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  • The WA State Government is releasing over 1000 “development-ready” lots at discounted prices to boost construction activity in rural and remote areas. Residential lots at Madigan Estate in Karratha will be made available from $95,000, a saving of $24,000. State Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said lots zoned for residential, industrial and commercial purposes will be+

  • A new campaign urging local governments to improve cycling infrastructure so more people can walk and ride during and after Covid-19 began this week. Launched by cycling advocacy group We Ride Australia, the Let’s Keep Moving campaign calls on all Australians to ask their local council what their plans are for better footpaths and bikeways.+

  • A new agency will work with Sydney local councils to revitalise and expand the city’s open spaces and parklands, the NSW State Government revealed last week. NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP) agency will bring together the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, Parramatta Park Trust,+

  • The popularity of app-based food delivery services has reinforced the need for local and state governments to invest more in active transport, a university researcher claims. Professor Christopher Petti, from the University of NSW City Futures Centre, says governments seem “way behind” in responding to rising numbers of bikes on footpaths, many of them delivering+

  • Technology giant Google is setting up a $4 million fund to support technology-driven projects building long-term resilience to bushfires and other crises. Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said in a blog post that the new Crisis Response and Recovery fund will finance projects creating innovative technology focusing on artificial intelligence. Google Australia interim head+

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council is getting $2.5 million in federal money to review the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is to ensure that government dietary advice is based on the best and most recent scientific evidence about the types and amount of food needed for good health. The Federal Minister with portfolio+

  • The final webinar in a three-part series looking at plastic use and disposal – hosted by Plastic Oceans Australia and Griffith University – will be held on 29 July. The panelists include ALGA President David O’Loughlin, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, and the director-general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, Kosi Latu.+

  • The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre will evolve to become a “world-class” disaster study centre utilising $88.1 million in federal funding. Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud announced the new funding on Thursday. It includes an additional $2 million to allow the BNHCRC to continue its Black Summer Bushfires research begun in the+

  • Bushfire recovery and resilience-building projects in 23 Queensland local government areas will receive $1.8 million in state and federal grant funding. The projects receiving a grant under this round of the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) include: $68,848 to Baffle Creek Community Inc to undertake improvements to the Baffle Creek Community Centre; $35,000 to+

  • Tasmanian local governments delivering natural disaster risk reduction initiatives are eligible for a share of $5.22 million in new Commonwealth grants funding. The National Partnership funding will be distributed by the Natural Disaster Risk Reduction Grants Program (NDRRGP) under a five-year agreement to support the implementation of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.  Disaster risk+

  • The ACT Government will establish a team of public sector certifiers as part of a new developer licensing scheme announced this week. Minister for Building Quality Improvement Gordon Ramsay said: “We have seen too many cases where property developers have forced other parts of the industry to cut on costs and influence process”. He said+

  • A new online resource to help local governments prevent violence against women in their workplaces and communities has been published. It includes information setting out the role council can play in prevention, actions they can take, how to engage communities, and how to evaluate the effectiveness of the measures. The Prevention Toolkit for local government+

  • Robert Mustow was born in Casino in northern NSW, and has lived in the Richmond Valley his entire life. After finishing high school, he became a qualified panel beater and successfully operated his own smash repair business for 15 years. With a long-running passion for local sport, especially basketball, he was then employed by Basketball+

  • An expert panel has backed Senate calls for a White Paper supporting a strategic approach to development in regional Australia. It has also recommended the Commonwealth reform its approach to regional development funding and “substantially increase” funding to Regional Development Australia (RDA) Committees. The panel was convened by the Federal Government after it agreed to+

  • A federal environmental protection law review has suggested a greater assessment and approvals role for the states and territories. In an interim report into the Environmental Protection and Biodiversity Act published this week, Professor Graeme Samuel says delays caused by the complexity of current processes could be reduced if the Commonwealth devolved more decision-making powers+

  • Coastal councils are caught between the proverbial rock and a hard place when it comes to rising sea levels and storm-related coastal erosion. We saw it demonstrated again this week when the Central Coast Council – under fire from residents whose beachfront properties had been destroyed or damaged by a severe storm the previous week+

  • The newly established Freight Industry Reference Panel met for the first time this week to progress the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. The panel is acting as a conduit for industry views while providing advice to the Transport and Infrastructure Ministers on how strategic goals can be implemented. Its work is complementary to existing+

  • Twenty road safety upgrades across regional Victoria have been announced under the state’s $20 million Safe Travel in Local Streets Program. The projects include new roundabouts, traffic islands, bicycle lanes, speed humps, raised intersections and pedestrian crossings in Geelong, Bendigo, Warrnambool, Portland, Port Fairy, Mildura, Shepparton, Mooroopna, Traralgon, Morwell, Moe, Warragul, Drouin, and Sale. Regional+

  • The Marshall Government says it will limit SA councils to 12 councillors each as it continues efforts to pass its Local Government Review Bill 2020. The revised Bill also seeks to cap council CEO salaries and reduce “bad council behaviour” to minimise legal bills paid for by ratepayers. It will also introduce a mechanism to+

  • The NSW Land and Environment Court has been given extra resources as part of the State Government’s ongoing Covid-19 planning reforms. As well as the appointment of two more commissioners to enable more cases to be heard, the court’s role has been broadened with the establishment of a new class of appeals “to help unblock+

  • The first annual progress report on the Darwin City Deal has revealed rapid progress on plans to transform Darwin into a cooler and greener city. Cavenagh Street in the City’s CBD has been greened and shaded and energy-saving LED lighting has been installed across the city as part of the Switching On Darwin project. The+

  • It will take many years to restore the economy and infrastructure of bushfire-impacted areas and for their animal and vegetation biodiversity to recover. The assessment by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre is contained in a preliminary analysis of the 2019-20 bushfire season in Australia. Using linear regression analysis, the CRC researchers analysed+

  • Renewing road networks will deliver quick benefits to communities affected by bushfires and the Covid-19 tourism downturn, according to WSP. Peter Todd, a strategic asset management advisor for the multinational engineering services firm said: “This critical period offers state and national leaders a great opportunity to invest in important road transport assets – for long-term+

  • Australia’s emerging City Deals model can leverage affordable rental housing choices near employment to enhance urban and regional productivity more widely. However, the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) says specific strategies are needed to ensure that jobs are brought closer to existing and planned housing and that rental accommodation remains affordable and available+

  • South Australia’s Disaster Risk Reduction Grants Program has received new Commonwealth and State Government funding totalling $16.7 million. The money is part of the Commonwealth and the SA Governments’ commitment under the National Partnership Agreement on Disaster Risk Reduction to reduce the risk and limit the impact of disasters on communities across the state. Each+

  • The Albury and Wodonga city councils have signed a statement of intent to develop a Regional Deal with the NSW, Victorian and Federal governments. The five parties agreed on arrangements for negotiations last week, 16 months after a pilot Regional Deal was announced. Federal Assistant Minister for Territories and Regional Development Nola Marino said a+

  • The Commonwealth will invest $233 million on tourism and infrastructure projects to help the struggling tourism sector recover from Covid-19. The money will go towards new infrastructure and facility upgrades at the Uluru-Kata Tjuta and Kakadu National Parks in the Northern Territory, the Booderee National Park on the NSW South Coast, the Australian National Botanic+

  • The Federal Government has said it supports all 26 recommendations of a review into the Product stewardship Act 2011 – including encouraging new schemes. The review was conducted by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment to ascertain if the Act “is enabling and can enable the benefits that product stewardship can deliver”. Although+

  • In the first of an occasional series on the elected leaders of Australia 537 councils, Kangaroo Island Council Mayor Micheal Pengilly answers questions about various aspects of his work and that of the council’s. Councillor Pengilly was born and raised on Kangaroo Island, and he continues to farm a property with his wife on the+

  • State and Territory governments say they oppose the Commonwealth being referred additional powers to deal with or respond to natural disasters. The near unanimous view emerged in submissions to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements made public last week. In its inquiry submission, the WA Government said: “The concept of a ‘national natural+

  • An Australian Airports Association survey has revealed that 24 regional airports, most owned by councils, are owed $10 million in unpaid fees. The survey of 34 members of AAA also showed that 10 large and capital city airports were owed $7 million. AAA chief executive James Goodwin said that while airlines had received significant financial+

  • Place-based deals have been making headlines these past weeks, all of them positive, all of them reinforcing the key role Local Government plays in shaping our economy. The mayors of Albury and Wodonga have signed a statement of intent to develop a Regional Deal based around the two Murray River cities, and new annual reports+

  • The war on waste is proving to be a protracted affair, like any war, but this week’s announcement of $190 million in Commonwealth funding to create a new Recycling Modernisation Fund (RMF) is significant in several ways. Besides tipping $190 million into the RMF, the Federal Government is providing $35 million to implement the National+

  • SBS Broadcasting is advising local governments that it produces Covid-19 information and resources in 63 languages. It comes amid warnings of the importance of ensuring key Covid-19 messages are understood by people from non-English speaking backgrounds living in Melbourne local government areas which have become coronavirus hotspots. The SBS Multilingual Coronavirus Portal contains constantly updated+

  • Nine NSW community organisations, including the Sapphire Community Pantry, have received Commonwealth Bank bushfire recovery grants worth $500,000 in all. The Bermagui and District Seniors’ Social Club has also been awarded a grant to support older people who have been experiencing isolation and stress following the fires and Covid-19. The bank says it expects to+

  • A mapping tool designed to enable councils to identify sites at risk from natural disaster has been released by the Queensland Government. Developed by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, the Repeat Events and Dollars Index (REDI) is an interactive web-based mapping tool that identifies infrastructure which is particularly vulnerable to damage from natural disaster events. Incorporating+

  • A City of Busselton project testing new technology to warn motorists of cyclists has won a share of $2 million in funding from the Commonwealth Road Safety Innovation Fund. It was one of 13 projects that will share in funding over the next four years through Round 1 of the Road Safety Innovation Fund, which+

  • Twelve projects in the Northern Territory will receive a share of Round 5 funding from the Commonwealth’s Safer Communities Fund (NT stream) announced this week. The NT stream is the result of a 2019 election commitment to deliver $4 million in security infrastructure specifically to community safety and security projects in the Top End. Under+

  • The economic growth being achieved by regional cities like Ballarat is more broadly inclusive than that of the capitals, a new study suggests. Ballarat, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and smaller centres like Bacchus Marsh, Griffith, Warragul-Drouin, Ballina, and Griffith were among the top 10-performing locations in a study examining population and business growth, employment, welfare reliance,+

  • The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is hosting a webinar on 14 July tailored to fire and land managers who manage prescribed burning. The webinar will also launch the Prescribed Burning Atlas, a new tool to inform prescribed burning strategies and tailor them to outcomes that will best reduce the risk in a target area+

  • Public perceptions of local government’s leadership for the greater good have risen during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, peaking at +11 in a recent survey. The eight-week survey is the latest in a series conducted by Swinburne University of Technology researchers to gauge perceptions of the degree to which different institutions – including+

  • The NSW Productivity Commission has released an issues paper as part of its review into the state’s infrastructure contributions system. The paper examines how infrastructure is currently funded in NSW, focusing on the role of infrastructure contributions and the key issues and challenges encountered in their application.  Stakeholders are encouraged to respond to the discussion+

  • Proposals to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code have been tabled for consultation. Developed by the Australian Building Codes Board, the consultation regulation impact statement assesses regulatory options for including accessibility requirements for housing (Class 1a buildings and Class 2 apartments) into the National Construction Code. In line with the+

  • The National Transport Commission wants feedback on its review of automated vehicle trial guidelines and its “Government access to vehicle-generated data” discussion paper. Early trials of automated vehicles in states and territories relied on exemptions from state road rules and road safety Acts, without any uniform guidance for governments and trialling organisations. The guidelines lessen+

  • A project to duplicate the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale has received additional funding of $191 million from the Federal and Victorian governments. The duplication is one of 21 shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades in Victoria that were announced this week. The Commonwealth is investing $320.3 million in the 21 projects,+

  • Grants of up to $1 million are being offered by the Commonwealth to support the establishment of new product stewardship schemes or to expand existing ones. $14 million has been made available for this National Product Stewardship Investment Fund grant opportunity. Product stewardship schemes help reduce waste and prevent harmful materials ending up in landfill+

  • A $1.4 million project to help five local councils across Greater Melbourne take their first steps to becoming “smart cities” was completed on 30 June. The Northern Melbourne Smart Cities Network project involved developing and implementing a LoRaWAN network to enable improved municipal service delivery and pave the way for new services in future. Five+

  • The Commonwealth is investing $190 million to ramp up Australia’s waste processing capacity ahead of bans on exports of unprocessed waste. The money will go to a newly established Recycling Modernisation Fund to finance new infrastructure spending in sorting, processing, and reusing plastic, paper, glass, and tyres. Funding from the RMF will be contingent on+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s annual National Local Roads and Transport Congress has been expanded in 2020 to encompass natural disaster impacts, recovery and resilience, and Covid-19. With few opportunities left in 2020 for the Local Government sector to connect on a national level, the Special Recovery Conference will focus on the issues that have+

  • Are journalists about to return to country council chambers? The Federal Government has thrown the regional media a much needed lifeline – and there was more good news for the sector this week. Further details of the $50 million package to support public interest journalism were announced and the sale of Australian Associated Press (AAP)+

  • A new online educational game to help Queensland children and their families prepare for future disasters and severe weather events went live last week. The Get Ready Queensland Challenge game can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices and is intended to reinforce the Get Ready Queensland program to educate people about disaster risks and+

  • One hundred and seven small-to-medium newspapers and commercial broadcasters will share $50 million in Public Interest New Gathering Program funding. PING is a Commonwealth government initiative to provide direct support for local and regional news outlets at a time when many have scaled back operations or closed due to Covid-19. Of the $50 million, $18+