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  • The coming Federal Election marks a watershed moment for our cities, towns, regions, and communities. The past two years have been perhaps the toughest we have faced as a nation since World War II. During the COVID19 pandemic, the bushfires, and the floods, Australian councils have delivered emergency support, helped businesses, created jobs, and showed+

  • ALGA’s policies and initiatives, at end of the day, are your policies and initiatives. We propose frontline solutions which are informed by your communities and your work on the ground – and your input and guidance adds immeasurably to our effectiveness in progressing shared national objectives. To help build an even better Australia post-pandemic, we’re+

  • We are proud to launch ALGA’s Federal Election Platform. Informed by motions submitted by councils at our National General Assembly, and unanimously endorsed by our Board in conjunction with our member state and territory local government associations, this document outlines 17 national policy initiatives that will optimise Commonwealth/local government partnerships designed to benefit every community.+

  • This past week, on your behalf, I met with the Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers, and Treasurers as part of the National Federation Reform Council, to ensure local government voices are heard at the national decision-making table.    I provided them with an overview of the significant efforts of local governments in 2021 to support communities dealing with the impact of COVID-19.   I also used+

  • Applications have opened for Round 2 of the National Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Program, with a $50 million set aside for priority projects. These include levees, levee systems, infrastructure to promote flood plain restoration, and specific green infrastructure initiatives that mitigate flood risk. The program, which is administered by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA)+

  • Australia’s national disability strategy has been updated with a stronger focus on housing, safety, employment, and community attitudes. Launched on 3 December with pre-recorded messages from Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President Linda Scott and state, territory, and federal government leaders, Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-31 is the culmination of two years of engagement between various+

  • Communities in eight Queensland local government areas will be able to apply for disaster assistance after extensive flooding in central, southern, and western parts of the state. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth‐State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) to the LGAs of Banana, Barcaldine, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley, Maranoa, Scenic Rim, South Burnett,+

  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has responded to the increasing threat of heatwaves by developing and trialling a new Heatwave Warning with state and territory agencies. It has also released a new Heatwave Decision Support Product for state and territory agencies to assist heatwave preparation and response. It comes as Marble Bar, in WA’s north-west,+

  • Council staff are again being urged to contribute to research into local government strategies and work practices in vertebrate pest and weed management. The Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Sciences (ABARES), the Australian Association of Bush Regenerators (AABR), and the Invasive Species Council (ISC) are conducting the research based on a survey+

  • James Cook University researchers are seeking conservation and environmental professionals to share their views on the use of drones in their organisations. The study aims to: Identify barriers to using drones in conservation and environmental management; Explore whether barriers to drones are universal or unique to different organisations; and Gather information on how these barriers+

  • Two new resources providing overviews of the state of rural health and workforce gaps have been launched by the National Rural Health Alliance. The alliance says its Rural Health in Australia Snapshot 2021 will enable a variety of stakeholders – from journalists and researchers to politicians and policymakers – to access key evidence about rural+

  • Darriea Turley has pledged to make Financial Assistance Grants a priority during her term as president of Local Government NSW. The Broken Hill City Council Mayor was elected LGNSW president on the first weekend of December after a postal vote by association members. Cr Turley will head up eight other returning Board members and nine+

  • The Productivity Commission has called for regulatory changes to give consumers more options to repair smartphones and other consumer durables. In its Right to Repair report released on 1 December, the commission said existing barriers to repair for some products are significant and unnecessary and could be improved by clarifying consumer rights, giving independent repairs+

  • Round 2 guidelines for the Regional Connectivity Program have been released, with local councils and regional communities encouraged to apply for funding. Funding of $112 million has been allocated for Round 2 of the RCP, bringing to $229 million the total amount invested in the delivery of “place-based” telecommunications infrastructure projects to improve digital connectivity+

  • A national survey to help local government address current skill shortages and identify emerging and future skills needs began this week. Local governments are encouraged to complete the survey to enable a comprehensive analysis of the local government workforce. The survey is part of the Local Government Workforce and Organisational Capacity Project which has been+

  • Australia’s visitor economy needs to diversify its destinations, modernise assets, and collaborate for it to become a top-five export income earner, a new report has advised. An expert panel economy led by former federal tourism minister Martin Ferguson prepared the report, which includes a draft strategy “for the long-term recovery and sustainable growth” entitled Thrive+

  • Two-thirds of all local government assets are in good condition and meet community expectations. Community infrastructure is also lasting longer, while the proportion of infrastructure assets in a poor state of repair has remained relatively constant. The findings are contained in the 2021 National State of the Assets (NSoA) Report published by the Australian Local+

  • There were 190,800 people working in local government at the end of June 2021, new Bureau of Statistics figures show. This is about 4800 more people than were employed at the same time in 2020. Of those people employed in local government in 2021, 54,900 were in NSW, 52,300 in Victoria, 43,300 in Queensland, 10,700+

  • Disaster assistance has been made available to 25 local government areas in NSW and Queensland affected by severe storms and flooding in early to mide November. The assistance for NSW is being provided to the Bathurst, Blayney, Blue Mountains, Brewarrina, Broken Hill, Cabonne, Cobar, Cowra, Forbes, Gilgandra, Gunnedah, Gwydir, Lachlan, Moree Plains, Narrabri, Port Macquarie+

  • Voting has opened for the National Awards for Local Government with local governments and the public being urged to cast a ballot to acknowledge outstanding community solutions. Voters can choose from 10 nominations in seven of the eight categories. There are three nominations in the Women in Local Government category. Click here to see the+

  • Some 2025 National Packaging Targets will not be achievable without interventions, a new report suggests. The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) says plastic remains a concern, with recovery rates showing no significant improvements over a three-year period. “Modelling predicts a recovery rate of 36 percent with currently planned infrastructure and capacity improvements,” the report says.+

  • A national campaign to help reduce household food waste has been launched by food rescue group OzHarvest. The Use It Up campaign features a new product innovation, Use It Up Tape™  designed to make it easy for consumers to waste less. The tape can be used in pantries, fridges or freezers to mark out a+

  • The Regional Banking Taskforce is calling for public comment as it investigates how branch bank closures are affecting regional communities. To that end, an issues paper and guidelines for making submissions were published last week by the Federal Treasury. The taskforce was established on 22 October, with the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) among its+

  • Nominations are being sought for the Federal Environment Minister’s product stewardship priority list for 2022-23. In a departure from previous practice, the public is being encouraged to contribute suggestions, along with industry and governments. The annual list identifies products and materials for which industry is expected to take product stewardship action to reduce the environmental,+

  • Phase 3 of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) program has begun, with guidelines for councils seeking project funding now online. A broad range of local road projects can be nominated under the $2.5 billion program, such as traffic signs, street lighting, bridges, tunnels, rest areas, or even road and sidewalk improvements. Community infrastructure+

  • The National State of the Assets Report 2021 will be launched on 9 December with the key findings to be discussed at an interactive webinar. Federal Assistant Minister for Local Government Kevin Hogan will attend the launch, along with Infrastructure Australia CEO Romilly Madew, National Farmers Federation President Fiona Simson, and IPWEA President Myles Lind.+

  • State governments should get behind local government efforts to create a healthy and sustainable food system in Australia, a new report says. Councils are already involved in food safety regulations as well as supporting sustainable local food production and reducing food waste, but could potentially do more to encourage the consumption of healthier foods as+

  • Governments will need to invest $30 billion in large-scale coastal protection and adaptation over the next 50 years, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says. A new report prepared for the ICA by Baird Australia says climate change is driving rising sea levels and exacerbating coastal hazards such as tidal inundation, coastal and estuarine inundation,+

  • An updated suite of resources addressing gender inequality and violence against women has been published by Our Watch. Our Watch CEO Patty Kinnersly said the revised evidence-based framework went beyond addressing individual behaviours to consider the broader social, political, and economic factors that drive violence. “The evidence shows that we can stop violence against women+

  • Australia’s biosecurity defences have been boosted with another 96 more officers assigned to target frontline biosecurity risks. The deployment follows a major Commonwealth recruitment drive for biosecurity officers earlier this year in response to threats posed by African swine fever (ASF) and “hitchhiker pests” like khapra beetles. Agriculture and Northern Australia Minister David Littleproud said+

  • WIN! Advocacy on Federal Assistance Grants Rewarded ALGA welcomes news last week that the Morrison Government has no plans in the short to medium term to review how Financial Assistance Grants are distributed by state/territory jurisdictions. We welcome the Federal Assistant Minister for Local Government, the Hon Kevin Hogan MP’s undertaking. The ALGA Board has+

  • The Future Drought Fund has published its first annual report and is inviting stakeholders to comment on its work to ensure effective future outcomes. The $5 billion fund was established in 2019 to provide a secure, continuous funding stream for drought resilience initiatives. The fund’s foundational programs announced in July 2020 include farm business resilience,+

  • Disaster assistance has been made available to communities in Victorian and South Australian local government areas affected by recent storms. The storms in Victoria caused widespread power outages and damaged roads. The Victorian local government areas where assistance is on offer include Banyule, Bass Coast, Bayside, Cardinia Shire, Casey, Colac Otway, Frankston, Glen Eira, Greater+

  • A webinar exploring how local governments can broaden support for efforts to retain trees on private property will be held on 25 November. The webinar is being convened by ICLEI Oceania and is targeted at elected officials, leaders, and officers from municipal, metropolitan, and regional authorities across Australia, community members, the private sector, and academia.+

  • Housing supply, design, and maintenance in Indigenous communities needs to be reassessed in light of the growing impacts of climate change, new research suggests. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) says indigenous and remote communities will experience climate change earlier and disproportionately compared with urban settings. In its latest report, AHURI says operating+

  • The effectiveness of fuel reduction burning varies greatly by region and researchers and practitioners continue to disagree about optimum strategies. A Parliamentary Library research paper published on 28 October also suggests there are significant knowledge gaps about fuel reduction burning, especially regarding its long-term effects. “Recent fuel reduction burns will modify fire behaviour even under+

  • A new circular economy centre of excellence in Adelaide will work with businesses to commercialise new projects and innovations. The centre, to be established at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in central Adelaide, will be administered by Circular360. The South Australian State Government is investing $1 million over three years in the centre’s development. State+

  • Many councils manage vertebrate pests and invasive weeds in their local communities, but little is understood of the extent of these efforts nationwide. A broader perspective of the collective work of councils will better inform policymakers at a national level on management priorities in relation to established vertebrate pests and weeds, and resource allocation to+

  • A National Adaptation Policy Office is to be established as part of the new National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy released last month. The strategy is intended to help communities prepare for climate changes “that cannot be avoided, even with global efforts to reduce emissions”, and was announced on the eve of the COP26 climate+

  • Local government projects honouring the service and sacrifice of Australia’s service personnel may be eligible for federal government grants. The Saluting Their Service (STS) Commemorative Grants Program offers funding to assist local communities planning commemorative projects, with $3.5 million earmarked for distribution in the 2021-22 financial year. The types of eligible projects can include: updating+

  • Councils around Australia have one more week to secure up to $30,000 in grants for community events delivered on Australia Day 2022. The grants are being made available through the National Australia Day Council (NADC). NADC chief executive Karlie Brand said councils play a vital role in marking Australia Day, delivering hundreds of events, including+

  • New funding of $250 million has been announced for the Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programs. Under revised guidelines for the two programs, project proponents can apply for funding to cover up to 80 percent of the total project cost. In another first, the BRP and HVSPP will run concurrently and with+

  • The Bureau of Meteorology is trialling a heatwave warning service with state and territory governments aimed at helping councils, communities and individuals to better plan and prepare for heatwaves. The Bureau has been working across Australian governments, including with local governments in Sydney’s west regarding council requirements on heatwaves. The Bureau publishes public 7-day heatwave+

  • Guidelines for the community infrastructure funding stream of the $600 million Preparing Australia Program have been published ahead of applications opening in December. Grants of between $20,000 to $10 million will be available for proponents of projects which help communities “assess and plan for disaster risk, increase capacity and raise awareness of disaster risk, or+

  • Our strong advocacy for greater targeted funding support for local government mitigation projects paid off last week with the release of the guidelines for the local communities component of the Preparing Australia Program. I’m pleased to report that the Preparing Australian Communities Program is now open to all local government areas at high risk of+

  • Entries for the 2021 National Local Government Awards have opened, with eligible councils invited to nominate projects across eight categories. The nomination process for this year’s awards has been simplified to enable shorter online submissions – and for the first time, councils can recognise the work and achievements of their peers in the local government+

  • The NSW local government areas of Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Oberon, and Wollondilly have been offered disaster assistance after severe storms and flooding this month. A tornado hit the city of Armidale on 14 October, toppling trees and power lines in the city and surrounds, destroying cars and buildings. Thousands of homes were also left without+

  • Six major off-the-road (OTR) tyre importers will join the voluntary Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme from January 2022. They include Bearcat, Bridgestone Mining Solutions, Goodyear, Kal Tire, Michelin, and Yokohama. The national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme promotes the increase in environmentally sustainable collection and recycling processes and to explore and promote new products and uses for+

  • The Australia Local Government Association (ALGA) will work with a federal task force to mitigate the impacts of bank branch closures on rural communities. The Regional Banking Task Force will “bring together banks and other key stakeholders to ­assess how bank branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries, and communities, and work collaboratively to identify+

  • A guide to help councils secure the internet of things (IoT) for a smart city or location has been compiled by the Australian Computer Society (ACS). A non-technical publication, the short guide has been written specifically for those local government personnel responsible for business operational risk and purchasing decisions. For local governments, IoT has become+

  • Transport infrastructure managers are being encouraged to take part in an online survey to assess the impact of utilities on local roads. With roads increasingly congested by overhead transmission lines and underground services, Austroads has begun a project to reduce the negative impacts of these assets on the delivery of transport infrastructure projects, while ensuring+

  • A recycled materials assessment project has begun in South Australia with the aim of building local councils’ confidence in the use of recycled materials. The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) was engaged by Green Industries South Australia (GISA) to undertake the project, which involves compiling a “knowledge capture” of innovative and sustainable pavement materials. Following+