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  • The Department of Home Affairs will begin conducting online citizenship ceremonies in place of the traditional ceremonies that have been impacted by Covid-19 health and social distancing restrictions. Home Affairs began trialing ceremonies over secure video link at the end of March. When fully implemented, the online citizenship service will be able to confer citizenship+

  • NSW Rural Fire Service (FRS) commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons is quitting the role to lead a newly created state disaster agency. Announcing the creation of Resilience NSW this week, Premier Gladys Berejiklian said it would oversee the government’s disaster preparedness and recovery efforts – “be it Covid, be it cybersecurity, be it a whole range of+

  • Disaster assistance is now available to help Gascoyne and Pilbara communities recover from extensive flooding along the Western Australian coastline last month. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). Natural Disaster and Emergency Management minister David Littleproud said said repairing key local roads would help communities recover quickly+

  • A new Department of Regional NSW has been established to coordinate support for communities, businesses and farmers affected by bushfires, floods and Covid-19. The department will bring together the divisions of Primary Industries, Local Land Services, Resources and Geoscience to form a central agency dedicated to regional issues. It will be headed by the Department+

  • The Sydney and Darwin city councils have announced packages to support local households, businesses and community groups during the Covid-19 epidemic. The $55 million City of Darwin response includes providing casual employment opportunities, waiving of permit charges, fees and levies to 30 June, deferral of business and household rates to 30 June, and rent relief+

  • The Tasmanian State Government will work with councils and the Tasmanian Planning Commission to ensure assessment and approvals processes are kept open and applications can continue to be processed during coronavirus restrictions. Planning Minister Roger Jaensch said modifying processes to allow planning, development and consultation to continue in the health emergency would mean the economy+

  • The NSW Government has announced funding of up to $82 million to be shared amongst 260 council-run childcare centres across the state. LGNSW President Linda Scott said that without the six-month rescue package, “we were looking at the closure of council-run childcare centres. The NSW government is also looking to cut red tape and fast-track+

  • The first tranche of Covid-19 fact sheets translated for people from a non-English speaking background have been published by the Department of Home Affairs. Available in 28 key languages spoken by Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities and settlement clients, the fact sheets contain consistent, up-to-date information relating to the novel coronavirus. The Commonwealth’s response+

  • The Federal Health Department is now accepting applications for grants from its business improvement fund for residential aged care. Small to medium-sized providers with limited access to other financial support (or facing significant financial pressures which may impact on care to residents or risk service closure) can apply for grant assistance to improve business operations,+

  • A federal parliamentary inquiry into homelessness in Australia has been suspended because of the present Covid-19 situation. Inquiry chairman Andrew Wallace MP said: “The committee does not wish to add to the stress on community groups, or divert their efforts from responding to Covid-19, by asking for submissions to the inquiry now”. Submissions already provided+

  • The first GP-led rural respiratory clinics to assess patients with mild-to-moderate COVID-19-like symptoms opened in Emerald, Queensland on 1 April. The federal government has committed to establishing up to 100 GP-led respiratory clinics around the country as part of it $2.4 billion COVID-19 health package. Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Minister Mark Coulton+

  • The WA state government has allocated $100 million to waive a wide range of licence fees – including statutory planning fees – for small and medium‑sized businesses in COVID-19 impacted industries for the next 12 months. The measure is one of a number contained in a$1 billion COVID-19 economic and health relief package unveiled on+

  • With many communities and businesses having been heavily impacted by drought, bushfires and now the Covid-19 pandemic, the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) is highlighting the importance and value of local councils using Australian Business Register (ABR) data in their responses. ABR data can help in: identifying restricted and/or essential businesses that require support in your+

  • National COVID-19 hygiene practices for supermarkets have been published by the Federal Government’s Supermarket Taskforce. The practices cover social distancing measures, personal hygiene, use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in stores and cleaning practices, and devised by representatives from the retail sector and the Commonwealth Department of Health. The taskforce says it appreciates the important+

  • Roads Australia is calling on governments to recommit to long-term infrastructure provision amid concerns about the ability of its member organisations to deliver current workloads during the Covid-19 crisis. A survey of 166 RA member organisations delivering, operating and maintaining major transport infrastructure across the country found 35 per cent were experiencing staff availability issues.+

  • The deadline for council responses to requests by Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack for help in fast-tracking land transport infrastructure projects on local roads has been extended to Wednesday 8 April. Mr McCormack’s original request – designed to support local economies recover from the impact of Covid-19 – was sent to mayors and councilors on+

  • The first tranche of Best Practice Local Government Guides (Commonwealth Grant Agreement PT51916) have been made available to councils around Australia. The four guides comprise: Best Practice for Road Making Materials Best Practice for Unsealed Roads Best Practice for Sealed Roads; and Best Practice for Bridge Maintenance Australian Road Research Board chief executive officer Michael+

  • Local Governments across the nation are stepping up to the Covid-19 task, but the calls for rate relief, rates freezes, facility closures and plummeting parking and user charges revenue, combined with apparent lack of assistance from JobKeeper, Child Care packages or any other source is tough going for most councils. A string of extraordinary Covid-19+

  • The Tasmanian state government has extended the Local Government Loan Scheme from $50 million to $150 million to o ensure a steady supply of “screw-driver and paint-brush ready projects” during the Covid-19 crisis. The measure was one of several contained in a social and economic support package announced by Premier Peter Gutwein on 26 March.+

  • The target for the average recycled content in all packaging will increase from 30 per cent to 50 per cent under a new strategic framework launched this week setting out how Australia will achieve the 2025 National Packaging Targets. “Out Packaging Future” the report underpinning the new framework was launched by the Australian Packaging Covenant+

  • The Joint Standing Committee on Migration has decided to suspend its inquiry into migration in regional Australia, in light of the economic effects of the public health situation changing the nature of the needs of communities in regional Australia. “Given the fast evolving situation in Australia and around the world, and the challenges posed by+

  • The second stage of consultations with people with disability on a new National Disability Strategy for beyond 2020 were due to take place in the coming weeks. However, following the escalation of events surrounding the Australian response to COVID-19, the decision has been taken to defer the consultations. This decision reflects the advice of the+

  • It has been an extremely tough time for many Australians. Between the bushfires and floods, and now COVID-19, now is the most important time for us to look after those who are taking the hit the hardest. There were already 3.2 million Australians living in poverty before these crises and that number is sure to+

  • Farmers’ markets have been declared an essential service by the Federal Government as they are an integral link in the nation’s food chain.  All market managers are doing everything possible to maximise public health safety at food markets on market morning. Shopping in the fresh air, at a safe distance, with your own basket or+

  • On Thursday 26 March the Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the creation of a new National Covid-19 Coordination Commission. The Commission has been established to coordinate advice to the Australian Government on actions to anticipate and mitigate the economic and social effects of the global coronavirus pandemic. Designed to “better coordinate work between the private+

  • ALGA President David O’Loughlin participated in Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) meeting. Council comprises of Transport, Infrastructure and Planning Ministers from the Commonwealth, States and Territories, and the Australian Local Government Association. At the TIC meeting recent border control arrangements and the critical role the freight sector plays in providing essential food supplies of food+

  • ALGA is aware that councils are now developing their budget processes for 2020-21 and one of the issues which has arisen is the need for certainty around their Financial Assistance Grant allocations for 2020-21, especially in light of the Government’s announcement that the 2020-21 Budget will be delayed until October.  The Government’s Financial Assistance Grants+

  • A number of Councils have announced support packages to assist residents, business, sporting and community groups address the social, cultural and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Some measures taken by Gladstone Regional Council include rent concessions for Council-leased commercial facilities, freezing of interest on outstanding rates and charges and financial support for sporting and+

  • Closures, restrictions, working from home, rate relief, landing fees relief, service cuts, hardship policies, delivery curfews, public health inspections, and even delays to the Federal Budget and questions over FAGs funding – how quickly our world has changed. Yet our communities’ need for help has rarely been higher, nor has the lack of certainty. The+

  • Due to Covid-19 virus, the organisers of the 2020 National Road Safety Week have decided that it is in the best interests of the Australian community to postpone. As such, the Week is now scheduled for 9th – 15th November, with the national launch in Sydney proposed for Sunday 8th November 2020. Postponing the Week+

  • ALGA, the state and territory local governments and a large number of councils were involved in a consultation process earlier this year on the proposed ban on the export of waste paper, plastic, glass and tyres. Last week the Council of Australian Governments agreed to the phased introduction of the export ban. The ban on+

  • In a Federal Court ruling issued last week, Telstra has won a case which will allow it to continue rolling out its New Payphone Cabinets with 75 inch (190cm) digital advertising screens as “low impact facilities” which do not require council planning approval. Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 provides that if a structure+

  • The Coronavirus pandemic is presenting unprecedented challenges for all councils when considering issues around the continued operation of council facilities and services. This can include libraries, pools, leisure centres, service centres, halls and caravan parks Each council will need to make its own decisions in light of its unique circumstances, the community’s needs and the+

  • The ALGA Board expressed its support for councils doing everything they can to ensure supermarkets are restocked and rejected recent criticism of local governments as a key cause in problems restocking supermarket shelves. When approached by Coles and Woolworths for temporary exemptions to curfews most Councils have readily agreed. Some like the Knox City Council+

  • Unfortunately the 2020 National General Assembly (NGA) will not go ahead in June 2020. The ALGA Board has made this difficult decision in light of the Government’s decision to ban non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people at indoor venues as part of its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Prime Minister has+

  • On Wednesday 18th March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced restrictions being put in place to address the spread of coronavirus in Australia. He stressed this is not a two-week solution it is most likely to be six months. “Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to+

  • Droughts, bushfires and now a global virus – the need for strong and stable Local Government has never been greater for our communities. The Prime Minister’s recent announcements dramatically underline that Governments at all levels must step up to keep the nation healthy, our businesses solvent and people in jobs. Councils are the most connected+

  • Animals perceive light differently from humans and artificial light can disrupt critical behaviour and cause physiological changes in wildlife. Artificial light can stall the recovery of threatened species and interfere with a migratory species’ ability to undertake long distance migrations integral to its life cycle. To address this conservation challenge, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture,+

  • Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. What started out as a local government initiative in WA, the award-winning Plastic Free July behaviour change campaign is now one of the world’s+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Finance is reviewing the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA), which is the key legislation used by the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of interests in land for public purposes. The LAA also regulates the disposal of Commonwealth land to local government and the acquisition of local government land by the Commonwealth.+

  • In the wake of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season, many communities are now embarking on a journey of recovery. But what does disaster recovery really mean? A free webinar hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience aims to tackle the topic hearing from speakers with experience and expertise in the field. John Richardson from Australian Red Cross+

  • A new report produced by the Climate Council has looked at the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer. The bushfire season started in winter and was the worst on record for New South Wales in terms of its intensity, the area burned, and the number of properties lost. It was also the worst season+

  • The Federal Government has announced the 147 projects that will be funded in NSW under the 2020-21 round of the Black Spots Program. The Government has committed $1 billion to the Black Spot Program from 2013-14 to 2022-23 to improve road safety across the nation. “By specifically targeting road locations with a history of crashes+

  • Today I’m attending COAG where the Prime Minister, First Ministers and I, on behalf of our sector, will discuss the issues currently impacting our country. These include bushfire relief, drought, violence against women, mental health, the proposed waste export ban, and the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Bushfire relief has been slow, despite best efforts of governments.+

  • Coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a “disease of pandemic potential” in Australia on January 21, 2020. The potential threat of the virus taking hold in Australia has already had economic implications to tourism, universities, the building sector and seafood exports. The Federal Department of Health is closely monitoring the respiratory illness outbreak caused by the virus.+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is conducting its latest survey into how the heavy vehicle industry and supply chain is tackling their safety responsibilities. NHVR Safety Assurance Director Greg Fill said the online safety survey would assist the NHVR to decide how best to develop future safety information. “With the introduction of safety duties+

  • The Federal Government has released an Issues Paper as the first step in preparing the Regional Aviation Policy Statement in a bid to improve connectivity and innovation in regional aviation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon. Michael McCormack said it’s important anyone who travels on planes or through+

  • On 27 March, the ATO and 26 other agencies are retiring the AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections login credentials. This means anyone accessing the ATO’s Business Portal or a range of other government online services will need to start using myGovID. Once the app is set up, the business owner will need to link their+

  • The Federal Government has announced an additional $2 million in scientific research through the Threatened Species Recovery Hub to help guide wildlife recovery efforts and habitat rehabilitation strategies following Australia’s bushfire crisis. “I have approved the funding as part of the National Environmental Science Program via the University of Queensland to assist with on-ground post+

  • International Women’s Day (IWD) this Sunday is a chance to celebrate women and recognise their achievements. Under the theme Each For Equal, celebrations this year aim to highlight that, individually, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. While collectively, each one of us can help create a+

  • Now in its 27th year, the Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community groups to help preserve and manage locally held but nationally-significant cultural heritage collections. Since the program began in 1994, more than $7.26 million has been allocated to 1,445 collection preservation and management projects around the country,+

  • Time is running out for councils to have their say on life in regional Australia. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Australia is looking at the contribution regional Australia makes to the nation’s identity, economy and environment. The committee is also examining the effectiveness of existing programs to develop and promote regional centres,+