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  • While national heavy vehicle safety reforms begun a decade ago are largely complete, a new report has revealed unresolved issues. These include slow and inconsistent approval processes for heavy vehicle access to local roads in some areas and unnecessary derogations from the Heavy Vehicle National Law (HVNL). The Productivity Commission’s National Transport Regulatory Reform report+

  • Five Queensland council areas heavily affected by last year’s bushfires are to share more than $6 million to deliver locally developed projects. They include the Livingstone Shire Council, the Mareeba Shire Council, the Noosa Shire Council, the Scenic Rim Regional Councils, and the Somerset Regional Council. The projects are being supported through the $36.8 million+

  • Disaster recovery assistance has been extended to the Hilltops, Liverpool, Central Coast, and Wingecarribee councils after storms and floods in July and early August. Assistance is being provided through the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). The NSW SES received around 200 requests for assistance in the Hilltops, Liverpool, and Wingecarribee LGAs after localised+

  • Projects to improve local disaster resilience and risk reduction in communities from the Torres Strait to the Gold Coast are to share funding of almost $9.6 million. The 49 projects are being delivered through the $13.1 million Queensland Resilience and Risk Reduction Fund (QRRRF), a joint initiative between Australian and Queensland Governments. This $9.6 million+

  • A guide for councils on the technical processes involved in incorporating recycled material into roads and pavements has been published by Local Government NSW (LGNSW). Intended to promote national uniformity and good practice in the specification and application of material reuse in roads and pavements, the guide was produced by the University of Sydney’s Waste+

  • Recycling and clean energy have been identified as one of six priorities in a new manufacturing roadmap unveiled by the Morrison Government last week. Around $1.5 billion in new funding will be invested over the next four years in the Modern Manufacturing Strategy to “make Australian manufacturers more competitive, resilient and able to scale-up to+

  • The Federal Government will invest $7.5 billion in national transport infrastructure to boost the national economy, deliver safer roads, and create new jobs. The announcement, made a day before the Federal Budget was handed down, contains a mix of new projects and additional federal funding for already announced upgrades, including Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI).+

  • This year’s Federal Budget has addressed many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years.  Moreover, the Budget has effectively maintained the level of Financial Assistance Grants, despite the significant economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. With declines in Commonwealth tax revenue, population growth and the Consumer Price+

  • Local government’s small-business support role has never mattered more than it does now, and the City of Mandurah is an exemplar of what councils can achieve in this space. To help it to identify and encourage locals who were willing to start a business but who lacked the expertise needed to make it pay, the+

  • Applications for a new Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program (RAUP) funding round have opened as part of the Commonwealth’s commitment to maintaining and improving air links to the bush. Owners or operators of existing aerodromes in remote or very remote areas of Australia can apply for a grant of between $5000 and $500,000, with $7 million+

  • Great news! The Federal Government has ticked a lot of ALGA’s calls for partnership funding this week, building on the well-received $500 million stimulus fund already rolling out around the nation’s councils. More specifically, our calls for targeted road funding to eliminate more safety and freight productivity black spots, to replace or upgrade substandard bridges,+

  • The Western Australia Government has released a discussion paper to facilitate feedback on its proposed legislative framework for waste-derived materials. The proposed framework “will provide certainty about when waste-derived materials are no longer waste, meaning depositing them to land in quantities above licensing thresholds would not be considered ‘waste disposal’ and licensing and waste levy+

  • Shire of East Pilbara President and former ALGA Board member Lynne Craigie has been bestowed with the WA Local Government Association’s highest honour. Ms Craigie, who is also a former WALGA President, was awarded the Local Government Medal for her “exceptional service in advancing the goals of WALGA and Local Government as well as the+

  • Infrastructure upgrades worth $33.5 million will be carried out at 23 national and world heritage sites under a $61.7 million environment investment package announced this week. The package, which is being provided through the Federal Government’s $1 billion Covid-19 Relief and Recovery Fund, also includes $20 million for a “reef builder shellfish restoration program”, and+

  • The Adelaide cave-diver who won national and international renown for helping rescue 12 boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave in Thailand will be speaking at ALGA’s Special Local Roads and Transport Congress on 16-17 November. Dr Richard “Harry” Harris will relate to delegates how he dived through long and dark tunnels to+

  • Forty new projects to provide emergency accommodation for people fleeing domestic violence have been announced by the Commonwealth. The projects to be funded under the $60 million Safe Places Emergency Accommodation fund will see new two- and three-bedroom homes built, office buildings transformed into self-contained apartments, and small group homes established. Applications for the Safe+

  • Fire and floodwater emergency videos have been produced by the ABC as part of a new series exploring extreme weather in Australia. The three-part documentary entitled Big Weather and how to survive it will also explore “practical, life-saving ways communities can empower themselves to prepare, survive and recover”. To that end, the broadcaster is producing+

  • Thirty-two NSW councils have successfully applied for Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) Stream 1 grants and will be contacted soon about their payments. Announcing the $100,000 or $250,000 payments this week, Federal Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud underlined the importance of locally led recovery. “It’s through the work and ideas+

  • An innovative local roads safety program has put the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council (QPRC) in contention for the 2020 National Award for Local Government. QPRC, in NSW’s Southern Tablelands, won the 2020 Excellence in Road Safety Award for its embrace of a data-led approach to improving driver behaviour. With speed involved in almost 31 percent of+

  • Commonwealth support for capital city and regional airline networks is being extended to early next as part of the 2020-21 Federal Budget. The Regional Airline Network Support (RANS) program, which has helped maintain essential air services for regional and remote communities during the Covid-19 pandemic, is being extended until 28 March 2021. The Domestic Aviation+

  • Ten regions impacted by bushfire, Covid-19 and drought will share $100 million in Commonwealth funding over two years to support recovery and growth. The money will flow to the “priority investment regions” in the form of investments coordinated with local and state governments. The regions to be supported under the new Regional Recovery Partnerships program+

  • The Federal Government will open a new $200 million Building Better Regions funding round as part of a new regional tourism support package. A further $50 million is to be invested in a Regional Tourism Recovery fund to assist businesses in regions reliant on international tourism. Nine tourism regions will be eligible for funding, including+

  • Local councils have secured nearly 80 percent of grants awarded under Round Five of the Bridges Renewal Program and Round Seven of Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program. In all, proponents of about 350 projects have been awarded a share of $290 million in funding to improve the productivity and safety of bridges and heavy+

  • The NBN Co will invest $300 million to boost connectivity for regional communities as part of its national broadband network upgrade. The $300 million co-investment fund will see NBN Co partner with governments to provide regional households, businesses and communities with enhanced broadband technologies and help meet the diverse and growing needs of Australians living+

  • The Australian Taxation Office wants tax or finance professionals working in local government to consider helping it improve the government client experience. Local governments are a critical element of Australia’s system of government, and the ATO says it would welcome strong local government representation on its newly established government relations group. This group will collaborate+

  • New legislation allowing faster processing of applications by land owners to reduce fuel loads has gone on public exhibition in Tasmania. The State Government says its draft Bushfire Mitigation Measures Bill will make it easier to reduce fuel and mechanically clear vegetation for a fuel break “while balancing environment and community concerns”. Announcing the new+

  • The City of Perth Council and the Commonwealth and West Australian governments will invest $695 million in moving Edith Cowan University’s law and business schools into the CBD. The finalised Perth City Deal announced this week also includes initiatives to relocate the WA Academy of the Performing Arts into the CBD and expand the CBD+

  • More than 90 per cent of Australians want new infrastructure projects to prepare for more extreme events such as floods and fires, new research suggests. Polling by JWS Research, conducted on behalf of Infrastructure Australia in June, also found similar concerns are held about planning for epidemics and disease. The agency engaged JSW Research to+

  • The NSW Government will work with local councils to showcase open public spaces, including beaches, as part of its new Covid Safe Summer Plan. The plan is intended to support local businesses by encouraging more outdoor dining in the lead-up to the Christmas-New Year period and throughout summer. To help support current public health orders,+

  • Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) president Coral Ross will not stand for re-election at the Victorian local government elections on 24 October.  After more than 18 years as a councillor for the City of Boroondara, including three terms as mayor, Cr Ross said this week that now is the right time to stand aside. She+

  • Ten serving and former female councillors, including Lucy Turnbull, Clover Moore, and Linda Scott, are spearheading efforts to get more women to stand for election to local government in NSW. Launching the state government-funded campaign last week, Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said: “Currently, women represent just 31 percent of all NSW councillors, which in+

  • The Australia-New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) has highlighted ALGA’s key role in national emergency management coordination. ANZEMC’s latest “On the Radar” newsletter also highlights the activities of state local government associations – all of which work closely with their member councils and state government agencies to improve emergency management. As well as being a+

  • Efforts by NSW councils to incorporate improved freight access into road safety and disaster recovery works have been lauded by the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator. NHVR stakeholder manager (NSW) Tim Hansen said several road managers across NSW were taking an innovative approach to improved freight routes as part of their road safety programs. “In the+

  • More than 30 fire-affected councils in NSW, South Australia, Victoria, and Queensland are to share $7 million in federal grants to invest in tourism drawcards. The 65 projects being funded under the $10 million Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants program include food and music festivals, art installations, sporting events, and nature trails – and are+

  • Councils which provide data for ALGA’s next National State of the Assets Report can immediately download a performance report of their key asset classes. ALGA has partnered with the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasian (IPWEA) to produce the 2021 report, which will provide consistent, evidence-based, infrastructure data for use by all levels of government.+

  • Victorian childcare providers, including councils, are getting additional Commonwealth support to allay the effects of the state’s second-wave Covid-19 lockdowns. The $305.6 million Child Care Recovery Package announced this week includes: A recovery payment of 25 percent of pre-Covid revenue to Victorian childcare services, until 31 January 2021; An extra payment of 15 percent of+

  • Cr Wayne Fewster has lived and worked in Gingin all his life, and was first elected to the Gingin Shire Council in 1993; serving 16 years, including two as Shire President. After a break of several years from council, Cr Fewster won election again in 2015, and became  Shire President in 2019. He is a+

  • A national project to assess key assets like bridges and culverts on local government heavy vehicle routes is being expanded to include more councils. The pilot phase of the Strategic Local Government Assessment Project (SLGAAP) involving 12 councils is now well underway, and the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator is moving to Round 1 of the+

  • Many Victorian councils are expecting to report operating deficits in 2020-21, some for the first time, because of Covid-19 impacts. The revelations come from a survey of Victorian councils conducted by Local Government Finance Professionals and published as a report by the Local Government Information Unit (LGIU) Australia. The FinPro survey found that councils have+

  • National Cabinet had two jobs: fight Covid-19 and fight for the economy. Big ticks for item one, but how about the economy, and jobs? There is one obvious sector that needs help. Tourism, and the local communities that depend upon it, have been badly affected. This is particularly true for those geared for international tourists.+

  • It has been nearly eight months since I toured bushfire-affected local governments in NSW with LGNSW President Linda Scott, and my impressions of that time remain vivid. We saw councils doing extraordinary things for and behalf of their communities – helping coordinate fire-fighting response, providing equipment to the NSW Rural Fire Service, opening major evacuation+

  • The City of Whittlesea is spearheading a big local government presence at next week’s 2020 National Awards for Planning Excellence. The outer Melbourne council is in the running for two awards showcasing leading practice and achievement in planning and the planning profession across a range of disciplines and sectors. Other local governments in the running+

  • A Melbourne council is rolling out a virtual power plant (VPP) and putting solar panels on 40 buildings to help it achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions. Hobsons Bay City Council says the VPP and the large-scale photovoltaic panel installation (generating four megawatts) will reduce the council’s direct greenhouse gas emissions over the next two+

  • Infrastructure Australia is developing its next infrastructure roadmap and wants to confer with interested parties on possible policy directions and reforms. The Australian Infrastructure Plan 2021 will set out IA’s advice on policy and reform (non-build) solutions to improve user and community access to and quality of infrastructure services as identified in the Australian Infrastructure+

  • Seventeen regional Queensland councils will share almost $3.5 million to fund priority infrastructure upgrades to better prepare for future natural disasters. Funding for the projects, which include upgrades on roads, drainage systems and power supplies, will be administered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. Queensland Treasurer and Minister responsible for the QRA Cameron Dick said the+

  • Councils that uphold or certify disability access standards for public buildings are being asked to take part in a scheduled review of the benchmarks. The Disability (Access to Premises – Building) Standards 2010 ensure people with disabilities (and their families, carers and friends) have equal access to public building,  and that building certifiers, developers and+

  • Disaster assistance has been extended to help communities in Western Australia’s Great Southern region recover from damage caused by heavy rain and severe flooding. Storms in early August dumped two months of rain in two days in the area, with the City of Albany and the Shire of Denmark both experiencing significant damage to their+

  • Single-use plastics, including straws and cutlery, will be prohibited in South Australia from early next year after Parliament passed new legislation last week. The Single-use and Other Plastic Products (Waste Avoidance) Bill 2020 bans the sale, supply and distribution of certain plastic products. But because of Covid-19 the ban will not come into force until+

  • Local councils owning and operating water and wastewater assets are being asked to take part in a voluntary national exercise to enhance cyber security resilience. The exercise, to be coordinated by the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC), will test and strengthen arrangements for responding to cyber incidents. ACSC head Abigail Bradshaw says “a cyber disrupting+

  • Virgin Australia will stop flying to seven regional destinations as it emerges from administration under the new ownership of private equity firm Bain Capital. Services to and from Yulara, Albury, Tamworth, Hervey Bay, Port Macquarie, Mildura, and Cloncurry would be withdrawn “for the foreseeable future”, an airline spokesman said last week. Nine routes in all+

  • A scoping study assessing the feasibility of developing a National Heavy Vehicle Bridge Assessment System has been published by Austroads. Bridge assessment processes are a major constraint in delivering reliable and timely heavy vehicle access to the national road network, according to Austroads. The large range of vehicle types and masses on an equally diverse+

  • Cr John White was elected to Victoria’s East Gippsland Shire Council in 2016, and became Mayor in October 2019. His involvement in the local East Gippsland community, particularly through local sporting clubs and the Country Fire Authority, dates back to the 1970s. Together with his wife, Leanne, Cr White operates a sheep, cattle and cropping+