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  • The final pieces in ALGA’s federal election campaign are now being put in place, with key aspects of our advocacy strategy about to be road-tested. Thank you to all our state and territory associations for their contributions in the development of the strategy, which is based on a simple but compelling message – Don’t Leave+

  • In a world where environmental responsibility is becoming a “must-have”, EcoTeq has released an all-electric range of outdoor maintenance equipment. The company’s next-generation technology, perfected in Europe and North America, means organisations and governments looking to reduce their carbon footprint don’t need to choose between the environment, safety, or productivity. EcoTeq CEO Michael Mathews says+

  • Consultation on the development of Australia’s next National Digital Health Strategy has begun, with feedback sought from local governments. To further enhance digital healthcare for all Australians, the Australian Digital Health Agency would like to learn from local governments which are leveraging digital health to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. New models+

  • The National Landcare Program is being reviewed to ensure it is working as intended to protect biodiversity and engender sustainable agricultural practices. The NLP is the federal government’s key natural resource management (NRM) commitment, and the review is examining how phase two of the program has impacted the delivery of NRM activities since its commencement+

  • A website promising a dramatically streamlined business registrations process was launched by the Australian Taxation Office on 6 October. The website for the newly established Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) will consolidate the 31 business registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) – including ABNs and ACNs – and the Australian Business+

  • A program to help storm and flood-impacted primary producers and industries in 78 NSW local government areas has opened for applications. The $80 million Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program is being jointly funded by Commonwealth and NSW Governments under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. The program is one part of the $790 million NSW Storm+

  • A Victorian and NSW council have won a share of $5.8 million in federal funding to provide careers guidance for people at all stages of their working lives. The Eurobodalla Shire Council on the NSW South Coast will work with local schools and businesses to co-design and deliver progressive career guidance activities on the NSW+

  • A virtual forum to advocate for greater local government climate action ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow is being held this month. The Australian Local Governments Accelerating Action at COP26 event is being co-hosted by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), ICLEI Oceania, and the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors+

  • The Federal Government has confirmed funding for a new workforce capacity-building initiative in the home and residential aged care sector. The establishment of the Workforce Advisory Service follows a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety for education and training to improve the quality of aged care in Australia. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)+

  • The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience has a new handbook to cultivate risk awareness among current and emerging leaders. The AIDR notes that intensifying climate change is making it harder to anticipate where and how disasters will strike, with efforts accelerating to better understand their risks and mitigate the potential for harm. “To do this,+

  • Fifty-one Western Australian local governments will sign up for what is thought to be the nation’s largest joint renewable energy deal. The agreement to deliver 100 percent renewable energy to the 51 councils has been negotiated by the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA). It is the first renewables and carbon offset aggregation project to+

  • Telstra will have to provide greater detail on whether it is meeting its Universal Service Guarantee (USG) under proposed new licence conditions. The new rules being considered by the federal government will require Telstra to include more information on the services it delivers under the USG, which updates the long-standing Universal Service Obligation (USO). Telstra+

  • The Dungog Shire has become one of the first NSW local governments to declare that people using its facilities must be fully Covid-vaccinated. In a media release this week, the Hunter Valley council said: “In order to visit some of our facilities, customers aged 16 years and over must now be able to show that+

  • The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley has been awarded a $7.57 million grant from the Commonwealth to complete airside upgrades at its Kununurra regional airport. The Round 5 Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) grant will allow the shire to strengthen taxiways, build a new apron and improve other airside infrastructure at the East Kimberley Regional+

  • Your ALGA published its Closing the Gap Implementation Plan this week – a proud moment for an organisation that has long championed strong and sustainable First Nations communities. Developed by ALGA with our state and territory association members, the Implementation Plan sets out key actions councils can undertake to meet the priority reforms laid out+

  • Regulatory reform and information-sharing are to be prioritised after a federal departmental review of national disability premises standards. To ensure the standards continue to meet their objectives, the Commonwealth will undertake to: improve regulations for accessible car parks, automatic doors, and the dimensions of openings; help people understand their rights and responsibilities under the standards;+

  • Minimising the hazards to aircraft operations posed by wildlife, including bird strikes, will be the focus of three webinars being held in October. The series will begin with Dr Carla Dove, from the Smithsonian Institute, speaking on the impact of DNA on wildlife hazard management. This webinar will include helpful case studies of innovative hazard+

  • A review of the National Cities Performance Framework (NCPF) says it is not meeting stakeholder needs and should be discontinued. Conducted by the federal Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE), the review says there are alternative data and research products that would “better meet the needs of stakeholders”. The NCPF dashboard was first+

  • A proposal for a glass and mixed recycling collective in eastern Victoria has received interim authorisation from the national competition regulator. A draft determination  authorising the Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group (GWRRG) and six Gippsland councils to jointly tender, procure and manage glass and mixed recycling processing services was published by the Australian Competition+

  • National preparedness briefings with police, fire authorities and other emergency services have begun ahead of the upcoming bushfire season.  Virtual briefings began last week with Queensland authorities and will continue throughout October. Emergency Management Australia (EMA) is coordinating the briefings, with input from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian+

  • Indigenous candidates performed strongly in the 2021 Northern Territory local government elections, winning a majority of the vacancies on regional councils. Results from the 28 August elections show that of the 97 elected members on regional councils, 87.6 percent are Aboriginal.  In MacDonnell Regional Council, the Tiwi Islands Regional Council (TIRC), and West Arnhem Regional+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Board has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 National Local Roads and Transport Congress. ALGA’s Board determined that planning a quality conference with lockdown and travel restrictions still in force across much of Australia – and no clear indication of when these will be lifted – would+

  • A new aviation facility will be built at the Rockhampton Airport after Alliance Airlines secured a $30 million loan from the Commonwealth last month. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan will enable the construction of a $60 million aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility at the Rockhampton Regional Council-owned airport. At least 100+

  • The Federal and Queensland governments have established a $20 million fund to strengthen key infrastructure to better withstand natural disasters. The funding will be available in 47 local government areas impacted in the 2020-21 disaster season. Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Minister Bridget McKenzie said the betterment fund marked a major change in+

  • A City Deal for South-East Queensland involving the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and the Queensland and federal governments is close to being finalised. The deal has been two years in the making, and when concluded will support the growth of industry and businesses across South-East Queensland and enhance the region’s liveability. Federal Cities Minister Paul+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has published its Implementation Plan for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The historic agreement – to which ALGA, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and the Coalition of Peaks are all signatories – sets out four agreed priority reform targets and 16 socio-economic targets to improve life+

  • Low economies of scale continue to drive high regional airfares, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said this week. Regional airports can also struggle with low economies of scale, the national competition regulator said. “Air services fulfil an important role keeping regional communities connected with the rest of Australia,” the ACCC said in its+

  • Climate inaction at the state and national level may end up costing local governments as much as $54 million annually, a new report has warned. Some coastal councils are already paying more than $1 million to fix eroding beaches or protect beachside property or infrastructure, and the collective bill for remediation could top $54 million+

  • ALGA thanks Federal Assistant Minister for Local Government Kevin Hogan for taking the time to make an appearance at this month’s Board Meeting. His commitment to working with local government to get the best outcomes for Australian communities is welcome and we look forward to working closely with him and his department going forward. Last+

  • The last of 130 properties damaged by a devastating fire in outer metropolitan Perth in February has been cleared, paving the way for rebuilding. The Wooroloo Bushfire Residential Coordinated Clean-up comprised three separate programs funded with $18.1 million provided under joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. Western Australian Minister for Emergency Services Reece Whitby said+

  • Round 2 grants under the Driver Reviver Site Upgrade Program have been announced, with 71 roadside rest areas in line for improvements. The grants, totalling $7.2 million, will go towards improving amenities and equipment such as shelters, picnic tables, power and water facilities, barbecues, parking, lighting, and kitchen facilities. Driver Reviver Australia national director Allan+

  • A new report covering climate change impacts, challenges and risks facing Australian councils will be unpacked in a webinar being held next week. The report, “Neighbourhood issue: climate costs and risks for councils”, was prepared by the Climate Council and Cities Power Partnership and will be released on 22 September. The virtual briefing will examine+

  • This year’s National Asbestos Awareness Week campaign is asking communities to avoid complacency and “Think Twice About Asbestos”. The campaign, running from 22-28 November, challenges complacency by reminding home renovators and tradespeople that the danger of asbestos is far from over. Asbestos is in one in three Australian homes. It is also still present in+

  • Two adjoining councils in the central west of NSW have successfully applied for federal funding for an innovative driver behaviour-change campaign. The Orange City Council and the Cabonne Shire have secured Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) funding for their campaign pointing out the early warning signs of driver fatigue and encouraging power naps. The Flinders+

  • Australians’ appreciation of the environment and public realm has risen sharply because of Covid-19’s impacts, a new liveability survey shows. Attributes such as good, well-maintained public open space, walking/jogging/bike paths that connect housing to communal amenity, and easy access to neighbourhood amenities were all highly rated by respondents to the 2021 Australian Liveability Census. Conversely,+

  • Passenger movements at Australia’s 50 busiest regional airports fell by an average of 30 percent in 2020-21 because of Covid-19 travel restrictions. Ayers Rock (Yulara) suffered the steepest decline in passenger movements – around 80 percent – according to new figures published this week. Passenger movements at Mildura airport (South Australia) and Hervey Bay airport+

  • The federal government says it is committed to greater Black Spot Program funding and to increased funding flows to regional and remote areas. Responding to a federal parliamentary report on road safety, the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications said the Australian government’s total commitment for the Black Spot Program from 2013‑14 to+

  • The rising work-from-home trend has benefitted workers and could potentially increase the nation’s productivity, a report published this week says. Up to 40 percent of employees have been forced to work from home during the Coronavirus pandemic, according to the Productivity Commission report – and that a result of not having to commute to work,+

  • Cybercrime reports to the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) in 2020-21 were up nearly 13 per cent on the previous financial year. Commonwealth, state, territory, and local governments accounted for 35 percent of these incidents, ACSC said in its annual Cyber Threat Report released this month. About one-quarter of reported cyber security incidents affected critical+

  • Regional and remote areas of Australia will get new or expanded recycling facilities after $7 million in new federal funding was announced this week. The grant funding will be made available through the Recycling Modernisation Fund and will be additional to the 23 projects that have already been identified in regional and remote Australia through+

  • In response to ALGA’s advocacy for more Covid support for councils that run early childhood education and care (ECEC) services, the Federal Government announced new business continuity payments on 23 August. Local government ECEC providers with centres in Commonwealth-declared COVID hotspots in Greater Melbourne and Greater Sydney will be eligible for payments of 25 percent+

  • The Australian Taxation Office is holding an online event on Monday 27 September covering two topics relevant to council finance officers. 1. Your Future Your Super – Introduction to Stapled Super Funds This will give an overview of the Your Future Your Super measure and the process needed to be followed to request a stapled+

  • In September 2020, Commonwealth legislation requiring developers to give new housing developments better access to modern telecommunications came into effect. To help raise awareness of the requirements for pit and pipe installations, particularly amongst smaller developers and owner-builders, the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications (DITRDC) is asking local councils and other+

  • The benefits of providing high-quality active transport and public transport options in residential growth areas easily outweigh the costs, a new study has found. RMIT University researchers said the overall benefits of providing early, high-quality transport options in the Casey and Wyndham local government areas of metropolitan Melbourne added up to about $925 million and+

  • The Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) is examining how well rural community groups are coping with successive natural disasters. According to the FRRR, there is anecdotal evidence that many groups working in the social, economic, cultural, and environmental resilience space are feeling overwhelmed by the wave of disasters, including Covid-19, that have swept+

  • Smaller regional centres can attract and sustain population and economic growth by focusing on distinctive economic strengths or locational advantages. A new Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) report says there is no single model for regional planning or development. However, there is a trend towards place-based regional interventions focused on unique regional attributes+

  • Nine notorious accident sites on Northern Territory roads will be made safer with new funding from the Commonwealth’s Black Spot Program. The NT government will receive more than $1.7 million under the program’s 2021-22 funding round, with councils contributing a further $1.4 million to the successful projects. The locations chosen for upgrades have seen a+

  • New resources supporting individuals and organisations engaged in disaster recovery, including local governments, have been published by Phoenix Australia. The resources are the outcome of the Recovery Capitals (ReCap) project, which aims to support wellbeing after disasters by providing evidence-based resources for those engaged in recovery. Designed to support strengths-based, holistic and inclusive recovery approaches,+

  • A “place-based” approach to infrastructure investment will bring jobs growth to regional centres and better address local community needs, a new report says. Infrastructure Australia’s latest 15-year infrastructure plan says better transport links and rural manufacturing hubs will also help bring regional GDP growth in line with Australia’s fastest-growing cities. The 2021 plan includes waste+

  • A federal agency has called for a conversation on developer contributions, saying financially constrained councils are using them to raise revenue. In a new study published this week, the National Housing and Finance Investment Corporations (NHFIC) said developer contributions now account for 8-11 percent of total home construction costs in NSW, Victoria, and Queensland. Contributions+

  • Darwin Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis has been returned for another term after local government elections were held across the Northern Territory on 28 August. Mr Vatskalis claimed victory with 56 percent of the votes counted, at which point he led his nearest rival, Amye Un, by more than 10,000 first preferences. In a social media+

  • Commonwealth funding partnerships with relevant jurisdictions are needed to improve road infrastructure, a federal parliamentary inquiry has said. The report from the inquiry into the importance of a viable, safe, sustainable, and efficient road transport industry published last week also said the federal government should: Establish a national fund to assess, maintain and upgrade freight+