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  • The Commonwealth will host Australia’s first national plastics summit this March to explore new ways of remanufacturing the ubiquitous product and boost understanding about recycling strategies. Environment Minister, Sussan Ley, said around 200 people will be invited to Canberra, including representatives from local government associations, State Governments, researchers, children and retailers. “Consumer and community education+

  • A comprehensive assessment of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples’ views on a new national agreement for Closing the Gap has found overwhelming support for formal partnerships between indigenous communities and governments. This was one of four reform priorities highlighted in a community engagement report produced by the Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander+

  • Time’s running out for councils to draft motions and submit them for the 2020 National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra. The deadline is 11:59pm AEST Friday 27 March, meaning many councils may have only two monthly meetings in which to discuss and debate any motion. Held each June, the National General Assembly of+

  • Support including money, people with skills and resources, information and equipment continues to be expanded into bushfire affected communities across the country. Prime Minister Scott Morrison on 15 January announced funding for additional mental health support and for “community recovery hubs” which provide much needed well being recovery services and programs including mobile hubs to+

  • The worst of the bush fires across the country may be over, at least in the short term, but the recovery and reconstruction is just getting started. Ordinary people from Australia and around the world have donated tens of millions of dollars, there’s an initial $2 billion from the Australian Government, and defence force personnel+

  • Artists across Australia who are from asylum seeker or refugee backgrounds are encouraged to apply to the City of Greater Dandenong’s 5th annual HOME national arts program which culminates with an exhibition in July. The organisers of HOME say the program is aimed at recognising and nurturing artists and they encourage work around the themes+

  • The Commonwealth says 183 councils can apply by 5 February to share in $10m for biosecurity management as part of the second round of the Communities Combating Pest and Weed Impacts During Drought Program. Drought-hit councils can use the money for projects that target pest animals and or weeds, generate economic activity and create local+

  • The Commonwealth’s initial $60m for immediate assistance to 42 Local Government Areas hit by bushfires is welcome money that lets local councils continue working with their communities to get back on their feet, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said on 9 January. The funding package is based on one in place after the 2019 Queensland+

  • From running evacuation centres to firefighting, to driving machinery, fundraising, or distributing goods, local councils and local government associations from across the country are leading efforts to help bushfire-hit communities. Here’s an overview of what’s been happening around Australia in recent weeks: In New South Wales, general managers of six fire-affected councils on 3 January+

  • Welcome to 2020. I want to express my condolences to people who have lost their loved ones, homes, businesses and animals in the terrible bush fires affecting large parts of Australia in recent weeks and months. The sheer scale of the fires and their destruction has been shocking, and many blazes continue to burn. But+

  • Urgent response for payments appreciated Locally-led response will boost communities’ resilience Councils can build improved infrastructure January 9, 2020 The Commonwealth’s initial $60m for immediate assistance to 42 Local Government Areas hit by bushfires is welcome money that lets local councils continue working with their communities to get back on their feet, the Australian Local+

  • It’s almost the end of the year, and with it the chance for most of us to gather with family and friends to celebrate. Those of us fortunate to be having a break over Christmas and the New Year are thinking of farmers and communities struggling amid the ongoing drought, and also of firefighters across+

  • The Commonwealth Government is encouraging applicants for community grants of up to $5,000 as part of its $10m 2019-20 Volunteer Grants scheme. The Department of Social Services’ funding is to be shared across 151 federal electorates for community organisations to buy small equipment for volunteers, or reimburse fuel, transport or training costs. Local Federal Members+

  • The Department of Home Affairs seeks councils’ views by 14 January 2020 on its new discussion paper, Planning Australia’s 2020-21 Migration Program. The paper notes that the 2019-20 program includes a ceiling of 160,000 places – down by 30,000 places – and an emphasis on attracting 25,000 migrants to regional Australia. Among the questions asked+

  • Armidale Regional Council, in northwestern NSW, has won the Government category at the Australian Human Rights Commission’s annual Human Rights Awards for its efforts in helping Ezidi refugees settle in the area. Judges said the council was nominated for championing the integration and wellbeing of its new residents in ways that were proactive, innovative and+

  • With the hours left in 2019 rapidly dwindling like a battery-operated toy on Christmas Day, here’s a reflection on ALGA’s advocacy over the past year. February: ALGA’s submission on the review of the Australian Citizenship Ceremonies Code notes various concerns from councils including that it is too hot in some locations for ceremonies to be+

  • Local Government is not required to report on supply chains as part of the Modern Slavery Act, but large local councils are welcome to consider voluntarily complying, the Australian Government has said. The Modern Slavery Act 2018, which aims to tackle slavery in global supply chains, applies to all entities – Australian and foreign entities+

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg released the Commonwealth’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO) on Monday, an update of Australia’s economic and fiscal outlook from the previous budget. The MYEFO also takes account of all decisions made since the release of the budget which can affect expenses and revenue and hence require revision of the budget position.+

  • The Australian Taxation Office advises councils that AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections will be retired at the end of March 2020 and replaced by myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager. MyGovID is a new way to prove your identity online, whereby users confirm their identity once to access government online services. The Relationship Authorisation Manager is+

  • Six local governments, two Aboriginal land councils, and eight state and federal agencies have collaborated to help develop an 80km walk connecting Sydney’s Bondi Beach to Manly. The organisers of the Bondi to Manly walk, which was officially opened on 8 December, said the collaboration was “unprecedented” and involved linking all existing coastal and harbor-side+

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  • We love seeing stories and social media posts about how local councils are celebrating the festive season around the country. Here are some of our favourites. Please tag us on social media so we can share what your council’s doing. Staff behind the Giving Tree at Griffith City Council (NSW) mark a decade of helping+

  • The City of Sydney is urging all three levels of government and businesses to join its effort to reduce the environmental consequences of travelling by preferencing accommodation providers that have a third-party performance rating. NABERS ratings are currently voluntary for hotels, meaning that government and corporate procurement will be essential to increase the number of+

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  • Road safety is a hot button issue at this time of year,  and on Tuesday I participated in the Deputy Prime Minister’s roundtable on Local Government and road safety, convened in Brisbane and also attended by the Assistant Minister for Road Safety, Scott Buchholz.  There were around 30 participants invited including the LGAQ, elected representatives+

  • Fifty five Victorian local councils are working on an Electric Vehicle charging stations network to get the necessary public infrastructure in place so local communities can benefit from an expected increase in zero-emissions vehicles as the models become cheaper and more available. Charging the Regions, led by the Central Victorian Greenhouse Alliance, has examined optimal+

  • 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+