FILTER BY:
  • National Bushfire Recovery Agency deputy coordinator Andrew Hocking will head an impressive array of speakers at ALGA’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in November. After being forced to cancel its annual National General Assembly for Local Government because of Covid-19, ALGA has expanded the National Local Roads and Transport Congress to encompass natural disaster+

  • Reforms to the powers and immunities framework are being considered that could require telecommunications installations to conform to higher safety standards. Under the reform proposals published this week by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications, the framework could incorporate a “primary safety condition” reaffirming that the “safety of telco installations is+

  • Australia is in recession and about two million Australians are out of work. If we really care about our communities, what is the role of Local Government in driving recovery? And why? The “why” is obvious. Those two million Aussies are our locals. They are our first-jobbers, family-starters, mums and dads, the middle-aged, the “wiser+

  • The Save the Children Fund wants young people involved in emergency planning at the local government level to ensure their needs are met. In a submission to the recent bushfires royal commission, Save the Children said youngsters’ needs were “systemically misunderstood and overlooked” in the responses to the fires, even though they are “uniquely vulnerable+

  • Tax or finance professionals working in local government are being asked to help improve the client experience of the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO recently formed a government relations group to explore the tax and super issues unique to government entities and to identify opportunities to support government at all levels in complying with tax+

  • A seasonal labour employment service is being expanded to enable regional fruit and vegetable growers to harvest crops and dispatch them to market. The Federal Government’s Harvest Trail Services (HTS) connects employers, growers, and farmers with workers to fill seasonal harvest jobs in major horticulture regions across the country. To address labour shortages created by+

  • Western Australia’s new container deposit scheme will have 200 refund points – including depots, reverse vending machines, bag drops, and pop-ups – when it is launched on 1 October. Announcing the details last week, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said 35 per cent of refund points will be operated by social enterprises and not-for-profits, 15 per+

  • An outer Melbourne council is using traditional Japanese poetry as a vehicle for reflecting residents’ experiences of Covid-19 lockdowns. The Shire of Yarra Ranges has invited residents to write and display haiku – three-line poems capturing moments in time, moments of stillness, and fleeting observations – on their rubbish bins.  Notable examples will be featured+

  • Early bushfire detection could save the economy $8.2 billion over the next 30 years, according to Australian National University modelling. Research led by the ANU’s Centre for Social Research and Methods examined how much money would be saved between 2020 and 2049 under three fire detection scenarios: a 30-minute reduction in detection time for large+

  • Momentum for all homes built nationwide to incorporate livable housing design principles is picking up, with implications for local government. Advocacy group Livable Housing Australia (LHA) says the Australian Building Codes Board’s proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC) – together with aspects of the Aged Care Royal+

  • The Federal Government will end contentious buybacks of water entitlements from Murray-Darling Basin irrigators and subsidise water infrastructure on farms instead. Announcing the Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package last week, Water Minister Keith Pitt said upgrading infrastructure for farming irrigators will ensure  greater water savings than buybacks while maximising benefits for Basin communities. A recent review+

  • Public preconceptions about recycling are inhibiting the long-term development of climate-resilient water sources, the country’s peak water industry body says. The Waters Services Association of Australia has released a 68-page report, All options on the table: Urban water supply options for Australia, that finds the cost of purified recycling water for drinking is comparable to+

  • The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has set the 2021-22 rate peg for NSW councils at 2.0 percent. The rate peg is the maximum percentage amount by which a council may increase its general income for the year. In 2020-21, it was set at 2.6 percent. The 2021-22 peg was calculated by taking the increase+

  • Legislation regulating the disposal of Commonwealth land to local governments and the acquisition of council land by the Commonwealth is being reviewed. While the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA) has not changed substantially since its enactment over 30 years ago, complex land acquisition processes involving compensation payments to landholders have become more difficult to finalise.+

  • Local government’s readiness to help reduce domestic violence is being stymied by inadequate state and federal government financial support, ALGA has told a federal inquiry. In a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee inquiring into family, domestic and sexual violence, ALGA said it is essential councils receive dedicated funding to maximise their capacity+

  • Liz Campbell was born and educated in the Kempsey District and elected to the Shire Council in 2008. With a background in the travel and tourism industries, Cr Campbell became Mayor in 2011 and was re-elected the following year when Kempsey held its first election for a popularly elected Mayor. Kempsey Shire Council, on the+

  • A contract believed to be the largest local government-led procurement of recycled road-making materials in NSW history has been put to public tender. The open market tender to provide recycled crushed glass (RCG) asphalt for road construction and maintenance activities for the 15 council members of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) was+

  • Creating a single “scalable” national agency to lead disaster recovery and resilience efforts would bring many benefits, an interim bushfires report says. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements released a 40-page list of “interim propositions” last week on Friday for local, state and federal governments to consider and respond to ahead of a+

  • The first major bushfire of the 2020-21 season occurred on Monday near Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, reminding us that bushfires wait for no-one, let alone the outcome of a Royal Commission. Ironically, the Trewantin fire took hold the day before the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements published its interim report – “mindful of the+

  • Organisers of agricultural shows and field days who cancelled their 2020 events because of Covid-19 can apply for a share of $7.2 million in Commonwealth funding. The Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program will provide a one-off reimbursement to affected agricultural show societies and agricultural field day organisers. Announcing the $7.2 million grant last+

  • Federal Government policy changes to improve the delivery of telecommunications services in new developments were announced this week. Designed to provide Australians moving into new apartment and housing developments with better and cheaper access to high-speed broadband services, the Telecommunications in New Developments policy “provides a modernised framework for the deployment of services while fostering+

  • While much of eastern Australia is experiencing wetter than average conditions, the national bushfire outlook remains problematic in many areas. Releasing its Spring Seasonal Bushfire Outlook this week, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC said there was an above-normal fire potential for south-east Queensland as well as the state’s central coast extending north. Dry conditions+

  • A contemporary guide for designing walkable neighbourhoods in Queensland has been published by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (Qld). Developed with input from across the sector, the Street Design Manual: Walkable Neighbourhoods “recognises streets as an important connector to multi-purpose social spaces in our neighbourhoods … [and] offers access options for active transport+

  • Organisations and individuals supporting young people are being invited to apply for funding under the Youth Action Projects Grant Scheme (YAGPS). This targeted scheme offers grants of between $5000 and $20,000 to help finance projects which respond to the social challenges facing those aged 15 to 24. Projects need to be either new initiatives that+

  • 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+