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  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a plan for how it will conduct the 2021 Census, which it says will be mostly digital, rather than traditional paper forms. Planning for the 2021 Census outlines how the ABS will make it easy to participate, and also protect personal information. “The 2021 Census will continue the ABS+

  • A House of Representatives parliamentary committee will inquire into the rollout, adoption and application of 5G mobile technology. Its terms of reference are to first, investigate the capability, capacity and deployment of 5G, and second, understand the application of 5G, including use cases for enterprise and government. “5G is expected to be significantly faster than+

  • Local councils must now hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, 26 January, unless they conferred citizenship on fewer than 20 people in the previous year, the Australian Government has said. Councils are also required to introduce a dress standard for people attending citizenship ceremonies, and must give their local office of the Department of Home+

  • The Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations are encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their organisations, and networks to have their say on efforts to Close the Gap. People can complete a survey available here by 25 October, and also read a discussion booklet and story. There’s also a chance for+

  • Small steps to tackle and better understand Australia’s waste and recycling challenges this week include a new purchasing agreement between South Australian councils, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ expansion of waste collection data. The Local Government Association of South Australia announced it will lead a circular procurement pilot project in which nine councils have+

  • With the Australian Capital Territory set to be powered by 100 percent renewables by 2020, the ACT Government has released a new Climate Change strategy that includes efficient buildings, reducing waste generation, and incorporating climate resilience into development applications and planning policies. The Climate Change strategy complements the government’s 2018 strategies for planning, housing, and+

  • This week I want to give thanks to the many councils and communities across Australia who have rallied in difficult circumstances in the face of weather extremes. The continuing drought across much of the eastern seaboard has been compounded by dozens of bush fires across northern NSW and southern Queensland during the first few weeks+

  • The Australian Agriculture Department is seeking views from people involved in agricultural exports about proposed changes to Commonwealth legislation. The draft Export Control Bills Package 2019, which replaces a 2017 bill, covers areas including customs and excise procedures. Its intentions are to remove duplication and make laws more responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and+

  • Local councils and members of the public are invited to comment on a proposed revision of a standard covering safety barriers for swimming pools. Standards Australia proposes expanding elements of AS1926.1 to give additional information to pool owners, pool users and certifiers so they have a better understanding of the design and construction of a+

  • An update on the state of Australia’s Night Time Economy in metropolitan areas has found the sector employed more than 1.1 million people in 2017-2018 and had a turnover close to $136 billion, or nearly five percent of the total economy. The new study by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, which assessed of+

  • One of Australia’s largest road infrastructure projects, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, opened on 8 September to provide an alternative route for all classes of heavy and super-heavy vehicles. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the 41-kilometre-long bypass route included an 800-metre-long viaduct and would remove trucks+

  • A handbook that outlines the responsibilities of all three levels of government during emergencies and disasters has been updated to help authorities in their preparations for future incidents. Produced by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, the free Australian Emergency Management Arrangements Handbook was guided by a working group, which included the Australian Local Government+

  • Local Government contributes more than a quarter of total national expenditure on Australian arts and cultural activities, a new study has found. Demonstrating the increased importance of art and culture to local communities, the 26.2 percent local government proportion was up from 22.4 percent a decade earlier, The Big Picture report said. Each year Australian+

  • It’s just over nine weeks until our National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, only half an hour from downtown Adelaide. Registrations are already up on last year, indicating the joint metro and regional focus is hitting the mark. If you haven’t already registered, I encourage you to do+

  • Three trade fairs promoting Indigenous businesses will be held in Dubbo (central western NSW), Brisbane and Perth in the coming weeks to promote Indigenous employees, suppliers, goods and services to local councils and other parties. Supported by the new National Indigenous Australians Agency, the free fairs will highlight dozens of industries ranging from building and+

  • The Australian Medical Association says climate change is a health emergency which if not addressed will cause more injuries and deaths from heat stress, severe weather conditions and mosquito-borne diseases, as well as food insecurity due to declining farming production. Similar to declarations passed by dozens of local councils – most recently the City of+

  • West Australian councils have backed an “aspiration” by the State Government to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, saying rapid action is needed because climate change’s consequences, including longer fire seasons, are already happening. The announcement by State Minister for Energy, Bill Johnston, means WA becomes the final state to set a zero+

  • Two local councils from regional Tasmania and far north Queensland are among 17 communities to share $135,000 from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants program. Northern Midlands Council in Tasmania received $3,000 to run a youth camp aimed at helping it build community resilience and improve young peoples’+

  • A series of roundtables will be held in locations across Australia in the coming weeks to help the Australian Government better understand communities’ views about Data Sharing and Release legislation, and also how that sharing might affect Indigenous Australians. The new legislation is aimed at streamlining access to “integrated datasets to trusted users who can+

  • Councils that operate airports or have airports within their Local Government Areas are invited to make submissions to the National Airports Safeguarding Framework. The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group seeks feedback from various parties about how the framework has been employed since 2012, and has developed a Terms of Reference to guide the review. The+

  • Each year the Federal Government provides billions of dollars to councils across Australia to help them deliver services and infrastructure for their local communities, and by far the largest amount is provided under the Financial Assistance Grants program (FAGs). ALGA’s Fairer Share campaign is aimed at ensuring councils receive a fairer share of federal funding+

  • The City of Newcastle (NSW) said it has estimated it could save up to $4.8m of ratepayers’ money over the next 25 years if it switched to 100 percent renewable electricity. The City said as its electricity contract expires on 13 December, now is the appropriate time to move toward more sustainable and cost-efficient electricity+

  • Local councils could save money by switching their fleets to electric vehicles because they pay for themselves if the total cost of ownership is considered, a study featuring council data from the Municipal Association of Victoria has found. The study by ClimateWorks Australia in collaboration with MAV and the Electric Vehicle Council was discussed at+

  • The annual Landcare Week, which runs 2-8 September, is special this year as it’s the environmental entity’s 30th birthday. Landcare Australia estimates that since 1989 it’s evolved into a movement of 6,000 groups and hundreds of thousands of volunteers who perform sustainable agricultural practices and conservation activities, while also developing and uplifting their communities. Its+

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a series of free online training courses to help groups understand the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. They were developed by the Commission and other entities and are aimed at people working or volunteering in all organisations of various sizes that engage with children and young people,+

  • A new site has for the first time brought together millions of data sets to provide a wide-ranging picture of the state of housing in Australia, from financing for a mortgage through to population changes and homelessness. The Housing Data Dashboard as developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Commonwealth+

  • The Australian Government has published a new biosecurity web site aimed at helping the general public, councils, businesses and individuals better understand how to identify and respond to biosecurity threats. The site has been developed by the National Biosecurity Committee, to which the Australian Local Government Association is an observer, and follows an agreement by+

  • I was pleased to participate in a memorable second meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap last week in Adelaide. There can be few more pressing tasks than reducing the differences in life span, health, housing and employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians – and local government has a key role to play.+

  • Are the more than 200 recycling labels used in Australia making you confused about how to dispose of packaging and empty items? The Australasian Recycling Label – which featured at the 2019 National General Assembly – aims to help you correctly dispose of all parts of a product’s packaging. The logo is one part of+

  • The Commonwealth seeks feedback on its $60 million Regional Connectivity Program, which forms part of the $220m regional digital connectivity package. “The objective of the Regional Connectivity Program is to use a ‘place-based’ approach to target investment to provide economic opportunities and enable full participation in the digital economy for regional communities and businesses,” the+

  • Nominations have opened for the Red Ochre Awards for the lifetime achievements of established Indigenous artists. There are two prizes of $50,000 each for female and male recipients to honour their outstanding lifetime achievement in the arts, and their contribution to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, both nationally and internationally. Recipients+

  • The Australian Government has updated the National Cities Performance Network, a data snapshot of 21 of the country’s largest cities. The site is designed to help guide the policy and investment decisions of all three levels of government, as well as industry and the community. Some eight capital cities and 13 other major cities are+

  • This week’s 4 Corners investigation, ‘Cracking Up’, shone a national spotlight on shoddy apartments and building certifications across Australia. We saw problems with buildings such as Opal Tower and Mascot Towers in Sydney with cracked walls and foundations and forced residents to flee, while frustrated owners showed their leaking apartments in Canberra and Melbourne. I+

  • A new survey has found most visitors to inclusive play spaces around Australia want to see more universally-accessible toilets, swings for all abilities, and shaded areas. The State of Play 2019 report was created by Touched by Olivia, a charity that creates inclusive play spaces, and Variety, which have together created more than 30 such+

  • ALGA has told an inquiry into the Murray Darling Basin that its draft Terms of Reference also need to consider climate change, town water supplies, and individuals’ concerns for their own welfare and their communities’. In June, the Water Resources and Drought Minister David Littleproud instructed the Murray Darling Basin Authority to hold an Independent+

  • The Australian Road Research Board, the National Transport Research Organisation, has begun a series of workshops to help local councils, especially in regional areas, to upgrade their knowledge of road asset management and maintenance. Organisers are also creating a suite of guides that will support national and international best practice in the procurement, design and+

  • The NSW Government on 13 August reversed for one year a decision to impose an emergency services levy on 128 local councils, which saw some council’s levy charges jump by $220,000. The levy, which was to help cover the compensation costs of firefighters who had developed certain cancers, was imposed without consultation, and after councils+

  • Celebrate the achievements of emerging and established artists with a disability by nominating them for the inaugural National Arts and Disability Awards, which close 1 October. The awards are open to all areas of practice and feature two categories: established artist recognized nationally or internationally ($50,000 prize), and emerging artist aged 35 years or under+

  • A new study by the Regional Australia Institute recommends a national awareness campaign to encourage migration to regional areas for cheaper housing and to reduce growing pains in the outer suburbs of major capitals. The Regional Population Growth: Are We Ready? report says there are rapidly diminishing returns for agglomeration benefits as the major capitals+

  • A new bicycle path in Perth’s northern suburbs that separates cyclists from cars in some sections and aims to get more residents cycling through major centres has taken out the road safety excellence category at the National Awards for Local Government. City of Stirling – which also received the overall National Award for Excellence for+

  • A draft report by New Zealand’s Productivity Commission on Local Government financing and funding has recommended the NZ government offer councils more support for climate change adaptation measures, and also help with legal guidance and consistent science, standards and data. New Zealand has two levels of government: the federal or central government, and local government.+

  • After over a year of calling for national leadership and months of arguing at various ministerial councils on your behalf, ALGA achieved a major breakthrough at COAG last Friday with Prime Minister Morrison and all First Ministers agreeing to join us in the fight against waste, to boost recycling, and to do it onshore. The+

  • Local councils are invited to make submissions by 16 August to a draft Terms of Reference to guide a new Independent Panel for the Assessment of Social and Economic Conditions in the Murray-Darling Basin. The panel was appointed recently by the Federal Government to assess communities in the Basin as they face matters including drought,+

  • Erosion at 55 coastal locations across Western Australia will damage roads, buildings and other assets, and managed retreat may be required within 25 years, a new study has found. Causes of erosion include man-made structures that change natural sand movements, and rising sea levels due to climate change, the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage+

  • Local councils in NSW can until 29 August apply for $13.3 million in grants to divert food and garden waste from landfill by turning the waste into other products. The NSW Environment Protection Authority said the grants will help successful applicants to buy small and large infrastructure and equipment to recycle food and garden waste+

  • Residents aged 16-22 in regional Australia are invited to share their life experiences and win the chance to be featured on the ABC and visit Canberra for the Heywire Regional Youth Summit in February 2020. There’s also up to $10,000 in seed funding to help start youth-developed projects in regional areas. Applicants can tell their+

  • Councils across Australia have marked National Homelessness Week this week with activities including community outreach programs and fundraising. Three councils in Victoria – City of Port Phillip, Bayside City Council and City of Kingston – and the support group Council to Homeless Persons joined a social media campaign called My Name Is in which people+

  • A landscape architect who project managed and was the sole woman in meetings for a $10.5 million redevelopment in Sydney’s north has won a prestigious national award that recognises the work of women in local government. Holly Cowdery, from Willoughby City Council, earned the Susan Grace Benny Award for Women in Local Government and Community+

  • The Commonwealth’s National Office for Child Safety has released a Complaint Handling Guide: Upholding the rights of children and young people, another part of its response to the child sexual abuse royal commission. The guide contains advice to organisations about “how to develop, implement and maintain a complaint-handling system that prioritises child safety and promotes+

  • Councils are invited to nominate for the annual awards organized by the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia (WMRR) and Inside Waste magazine. There are nine categories including outstanding project in a metro or regional/rural area, woman of waste award and community engagement success of the year. Nominations close 30 September, with finalists+

  • Last week on your behalf I attended the meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council in Adelaide, at which a major focus was road safety. Road safety is a vital issue for local government, as we are the owners and managers of over 75% of Australia’s roads by length. Some 52% of all casualty crashes+

  • The Federal Government has begun the first of a series of trials for possible road user charging options for heavy vehicles. More than 10 heavy vehicle operators of varying sizes and more than 100 vehicles will be used in the initial trial, Assistant Minister for Road Safety, Scott Buchholz, said. “The Federal Liberal and Nationals+