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  • The Coalition will establish a House of Representatives Select Committee to examine the future of rural and regional Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said. Speaking in Dubbo, he also announced Deputy Prime Minister, Michael McCormack, is working on a regional statement as the Minister for Regional Development. The Federal Government will also recall Major+

  • A private-sector led advanced manufacturing zone on Tasmania’s north coast has won the 2019 National Award for Local Government Contributing to Regional Growth category. George Town Council received the top honour for its Bell Bay Initiative, while Moreton Bay Regional Council and Murweh Shire Council, both of Queensland, were highly commended. The zone has “put+

  • The Australian Local Government Association has told a Productivity Commission inquiry that an Australian Government investment of $200m per annum would help local councils play their role in building a national transport network that boosts the economy, creates thousands of jobs, and handles future freight growth. ALGA was responding to the Commission’s issues paper, which+

  • Local councils are at the forefront of community efforts to tackle Australia’s worsening housing affordability and homelessness challenges. While people sleeping rough on the street in our capital cities is of course a problem, our communities in rural, regional and remote Australia are also responding to housing challenges including lack of affordable housing, or overcrowding.+

  • The Cities Division of the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development is running a survey to get responses from people in local government who are interested in smart technologies. The questionnaire takes about 25 minutes to complete and is aimed at elected officials such as councillors and mayors, project officers, CEOs and CIOs.+

  • The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is retiring its Can I fly there? app and urges people download an approved one made by Google spinoff, Wing Aviation. CASA will also allow industry and app developers to create their own apps within guidelines set by the authority. The authority’s other goals include an upgrade site that+

  • The Council of Capital City Lord Mayors will in the next few months host a national summit on homelessness and housing affordability as they renew their efforts for an Australia-wide strategy to address the problem. Their decision follows a meeting this week in Brisbane between the lord mayors and Assistant Housing Minister Luke Howarth. “We+

  • The Regional Australia Institute has released a new paper aimed at helping regional communities to attract and retain migrants from Australia’s cities or overseas, new arrivals on skilled working visas, or humanitarian grounds. Steps to Settlement Success: A Toolkit for Rural and Regional Communities is based on interviews with community champions of regional settlement in+

  • A global effort to restore forests by planting about 500 billion trees could both remove carbon from the atmosphere and mitigate climate change, according to a new study. The study modelled mass planting on land that was not already used for farming, forests or urban areas and found it could increase earth’s forested area by+

  • A new study has reviewed what five local councils around the country are doing to prevent domestic and family violence, and offers suggestions for councils and others who are working to address the national problem. Australia’s National Research Organisation for Women’s Safety (ANROWS) reviewed the Local Government domestic and family violence prevention toolkit, which was+

  • A Queensland council’s program for children who have special needs such as low-sensory environments, that began in its libraries and has now expanded to art galleries and museums, has received the National Award for Local Government Disability Access and Inclusion category. The Backstage Pass program, operated after hours by Moreton Bay Regional Council and partner+

  • A new Centre for Population has been created within the Commonwealth Department of Treasury to help all levels of government better understand population changes in cities, towns, regions, states and territories. The Centre was established on 1 July with a budget of $23.4 million to provide detailed advice and analysis on numerous population topics. It+

  • Water security and reliability is again in the national headlines following the ABC TV Four Corners report into the Murray Darling Basin, and the Federal Government decision to wind up the Drought Task Force and fold it into the Department of Agriculture. ALGA has expressed its concerns to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet+

  • Is there someone in your local government area you think deserves to be recognized for making their community a better place? If so, why not nominate them for the Australian of the Year Awards before 31 July? The awards are turning 60 in 2020, and organisers from the National Australia Day Council plan to celebrate+

  • Women & Leadership Australia is inviting applicants before 13 September for funding to support the development of female leaders across Australia’s local government sector. The initiative is providing women with grants of between $3,000 and $7,000 to enable participation in one of three programs that cover such things as Presence and Presentation Skills, Leading Innovation+

  • Organisers of the Commonwealth Local Government Forum, which was to have been held in Sri Lanka in August, have cancelled it because of safety concerns following the Easter church bombings. The Forum will now be held in the first half of 2020 in Asia, but no date or location have yet been released. “We apologise+

  • This year’s NAIDOC Week, which begins on Sunday 7 July, features activities including dance and cultural performances, panel discussions and yarning circles in local government areas across Australia. There are also online events, such as the Austlang national codeathon, in which libraries are teaming up to identify and tag these items in the Trove digital+

  • A new facility that reduces Lake Macquarie City Council’s environmental footprint, will save it millions of dollars, and creates local jobs has won the National Award for Local Government Boosting Productivity Through Infrastructure category. Funded by the NSW Government, the Organics Resource Recovery Facility is operated by Remondis Group and will extend the life of+

  • The Federal Government’s Joint Agency Drought Taskforce has been wound up, effective 28 June, with the responsibilities for drought policy absorbed by the Department of Agriculture. The body was created in August 2018 and sat within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet to oversee rapid support for farmers and reduce blockages. It was headed+

  • This week I’ve been in Canberra, advocating on your behalf to some of the new ministers in the second Morrison Ministry. I appreciated being able to again see Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, so soon after our National General Assembly for Local Government, which the Minister generously+

  • More than 250 local government councilors, executive leaders and officers are next month expected to attend the highest profile local government climate change conference in Australia. This year, the conference will be delivered in partnership with the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE), so planners are invited to attend. Sponsorship by the Victorian+

  • Councils from across NSW have signed up for a four-year program aimed at cutting their energy use and electricity bills. Run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, the $1.7m scheme uses the NSW Government’s Climate Change Fund to help councils with limited budgets become ‘investment ready’ for energy saving projects previously beyond their+

  • A new report from Australia’s main science agency, CSIRO, and the NAB has projected what the country will look like under business as usual, and also if it addresses major environmental, economic and social challenges. The 2019 Australian National Outlook, builds on the 2015 outlook and features business and academic expertise from more than 50+

  • Iceland’s renowned Planet Youth alcohol and drug prevention program, which captivated local government delegates at the 2019 National General Assembly, will start a trial in four Australian states. The trial, a partnership with fellow NGA guests the Alcohol and Drug Foundation, will last for two and half years and involve the foundation’s Local Drug Action+

  • An employment project in Perth that was inspired by a council officer’s research trip to the Canadian city of Toronto and adapted to local conditions has received the National Award for Excellence at the 2019 National Awards for Local Government. Sarah Janali, the City of Stirling’s Service Lead for Cultural Diversity and Community, created the+

  • The Cities of Hobart and Sydney have led the way by becoming the first two Australian capitals to declare climate emergencies. Hobart City Council passed its declaration of a climate and biodiversity emergency on 17 June by eight votes to three, while Sydney’s passed on 24 June by nine votes to nil. Brimbank City Council,+

  • As the Australian economy continues to slow and the global outlook remains uncertain, local government is ready to step up and play its part with infrastructure projects. In recent weeks, the heads of both the Reserve Bank and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development have highlighted infrastructure investment as a way of+

  • How can policies raise well-being in rural areas? The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has been examining such issues for over 40 years. OECD’s 12th Rural Development Conference in Seoul, 24-26 September 2019, will bring together people from across the globe to answer this question. Sessions will cover topics including the role of+

  • The Office of the National Rail Safety Regulator says it is expanding to road managers new penalties for not complying with requirements for interface agreements at level crossings or road/rail interfaces. While the penalties apply for managers of rail infrastructure and private roads, from next month individuals who manage public roads can be fined a+

  • Regional Arts Australia has released a free booklet to try improving collaborations for people working in regional Australia’s cultural sector. Collaborating with Regional Communities: guidelines and tools for regional arts and cultural engagement, is designed to be used by artists, arts organisations, community groups, venues, local government bodies, touring arts organisations and individuals. Its creators+

  • Mayor of West Tamar, Christina Holmdahl, has become the new President-elect of the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) following elections for its General Management Committee. The other committee members are: Mayor Darryl Quilliam (Circular Head Council)Mayor Annette Rockliff (Devonport City Council)Mayor Mick Tucker (Break O’Day Council)Mayor Ben Shaw (Derwent Valley Council) Alderman Brendan Blomeley+

  • Local governments projects that promote disability access and inclusion, recognise Indigenous communities, and help new arrivals find jobs in their field of expertise are among the winners of the 2019 National Awards for Local Government. At the ALGA National General Assembly Gala Dinner on 18 June, Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, the+

  • Dozens of local councils met during the National General Assembly on 17 June to discuss how the ongoing drought continues to hurt their communities. The meeting was called by ALGA to provide councils with an opportunity to meet with the Australian Coordinator-General of Drought Major General Stephen Day, but unfortunately, he was too ill to+

  • Well, if the huge amount of feedback we received is any guide, what a fabulous National General Assembly we’ve just had! Thank you to the nearly 900 people who travelled to Canberra this week to join us for the Assembly, and the over 250 who attended the most popular and well-received Regional Cooperation and Development+

  • The Japan Local Government Centre/CLAIR Sydney will again exhibit at the National General Assembly to showcase best practices used by Australian and Japanese local governments, and foster collaborations and ties between local governments in the two countries. CLAIR Sydney is part of the Council of Local Authorities for International Relations (CLAIR) a semi-government organisation created+

  • The Tasmania Government has announced a container refund scheme will begin operating in the island state by 2022. Most Australian jurisdictions now operate a container refund or container deposit scheme, where containers are left at designated locations or via reverse vending machines. “The scheme will encourage positive, incentivised recycling and re-use behaviours, that will help+

  • Australia’s past use of asbestos has left us with a harmful legacy. Many public and commercial buildings, homes and infrastructure contain large amounts of ageing asbestos-containing materials. Vigilance and proactive action is needed to deal with this legacy to prevent further disease and death. Local governments across Australia are on the front line in dealing+

  • Submissions have opened for a review of easy access to suitable routes under the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The National Transport Commission on 13 June released an issues paper which summarises current access arrangements under the national law, and in WA and the NT, analyses those arrangements outside the law, and seeks preliminary views+

  • The 2019-20 Queensland Budget features a $12.9 billion capital works program and a goal to create more than 25,000 jobs in regional areas outside of Greater Brisbane. It includes $5.65 billion on transport including the Cross River Rail, widening the M1 motorway, and upgrading the Bruce Highway. “The Government also remains committed to rebuilding regional+

  • Twenty one people have been recognized for their service to local government in the 2019 Queen’s Birthday honours list. They were among 1,214 recipients congratulated by Governor General, Sir Peter Cosgrove. “They have made an enormous contribution to their local communities and to the entire nation and deserve our thanks, admiration and to be celebrated.+

  • The Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, the new Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, and the new Shadow Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Jason Clare MP will all be joining us at the largest gathering of local government delegates in Australia in Canberra+

  • The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) has released a series of short briefs about the latest changes in street lighting systems for councils, road authorities and other decision-makers. The first five topics in the plain English briefings series cover: • Using new energy performance metrics to effectively measure public lighting energy efficiency •+

  • The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development is hosting a networking session with the winners of the 2019 National Awards for Local Government at the upcoming National General Assembly. Representatives from winning councils will be on hand to share their experiences in an informal setting during the lunch break on Monday 17 June.+

  • The Heart Foundation is offering $80,000 in grants and has revised its blueprint for policymakers and planners as part of its efforts to get Australians to move more and lessen their risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The eight grants of up to $10,000 each – applications for which close 31 July –+

  • An independent evaluation of Our Watch, an initiative to stop violence against women and children and change cultures and behaviours nationally, has found it’s making a real difference five years since it was formed. The group, which was started in 2013, works with parties including policymakers, educators and sporting organisations, seeks to stop violence before+

  • Five councils from across the country have received top honours at the 2019 Smart Cities Awards that recognise how cities are using technology to become better places in which to live. The awards capped a two-day gathering in March that brought together officials from councils, buildings, roads, transport and utilities industries to share what they’re+

  • Local councils, community groups, and individuals must keep working together for the renewal of Australia’s regions, says the head of a charity that has helped more than 9,000 applicants receive a combined $85m in funding. Natalie Egleton, CEO of the Foundation for Regional and Rural Renewal (FRRR) will share that message in her keynote at+

  • Last week on your behalf I welcomed the Morrison Ministry, particularly those ministers and assistant ministers in portfolios encompassing local government, road safety and freight, regional tourism, and waste reduction. This week it was the Opposition’s turn, now led by new Leader Anthony Albanese, to whom I have also written to extend the best wishes+

  • We welcome the new ministry unveiled last weekend by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The new team contains a strong focus on a range of issues facing local governments, including infrastructure, regional development, waste reduction, and road safety and freight. Congratulations firstly to the new Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton. The+

  • The Municipal Association of Victoria says the Victorian State Budget for 2019-2020 has not focused enough on recycling and waste management systems, which is says are in a “fragile” condition. Treasurer Tim Pallas on 27 May unveiled a budget that included $14.2 billion in infrastructure investment for 2019-20, such as $3.4 billion in suburban rail+

  • Judging has been finalised for the National Awards for Local Government, which have for 33 years celebrated excellence. The National Award will be announced on 18 June at the National General Assembly. The Hon Mark Coulton MP, the new Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, has been invited to announce the Awards at+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator says it has nearly finished developing its five-year strategy and will release it in June. The Regulator says the strategy will contain “non-infrastructure solutions” designed to create “safe, efficient, sustainable and productive heavy vehicle access.” It has invited all local government road access managers to join its upcoming webinar to+