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  • With even Tasmania and Queensland border controls easing, infection numbers falling, bushfire recovery underway, and drought still with us but in fewer places, it’s time to turn our minds to creating a brighter future. Talk has begun about how we can make Australia a better place post-Covid – it is an important conversation and a+

  • The Nation Transport Commission (NTC) wants input on a national approach to in-service safety for automated vehicles. To inform the process, the NCT published a discussion paper last week outlining proposals for what the national law will entail and how it will work under two different legislative implementation options. It follows an agreement by transport+

  • Stephanie Alexander’s Kitchen Garden Foundation is thriving, in part because of the continuing support of councils in Victoria. Established in 2004, Ms Alexander’s not-for-profit foundation works with around 2000 schools (many of them in Victoria) to teach children how to grow, harvest and prepare fresh produce. Following the foundation’s launch of a professional development and+

  • There are few more effective ways for councils to enhance the liveability and economic sustainability of local communities than through the arts. However, reaching young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds presents challenges – one the City of Wanneroo council solved in a novel way. It used DJing to appeal to youths from a suburb with high+

  • An interconnected trail network across seven Melbourne local government areas has been recognised with an Australian Urban Design Award (AUDA). The Eastern Regional Trails Strategy was developed by Fitzgerald Frisby Landscape Architecture and the cities of Boroondara, Knox, Manningham, Maroondah, Monash, Whitehorse, and Yarra Ranges. Judges said the strategy addressed significant impediments to achieving high+

  • The 2020 edition of the Emergency Planning Handbook is being launched next week with a webinar featuring leading experts discussing preparedness principles and practice. The new handbook provides nationally agreed principles for good practice in emergency planning and reflects changes in the field of disaster risk reduction, emergency management and more broadly in society since+

  • The federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has published design options for Round 5A of the Mobile Black Spot Program. A new program design was considered necessary because under the existing guidelines fewer sites are likely to be successfully funded in the future. The draft Guidelines for Round 5A outline the eligibility+

  • Urban water utilities must embrace a new circular future as the traditional “linear” approach to providing drinking water and treating and disposing of wastewater is now unviable. The Water Services Association of Australia says this is particularly true in the Australian and New Zealand context, where most urban centres are vulnerable to variable and declining+

  • Nearly 394,000 tonnes of plastics were recycled in 2018-19, a 23 percent increase on the previous year, a new Federal Government survey shows. In all, 3.5 million tonnes of plastics were consumed in Australia in the 2018-19 financial year. Of the 393,800 tonnes of plastics collected for reprocessing, 203,100 tonnes (52 percent) were reprocessed in+

  • Applications for the $68.6 million Local Economic Recovery program, co-funded by the Federal and Victorian governments, open on 27 October. Sixty percent of the fund (or $42 million) will be dedicated to regional economic projects and programs, and 40 percent will go to local community projects. As part of the $42 million regional economic stream,+

  • By COUNCILLOR JUSTINE BROOKS When I proposed that George Town – a small council even by Tasmanian standards – develop a domestic, family and sexual violence strategy, the responses were understandable: What would the financial implications be, and how could we afford to get involved in “non-core business”? My reaction? How can we afford not+

  • Tasmania’s Derwent Valley Council was established on 2 April 1994 and includes the localities of Bushy Park, Maydena, and Strathgordon, with New Norfolk being the major town. Ben Shaw was elected to Council as Deputy Mayor in 2014 and became Mayor in 2018. He was elected Vice President of the Local Government Association of Tasmania+

  • Councils can learn a lot about the effectiveness of their communication with local audiences and stakeholders during a crisis like Covid-19. Communications expert Neryl East points to increased levels of public trust in local government during the pandemic as proof that councils have largely been reliable sources of information in 2020. “The health measures imposed+

  • Eliminating council oversight of new mobile phone base stations would represent an unacceptable erosion of environmental and public safety standards, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) warned this week. In a submission responding to proposals outlined in a consultation paper published last month on “Improving the telecommunications powers and immunities framework”, ALGA said carriers generally+

  • The Commonwealth’s support for, and regulation of, regional aviation – always a vexed matter for airport-owning councils – is up for serious discussion. The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications published an issues paper this week suggesting the Federal Government will consider: Reducing the regulations to encourage greater competition and local investment; Greater+

  • The National Transport Commission completed 13 projects in 2019, including preparing advice for a national approach to regulating automated vehicles. In its Annual Report 2019-20 published this week, the NTC also listed its “comprehensive engagement program” for the Heavy Vehicle Law review as another achievement across its four program areas. The commission said it facilitated+

  • A new steering committee for the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in Oceania (GCoM) has met for the first time. The committee, comprising the mayors and governors of 12 cities in Australia, New Zealand and PNG, aims to boost collaboration between cities, local governments and community partners globally to reduce carbon dioxide+

  • An updated Australian Government Crisis Management Framework (AGCMF) came into effect on Monday 12 October. Version 2.3 of the crisis framework outlines the arrangements enabling the Federal Government’s “all hazards” crisis management approach and is focused mainly on near-term crisis preparedness, immediate crisis response and early crisis recovery arrangements. Long-term disaster risk reduction and resilience-building+

  • State and local government strategies to reduce and manage bushfire risks must concentrate on fuel management, Victoria’s Auditor-General has advised. To ensure Victoria’s strategies to reduce and manage bushfire risks are well-designed, efficiently deployed, and continuously monitored and improved, the Audit Office examined whether responsible agencies were effectively working together to reduce Victoria’s bushfire risk.+

  • When Busselton Shire Council decided to build a regional aerodrome in the early 1990s (replacing a small and unsuitable 1940s-era airstrip), the primary users were envisaged to be general aviation operators. However, the shire (now the City of Busselton Council) had another, longer-term vision – creating an asset capable of boosting regular public transport (RPT)+

  • The design, delivery, and evaluation of Commonwealth drought programs will be improved after two recent reviews. Conducted by the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency, the reviews examined the consistency and complexity of eligibility criteria and ease of access to information about the support available for drought-impacted farmers, communities, and small+

  • The economic costs of natural disaster now far exceed insured losses and must be bridged by greater investment in mitigation. In a speech to this week’s Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, Geoff Summerhayes said the “high, rising and volatile costs” of natural disasters was leading to declining insurance affordability and accessibility.+

  • The Alpine Shire Council and the Sunshine Coast Council have jointly won a national award for their innovative approach to digital technology. The two councils won the Australian Achievement of the Year category in the Municipal Association of Victoria’s Technology Awards for Excellence 2020 – Alpine with its “Project Pinnacle” and the Sunshine Coast for+

  • A campaign to promote positive recycling behaviours has been launched in response to continuing high levels of waste-stream contamination. Developed in partnership by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) and Planet Ark (with Commonwealth financial support), the campaign calls on all Australians to check the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) every time they are at the+

  • Councils, businesses, and organisations in bushfire-impacted areas of NSW are being encouraged to apply for project-funding grants enabling local recovery. Applications for the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery Fund, co-funded by the Federal and NSW governments, open on 27 October. Grants of between $200,000 and $20 million will be available for projects such as:+

  • Commonwealth and state governments have racked up vast deficits responding to the Covid-19 crisis – and while local government is not in the same world of financial pain, its future sustainability is just cause for concern. How the sector deals with Covid-19 and the impacts of bushfire and drought while continuing to deliver the services+

  • A pre-election pledge by the Marshall Government to introduce a cap on council rate rises in South Australia has been dumped. After failing to secure Upper House backing for its rate cap legislation, the Government this week introduced a new council reform plan to State Parliament which proposes an alternative mechanism to “protect homeowners from+

  • Greater local decision-making on council-owned aerodromes may help strengthen regional aviation after Covid-19 restrictions are eased, the Commonwealth says. In an issues paper addressing longer-term policy and reform options to be implemented over the next five years, the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications also suggests a more strategic and coordinated approach+

  • Tuesday’s Federal budget was one that brought home the bacon for local government. An extra $1 billion for local infrastructure, new money ($2 billion) for road safety initiatives, and council access to a wage subsidy scheme worth $1.2 billion to employ new apprentices and trainees. Over and above those big-ticket items, there were many other+

  • Councils are being invited to take part in a joint Monash University/RMIT project funded by VicHealth to identify research priorities to advance active transport in Australia. University researchers are undertaking two related surveys, and potential respondents may elect to contribute to one or both surveys. The objective of the first survey (Phase 1) is to+

  • The number of women who have nominated to contest this month’s Victorian local government elections has reached a new peak. Minister for Local Government Shaun Leane said that of the 2186 people who had nominated as candidates for the 24 October elections, 851 (or 39 percent) were women. At the 2016 elections, 34 percent of+

  • The Federal Government has been urged to release funding for mitigation projects through the Emergency Response Fund “as a matter of priority”. An interim report into the lessons to be learned from the 2019-20 bushfire season tabled by a Senate committee this week has also recommended that the Commonwealth review the rate of the federal+

  • While national heavy vehicle safety reforms begun a decade ago are largely complete, a new report has revealed unresolved issues. These include slow and inconsistent approval processes for heavy vehicle access to local roads in some areas and unnecessary derogations from the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The Productivity Commission’s National Transport Regulatory Reform report+

  • Five Queensland council areas heavily affected by last year’s bushfires are to share more than $6 million to deliver locally developed projects. They include the Livingstone Shire Council, the Mareeba Shire Council, the Noosa Shire Council, the Scenic Rim Regional Councils, and the Somerset Regional Council. The projects are being supported through the $36.8 million+

  • Disaster recovery assistance has been extended to the Hilltops, Liverpool, Central Coast, and Wingecarribee councils after storms and floods in July and early August. Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). The NSW SES received around 200 requests for assistance in the Hilltops, Liverpool, and Wingecarribee LGAs after localised+

  • Projects to improve local disaster resilience and risk reduction in communities from the Torres Strait to the Gold Coast are to share funding of almost $9.6 million. The 49 projects are being delivered through the $13.1 million Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF), a joint initiative between Australian and Queensland Governments. This $9.6 million+

  • A guide for councils on the technical processes involved in incorporating recycled material into roads and pavements has been published by Local Government NSW (LGNSW). Intended to promote national uniformity and good practice in the specification and application of material reuse in roads and pavements, the guide was produced by the University of Sydney’s Waste+

  • Recycling and clean energy have been identified as one of six priorities in a new manufacturing roadmap unveiled by the Morrison Government last week. Around $1.5 billion in new funding will be invested over the next four years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to “make Australian manufacturers more competitive, resilient and able to scale-up to+

  • The Federal Government will invest $7.5 billion in national transport infrastructure to boost the national economy, deliver safer roads, and create new jobs. The announcement, made a day before the Federal Budget was handed down, contains a mix of new projects and additional federal funding for already announced upgrades, including Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI).+

  • This year’s Federal Budget has addressed many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years.  Moreover, the Budget has effectively maintained the level of Financial Assistance Grants, despite the significant economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With declines in Commonwealth tax revenue, population growth and the Consumer Price+

  • Local government’s small-business support role has never mattered more than it does now, and the City of Mandurah is an exemplar of what councils can achieve in this space. To help it to identify and encourage locals who were willing to start a business but who lacked the expertise needed to make it pay, the+

  • Applications for a new Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program (RAUP) funding round have opened as part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to maintaining and improving air links to the bush. Owners or operators of existing aerodromes in remote or very remote areas of Australia can apply for a grant of between $5000 and $500,000, with $7 million+

  • Great news! The Federal Government has ticked a lot of ALGA’s calls for partnership funding this week, building on the well-received $500 million stimulus fund already rolling out around the nation’s councils. More specifically, our calls for targeted road funding to eliminate more safety and freight productivity black spots, to replace or upgrade substandard bridges,+

  • The Western Australia Government has released a discussion paper to facilitate feedback on its proposed legislative framework for waste-derived materials. The proposed framework “will provide certainty about when waste-derived materials are no longer waste, meaning depositing them to land in quantities above licensing thresholds would not be considered ‘waste disposal’ and licensing and waste levy+

  • Shire of East Pilbara President and former ALGA Board member Lynne Craigie has been bestowed with the WA Local Government Association’s highest honour. Ms Craigie, who is also a former WALGA President, was awarded the Local Government Medal for her “exceptional service in advancing the goals of WALGA and Local Government as well as the+

  • Infrastructure upgrades worth $33.5 million will be carried out at 23 national and world heritage sites under a $61.7 million environment investment package announced this week. The package, which is being provided through the Federal Government’s $1 billion Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, also includes $20 million for a “reef builder shellfish restoration program”, and+

  • The Adelaide cave-diver who won national and international renown for helping rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand will be speaking at ALGA’s Special Local Roads and Transport Congress on 16-17 November. Dr Richard “Harry” Harris will relate to delegates how he dived through long and dark tunnels to+

  • Forty new projects to provide emergency accommodation for people fleeing domestic violence have been announced by the Commonwealth. The projects to be funded under the $60 million Safe Places Emergency Accommodation fund will see new two- and three-bedroom homes built, office buildings transformed into self-contained apartments, and small group homes established. Applications for the Safe+

  • Fire and floodwater emergency videos have been produced by the ABC as part of a new series exploring extreme weather in Australia. The three-part documentary entitled Big Weather and how to survive it will also explore “practical, life-saving ways communities can empower themselves to prepare, survive and recover”. To that end, the broadcaster is producing+

  • Thirty-two NSW councils have successfully applied for Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) Stream 1 grants and will be contacted soon about their payments. Announcing the $100,000 or $250,000 payments this week, Federal Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud underlined the importance of locally led recovery. “It’s through the work and ideas+

  • An innovative local roads safety program has put the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) in contention for the 2020 National Award for Local Government. QPRC, in NSW’s Southern Tablelands, won the 2020 Excellence in Road Safety Award for its embrace of a data-led approach to improving driver behaviour. With speed involved in almost 31 percent of+

  • Commonwealth support for capital city and regional airline networks is being extended to early next as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget. The Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, which has helped maintain essential air services for regional and remote communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, is being extended until 28 March 2021. The Domestic Aviation+