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  • This week I want to discuss poverty and drought, and the vital role Local Government plays in trying to reduce both. Local Government could say that scourges like poverty and drought are caused by external factors, for others to deal with, but should we? Anti-Poverty Week, which concludes tomorrow, is an annual assessment of the+

  • Councils and other entities considering ways to transition their fleets to electric vehicles can now use a free calculator that its creators say is the first of its kind in Australia. Charge Together Fleets – created by the Electric Vehicle Council and Evenergi and used by 90 fleets – combines data including the Total Cost+

  • Inaction on addressing homelessness and the lack of social and affordable housing risks entrenching disadvantage among Australians across our capital cities, the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors has warned. The Council convened a national industry roundtable in Melbourne on 10 October, World Homeless Day, which featured community housing and homelessness services providers, business and+

  • Telstra will switch off its 3G service in June 2024, saying it’s no longer feasible to operate the technology, which it launched in 2006 as “NextG”. “Between now and then we’ll be upgrading and expanding our 4G coverage to a materially equivalent size and reach to our 3G footprint,” said Nikos Katinakis, Telstra’s Group Executive,+

  • Sean Holden has been appointed the new Chief Executive of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT), following the retirement of Tony Tapsell. A former resident of the Northern Territory, Mr Holden has spent the past three years in Adelaide as the Senior Policy Adviser (Economic Development) with the Local Government Association of+

  • The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) latest Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate  states sea level is rising at an increasing rate, alongside ocean warming and acidification, which will increase risks for low-lying coastal communities and biodiversity. Extreme ocean levels which historically would occur on average once in a+

  • The rise of drones is changing the way assets are managed and goods moved over short distances. The implications of drones for councils will be examined at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress on 19 November in a session involving experts from various sides of this emerging transport sector. “Drones can collect better data+

  • The annual Stay Smart Online Week draws to a close tomorrow, and this is an opportunity for councils to take stock of their online security measures, and also consider the menace of cyber bullying of councillors and staff. The Commonwealth Government says almost one in three Australian adults fell victim to a cybercrime in 2018,+

  • Has your council held activities as part of the 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages? If so, the Commonwealth’s Department of Communications and the Arts is keen to hear from as many jurisdictions and sectors as possible as it prepares a report into Australia’s participation. The department seeks the following information: organisation name, activity description; location/reach;+

  • The Commonwealth Treasury is inviting submissions from local councils for their views on what should be considered priorities in the 2020-21 Federal Budget. ALGA will also be putting forward a submission based on the key priorities we advocated for during the recent federal election.  The highest priority issue will be an increase in the Financial+

  • The Commonwealth’s primary centre for all population matters, the new Centre for Population, has been formally launched in Canberra and will soon begin operations with 20 staff. Based in Treasury, the Centre will work closely with the states and territories, academics and think tanks in order to share data, research, ideas and expertise on population, Minister+

  • The water industry has called for a revised National Water Initiative which focuses on urban water and recognises the challenges of climate change, the ongoing drought, and meeting the water security needs of Australia’s growing population. The Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) Urban Water Update 2019: Drought, Growth and Liveability said as the constraints+

  • This edition I want to highlight how local councils around Australia proudly invest in their local communities’ art and cultural sectors. You only need to look at a council’s homepage or its social media presence to see how much we celebrate our artists, festivals and other cultural activities that help define our communities. These activities+

  • A rural council in southwestern Victoria says it’s one of the few councils in Australia to add a fourth bin – glass – to its collection service, and save ratepayers money by reducing waste going to landfill. Moyne Shire Council said the purple-lidded bin was initially to be tested for six months only in the+

  • Townsville City Council has set itself a new target of spending 3 percent of its procurement budget with local First Nation businesses to bring it into line with State and Federal Government procurement policies. Governance and Finance Committee Chair Cr Verena Coombe said the goal complements the Council’s Reconciliation Action Plan and should help build Indigenous+

  • The Commonwealth’s Deregulation Task Force will make trimming regulations governing food manufacturing one of its priority areas. Other priority areas include making it easier for sole traders and micro businesses to employ their first person, and getting major infrastructure projects up and running sooner, Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said. The task force will work with state+

  • The Commonwealth Government has announced 13 more local government areas will be eligible to apply for the Drought Community Program in a new round of $100m funding to help communities. The money includes $33m to resume the Drought Community Support Initiative in which farming households can apply for up to $3,000, and $740,000 for five+

  • The fifth generation of mobile technology, which works alongside 4G infrastructure, will take a decade to deploy and its challenges for carriers will mean a bigger digital divide between city and rural communities, technology consultants have said. Given previous experiences, it’s unlikely Australia’s telecommunications companies will agree to share fixtures as they roll out 5G+

  • Some councils want to better engage with Australia’s circular economy to save them money and ease pressures on their material collection services. This is particularly the case with old rubber tyres, some 56 million of which are discarded in Australia every year. Steering some of those tyres away from landfill and into road resurfacing will+

  • There have been many issues affecting regional and rural Australia on which ALGA has been advocating in recent months – jobs, visas and drought assistance. Some three quarters of Australia’s local governments are in rural, remote or regional areas of Australia, with many local governments actively trying to attract and retain workers and residents in+

  • A House of Representatives parliamentary committee will inquire into the rollout, adoption and application of 5G mobile technology. Its terms of reference are to first, investigate the capability, capacity and deployment of 5G, and second, understand the application of 5G, including use cases for enterprise and government. “5G is expected to be significantly faster than+

  • The Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peak Organisations are encouraging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, their organisations, and networks to have their say on efforts to Close the Gap. People can complete a survey available here by 25 October, and also read a discussion booklet and story. There’s also a chance for+

  • Small steps to tackle and better understand Australia’s waste and recycling challenges this week include a new purchasing agreement between South Australian councils, and the Australian Bureau of Statistics’ expansion of waste collection data. The Local Government Association of South Australia announced it will lead a circular procurement pilot project in which nine councils have+

  • With the Australian Capital Territory set to be powered by 100 percent renewables by 2020, the ACT Government has released a new Climate Change strategy that includes efficient buildings, reducing waste generation, and incorporating climate resilience into development applications and planning policies. The Climate Change strategy complements the government’s 2018 strategies for planning, housing, and+

  • This week I want to give thanks to the many councils and communities across Australia who have rallied in difficult circumstances in the face of weather extremes. The continuing drought across much of the eastern seaboard has been compounded by dozens of bush fires across northern NSW and southern Queensland during the first few weeks+

  • The Australian Agriculture Department is seeking views from people involved in agricultural exports about proposed changes to Commonwealth legislation. The draft Export Control Bills Package 2019, which replaces a 2017 bill, covers areas including customs and excise procedures. Its intentions are to remove duplication and make laws more responsive and efficient for exporters, farmers and+

  • Local councils and members of the public are invited to comment on a proposed revision of a standard covering safety barriers for swimming pools. Standards Australia proposes expanding elements of AS1926.1 to give additional information to pool owners, pool users and certifiers so they have a better understanding of the design and construction of a+

  • An update on the state of Australia’s Night Time Economy in metropolitan areas has found the sector employed more than 1.1 million people in 2017-2018 and had a turnover close to $136 billion, or nearly five percent of the total economy. The new study by the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors, which assessed of+

  • One of Australia’s largest road infrastructure projects, the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing, opened on 8 September to provide an alternative route for all classes of heavy and super-heavy vehicles. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the 41-kilometre-long bypass route included an 800-metre-long viaduct and would remove trucks+

  • A handbook that outlines the responsibilities of all three levels of government during emergencies and disasters has been updated to help authorities in their preparations for future incidents. Produced by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, the free Australian Emergency Management Arrangements Handbook was guided by a working group, which included the Australian Local Government+

  • Local Government contributes more than a quarter of total national expenditure on Australian arts and cultural activities, a new study has found. Demonstrating the increased importance of art and culture to local communities, the 26.2 percent local government proportion was up from 22.4 percent a decade earlier, The Big Picture report said. Each year Australian+

  • It’s just over nine weeks until our National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, only half an hour from downtown Adelaide. Registrations are already up on last year, indicating the joint metro and regional focus is hitting the mark. If you haven’t already registered, I encourage you to do+

  • Three trade fairs promoting Indigenous businesses will be held in Dubbo (central western NSW), Brisbane and Perth in the coming weeks to promote Indigenous employees, suppliers, goods and services to local councils and other parties. Supported by the new National Indigenous Australians Agency, the free fairs will highlight dozens of industries ranging from building and+

  • The Australian Medical Association says climate change is a health emergency which if not addressed will cause more injuries and deaths from heat stress, severe weather conditions and mosquito-borne diseases, as well as food insecurity due to declining farming production. Similar to declarations passed by dozens of local councils – most recently the City of+

  • West Australian councils have backed an “aspiration” by the State Government to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, saying rapid action is needed because climate change’s consequences, including longer fire seasons, are already happening. The announcement by State Minister for Energy, Bill Johnston, means WA becomes the final state to set a zero+

  • Two local councils from regional Tasmania and far north Queensland are among 17 communities to share $135,000 from the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal (FRRR) ABC Heywire Youth Innovation grants program. Northern Midlands Council in Tasmania received $3,000 to run a youth camp aimed at helping it build community resilience and improve young peoples’+

  • A series of roundtables will be held in locations across Australia in the coming weeks to help the Australian Government better understand communities’ views about Data Sharing and Release legislation, and also how that sharing might affect Indigenous Australians. The new legislation is aimed at streamlining access to “integrated datasets to trusted users who can+

  • Councils that operate airports or have airports within their Local Government Areas are invited to make submissions to the National Airports Safeguarding Framework. The National Airports Safeguarding Advisory Group seeks feedback from various parties about how the framework has been employed since 2012, and has developed a Terms of Reference to guide the review. The+

  • Each year the Federal Government provides billions of dollars to councils across Australia to help them deliver services and infrastructure for their local communities, and by far the largest amount is provided under the Financial Assistance Grants program (FAGs). ALGA’s Fairer Share campaign is aimed at ensuring councils receive a fairer share of federal funding+

  • The City of Newcastle (NSW) said it has estimated it could save up to $4.8m of ratepayers’ money over the next 25 years if it switched to 100 percent renewable electricity. The City said as its electricity contract expires on 13 December, now is the appropriate time to move toward more sustainable and cost-efficient electricity+

  • Local councils could save money by switching their fleets to electric vehicles because they pay for themselves if the total cost of ownership is considered, a study featuring council data from the Municipal Association of Victoria has found. The study by ClimateWorks Australia in collaboration with MAV and the Electric Vehicle Council was discussed at+

  • The annual Landcare Week, which runs 2-8 September, is special this year as it’s the environmental entity’s 30th birthday. Landcare Australia estimates that since 1989 it’s evolved into a movement of 6,000 groups and hundreds of thousands of volunteers who perform sustainable agricultural practices and conservation activities, while also developing and uplifting their communities. Its+

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a series of free online training courses to help groups understand the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. They were developed by the Commission and other entities and are aimed at people working or volunteering in all organisations of various sizes that engage with children and young people,+

  • A new site has for the first time brought together millions of data sets to provide a wide-ranging picture of the state of housing in Australia, from financing for a mortgage through to population changes and homelessness. The Housing Data Dashboard as developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Commonwealth+

  • The Australian Government has published a new biosecurity web site aimed at helping the general public, councils, businesses and individuals better understand how to identify and respond to biosecurity threats. The site has been developed by the National Biosecurity Committee, to which the Australian Local Government Association is an observer, and follows an agreement by+

  • I was pleased to participate in a memorable second meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap last week in Adelaide. There can be few more pressing tasks than reducing the differences in life span, health, housing and employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians – and local government has a key role to play.+

  • Are the more than 200 recycling labels used in Australia making you confused about how to dispose of packaging and empty items? The Australasian Recycling Label – which featured at the 2019 National General Assembly – aims to help you correctly dispose of all parts of a product’s packaging. The logo is one part of+

  • The Commonwealth seeks feedback on its $60 million Regional Connectivity Program, which forms part of the $220m regional digital connectivity package. “The objective of the Regional Connectivity Program is to use a ‘place-based’ approach to target investment to provide economic opportunities and enable full participation in the digital economy for regional communities and businesses,” the+

  • Nominations have opened for the Red Ochre Awards for the lifetime achievements of established Indigenous artists. There are two prizes of $50,000 each for female and male recipients to honour their outstanding lifetime achievement in the arts, and their contribution to the recognition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander arts, both nationally and internationally. Recipients+

  • The Australian Government has updated the National Cities Performance Network, a data snapshot of 21 of the country’s largest cities. The site is designed to help guide the policy and investment decisions of all three levels of government, as well as industry and the community. Some eight capital cities and 13 other major cities are+

  • This week’s 4 Corners investigation, ‘Cracking Up’, shone a national spotlight on shoddy apartments and building certifications across Australia. We saw problems with buildings such as Opal Tower and Mascot Towers in Sydney with cracked walls and foundations and forced residents to flee, while frustrated owners showed their leaking apartments in Canberra and Melbourne. I+

  • A new survey has found most visitors to inclusive play spaces around Australia want to see more universally-accessible toilets, swings for all abilities, and shaded areas. The State of Play 2019 report was created by Touched by Olivia, a charity that creates inclusive play spaces, and Variety, which have together created more than 30 such+