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  • Infrastructure Australia wants feedback on a project to identify strengths and gaps in regional infrastructure and to inform future planning and analysis. The advisory agency hopes its Regional Strengths and Gaps project will encourage governments, industry, and the community to come forward with solutions to address these challenges. The project will focus on 48 regions+

  • The 2021 Smart Urban Futures National Conference, presented by the Municipal Association of Victoria and Victoria Walks, will be held virtually from 21-23 April. The conference “offers insights on liveable, walkable, and sustainable communities, and case studies of projects that have delivered better places in practice”. Keynote speakers include Lucy Saunders (Director of Healthy Streets,+

  • Innovation hubs to help farmers and communities respond to drought are set to open in Southern NSW and the Top End. The Southern NSW Hub will be established at the Charles Sturt University’s AgriPark campus in Wagga Wagga, while the Top End NT/WA Hub will be based at Darwin’s Charles Darwin University with four “nodes”+

  • All 79 Victorian councils will be held to the approved 1.5 percent rate cap for the next financial year ahead, the state’s independent regulator said last week. The Essential Services Commission (ESC) has confirmed that the 31 March deadline for applications to exceed the rate cap set by the State Government has passed without any+

  • The NSW government should offer to buy back thousands of homes in flood-prone areas of Sydney’s west to reduce disaster response and recovery costs, the Committee for Sydney has said. The urban policy think tank said scaling back development in the floodplain would move people out of harm’s way and reduce growing pressure on our+

  • Austroads has published a report examining the most suitable types of plastics for inclusion in asphalt pavements. With plastic consumption rising, and more plastics in waste streams, the organisation says there is a growing interest in exploring the viability of using recycled plastics in road construction. The report, Use of Road-grade Recycled Plastics for Sustainable+

  • Cyclone-impacted communities in the Shire of Northampton, 480km north of Perth, are now eligible to apply for Commonwealth disaster relief. Support is being made available through the Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) and Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA). The AGDRP is a one-off, non-means-tested payment of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for eligible children+

  • The hard-hit region of East Gippsland in Victoria is set to receive $7 million in funding from the Commonwealth’s Regional Recovery Partnership (RRP) project. The five projects selected for funding include: Krautungalung walk, Lakes Entrance ($2.2 million); East Gippsland Rail Trail ($2 million); Forest Park, Orbost ($1.3 million); Slip Road, Paynesville ($1 million); and Koala+

  • Victoria’s new container deposit scheme (CDS) has been unveiled with claims it will lead to three billion containers being recycled every year and halve the state’s litter. Starting in 2023, Victorians will be able to return cans, bottles and cartons at shopping centres, drive-through collection depots, and mobile drop-off points at events and community festivals.+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has become a partner of a new food waste governance body, Stop Food Waste Australia. The new national food waste governance consortium will lead food waste reduction initiatives across the food supply chain in support of the National Food Waste Strategy, which aims to halve Australia’s food waste by+

  • Australia’s first underground automated general waste collection system in Maroochydore, Queensland will be switched on in July. Waste and recyclables from buildings and street bins in the new 53-hectare Maroochydore City Centre will be pumped through a 6.5km network of underground pipes at speeds of up to 70km/h to a collection station for transfer to+

  • A digital tool to highlight long-term trends in coastal erosion and growth has been launched by Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia (DEA) program. The tool was developed with input from local councils, state governments, academia and citizen scientists, and will provide scientists, managers, and planners with the means to reliably assess impacts to Australia’s coastlines+

  • Environment Ministers have agreed to a suite of actions to meet National Waste Policy Action Plan targets, included nationally consistent municipal waste collections. This week’s Environment Ministers Meeting (EMM) also agreed in principle to support a roll-out of Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) waste collection services and to implement standards within each jurisdiction for+

  • The recent huge waves of support for women to have their voices heard paid off this week with the Morrison Government saying it will stage a national women’s safety summit in July. The announcement acknowledges that Australian society, by and large, has not done enough to protect or support people who are vulnerable to family+

  • The 2021 Welcoming Cities Symposium exploring migration and inclusion is being held at the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney on 22 April. Intended as a forum to share and discuss the challenges, benefits, and opportunities of migration and inclusion, the program will feature keynotes from Megan Davis, Professor of Law at the University of+

  • A survey of 100 cities and towns based on their economy, environment, governance, mobility, liveability, and people has identified Karratha and Newcastle as the two regional centres with the most appeal for migrants. Using the Australian Bureau of Statistics and other government data sources, and a form of statistical analysis known as analytical hierarch processing,+

  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is changing the way local governments notify it of sister city or other foreign arrangements. The Foreign Arrangements Scheme under which state, territory and local governments are required to notify the Commonwealth of any existing or future arrangements that they enter with overseas cities, states, provinces, or governments+

  • Broken Hill’s nascent social and economic revival – underpinned by tourism and a new cobalt mine and production plant – has been given another boost. The Broken Hill City Council last week approved tenders to set in train around $3.5 million worth of community projects, including a new skate park, sports lighting for several playing+

  • The continued expansion of telecommunications infrastructure under the Low Impact Facilities Determinations (LIFD) remains a concern for local government, ALGA has said. In a letter to the Federal  Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, ALGA said the rollout of new networks such as 5G in a non-regulatory environment was eroding local government’s planning+

  • The Sunshine Coast Council has been recognised for the second year in a row at Australia’s longest-running sustainability awards. Sunshine Coast won the government category of the 2021 Banksia Sustainability Awards for its proactive plan to deliver a healthy environment and liveable Sunshine Coast. The Environment and Liveability Strategy guides the growth of the Sunshine+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is strongly encouraging local councils to consider being part of possible future national assessments of on-road assets. The Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP) began in 2019 with the Commonwealth providing the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) with $8 million grant funding over two years. The SLGAAP aims+

  • NSW bushfire Community Recovery Officers (CROs) will be funded for a further 12 months to allow them to help with flood recovery as well. Community Recovery Officers have been based in NSW local councils for the past year, working to provide bushfire impacted communities with tailored local support and coordinating services between government, recovery organisations,+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has received than 160 motions for possible inclusion in the 2021 National General Assembly Business Papers. The motions cover topics such as the lack of local government representation in National Cabinet, funding for local governments, and the role of councils in economic development and job creation. ALGA President Linda+

  • New funding has been announced for recycling and clean energy projects under the Federal Government’s $1.3 billion Modern Manufacturing Initiative (MMI). Initial applications will be limited to the “Translation and Integration” streams of the MMI, with expressions of interest for the larger “Collaboration” stream to open soon. The MMI is intended to help manufacturers in+

  • Australia’s next national plan to reduce violence against women and their children must involve a more uniform approach across jurisdictions, a new parliamentary report says. Whilst noting the achievements of the National Plan to reduce violence against women and their children 2010-22 – including the creation of Our Watch – the House of Representatives Standing+

  • This week, we’ve secured another positive step towards local government’s financial sustainability, which has never been more important as we all recover from the Covid-19 pandemic. As Labor’s National Conference met, mayors and councillors from across Australia secured Labor’s commitment to: Focus on the long-term financial sustainability of local government through increases to grant allocations,+

  • Your Voice, a national charity helping young people to find jobs and learn new skills, wants local government help to publicise a survey of young people aged 15-24. The survey is intended to ascertain how marginalized young people view government services, support, and policy. Your Voice says the national survey will be followed by a+

  • Tens of thousands of Australians took to the streets in March as part of the #March4Justice events that called for an end to gendered violence. Patty Kinnersly, CEO of Our Watch, a national leader in the prevention of violence against women, said nationwide cultural and systemic change is needed to accelerate Australia towards a gender-equal+

  • Six online forums will be held this month as part of Commonwealth-led consultations to improve access to public transport for people with disability. The federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications opened consultations on February 12 with the publication of the Reform of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport: Consultation Regulation Impact+

  • The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is encouraging local governments to apply for a special new round of sponsorship to highlight the importance of drone safety. Applications are now being accepted from individuals, organisations, and airports to support the production and installation of CASA’s standardised national drone safety signage to promote drone safety. With more+

  • A new federal government program to help organisations improve their energy efficiency and lower power bills will open for applications on 1 July. The $10.2 million Powering Communities Program will fund up to 12 projects worth a total of $67,700 in every federal electorate. Grants of between $5000 and $12,000 will be available to eligible+

  • More than 100 new road upgrades in NSW local government areas have been announced as part of the Fixing Local Roads Program. Although it is nominally a NSW government program, the Commonwealth committed $191 million to Fixing Local Roads in 2020. Results for Round 2 of the program were announced this week. The successful projects+

  • Federal and state government assistance to flood-impacted communities in NSW has been widened to include new clean-up programs. The activation of Category C and D assistance through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) will assist households, businesses, primary producers and local councils affected by the floods and will include both insured and uninsured+

  • A toolkit developed by Blue Mountains City Council will be distributed to councils throughout NSW as a “best practice” approach to asbestos management. It follows an independent inquiry into allegations surrounding the council’s handling and management of asbestos before 2017. The public inquiry, conducted by barrister Richard Beasley, SC, examined the council’s response to asbestos+

  • An autonomous electric shuttle bus being trialled on the NSW North Coast is about to go fully driverless, the first time this has occurred in Australia. More than 10,000 people have used the “Busbot” in phases 1 and 2 of the trial that began in December 2018. The NSW government is running the trial in+

  • A further 173 community projects supporting bushfire recovery in NSW are to receive new funding as part of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF). The funding for projects that are designed to promote community wellbeing and build disaster resilience across NSW is being provided via the BCRRF Stream 2, applications for which closed+

  • A national approach to public toilets is needed to increase accessibility and participation in social, economic and civic life, a Queensland researcher says. Churchill Fellow Katherine Webber has proposed that key stakeholders able to influence public lavatory design and management (including the Australian Local Government Association and Infrastructure Australia) develop design and functionality guidelines based+

  • Local governments are being encouraged to make the new Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 central to their drowning prevention policies. The strategy seeks to raise awareness about non-fatal drowning incidents, encourage communities to create local water safety plans, and promote access to swimming and water safety skills for all Australians, particularly for those living in+

  • Victorian local governments will have to report on and improve gender equality in the workplace under new legislation that came into force this week. The landmark Gender Equality Act 2020 is designed to close the pay gap across all 300 of the state’s public sector employers, improve gender equality at all levels of the workforce,+

  • A big shout-out to all the Mayors, council staff, and emergency service personnel who helped safeguard local communities during this week’s “Alaska-sized rain event”. That’s how the Bureau of Meteorology described the large weather system that deluged every state and territory except Western Australia and led to the inundation of hundreds of homes and the+

  • The City of Casey Council wants local government’s help in making procuring an enterprise CRM a “shorter, more rigorous process for organisations globally”. “Our goal is to include the evidence-based survey in our requirements phase to ensure anecdotal opinions no longer sway in CRM procurement,” the Melbourne suburban council says. To do this, the council-designed+

  • The Victorian State Government is being urged to make it easier for people to walk and ride as life slowly returns to normal after Covid. A coalition of 14 bike riding, walking, transport, health and research groups, including We Ride Australia, said transport infrastructure investment needed to be spread equitably across all user groups, including+

  • The Council to Homeless Persons is looking for contributions for its national publication that explore local government’s response to homelessness. The forthcoming May edition of Parity will be devoted to examining and discussing the homelessness strategies/policies and initiatives that many capital city and inner-city local governments have embarked on in recent years. According to the+

  • Prominent Tasmanian local government members say online abuse and attacks are having a chilling effect on women wanting to serve on councils. The high-profile group issued a joint statement raising concerns about safe workplaces and respect for women last week. It was signed by Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds (pictured), Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet,+

  • Households that tend their street verges gain extra shade and cooling, privacy, connection to nature, and social interaction, a Perth study has found. Researchers from the University of Western Australia led by Dr Natasha Pauli reviewed the online verge policies of 31 Perth local councils and conducted stakeholder interviews to uncover the benefits and challenges+

  • Australia’s cities have become like a patchwork of local communities over the past 12 months while experiencing low growth rates, making this an ideal time to review our metropolitan governance structures. Appearing at a webinar discussing new research into the role of local government engagement and coordination in metropolitan governance, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)+

  • Local government areas affected by severe storms and flooding in Queensland and NSW are now eligible to receive Federal Government Assistance. They include the Gold Coast, Logan, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley, Quilpie, Southern Downs, and Scenic Rim LGAs in Queensland and more than 30 LGAs in NSW. NSW local government areas in and around Sydney that+

  • Development of a circular economy is being held back a lack of awareness and knowledge, say local government and other industry stakeholder groups. Deficits in supportive policies, regulations, and standards across all levels of government are also perceived as a barrier to circular economy progress in Australia’s built environment, according to a stakeholder survey conducted+

  • A soft plastics collection trial on the NSW Central Coast is set to be scaled up and rolled out to 140,000 households in the coming months. In what is being billed as the forerunner to a national product stewardship scheme for plastics, the Central Coast Council has partnered with Australian recycler iQRenew, and multinational food+

  • The ALGA Board will be in Canberra next week and will be catching up with Local Government Minister Mark Coulton and Shadow Ministers Jason Clare (Local Government), Catherine King (Infrastructure and Transport), and Murray Watt (Disaster and Emergency Management) to reinforce ALGA’s advocacy agenda. As we approach the Federal Budget and a Federal election, we’re+

  • Registrations have opened for the 2021 Environmental Biosecurity Webinar Series – Knock Knock, Who’s there? Drawing attention to our most unwanted visitors. The seven monthly webinars and discussions, curated by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), will focus on the recently released National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and+

  • The Progress in Australian Regions Yearbook has been released as an online interactive dashboard by the Bureau of Communications, Arts and Regional Research (BCARR). The Progress in Australian Regions Dashboard is a statistical resource that shows how regions are progressing against a range of key indicators from the following themes: labour market, infrastructure, housing, economic+