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  • This week, it was a pleasure to visit Mayors and elected members from the Albury, Greater Hume, Wagga Wagga, Temora Shire, Lachlan Shire, and Federation councils to better understand the challenges local government is facing. With global waste bans looming, we’re focused on getting results for you to enable to you manage waste and recycling.+

  • National Bushfire Recovery Coordinator Andrew Colvin is urging local government to get behind the University of Western Australia’s “After the fires” survey. The UWA survey is studying the impact of the 2019-20 bushfires on the resilience and wellbeing of fire and emergency services personnel. “If we’re going to do more, we need to know more,”+

  • A global competition to identify and accelerate ambitious ideas developed by cities in response to the Covid-19 pandemic was launched last month. The 2021 Global Mayors Challenge, an initiative of Bloomberg Philanthropies, “will address the most significant challenges to emerge during the pandemic, including: economic recovery and inclusive growth; health and well-being; climate and environment;+

  • Councils raised 89.2 percent of their own revenue in 2016-17, with grants and subsidies making up the remaining 10.8 percent, a new national report shows. In that time, local government’s total tax revenues amounted to $17.4 billion – or 3.6 percent of all taxes raised across all spheres of government in Australia. Councils (along with+

  • Consistency of standards has emerged as a priority issue in stage two of a review of building accessibility for people with disabilities. The Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010 are intended to ensure people living with disability have equal access to public buildings. They are also intended to ensure building certifiers, developers and+

  • Building resilient urban settlements in fire-vulnerable areas could set a model for how larger cities can adapt to rapid climate change, a new research paper suggests. These developments would include: Establishing more sustainable coastal centres with distributed solar power and water; and Building solar or eco-villages on the peri-urban rural fringe using community-scaled technology with+

  • Disaster assistance has been extended to the local government areas of Cairns, Townsville and Pormpuraaw following ongoing impacts from ex-tropical cyclone Imogen. In all, 18 local government areas in northern and far north Queensland (including Burdekin, Burke, Cairns, Carpentaria, Cassowary Coast, Charters Towers, Cook, Croydon, Etheridge, Hinchinbrook, Kowanyama, Mareeba, Mornington, Palm Island, Pormpuraaw, Tablelands, Townsville+

  • The Federal Government is reportedly contemplating a uniform approach to garbage collection in a bid to meet National Waste Policy Action Plan targets. Under the plan, reported in The Australian newspaper on 20 February, a national food and garden organics (FOGO) collection service would be implemented to cut greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste volumes sent+

  • The draft National Road Safety Strategy 2021-30 has been opened up for public and stakeholder comments, with input possible until 23 March. The draft strategy – developed by the federal, state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association – sets the direction of Australia’s road safety objectives, key priorities for action and road+

  • South Australian company Reclaim PV Recycling has secured development approval for the country’s first solar panel recovery and recycling facility in suburban Adelaide. Reclaim initially hopes to process about 70,000 panels a year at the Lonsdale facility – and to establish facilities in other major metropolitan areas “in the next one to two years”. The+

  • Eight Brisbane City Council waste trucks have caught fire this financial year, prompting warnings from Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner. At least two of the fires were started by lithium or lithium-ion batteries, which are commonly used in laptop computers, mobile phones, and power drills, and which can spontaneously ignite when overheated or damaged. In all+

  • Regional Express (Rex) says it plans to terminate several NSW services as well as its Adelaide-King Island route after government subsidies end in March. The decision follows Qantas’s launch of 26 new regional routes, including eight which overlap with Rex’s existing network. In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) on Monday, Rex deputy+

  • Efforts to improve public transport accessibility for people with disabilities have moved ahead with the release of a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (CRIS). The federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Communications CRIS contains proposed amendments intended to increase the flexibility and clarity of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport (2002) after a+

  • Optus, Pivotel and Telstra have been awarded grants under the final tranche of the Commonwealth’s $2 million Alternative Voice Services Trials (AVST) Program. The latest tranche of trails includes: Optus offering 15 trial services at pre-determined regional locations in NSW, Queensland and SA. It will trial fixed and mobile voice calls and offer optional broadband+

  • The Heart Foundation has released a training resource to better acquaint planners, urban designers, and elected officials with its Healthy Active by Design (HAbD) program. The HAbD program is a guide to incorporating health and physical activity into built environment design as well as an advocacy tool for improving community health and wellbeing by considering+

  • The first National Emergency Management Ministers’ Meeting (NEMM) will be held this week as part of new federation governance reforms. After the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) was scrapped and replaced by National Cabinet, the Conran Review of COAG Councils and Ministerial Forums recommended that several councils be disbanded in favour of a more streamlined+

  • Disaster recovery assistance has been extended to the Gwydir, Moree and Tamworth Local Government Areas in response to severe storms and floods in December. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Communities experienced significant losses and disruption due to heavy rainfall and flooding over several days, including road+

  • A city planning app developed with input from three NSW local councils has won an international award sponsored by Amazon Web Services. The ArkiCity app developed by the University of Wollongong and Danish company Arki_Lab (in partnership with the Wollongong, Liverpool, and Canterbury-Bankstown councils) encourages users to take a picture of their city then customise+

  • The NSW and federal governments have announced $35 million in grants to support the remanufacture of recyclable goods, with applications open to local councils. Grants of between $100,000 and $5 million will be allocated to fund eligible infrastructure projects (Stream 1), while eligible trial projects will receive between $50,000 and $1 million (Stream 2). The+

  • Australia’s health ministers have endorsed changes to the way health star ratings are calculated for unsweetened fruit and vegetable juices. The decision to move to a sugar-based assessment for calculating Health Star Ratings (HSR) means 100 percent unsweetened fruit or vegetable juice will be ranked at two stars – below diet cola and other artificially+

  • Betterment funding should be a mainstay of Commonwealth disaster recovery funding, the Australian Local Government Association has said. After the 2019-20 bushfires, Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said state, federal and local governments should embrace the ethos of “build back better” and that “as we face further disasters into the future and I will+

  • A gender equality advisory committee is being formed to ensure Victoria’s local government sector can “harness the benefits of equality”. The committee will advise the Minister for Local Government and the Minister for Women, Gabrielle Williams, on how to deliver the state Labor Government’s target of 50 percent female mayors and councillors by 2025. It+

  • New technology using video footage and machine learning to automatically assess road conditions is being trialled at a NSW local council. The technology, which has the potential to deliver superior data whilst also saving time and money, is trialled by the Central Coast Council, in conjunction with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA)+

  • Local governments have until 10 June 2021 to notify the Department of Foreign Affairs of pre-existing “non-core” foreign arrangements. These are arrangements they entered into with foreign entities before 10 March 2021 – and include sister city arrangements. Additionally, local governments must – from 10 March 2021 onwards – notify the Foreign Affairs Minister before+

  • Wagga Wagga Council has commissioned a report to explore the “benefits” and “consequences” of not renewing the lease on its Commonwealth-owned airport. The council’s lease on the airport land expires in 2025. Councillor Paul Funnell said the request for the report was due to insufficient grant funding to properly upgrade the ageing airport. The report+

  • This week, I joined Mayors from across Australia to honour the life of legendary Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM at her state funeral in Cobar. Her many contributions to local government over 40 years were inspirational and will not be forgotten. Vale. The importance of ALGA being a full member of the new streamlined system of intergovernmental ministerial forums (including National+

  • Your ALGA Board was hard at work this week holding strategic planning sessions to ensure we are doing all we can to deliver results for Australian local governments – now and into the future. ALGA does much on your behalf – advocating, contributing to policy development, and serving as a respected member of many interjurisdictional+

  • The Australian Taxation Office is reminding local government finance managers to renew their manual authorisation in RAM before their 12-month expiry date. If you are the government representative (the primary person) that originally linked your local government agency’s ABN in Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) last year, please note that your authorisation is valid for up+

  • Local governments are being reminded of federal regulations regarding the use (and misuse) of the word “Anzac” in the lead-up to this year’s Anzac Day. The Commonwealth’s “Protection of Word ‘Anzac’ Regulations (1921) were put in place to ensure the word was treated with dignity and respect; they outline how, where, and when the word+

  • A Melbourne consultancy firm will lead a review of the National Environment Protection (Used Packaging Materials) Measure 2011 and the Australian Packaging Covenant. A consultation paper and online survey have been prepared to seek stakeholder feedback on: The strengths and limitations of the operation of the UPM NEPM and the Covenant; The appropriateness of the+

  • The CSIRO and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) will develop a nationally consistent bushfire modelling and prediction capability. The bushfire simulation tool will be developed from the CSIRO’s “Spark” fire prediction platform, and will open the way for “bushfire prediction opportunities across borders and over different landscapes”. The science agency says+

  • The Federal Government is planning to host a national roundtable on textile waste as part of its broader efforts to promote product stewardship. It is also investing $350,000 in Circular Threads – a new group to be led by the Australasian Circular Textile Association (ACTA) – to help reduce textile waste, particularly unwanted uniforms and+

  • A statewide waste levy will be introduced in Tasmania on 1 November, with the proceeds being invested back into waste management. The levy, which will start at $20 a tonne and rise to $60 a tonne after four years, will be collected by Environment Protection Authority Tasmania and managed by a new body, the Tasmanian+

  • The West Australian shires of Carnarvon, Upper Gascoyne and Derby-West Kimberley will get disaster assistance funding after last week’s heavy rain. A tropical low dumped up to 200mm of rain along the WA coast causing widespread damage to roads, including the North West Coastal Highway. Affected communities in the three shires will be eligible to+

  • More fenced areas are needed to protect native wildlife from rampant predation by feral or stray cats, a federal parliamentary inquiry has advised. Domestic and feral cats are killing three billion native animals yearly, a “horrifying” statistic that equates to a kill rate of more than 1100 per cat per year, inquiry chairman Ted O’Brien+

  • Federal ministerial responses to motions submitted by councils for debate at the 2020 National General Assembly have been published on ALGA’s website. Although the 2020 NGA was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, ALGA agreed to consider the 153 motions that had been submitted by councils for debate. After deliberations by the Board of Directors+

  • Lilliane Brady, NSW’s longest-serving female mayor and a forceful and effective advocate for her hometown of Cobar, has died aged 90. Cr Brady served on the shire council for 38 years, 20 of them as mayor, and told the ABC’s Back Roads program earlier this month that she planned to retire in September. Cr Brady+

  • Bans on purified recycled water for drinking should be lifted so that all supply augmentation options can be considered in the future, the Productivity Commission says. In a draft report into national water reform, the commission has also called for the removal of exemptions granted to the minerals and onshore gas industries from water consumption+

  • ALGA lodged its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission with the Federal Treasury last week – the essence of which is that more federal support for local government will help strengthen Covid-19 recovery. The measures outlined in the submission include: Continuing the $1.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program with a focus on sustainable transport initiatives; Establishing+

  • A three-month trial at the Bathurst Regional Council to reduce clothing going into landfill has collected 1.6 tonnes of used textiles in just one month. In what is believed to be a first for regional NSW, the council partnered with Textile Recyclers Australia (TRA) for the trial, with TRA supplying bins to be set up+

  • Four new stories looking at the unique role the arts can play in the disaster management process have been made available as podcasts. In Season 2 of the “Creative Responders” podcasts, listeners will hear from council teams and participating artists as they examine what a community-led project looks like; why it is essential to centre+

  • South Australia’s new planning and design code will go live in metropolitan areas from 19 March, the State Planning Commission said last week. From that date on, all applications lodged will be required to be assessed against the new code, which replaces 72 Development Plans. Thirty-five metropolitan and major regional councils – which together handle+

  • The need for improved local and national adaptation measures to limit the growing fire risk in south-eastern Australia has been reiterated in another scientific study. Published in Communications Earth and Environment, the study also says adaptation measures need to be accompanied by ambitious global climate change mitigation effects to limit further increases in fire risk.+

  • Disaster Recovery Payments have been declared for eligible people severely affected by bushfires burning in the Shire of Mundaring and the City of Swan. The Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment (AGDRP) provides a one-off lump sum of $1000 for eligible adults and $400 for each eligible child under the age of 16. AGDRP is available+

  • Federal Politicians are urging eligible community groups and organisations to finalise their funding applications for Round 6 of the Stronger Communities Program. Round 6 will provide $22.65 million to fund small capital projects in each of the country’s 151 federal electorates. For this special round, grant funding will be up to 100 percent of eligible+

  • The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils has called for a review of “disproportionate” private gains flowing from publicly funded infrastructure investment in Sydney’s west.  “We have already seen examples of enormous private windfalls from the land acquisition processes at Badgerys Creek [site of Sydney’s second airport],” WSROC President Barry Calvert said in a media+

  • Eight new commercial projects to process West Australian plastic and tyre waste are to get $70 million in joint funding from the Commonwealth and WA state governments. They include a facility in eastern Perth that will process plastic waste into high-quality flakes that can be used to make food-grade and non-food-grade recycled resin. The new+

  • The Commonwealth can cement Covid-19 recovery by giving greater support to councils, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said this week. In its 2021-22 Pre-Budget Submission, ALGA urged the Morrison Government to prioritise local jobs, infrastructure investment, and community wellbeing initiatives. Economic recovery from Covid-19 and the 2019-20 droughts, floods and bushfires is imperative –+

  • Support for local government and community repair schemes should be a cornerstone of any future Right to Repair framework, an ALGA submission says. Right to Repair is a regulatory framework entitling consumers to have their consumer durables repaired by a repair shop or service provider of their choice, as well as being able to repair+

  • I was thrilled to see the name of Fay Miller in the list of serving and former local government officials recognised in this week’s Australia Day Honours list. Fay was Mayor of Katherine Town Council from 2012 until her forced retirement last September because of ill health – and in that time she exemplified the+

  • Trials to identify better ways of delivering voice services in regional and remote Australia via the internet will begin shortly. As part of the Commonwealth’s $2 million Alternative Voice Services Trials (AVST) Program, NBN Co and two smaller telecommunications companies, ConceroTel and Zetifi, have been selected to conduct the new trials. NBN Co will deliver+

  • The Australian Taxation Office is reminding local government finance managers to renew their manual authorisation in RAM before their 12-month expiry date. Relationship Authorisation Manager (RAM) is an authorisation service that allows you to act on behalf of a business online when linked with myGovID. To renew, the ATO says to log in to RAM+