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  • The Victorian State Government is reportedly considering delaying council elections set down for October to later in the year or early 2021. It follows Local Government Victoria’s decision this week to update campaign guidelines for candidates based on advice from Chief Health Officer Brett Sutton. Under those revised guidelines, candidates in metropolitan Melbourne would effectively+

  • Thirteen bushfire-impacted councils across Queensland are eligible to apply for a share of $36.8 million in joint state and federal recovery funding. The Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA) will administer the $36.8 million Local Economic Recovery Fund being jointly delivered by the Federal and Queensland governments on a 50/50 basis through Category D of the Disaster+

  • NSW councils are getting disaster assistance to repair roads and infrastructure damaged after recent severe storms and floods.  The money is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), and follows severe storms and flooding that occurred across coastal and inland NSW in late July and again in early August. The+

  • The CSIRO will end plastic waste by reinventing the way plastic is made, processed, and recycled as part of a new “missions-led” collaborative research strategy. The national science agency says it will direct $100 million towards shared research programs – including ending plastic waste and mitigating the impact of natural disasters – to bolster Australia’s+

  • Dr Jan-Claire Wisdom was born in Northern Europe and educated in Britain, where she lived until emigrating to Australia in 1991. She has a background in tertiary education and military service, and was first elected to the Adelaide Hills Council in 2010, becoming mayor in 2018. The council is home to 40,000 people in communities+

  • A local government inspectorate to improve the capability and integrity of West Australian councils is probable after a long-running inquiry into the Perth City Council. The review was commissioned in April 2018 after a series of upheavals involving elected members and administrative staff culminated in the council’s suspension on 2 March 2018. The four-volume report+

  • The Federal Government will invest $1.67 billion over 10 years to bolster government, community, and business defences against cyber-attacks. Federal Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton says well-equipped and persistent state-sponsored actors are targeting critical infrastructure and stealing Australian intellectual property. In a foreword to the Government’s Cyber Security Strategy 2020 published last week, Mr Dutton+

  • If plastics were radioactive we would pay more attention to their half-lives. Even the CSIRO have set an ambitious new mission to “end plastic waste”. If only it wasn’t such a useful material! Plastic has transformed everyday life, being easy to manufacture, durable, strong for its weight, and resistant to shock, corrosion, chemicals, and water.+

  • Over 116,000 Australians – more than the population of the city of Ballarat – were estimated to be homeless on Census night in 2016. Can Local Government help? That figure is almost certainly higher now, with key drivers of homelessness like unemployment and domestic violence having spiked dramatically during the Covid-19 pandemic. With stage four+

  • An electronic portal to enable people with disability and their carers to find appropriate information and support services has gone live. The pilot website for the Disability Gateway is the first public phase of the Federal Government’s development of a national disability information service supporting the NDIS. During the pilot phase there will be continuous+

  • Twelve new projects, including road upgrades in suburban and regional Queensland, have been added to the nation’s infrastructure priority list. The updated list, comprising 155 projects in all, was published on Wednesday by Infrastructure Australia (IA), the Federal Government’s independent infrastructure adviser. Sydney’s M12 motorway, two suburban rail proposals in Perth, and the modernisation of+

  • Local governments are being encouraged to set up discrete collection points to promote recycling of aluminium coffee capsules made by Nespresso – and to include the company’s scheme on the recycling pages of their websites. Domestic recycling systems are currently unable to effectively sort and recycle small items such as aluminium capsules. To get around+

  • The City of Greater Geelong Council wants the option of staging virtual meetings to made permanent, citing health and efficiency grounds. A council motion calling on the City of Greater Geelong to write to Victoria’s Local Government Minister regarding the matter was passed last week. In April, the Victorian State Government legislated to allow councillors+

  • The NSW State Government has signed new partnerships with Planet Ark and Bunnings to drive its target of planting a million trees by 2022. The three-year partnership deal with Planet Ark – which stages National Tree Day – is intended to promote tree-planting efforts across Greater Sydney, while the Bunnings partnership will see the retailer+

  • Habitat destruction caused by urban sprawl is hastening the national extinction crisis, a new report by the Australian Conservation Foundation reveals. Between 2000 (when the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act was promulgated) and 2017, at least 20,212 hectares of forested urban threatened species habitat was destroyed. The report says more forested urban habitat was+

  • The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) has called for all levels of government to redouble their efforts to reduce road trauma. AAA managing director Michael Bradley said despite road fatalities in the quarter ending June 2020 decreasing 14.6 percent, compared with the previous quarter, Australia is not on track to meet its national road trauma targets+

  • Efforts to improve infrastructure resilience across north Queensland have been boosted with a $1.2 million grant to stabilise riverbanks in Innisfail. Flooding in early 2019 undermined the banks for of the Johnstone River and weakened a retaining wall below the Innisfail Bowls Club, affecting nearby infrastructure. The money, which is being jointly provided by the+

  • NSW councils focused on fast-tacking development assessments generating jobs will be eligible for up to $5.5 million each in funding for public spaces. NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said the initiative to incentivise the development of “more and better public spaces” would be part of the NSW Public Spaces Legacy Program. The $250 million program will+

  • More than 175 local governments have nominated nearly a thousand projects for funding under the Commonwealth’s Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program. The update was provided last week by Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, two months after the Government announced the $500 million program to support councils and communities+

  • Three shire councils in NSW’s Central West have won federal funding to develop, implement and evaluate a load restraint public education campaign. The joint initiative of the Parkes, Forbes and Lachlan Shires – aimed at raising public awareness of the dangers of heavy vehicle load restraint breaches — has been granted a share of funding+

  • Local Government’s response to Covid-19 in Western Australia has been rated as “good”, with communities giving it 68/100 for its overall performance. The survey of 7666 community members across 128 local government areas found that a majority: Believes local government has demonstrated clear thinking and decision-making; Feels local government has shown empathy and compassion; Has+

  • Councils across Victoria, Tasmania and the Northern Territory will get $44.7 million under the Commonwealth’s Black Spot program to help fix 122 dangerous crash sites. Victorian councils will receive $38.7 million under the program’s 2020-21 funding round to fix 92 accident black spots where nine fatal crashes have occurred over the past five years. In+

  • A review of WA’s Local Government Act has recommended a renewed focus on integrity, self-regulation, and accountability. The Local Government Review Panel’s final report, published this week, said this will give “local governments the tools to ensure good governance and continuous improvement”. The report follows the 2017 announcement by the McGowan Government of a review+

  • Born in Wales, Sharon Tapscott emigrated to Australia with her family and grew in the shadow of the Dandenong Ranges, not far from Melbourne. She moved to Merimbula in NSW with her husband in 1985, where they ran a series of small businesses. She became active in local politics during a campaign to save the+

  • All jurisdictions should work with local government and industry to take Australia to the next level of building climate and disaster resilience, the CSIRO says. This work needs to concentrate on harmonising data governance and the sharing of common technologies so data and information (including a national risk map) can be produced, analysed, and exchanged+

  • A new plastic recycling plant will be built near Albury in what is likely to be a major boost to the development of a circular economy in Australia. Multinational company Asahi Beverages, packaging company Pact Group, and Cleanaway Waste Management confirmed this week they would build the $45 million plant at an industrial estate 10km+

  • It is a rare privilege to have signed such an important agreement on your behalf. The new Closing the Gap partnership, signed by the Commonwealth, the states and territories, and the Australian Local Government Association on Monday, has been hailed as a new chapter in the national effort to reduce Indigenous disadvantage. It sets new+

  • Local councillors, along with state and federal MPs, are being encouraged to take part in Early Learning Matters Week starting on 3 August. The event aims to give policymakers a first-hand glimpse of the important work of early childhood education and care providers, a sector in which local government is involved in every state. In+

  • The Federal Government has given the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements two more months to complete its work. Royal Commission chairman Mark Binskin sought to extend the reporting date from 31 August to 28 October to enable the inquiry to complete a more comprehensive report. The Royal Commission was established on 20 February+

  • The Federal Government is stepping up its campaign to counter misinformation about the safety of Fifth Generation (5G) mobile phone technology. According to the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, there is no evidence that 5G causes adverse health impacts. “This position is supported by decades of studies, as well as scientists and+

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission has published new guidelines to facilitate compliance with disability standards for accessible public transport. Developed with the federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Australia and Communications, the guidelines provide information on the operation of the equivalent access provisions of the Disability Standards for Accessible Public Transport 2002 (Cth), and their+

  • South Australia Deputy Premier and Attorney-General Vickie Chapman is the state’s new Planning and Local Government minister. She replaces Stephan Knoll, who resigned last Sunday along with two other Marshall Government ministers. In one of his final ministerial tasks, Mr Knoll approved the constitution of five new Regional Assessment Panels for SA. They are: Eyre+

  • Building projects demonstrating a “flow-on economic benefits to local communities” will be eligible for co-funding under a new Queensland Government initiative. The $200 million Building Acceleration Fund, announced this week, will see funding provided as an interest-free loan where a proponent also co-invests 10 to 50 percent of the total infrastructure project cost. Fund administrators+

  • The NSW shires of Bogan, Central Darling, Cobar, Coonamble, Gilgandra, Lachlan, Parkes, and Warrumbungle are to get disaster assistance to repair flood-damaged infrastructure. The widespread flooding in February originated in Queensland, and was exacerbated by heavy rainfall in Western NSW catchments. The assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements+

  • Former fire and emergency service leaders have called for a national climate disaster fund to help protect Australians from an “unprecedented era of climate-related disaster”. Emergency Leaders for Climate Action (ECLA) are also calling for better-resourced fire and land management agencies, and the acquisition of a medium and large aerial firefighting capability for state and+

  • Queensland’s container refund scheme, Containers for Change, is under-performing and needs a design overhaul, says a national environmental group. The Total Environment Centre (TEC) published a review of the scheme last month which claims the current rate of container return is about 40 percent (plus 14 percent from kerbside), well below the 85 percent target+

  • The Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan has been updated to align more closely with national strategies and frameworks, including the National Water Initiative. Encompassing new technical knowledge, improved sustainable water resource management practices, and changing social and political contexts, the new Basin plan is described as building “on the success of the first Strategic+

  • Local, state and territory governments are being encouraged to apply for funding under the Commonwealth’s $53 million Regional Connectivity Program. Examples of projects that could be funded under the Program include upgrades to mobile infrastructure to improve community access to telehealth, remote education and retail internet and phone services, or the development of enterprise-grade broadband+

  • The City of Busselton’s airport upgrade supporting a growing tourism and freight industry has been recognised with a National Award for Local Government. The awards celebrating “the best of Australian local government achievements” were announced by Federal Local Government Minister Mark Coulton last week. Busselton won the Boosting Productivity through Infrastructure Award for engineering the+

  • Greg Christensen was elected to the Scenic Rim Regional Council as Mayor in 2016 and successfully re-contested the 2020 election for a second term.  With a professional background in human resources and business improvement, along with a varied career with companies like CSR, Holden, and OneSteel, Cr Christensen is presently the executive officer of Step+

  • A nationwide “single-touch” environmental approvals process will be introduced after a National Cabinet meeting last week agreed to legislative changes. The changes to the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act would see new national standards enacted and the state and territories accredited to carry out environmental assessments and approvals on the Commonwealth’s behalf. Legislation for+

  • A new national agreement to redress entrenched inequality between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians came into effect this week. The latest Closing the Gap agreement sets 16 new national socio-economic targets in areas including life expectancy, birthweight, early childhood education and development, Year 12 and tertiary qualifications, employment, incarceration rates, household safety, and the proportion of+

  • The NSW Productivity Commission has published an issues paper as part of its review of infrastructure contributions initiated in April.  The review’s terms of reference (set by the State Government) are that the Commission should: review the infrastructure contributions system to determine whether it meets the objectives of certainty and efficiency while delivering public infrastructure+

  • An Urban Forest Strategy designed to achieve a 30 percent canopy cover in Canberra by 2045 has gone on public exhibition. Modelling undertaken by the CSIRO in 2019 indicates that 450,000 trees will have to be planted over the next 25 years to achieve this target. The ACT Government is funding the planting of 25,000+

  • The WA State Government is releasing over 1000 “development-ready” lots at discounted prices to boost construction activity in rural and remote areas. Residential lots at Madigan Estate in Karratha will be made available from $95,000, a saving of $24,000. State Lands Minister Ben Wyatt said lots zoned for residential, industrial and commercial purposes will be+

  • A new campaign urging local governments to improve cycling infrastructure so more people can walk and ride during and after Covid-19 began this week. Launched by cycling advocacy group We Ride Australia, the Let’s Keep Moving campaign calls on all Australians to ask their local council what their plans are for better footpaths and bikeways.+

  • A new agency will work with Sydney local councils to revitalise and expand the city’s open spaces and parklands, the NSW State Government revealed last week. NSW Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the Greater Sydney Parklands (GSP) agency will bring together the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust, Parramatta Park Trust,+

  • The popularity of app-based food delivery services has reinforced the need for local and state governments to invest more in active transport, a university researcher claims. Professor Christopher Petti, from the University of NSW City Futures Centre, says governments seem “way behind” in responding to rising numbers of bikes on footpaths, many of them delivering+

  • Technology giant Google is setting up a $4 million fund to support technology-driven projects building long-term resilience to bushfires and other crises. Google Australia managing director Mel Silva said in a blog post that the new Crisis Response and Recovery fund will finance projects creating innovative technology focusing on artificial intelligence. Google Australia interim head+

  • The National Health and Medical Research Council is getting $2.5 million in federal money to review the 2013 Australian Dietary Guidelines. This is to ensure that government dietary advice is based on the best and most recent scientific evidence about the types and amount of food needed for good health. The Federal Minister with portfolio+

  • The final webinar in a three-part series looking at plastic use and disposal – hosted by Plastic Oceans Australia and Griffith University – will be held on 29 July. The panelists include ALGA President David O’Loughlin, Queensland Environment Minister Leeanne Enoch, and the director-general of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Program, Kosi Latu.+

  • The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre will evolve to become a “world-class” disaster study centre utilising $88.1 million in federal funding. Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud announced the new funding on Thursday. It includes an additional $2 million to allow the BNHCRC to continue its Black Summer Bushfires research begun in the+