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  • The Federal Health Department is looking for additional feedback on the National Preventive Health Strategy ahead of its final launch in mid-2021. The strategy has been under development since September 2019 and is intended to help people improve their health at all stages of life, through early intervention, better information, targeting risk factors, and addressing+

  • Commonwealth grants ranging from $5000 to $150,000 have been awarded to local governments and community groups to support bushfire recovery for wildlife and habitats. Eighty-eight projects in bushfire-hit areas of NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, and the ACT are being supported by the funding from the Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and Habitat Community+

  • The Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley has extended a landing fee waiver for airlines using the Kununurra and Wyndham airports in a bid to underpin local tourism. It is one of a number of councils forced to continue waiving fees and charges normally applied to offset the costs of running airports. Councillors from the WA shire+

  • Fourteen Queensland local governments impacted by the 2019 monsoon trough event are eligible to apply for a share of $19 million in resilience and risk-reduction funding. The local governments include Burdekin, Burke, Carpentaria, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Douglas, Etheridge, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, McKinlay, Richmond, Townsville, Whitsunday, and Winton. The funding will come from both the Federal and+

  • NSW infrastructure contributions will be reformed after the State Government accepted all 29 recommendations of a NSW Productivity Commission report. The report, which was released last December, described the contribution current system as unnecessarily complex and not properly enabling local governments and the state government to provide the infrastructure required to support development. It also+

  • Bans on commercial water extraction in the Gold Coast hinterland region have been extended to allow for further study of their impacts on aquifers. The bans were introduced in 2020 after bores in Springbrook and Tamborine Mountain ran dry during a drought; they had been due to expire on 5 March. However, Queensland State Water+

  • The Federal Government is offering employers, including local governments, another $1.2 billion as it extends a wage subsidy scheme begun last October. Under the program, employers “of any size, or industry, Australia-wide” that take on new trainees can apply for funding to pay for 50 percent of their wages for the first year, up to+

  • The NSW Government has opposed plans for an electric scooter trial in Sydney despite local council support for the devices to be trialled there. Transport Minister Andrew Constance recently told Budget Estimates in the NSW Parliament that he was “not in the mood” to have e-scooters on Sydney streets, even though his department, Transport for+

  • Local and state planning policies need to be better aligned if city or state-wide development objectives like housing supply targets are to be realised. In a new information paper on short-term planning and zoning policy reform options, the Productivity Commission also canvasses “more flexible and adaptive land-use regulation”. Moving to fewer and more broadly stated+

  • The Federal Government has announced a $1.2 billion aviation and tourism support package with 800,000 subsidised airline tickets as its centre piece. Under the Tourism Aviation Network Support (TANS) program announced on Thursday, the public will be offered up to 800,000 discounted airline tickets to 15 key tourism regions. These include the Gold Coast, Cairns,+

  • Advocating for you. Thank you to the Shadow Minister for Local Government, Jason Clare MP, and Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Andrew Giles MP, for their time this week to consider what Australian local governments need to thrive into the future. On your behalf, in a likely Federal Election year, we look forward+

  • The McGowan Government will commit $14 million towards the development of an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling plant in WA if re-elected. Some of the investment funding will be used to support local governments and other groups to enhance their capacity to receive e-waste from households and businesses and to educate the community for the transition.+

  • Australia’s urban water industry has committed to diversifying water sources and improving treatment processes to meet climate change challenges. Releasing a new climate change position last week, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) said the industry is well positioned to respond and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate on the services it+

  • A new guide has been developed to help environmental land managers address the growing threat to wildlife posed by feral cats. Each day, feral cats kill on average 3.1 million mammals, 1.1 million birds and 1.8 million reptiles, and their impact on threatened native species have only increased since the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires. Recent+

  • The aged-care services sector has largely failed older Australians and needs to be urgently overhauled, a damning royal commission report says. The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety – tabled in Federal Parliament this week – calls for fundamental reform in the way the sector is governed, managed, and+

  • South Australia’s single-use plastic ban began on 1 March, the first such prohibition of its kind in any Australian state or territory. Plastic single-use drinking straws, stirrers, and cutlery are now banned from sale, supply, or distribution across the state, including in supermarkets and other shops. The ban follows passage through State Parliament of legislation+

  • Local political leadership is an important catalyst for incorporating resilience and adaptation into urban planning, a new university study has revealed. Comparing the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast – two coastal cities highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with similar socioeconomic and policy contexts – Griffith University researchers said the former lacked+

  • An initiative incorporating recycled crushed glass (RCG) in concrete used on the Pacific Highway in northern NSW is in the running for a national construction award. About 1500 tonnes of crushed glass sourced from the Lismore City Council (LCC) was substituted for sand in a batch of lean mix concrete totalling about 12,800 cubic metres.+

  • WA’s City of Mandurah council has ratified a policy prohibiting junk-food advertising on city-managed lands and road reserves under the control of the Main Roads Department. The decision is believed to one of the first of its kind in Australian local government, and was taken at the city’s February council meeting, Under the policy, any+

  • Visy Industries plans to offer local councils an extra glass recycling bin to help it increase national glass recycling rates. Visy’s executive chairman, Antony Pratt, pictured, said the company would invest $2 billion in Australian manufacturing over the next 10 years. “It’ll be spent increasing the recycled content of glass bottles from 30 percent to+

  • Airports at Orange, Ballina and the Sunshine Coast have reported strong passenger growth as airlines boost their services to these and other regional centres. South-east Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Airport has gone from having two domestic routes pre-Covid (to Sydney and Melbourne) to seven, with the addition of Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Emerald and Newcastle. Orange, in+

  • The Federal Government has proposed a suite of national actions, including greater consistency of kerbside bin collections, to deal with problematic plastics. Launching the first National Plastics Plan this week, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said it was time to change the way plastics are produced and consumed – and that states, industry, and consumers+

  • 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-Kangaroo 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+