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  • The decline in asset management capability in NSW local government risks undermining the sector’s ability to plan for, maintain and renew road infrastructure. The 2019 Road Asset Benchmarking Project released last week also indicates that deteriorating timber bridges on local roads risks further isolating already vulnerable local communities. To enable local government to maintain timber+

  • Clean-up efforts from the 2019-20 Victorian bushfires have finished, with 736 properties in East Gippsland and the state’s north-east cleared of destroyed and damaged buildings. In total, the 2020 Clean-up Program demolished, cleared and disposed of more than 2500 individual structures on 547 properties in East Gippsland Shire, 183 properties in Towong Shire, and five+

  • Cobar Shire Council Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM was named the inaugural winner of the NSW Minister for Local Government Award for Women this week. The award – which is part of the annual Ministers’ Awards for Women in Local Government – recognises a female councillor or staff member who has delivered quality outcomes in helping+

  • Nine Queensland local governments will receive a share of $10 million in federal and state funding to repair, rebuild and reinforce infrastructure damaged by the 2019 monsoon trough. The $10 million represents the final tranche of a $134.5 million infrastructure package supported by the Queensland and Federal governments, and will enable 12 betterment and recreational+

  • A road freight access and productivity plan two years in the making has been published by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR). NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the plan would assist Australia’s 425 road managers to coordinate their approach to addressing Australia’s growing road freight task. “The response to the pandemic has again shown the+

  • Eight Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hubs are to be established in regional Australia as part of the Commonwealth’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund. The hubs will support networks of researchers, farmers, agricultural businesses and community groups to enhance drought resilience practice, tools and technology. Federal Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said+

  • Last month, the Morrison Government said it would legislate to provide a Federal power of veto over arrangements between state and territory governments, local governments and universities and foreign governments. This legislation will cover an estimated 500 sister city agreements between councils and their overseas counterparts – as well as the 135 agreements that state+

  • Councillor Kathy Sajowitz was elected to Oberon Council in 2012, having retired and settled in Oberon in 2005 after many years in office administration. She was elected as Mayor at an Extraordinary Meeting in July 2015. Besides representing Oberon Council on numerous external organisations, Cr Sajowitz is on the executive of the Country Mayors Association+

  • New work to address Australia’s $30 billion infrastructure deficit has begun, with councils being asked to contribute to the next National State of the Assets (NSoA) report. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is partnering with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) to produce the report, which aims, among other things, to provide+

  • Local government’s varying ability to manage natural disasters needs to be better understood by the states when delegating roles and providing support. And while many councils share resources during natural disasters to great effect, this warrants greater state backing, the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements said this week. In an interim report containing+

  • Are you ready to play an even greater role? Last week, Reserve Bank Governor Philip Lowe provided National Cabinet with an economic update which will have a direct and important bearing on our local government sector. Dr Lowe told first leaders that jobs and unemployment are the biggest economic challenge Australia faces during Covid-19, and+

  • Thirty proposed changes to Western Australia’s local planning regulations have gone on public exhibition. The proposals will, among other things, exempt small residential and non-residential projects from requiring development approval and introduce improved change-of-use and parking requirements for small businesses in certain locations. The proposed amendments to the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations+

  • A project to build a new skatepark in Condingup, in WA’s Esperance Shire, has been approved for funding under the Tackling Tough Times Together Program. All up, 30 projects will share $1.1 million in funding being made available under Round 17 of the TTTT program, which is  run under the auspices of the not-for-profit Foundation+

  • A further $10 million is being made available for research into new processes and markets for waste plastics, paper, glass, and tyres. Research projects eligible for funding under Round 10 of the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) grants program can also include other problem materials, such as building waste. The funding is part+

  • Victoria MacKirdy is replacing Queenslander Mark Crawley as the national president of Local Government Professionals Australia (LGPA). Ms MacKirdy is CEO of the City of Victor Harbour Council in South Australia, and has served as a national director on the LGPA Board for five years. She has over 27 years of experience in the local+

  • Almost 1.5 million homes were built in Australia from 2006-16 but the growth of housing stock in each state and territory was uneven, new AHURI research shows. Growth ranged from 26 per cent in Western Australia to just 12 per cent in NSW. Only the building boom of 2015-18 pushed NSW to reach supply levels+

  • Landmark legislation establishing a national industry relationship framework for recycling was introduced in Federal Parliament this week. The Recycling and Waste Reduction Bill 2020 (and associated provisions) will also authorise the progressive implementation of bans on waste plastic, paper, glass and tyre exports. Australia presently exports around 645,000 tonnes of processed plastic, paper, glass and+

  • A new program to help local councils identify and eliminate single-use plastics from their workplaces has been published. The Engagement for Plastic-free innovation and Change (EPIC) program was designed by Plastic Oceans Australasia (POA), and includes: a step-by-step EPIC program manual;   access to scientific research and documentaries on plastic pollution, including the award-winning film A+

  • Fifteen local councils have successfully applied for funding under Round 2 of the Murray-Darling Basin Economic Development Program. The program supports economic development projects in identified communities in NSW, Queensland, Victoria, and South Australia impacted by water recovery under the Basin Plan. Round 2 was open to 31 eligible communities, including those moderately impacted by+

  • Urban heat mitigation could be enhanced by planned development that takes account of cities as collections of public, not private spaces, new research suggests. Landcom, the NSW Government’s land and property development agency, says the research “shifts the focus from technical solutions to the role that commons play in adapting to urban heat”. Its report+

  • Applications are now open for the NSW Government’s 2020 Fixing Country Roads program and its Fixing Country Bridges program. Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro said funding under the 2020 Fixing Country Roads program will build on improving connectivity between regional freight points, communities, and state roads, with councils encouraged to apply+

  • A lack of “tailored support” for WA local governments means few are on track to meet 2030 resource recovery targets, the Auditor-General has found. In a new report published last week, the Office of the Auditor-General found inadequate planning at local, regional, and statewide levels was also a significant impediment to WA’s ability to meet+

  • The first phase of a NSW Government scheme to recycle solar photo-voltaic panels and batteries and reduce PV waste to landfill has begun. Forecasts are that the waste stream in NSW comprising end-of-life solar PV panel systems and energy storage batteries could reach between 3000 to 10,000 tonnes a year by 2025 and then rise+

  • Road managers and freight operators are being called on to get involved in phase two of a Commonwealth project to improve heavy vehicle access. The Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP) was established by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) in 2019 with $8 million in Commonwealth funding. The intended outcomes of the project+

  • Important progress has been made on turning Hobart’s airport into an international gateway, the first annual report of the City Deal has revealed. The 10-year agreement between the Federal and Tasmanian governments and the Hobart, Clarence, Glenorchy, and Kingborough councils was signed in 2019. It aims to deliver initiatives valued at nearly $890 million across+

  • Mark Greenhill has been a Blue Mountains City councillor for 17 years, seven of which he has served as Mayor. In 2016, Cr Greenhill was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for services to local government and to the Blue Mountains community. When not attending to council matters, he works in industrial+

  • NSW’s rate peg is being blamed for councils not having enough money to provide their rapidly growing communities with new infrastructure. The State is said to have foregone about $15 billion in rates compared with Victoria (which does not cap rates) since 2000, and the NSW Productivity Commission says that except for raising user charges+

  • NSW landowners will have to conduct more prescribed burns after the State Government this week agreed to all 76 recommendations of a statewide bushfire inquiry. The independent inquiry, led by former NSW Police deputy commissioner Dave Owens and NSW chief scientist Mary O’Kane, also said local councils and partner agencies should be supported by the+

  • How different would it have been had local government had been represented at National Cabinet meetings when discussions turned to border closures? Completely, I would argue. The substantial risk that comes from sidelining local community voices has been exposed in recent media reports of anomalies arising from Covid-19 border restrictions. One story centred on a+

  • A project to boost renewable energy generation in Alice Springs with large batteries has been given $2.17 million in Federal Government funding. The Alice Springs Future Grid project, led by Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, also aims to deliver reliable power to nearby remote towns. Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said:+

  • More than 40 councils in regional and metropolitan NSW have successfully applied for funding under the state’s $15 million Streets as Shared Spaces program. Successful trial projects include: creation of a “green spine” on Harbour Drive in Coffs Harbour; activation of an underutilised laneway in Parramatta; a temporary road closure to create a public square+

  • The West Australian State Government has allocated nearly $7 million for high-priority coastal erosion hotspots as part of its WA Recovery Plan. Of this money, $5 million will be allocated to four high priority coastal erosion projects across WA including: $3.25 million to the City of Fremantle for the Port Beach large-scale sand nourishment project+

  • The Victorian Government is investing $20 million in efforts to relocate domestic violence perpetrators from the family home rather than the victims. The program to find alternative accommodation for perpetrators comes after a spike in the number of people asking for help from the Men’s Referral Service during the pandemic. The $20 million package, announced+

  • Recycled materials with self-compacting properties that could be used as an alternative backfill for sewer pipeline trenches are being tested in a new Australian study. Current sewer pipeline backfill practice is to use natural aggregates that need to be excavated, crushed, and often trucked in from great distances. To identify alternatives, researchers from Victoria University,+

  • The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is offering grants for projects targeting established pest animals and weeds. Funding of $13 million is being made available under the Advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round. Grants will range in amounts from $300,000 up to a maximum of $2 million. Successful+

  • The ACT Government has tabled its draft Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 in the Legislative Assembly as a prelude to phasing out certain single-use plastics. Beginning from July 2021, the sale and supply of single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers and polystyrene food and beverage containers such as plates, cups, bowls, and “clamshell” takeaway containers will be banned+

  • The implementation of South Australia’s new planning and development system across large regional towns and metropolitan areas has been delayed until late December. Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said the final phase of the launch had been set down for September, but would be postponed to give stakeholders more time to understand+

  • An online tool to support regional Australians to become more active will be developed and assessed in Tasmania before being rolled out nationally. The project – a joint four-year collaboration between University of Tasmania, RMIT University, and Deakin University – is being funded by the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund’s Preventative and Public Health Research+

  • With Melbourne in its fifth week of stage four restrictions, council libraries have resorted to new and innovative ways to stay connected with their users. The Yarra Plenty Regional Library – a service comprising nine branch libraries withing the Banyule, Nillumbik, and Whittlesea councils – reacted to the plight of people unable to borrow books+

  • The first national snapshot of disaster resilience to help governments and emergency services improve their communities’ resilience to natural hazards has been published. The Australian Disaster Resilience Index provides a nationally standardised index of resilience in the form of navigable maps of regions across the country and is presented as an interactive website. Funded by+

  • ALGA’s ongoing advocacy to reverse local government’s exclusion from National Cabinet was highlighted on ABC radio and digital platforms this week. In an interview with the national broadcaster, ALGA National President David O’Loughlin said the scrapping of COAG in March effectively meant local government could speak to first ministers and treasurers only once a year.+

  • Vic Pennisi has been an elected member of local government since 2004, and was elected Mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council in April this year. He has a background in vehicle fleet maintenance, the horticulture sector, and retail business management. The SDRC is located in Queensland’s Darling Downs region, and was created in 2008+

  • Australian Airports Association (AAA) members are losing around $300 million a month, a Senate select committee on Covid-19 heard on Thursday. Making the case for direct government assistance to airport operators (including local governments), AAA chief executive James Goodwin said the aviation sector has been hit by some of the “deepest lows” of the crisis.+

  • Victorian council elections set down for October 24 will go ahead as planned, the State Government confirmed this week. The decision comes despite claims the polls will be compromised by Covid-19 restrictions. The State Government says it sought advice from the Chief Health Officer before making the decision. “The Chief Health Officer has advised that+

  • The Junee Shire Council in NSW is getting $1 million in drought funding for infrastructure projects, including an upgrade of the town’s swimming pool. The projects will be being funded under the Commonwealth’s Drought Communities Program (DCP). Other DCP projects submitted by Junee Council which are to be funded include upgrades to camping grounds at+

  • Twelve Queensland councils will receive funding to fast-track 63 infrastructure and community asset projects across the state’s populous south-east region. The projects – which include a new BMX precinct at Brendale, a foreshore revitalisation at Mooloolaba, Beenleigh CBD improvements, and a new path and boardwalk on North Stradbroke Island – are being funded under the+

  • A NSW Local Government Model Code of Conduct with strengthened investigative processes and penalties for councillor misconduct was gazetted on 7 August. The State Government says the code, which applies to 48,000 staff and 1300 councillors at 128 councils, 10 county councils and 13 joint organisations across the state, will enforce high standards of conduct.+

  • An independent body to drive the National Food Waste Strategy will be set up with $4 million in Federal Government seed funding. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley says the new body “will be a catalyst for tackling food waste in Australia by bringing together industry, businesses, government, research institutions and food rescue organisations to find+

  • A company which uses blockchain technology to facilitate direct renewable power procurement has published a guide for councils looking at sustainable energy solutions. With coal and gas-fired electricity’s social licence in retreat, and more renewable energy projects coming online, many councils are considering shifting to green power, with councils in large urban centres like Sydney,+

  • The Freight Movement Code for the Domestic Border Controls – Freight Movement Protocol – will be implemented in the coming weeks. The code will enable the states and territories to work together to enforce Covid-19 health measures so freight continues moving across states and territories. It will also enable contact tracing, the provision of personal+

  • The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has a new map on its homepage showing councils with Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection services. According to the information on the webpage, there are currently 223 local governments across Australia with either  FOGO pickups or GO collections. The map can be magnified to+

  • Proposed local and federal government smart city plans would benefit from improved knowledge-sharing and enhanced cybersecurity, says Standards Australia. With 21 percent of local governments piloting smart city projects, the peak standards body says the Federal Government should develop a smart cities assurance framework that builds on its existing Smart Cities framework, including security-related standards+