and lack of rain. Sydney Water will move to level 2 effective 10 December, two months earlier than expected, reports said. This will affect councils and communities spanning Newcastle to the Illawarra+

  • Six local councils in South Australia have agreed to join a trial that will divert the equivalent of 3,400 passenger tyres from landfill to make crumbed rubber mix for road surfaces and help create a circular economy. The project, announced this week at the ALGA National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf, involves the+

  • The Commonwealth Government’s decision this week to hasten $3.8 billion in infrastructure spending will include a range of infrastructure projects in regional Australia such as roads, bridges and railways. Some $1.8 billion will be spent both this financial year and next year, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said. “Every state and territory benefits, with significant transport+

  • Around 230 people – some from as far away as northern Western Australia, Arnhem Land and Hobart – gathered at Hahndorf in the Adelaide Hills to hear the latest from Australia’s best in automation, electric trucks, road construction, road funding, safety and transportation technologies. It was terrific to hear insights from our guest speakers, great+

  • 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+

  • The National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) is an important opportunity for you and your council to influence the national policy agenda. Criteria for Motions To be eligible for inclusion in the NGA Business Papers, and subsequent debate on the floor of the NGA, motions must meet the following criteria: Be relevant to the+