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  • This week, on your behalf, I was in Canberra for more meetings with Commonwealth Ministers about drought relief, grants, population and settlement, recycling and disaster mitigation. I thanked Mark Coulton, the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, for the Commonwealth’s earlier round of drought relief, which local councils welcomed, and stressed the need+

  • The Coalition of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Community Controlled Peak Organisations (Coalition of Peaks) advised that the deadline for its Closing the Gap survey has been extended to 8 November because of significant interest. The Coalition of Peaks encourage Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, communities and organisations to use the additional two weeks+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Agriculture is encouraging organisers of Agricultural Shows in regional areas to apply for  grants of up to $500,000. The Regional Agricultural Show Development Grants Program (AgShows), valued at $20 million over two years, is designed to help keep regional communities strong and resilient. Grants can be used to upgrade, maintain, purchase and+

  • Hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join the Garage Sale Trail around the country this weekend for an activity led by more than 120 local councils. Now in its ninth year, the two-day national sustainability program is designed to reduce waste by encouraging people to buy and sell second-hand items, thereby diverting thousands+

  • Applications will open on 24 October for parties seeking grants from the Commonwealth’s $100m Regional Airports Program. There is a total $45m available in the first round of grants, ranging between $20,000 and $2 million. The money will be for infrastructure including that which improves the safety of aircraft, operators and passengers, or meets the+

  • How does a council respond when its roads funding budget is halved because of austerity measured imposed by a national government? Matthew Lugg OBE will explain what happened next when the United Kingdom-based expert speaks at the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress which runs 18-20 November. “It is a great honour to be+

  • Advocacy by the Australian Local Government Association and others has resulted in Labor and the Coalition agreeing to lift the Commonwealth’s proposed Emergency Response Fund to $200 million a year from $150m, with the extra funding dedicated to mitigation. ALGA’s consistent advocacy over several years on the need for targeted mitigation funding included a submission+

  • 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,+

  • The Commonwealth has announced $8m in the latest round of funding for eligible organisations to perform safety and access works at remote aerodromes and airstrips. Successful applicants can use money from the Remote Airstrip Upgrade Grants Round 7 for eligible projects including upgrading runway surfaces or stormwater drainage, installing or upgrading runway lighting and navigation+

  • 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+

  • The Australian Local Government Association has told a Senate inquiry that new legislation to create a natural disasters emergency response fund ought to focus on mitigation measures before a calamity occurs, rather than only on recovery efforts. The Senate Finance and Public Administration Committee is examining the Emergency Response Fund Bill 2019 and Emergency Response Fund+

  • 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+

  • By David O’Loughlin, President of the Australian Local Government Association, and Mayor of the City of Prospect (SA). Local councils across Australia are proud to 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+

  • The Australian Bureau of Statistics has released a plan for how it will conduct the 2021 Census, which it says will be mostly digital, rather than traditional paper forms. Planning for the 2021 Census outlines how the ABS will make it easy to participate, and also protect personal information. “The 2021 Census will continue the ABS+

  • 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+

  • Local councils must now hold citizenship ceremonies on Australia Day, 26 January, unless they conferred citizenship on fewer than 20 people in the previous year, the Australian Government has said. Councils are also required to introduce a dress standard for people attending citizenship ceremonies, and must give their local office of the Department of Home+

  • 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+