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  • Telstra, Optus and TPG are getting $13.2 million in federal funding to improve back-up power at 467 mobile phone towers across the country. Money for the upgrades – which will ensure a minimum of 12 hours of back-up power at towers in the event that mains electricity is lost – is being provided under Stage+

  • A report setting out a “pragmatic and inclusive” approach to national urban water reform has been made public a year after being handed to the Federal Government. Commissioned by the Urban Water Reform Committee (UWRC), the report sets out how reforms in the areas of institutional arrangements, planning, service delivery, regulation and information, can be+

  • Local government planners sometimes fail to appreciate that valuations of coastal wetlands as disaster risk-reduction ecosystems can improve decision-making. To help address the failure to adequately consider valuations, the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has published the results of a study into the economic valuation of the disaster risk reduction services provided+

  • Australian and New Zealand Health Ministers have failed to agree to allow fresh fruit juice with no added sugar to score up to five on the Health Star Rating (HSR) system. The ABC has reported that last Friday’s Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation voted down a proposal by Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud that fresh+

  • Greater collaboration will be necessary to ensure packaging and plastic waste in remote and regional areas are properly managed in future, a new report says. To that end, the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) paper identifies 22 opportunities for improvement across capability development, waste collection, transportation, recycling, and end markets. These include actions by all+

  • In two weeks’ time, it will be my honour to represent you at the first-ever meeting of the National Federation Reform Council (NFRC). The NFRC was set up, if you recall, after intergovernmental reforms triggered by the scrapping of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) – of which ALGA was a foundation member. ALGA was+

  • Stakeholders met in Townsville and Toowoomba this week to discuss the next priorities for Queensland’s northern and southern Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative. Federal Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport Scott Buchholz said both meetings were productive affairs that enabled local representatives to have their say and to put their ideas forward+

  • Australia’s climate is being influenced by La Niña event, but fire remains a concern in NSW and Victoria as grasslands dry out in the warmer weather. The Australian Seasonal Bushfire Outlook: December 2020- February 2021 reports that above-normal fire conditions now exist in “large parts of NSW west of the Great Dividing Range face, as+

  • Hybrid technology able to transform sewage treatment plants into low-emissions operations capable of generating energy has earned its developer a Eureka Prize. University of Technology Sydney researcher Dr Qilin Wang received the 2020 Prize for Outstanding Early Career Researcher for his work in creating a closed-loop system for hydrogen production from waste-activated sludge (WAS). His+

  • A council that was recently vying for the 2020 National Award for Local Government has been named as one NSW’s most progressive and innovative councils. Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council was awarded the 2020 A.R. Bluett Memorial Award (metropolitan/regional) at the annual conference of Local Government NSW (LGNSW) held this week. Bellingen Shire Council took out the+

  • The Commonwealth Treasury has begun consultations on options to accelerate the take-up of electronic invoicing by businesses and other commercial entities. Having adopted the Peppol framework as the national standard for e-invoicing in 2018, the Federal Government recently mandated all its agencies to adopt e-invoicing by 1 July 2022. The state and territory governments, and+

  • By SHARMILA FALZON It often takes place behind closed doors but violence against women is a complex problem the whole community must address. The Parramatta City Council (PCC) recognises it has a key role to play in driving change and we have worked extensively over the past six years to empower the community to take+

  • Australians overwhelmingly want to live locally in walkable neighbourhoods close to parks, a new Heart Foundation study has revealed. The survey also found that a sense of safety is high on the priority list for Australians when deciding where to live. The foundation surveyed 2895 Australians on “what matters most to them in making neighbourhoods+

  • Communities and businesses in bushfire-impacted regions of NSW now have till 28 January to apply for grants under the $250 million Bushfire Local Economic Recovery (BLER) fund. Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said the deadline extension would enable as many communities and businesses as possible to access BLER funding provided by both the Federal+

  • Fact sheets setting out carrier obligations before and during 5G infrastructure installations are being developed for local governments, utilities, and infrastructure owners. The information will help parties understand their right to object to proposed activities and the timeframes for making objections, the Federal Government said this week. The Government was responding to a Parliamentary inquiry+

  • Several councils in NSW and WA have cancelled their Australia Day events, blaming Covid-19 restrictions and ongoing health concerns. Canterbury Bankstown, Liverpool, North Sydney, Inner West, and the Hills Councils in NSW have all cancelled events – as have the Perth metropolitan councils of Armadale and Bassendean. It is believed other councils are reconsidering Australia+

  • Telstra payphones with large digital screens are not “low-impact facilities” and the company must obtain council planning permission to install them, the Federal Court has ruled. The decision overturns a previous Federal Court ruling that allowed Telstra and its outdoor media company business partner, JCDecaux, to install large digital billboards as part of a roll-out+

  • Friends – As a long-time champion of local government’s capacity to create better, more harmonious places for the public good, I am deeply honoured to have been elected unopposed as ALGA’s new President last week by the ALGA Board. By way of further introduction, I entered local government in 2012, winning election to the City+

  • The Commonwealth Health Department has widened its public consultations to inform a whole-of-government approach to suicide prevention. It follows “Interim Advice” provided to Prime Minister Scott Morrison in August by the National Suicide Prevention Adviser, Christine Morgan. The advice, released this week, comprises 13 “in-principle” recommendations to improve the whole-of-government coordination and delivery of suicide+

  • Councils across Queensland have been involved in various campaigns and initiatives aimed at promoting awareness and prevention of domestic abuse.  In the City of Gold Coast, there have been campaigns via internal and external marketing platforms.  Residents have been provided with safety information cards and given the “Purple book” containing information about abuse and where+

  • Virgin Australia and Alliance Airlines have received authorisation from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission to work together on 41 regional routes. The cooperative arrangement will allow the two operators to share information, and to agree on service capacity, schedules and potentially revenue sharing on the routes on which they operate, including for new routes+

  • Plans to introduce a road user charge for electric vehicles in South Australia have been criticised as likely to slow the take-up of EV technology nationally. State Treasurer Rob Lucas said the Government’s proposed charge would include a fixed component and a variable charge based on distance travelled, and would raise about $1 million per+

  • Dangerous fire weather days will become more numerous in future, and fire seasons for southern and eastern Australia will last longer. The CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology are also predicting a continued decrease in cool season rainfall across many regions of southern and eastern Australia, shorter but more intense heavy rainfall events, and fewer+

  • Average voter turnout at last month’s Victoria’s local council elections was a record 81.4 per cent, the Victorian Electoral Commission said last week. Electoral Commissioner Warwick Gately congratulated Victorians on their record turnout for the election – which was conducted entirely by mail ballot because of Covid-19. Campaigning was restricted during the lockdown with no+

  • A West Australian council that unleased its community’s entrepreneurial spirit to tackle unemployment has won Australia’s top award for local government. The City of Mandurah initiated a series of programs for budding entrepreneurs about six years ago to help create jobs and build local skills in a region marked by rising unemployment. These programs –+

  • Disaster assistance has been made available to eight NSW coastal and inland local government areas impacted by storms on 20 October. The severe thunderstorms and associated high winds and flash flooding caused widespread damage across the Armidale, Bega Valley, Central Coast, Eurobodalla, Mid Coast, Shoalhaven, Snowy Valleys and Tamworth councils, including to local roads, businesses+

  • Round 5A of the Mobile Black Spot Program is now open as the Federal Government looks to improve coverage along major transport corridors and in disaster-prone areas. Announcing the round on Wednesday, Federal Minister for Regional Health, Regional Communications and Local Government Mark Coulton said: “We want to support new ways of delivering mobile services+

  • Leading scientists and engineers have warned that National Waste Policy Action Plan goals will be “difficult to achieve without focusing on avoidance”. A new report from the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Towards a Waste-Free Future, has found that while the plan prioritises avoidance in principle, its “measures are heavily weighted towards waste collection+

  • Local Government Minister Mark Coulton has congratulated Linda Scott on her election as ALGA President, saying he looks forward to “a fruitful partnership in joint delivery of critical infrastructure and services benefitting all Australians”. Meeting with Cr Scott on the sidelines of the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Wagga Wagga, Minister Coulton said+

  • Efforts to increase agency procurement of recycled content have been boosted with a new report that engages with all levels of governments as well as industry. Published by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) the new report, Supporting government procurement of recycled materials sets out the challenges procurement managers face in buying goods containing recycled+

  • The Commonwealth will set up a standing national resilience and recovery agency and support other key recommendations of the bushfires royal commission. Detailing the Federal Government’s response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new agency will initially incorporate the functions of the National Bushfire+

  • The National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) is an important opportunity for you and your council to influence the national policy agenda. Discussion Paper To assist you to identify motions that address the theme of the 2021 NGA, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Secretariat has prepared this short discussion paper. You are encouraged+

  • This is my final contribution to ALGA News as your President with my four-year term expiring today. I’ll miss it, and you. But as I look back there is so much to celebrate and to look forward to. Firstly, it has been an honour and a privilege to be the lead advocate for the local+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has called for greater support for local government in its pivotal role of developing the creative sector. In a new Arts and Culture Policy Position statement, ALGA says developing the creative sector is essential to the liveability and economic sustainability of all communities. Local government recognition of this was+

  • A settlement strategy and long-term vision would help restore Australia’s social and economic strength after the Covid-19 crisis. The Committees for Cities and Regions says Australia and New Zealand have managed the health crisis well – and should now capitalise on this by developing consistent standards for a common recovery roadmap. The independent network has+

  • An exposure draft Bill has been published as part of the Federal Government’s plan to make critical infrastructure assets more cyber-secure. The Security Legislation Amendment (Critical Infrastructure) Bill 2020 seeks to amend the Security of Critical Infrastructure Act 2018 to implement an enhanced framework to “uplift the security and resilience of critical infrastructure”. New regulations+

  • The Grattan Institute has added its voice to calls for governments to shift their focus from large transport infrastructure projects to smaller local projects. The influential public policy thinktank this week cast doubt on the fast-tracking of transport projects by Australian governments to engineer an infrastructure-led recovery from the Covid-19 recession. “Spending big on transport+

  • The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience is hosting a webinar to showcase its newly updated Flood Planning for Disaster Resilience Handbook. Leading experts, including Floodplain Management Australia president Ian Dinham, will unpack the principles and practice of emergency planning during the special event. The AIDR says the significant risk posed to Australian communities by flooding+

  • The Federal Government has stepped up efforts to reduce the risk of exotic environment pest species entering and becoming established in Australia. Acting on a recommendation of the 2017 review of Australia’s biosecurity system, the Government this week published a National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and Diseases. The list prioritises national actions+

  • New guidelines to promote Aboriginal languages for place-naming in Western Australia have been published as part of NAIDOC Week – which this year recognises the continuous connection of Aboriginal people to language and country. The State Minister for Lands, Ben Wyatt, said the Aboriginal and Dual Naming Guidelines will help preserve and reawaken local languages+

  • National Road Safety Week 2020 is being launched to coincide with United Nations World Day of Remembrance for Road Victims on Sunday. The Yellow Ribbon National Road Safety Week – running from 15-22 November – is intended to raise public awareness about the level of road trauma, and to improve outcomes. While road deaths and+

  • Australia‘s urban canopy cover continues to increase, with the City of Launceston the stand-out local government performer over the past four years. In the period 2016-20, tree-cover in the northern Tasmania local government area increased 9.5 percent, according to the 2020 update of a national benchmark of urban canopy cover begun in 2013. The report,+

  • Local government spent $595 million on household waste collection, treatment, and disposal services in 2018-19, new statistics show. The Australian Bureau of Statistics’ Waste Account published last week showed households generated 12.4 million tonnes of waste in 2018-19. This was 16 percent of all waste generated in Australia, and up five percent since 2016-17. Households+

  • Directly funding local government investment in the arts would help grow Australia’s $112 billion creative and cultural economy, ALGA has told a federal parliamentary inquiry. In a submission to a House of Representative inquiry into Australia’s creative and cultural industries and institutions, ALGA said recognising councils as arts organisations (thereby making them eligible to apply+

  • Those who have read the bushfire royal commission’s final report would probably agree it is a compelling document from which the local government sector can take some comfort – except for what it missed. Although the report is cogent, it could – and should – have been broader in its perspectives, stronger in its language,+

  • The National Homelessness Conference has been relaunched as an online event after the face-to-face event in Canberra was cancelled. Jointly convened by the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI) and Homelessness Australia, the conference will feature policy makers, researchers and those with lived experience of homelessness discussing strategies and solutions. Among the speakers will+

  • How people use their mobile phones is changing rapidly – propelled by the rollout of 5G technology promising higher data access speeds, low latencies, and greater reliability. Local governments support more connected communities but often find themselves conflicted on the installation of facilities to widen 5G coverage. Processing applications for installing new equipment, including managing+

  • Nancy Pierorazio outlines the steps the council has taken to prevent violence against women. In 2013, the City of Melbourne developed its first Preventing Violence Against Women (PVAW) Strategy and action plan, which guided our work in the primary prevention and early intervention space. Actions included the development of workplace policies and procedures to promote+

  • Canberra has been rated as Australia’s most bike-accessible city using a new tool that local government can apply to making riding easier. The tool was developed by the Bicycle Transport Analysis (BTA) project – and uses open-source, publicly available data. Peter Bourke, who led the BTA project for We Ride Australia, says the tool can+

  • Plans for a Perth trackless tram service have received a boost, with the Federal Government tipping $2 million into a business feasibility study. Trackless trams do not require rails and can operate on existing roadways, making the technology easier and less expensive to incorporate into established transport systems. The Perth proposal is for a trackless+

  • Donald Shoup, the American urban planner who first drew attention to the true costs of off-street parking, will speak at a WA Local Government Association event next month. In his 2005 book, The High Cost of Free Parking, Mr Shoup argued that free parking has contributed to car dependence, rapid urban sprawl, wasteful energy use,+

  • Round 2 of the accelerated Fixing Local Roads program, funded by the Federal and NSW governments, opened on Monday. Projects that can start this financial year and be delivered within two years will be given funding priority, NSW Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said. In June, the Federal Government committed $191 million+