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  • The Joint Standing Committee on Migration has decided to suspend its inquiry into migration in regional Australia, in light of the economic effects of the public health situation changing the nature of the needs of communities in regional Australia. “Given the fast evolving situation in Australia and around the world, and the challenges posed by+

  • The second stage of consultations with people with disability on a new National Disability Strategy for beyond 2020 were due to take place in the coming weeks. However, following the escalation of events surrounding the Australian response to COVID-19, the decision has been taken to defer the consultations. This decision reflects the advice of the+

  • It has been an extremely tough time for many Australians. Between the bushfires and floods, and now COVID-19, now is the most important time for us to look after those who are taking the hit the hardest. There were already 3.2 million Australians living in poverty before these crises and that number is sure to+

  • Farmers’ markets have been declared an essential service by the Federal Government as they are an integral link in the nation’s food chain.  All market managers are doing everything possible to maximise public health safety at food markets on market morning. Shopping in the fresh air, at a safe distance, with your own basket or+

  • On Thursday 26 March the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the creation of a new National Covid-19 Coordination Commission. The Commission has been established to coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic. Designed to “better coordinate work between the private+

  • ALGA President David O’Loughlin participated in Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) meeting. Council comprises of Transport, Infrastructure and Planning Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and the Australian Local Government Association. At the TIC meeting recent border control arrangements and the critical role the freight sector plays in providing essential food supplies of food+

  • ALGA is aware that councils are now developing their budget processes for 2020-21 and one of the issues which has arisen is the need for certainty around their Financial Assistance Grant allocations for 2020-21, especially in light of the Government’s announcement that the 2020-21 Budget will be delayed until October.  The Government’s Financial Assistance Grants+

  • A number of Councils have announced support packages to assist residents, business, sporting and community groups address the social, cultural and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some measures taken by Gladstone Regional Council include rent concessions for Council-leased commercial facilities, freezing of interest on outstanding rates and charges and financial support for sporting and+

  • Closures, restrictions, working from home, rate relief, landing fees relief, service cuts, hardship policies, delivery curfews, public health inspections, and even delays to the Federal Budget and questions over FAGs funding – how quickly our world has changed. Yet our communities’ need for help has rarely been higher, nor has the lack of certainty. The+

  • Due to Covid-19 virus, the organisers of the 2020 National Road Safety Week have decided that it is in the best interests of the Australian community to postpone. As such, the Week is now scheduled for 9th – 15th November, with the national launch in Sydney proposed for Sunday 8th November 2020. Postponing the Week+

  • ALGA, the state and territory local governments and a large number of councils were involved in a consultation process earlier this year on the proposed ban on the export of waste paper, plastic, glass and tyres. Last week the Council of Australian Governments agreed to the phased introduction of the export ban. From 1 July+

  • In a Federal Court ruling issued last week, Telstra has won a case which will allow it to continue rolling out its New Payphone Cabinets with 75 inch (190cm) digital advertising screens as “low impact facilities” which do not require council planning approval. Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 provides that if a structure+

  • The Coronavirus pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges for all councils when considering issues around the continued operation of council facilities and services. This can include libraries, pools, leisure centres, service centres, halls and caravan parks Each council will need to make its own decisions in light of its unique circumstances, the community’s needs and the+

  • The ALGA Board expressed its support for councils doing everything they can to ensure supermarkets are restocked and rejected recent criticism of local governments as a key cause in problems restocking supermarket shelves. When approached by Coles and Woolworths for temporary exemptions to curfews most Councils have readily agreed. Some like the Knox City Council+

  • Unfortunately the 2020 National General Assembly (NGA) will not go ahead in June 2020. The ALGA Board has made this difficult decision in light of the Government’s decision to ban non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people at indoor venues as part of its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Prime Minister has+

  • On Wednesday 18th March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced restrictions being put in place to address the spread of coronavirus in Australia. He stressed this is not a two-week solution it is most likely to be six months. “Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to+

  • Droughts, bushfires and now a global virus – the need for strong and stable Local Government has never been greater for our communities. The Prime Minister’s recent announcements dramatically underline that Governments at all levels must step up to keep the nation healthy, our businesses solvent and people in jobs. Councils are the most connected+

  • Animals perceive light differently from humans and artificial light can disrupt critical behaviour and cause physiological changes in wildlife. Artificial light can stall the recovery of threatened species and interfere with a migratory species’ ability to undertake long distance migrations integral to its life cycle. To address this conservation challenge, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture,+

  • Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. What started out as a local government initiative in WA, the award-winning Plastic Free July behaviour change campaign is now one of the world’s+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Finance is reviewing the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA), which is the key legislation used by the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of interests in land for public purposes. The LAA also regulates the disposal of Commonwealth land to local government and the acquisition of local government land by the Commonwealth.+

  • In the wake of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season, many communities are now embarking on a journey of recovery. But what does disaster recovery really mean? A free webinar hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience aims to tackle the topic hearing from speakers with experience and expertise in the field. John Richardson from Australian Red Cross+

  • A new report produced by the Climate Council has looked at the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer. The bushfire season started in winter and was the worst on record for New South Wales in terms of its intensity, the area burned, and the number of properties lost. It was also the worst season+

  • The Federal Government has announced the 147 projects that will be funded in NSW under the 2020-21 round of the Black Spots Program. The Government has committed $1 billion to the Black Spot Program from 2013-14 to 2022-23 to improve road safety across the nation. “By specifically targeting road locations with a history of crashes+

  • Today I’m attending COAG where the Prime Minister, First Ministers and I, on behalf of our sector, will discuss the issues currently impacting our country. These include bushfire relief, drought, violence against women, mental health, the proposed waste export ban, and the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Bushfire relief has been slow, despite best efforts of governments.+

  • Coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a “disease of pandemic potential” in Australia on January 21, 2020. The potential threat of the virus taking hold in Australia has already had economic implications to tourism, universities, the building sector and seafood exports. The Federal Department of Health is closely monitoring the respiratory illness outbreak caused by the virus.+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is conducting its latest survey into how the heavy vehicle industry and supply chain is tackling their safety responsibilities. NHVR Safety Assurance Director Greg Fill said the online safety survey would assist the NHVR to decide how best to develop future safety information. “With the introduction of safety duties+

  • The Federal Government has released an Issues Paper as the first step in preparing the Regional Aviation Policy Statement in a bid to improve connectivity and innovation in regional aviation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon. Michael McCormack said it’s important anyone who travels on planes or through+

  • On 27 March, the ATO and 26 other agencies are retiring the AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections login credentials. This means anyone accessing the ATO’s Business Portal or a range of other government online services will need to start using myGovID. Once the app is set up, the business owner will need to link their+

  • The Federal Government has announced an additional $2 million in scientific research through the Threatened Species Recovery Hub to help guide wildlife recovery efforts and habitat rehabilitation strategies following Australia’s bushfire crisis. “I have approved the funding as part of the National Environmental Science Program via the University of Queensland to assist with on-ground post+

  • International Women’s Day (IWD) this Sunday is a chance to celebrate women and recognise their achievements. Under the theme Each For Equal, celebrations this year aim to highlight that, individually, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. While collectively, each one of us can help create a+

  • Now in its 27th year, the Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community groups to help preserve and manage locally held but nationally-significant cultural heritage collections. Since the program began in 1994, more than $7.26 million has been allocated to 1,445 collection preservation and management projects around the country,+

  • Time is running out for councils to have their say on life in regional Australia. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Australia is looking at the contribution regional Australia makes to the nation’s identity, economy and environment. The committee is also examining the effectiveness of existing programs to develop and promote regional centres,+

  • What needs to change, across government and industry, to curb the roughly 1.4 million tonnes of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres that we export every year? With the waste export ban drawing nearer – in less than six months for glass and just over a year for mixed plastics – we need practical solutions+

  • Councils are invited to join the Bureau of Meteorology’s next free webinar on Thursday 5 March which covers climate and water. Participants can ask climate experts questions about their outlook for Autumn to help their decision making for the months ahead. The webinar runs 12-1pm AEDT. Register now via http://ow.ly/2d4a50yr2CU

  • This week Infrastructure Australia released its 2020 Infrastructure Priority List, and I’m pleased to say it reinforces the key themes ALGA has been advocating for on behalf of the sector. According to Infrastructure Australia, the list is designed to spark investment and coordinated action from industry and government. They listed the following national initiatives as+

  • Airservices Australia wants to hear from local councils as it plans for the future of flight path design. As part of its national consultation process, it seeks feedback about flight path design principles – not views about specific flight paths. Design principles include safety elements, noise and community impact, environmental and operational factors. The agency+

  • The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is reminding councils that after Friday 27 March 2020, they will no longer be able to use AUSkey or Manage Australian Business Number (ABN) Connections to access the Australian Government’s online services. “We recommend you move to using myGovID and Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) well ahead of this date to+

  • Local Governments are invited to apply for the 2020 Resilient Australia Awards, before entries close on 18 May. The awards recognise outstanding contributions in six categories: community, business, local government, government, school and photography. Sunshine Coast Council (QLD) won the 2019 prize for its Sunshine Coast Get Ready Schools Program which taught students about natural+

  • Case studies of the many ways metropolitan and regional councils from across Australia have successfully resettled new migrants will be launched at the 2020 Welcoming Cities Symposium in Canberra next month. The 18-19 March gathering at the National Gallery of Australia is an opportunity for all levels of government and civil society to come together+

  • While Victoria’s recycling system is set to change following an announcement this week by the Andrews State Government, Local Government New South Wales has warned that Australia’s most populous state risks having more of its waste sent to landfill. Recycling Victoria is a $300m, 10-year plan to create a circular economy through measures including a+

  • Did you know more than 60% of councils spend around 100 hours on processing invoices every month? Or that more than half of councils spend over $10,000 each month on this task? E-invoicing is a smarter and cheaper way to do invoicing, and Local Government needs to get involved because the way those transactions are+

  • Fire-affected councils will soon be able to use download a free document on buildings in bushfire-prone areas following an agreement between the Australian Government and Standards Australia. The two entities have agreed to jointly fund access to AS 3959:2018 Construction of buildings in bushfire-prone areas until 30 June 2021. AS 3959 gives guidance to professionals+

  • Hydrogen energy test facilities under construction in Canberra and regional Victoria that will examine whether natural gas networks can transition to hydrogen may have positive implications for regional councils as they seek to lower their emissions. These facilities, plus two hydrogen vehicles refueling stations, show local communities’ efforts. Last year, the Council of Australian Governments+

  • The Royal Commission into the bushfires of summer 2019-20 will examine areas including the responsibilities and coordination between Australia’s three levels of government, and how they share resources. Formally known as the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements, its Terms of Reference include land management, land-use planning, zoning and development approval including building standards,+

  • It’s my pleasure to announce the first round of guest speakers who will present at the 2020 National General Assembly of Local Government in Canberra from 14-17 June. The largest gathering of local government in the country this year takes the theme Working Together for Our Communities. As this past summer has been tough for+

  • Austroads invites councils to register and join two free webinars on local roads. On Monday 17 February, 1-2pm AEDT, the topic is the lifecycle management of Sealed and Unsealed Local Roads. “It will highlight the Austroads Guides and the AUS-SPEC national local government specification system which assist local government practitioners to design, construct and maintain+

  • National industry organization, Skills Impact, seeks feedback from councils and the wider public about a review of training schemes for the pet care and animal training sector. Skills standards under review include animal regulation, general animal care, assistance animal services, and animal training & behavior. Skills Impact is holding consultations in-person throughout February, as well+

  • The Federal Government’s eSafety Commissioner has released a new guide for adults to help keep safe children under five when they’re using the internet. The free booklet was released during Safer Internet Day on 11 February, and more than 11,000 copies have been sent to every early childhood education and child care centre across Australia.+

  • Councils are encouraged to apply for their share of $10m in Federal Government grants when applications open on Monday 17 February. The Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program has two funding streams. The first – aimed at local government authorities and regional tourism organisations – will support events, concerts, festivals and visitor attractions in fire+

  • On 13 February, the Federal Government announced an additional $17m for the 60 Local Governments in bushfire-affected areas. The grants range from $200,000 to $416,667 and are in addition to the funds the Federal Government announced on 9 January for these 60 councils in NSW, VIC, SA and QLD. The Federal Government said all councils+

  • An assessment of how some of Australia’s largest local governments are cutting their emissions has found 58 percent have a target or aspiration to reach net zero by 2050 for their “operations emissions” – those activities or emissions sources owned or controlled by the local government. Thirty seven percent of those local governments have a+

  • Restore our funding to 1%, fix the infrastructure backlog, invest in recycling, improve community resilience and tackle climate change risks. These are a precise of the top five issues raised at this week’s ALGA strategic planning session in Canberra. It was also an opportunity for noting our successes over the past three years. These include+