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  • How different would it have been had local government had been represented at National Cabinet meetings when discussions turned to border closures? Completely, I would argue. The substantial risk that comes from sidelining local community voices has been exposed in recent media reports of anomalies arising from Covid-19 border restrictions. One story centred on a+

  • A project to boost renewable energy generation in Alice Springs with large batteries has been given $2.17 million in Federal Government funding. The Alice Springs Future Grid project, led by Intyalheme Centre for Future Energy, also aims to deliver reliable power to nearby remote towns. Federal Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction Angus Taylor said:+

  • More than 40 councils in regional and metropolitan NSW have successfully applied for funding under the state’s $15 million Streets as Shared Spaces program. Successful trial projects include: creation of a “green spine” on Harbour Drive in Coffs Harbour; activation of an underutilised laneway in Parramatta; a temporary road closure to create a public square+

  • The West Australian State Government has allocated nearly $7 million for high-priority coastal erosion hotspots as part of its WA Recovery Plan. Of this money, $5 million will be allocated to four high priority coastal erosion projects across WA including: $3.25 million to the City of Fremantle for the Port Beach large-scale sand nourishment project+

  • The Victorian Government is investing $20 million in efforts to relocate domestic violence perpetrators from the family home rather than the victims. The program to find alternative accommodation for perpetrators comes after a spike in the number of people asking for help from the Men’s Referral Service during the pandemic. The $20 million package, announced+

  • Recycled materials with self-compacting properties that could be used as an alternative backfill for sewer pipeline trenches are being tested in a new Australian study. Current sewer pipeline backfill practice is to use natural aggregates that need to be excavated, crushed, and often trucked in from great distances. To identify alternatives, researchers from Victoria University,+

  • The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment is offering grants for projects targeting established pest animals and weeds. Funding of $13 million is being made available under the Advancing Pest Animal and Weed Control Solutions Competitive Grant Round. Grants will range in amounts from $300,000 up to a maximum of $2 million. Successful+

  • The ACT Government has tabled its draft Plastic Reduction Bill 2020 in the Legislative Assembly as a prelude to phasing out certain single-use plastics. Beginning from July 2021, the sale and supply of single-use plastic cutlery, stirrers and polystyrene food and beverage containers such as plates, cups, bowls, and “clamshell” takeaway containers will be banned+

  • The implementation of South Australia’s new planning and development system across large regional towns and metropolitan areas has been delayed until late December. Minister for Planning and Local Government Vickie Chapman said the final phase of the launch had been set down for September, but would be postponed to give stakeholders more time to understand+

  • An online tool to support regional Australians to become more active will be developed and assessed in Tasmania before being rolled out nationally. The project – a joint four-year collaboration between University of Tasmania, RMIT University, and Deakin University – is being funded by the NHMRC Medical Research Future Fund’s Preventative and Public Health Research+

  • With Melbourne in its fifth week of stage four restrictions, council libraries have resorted to new and innovative ways to stay connected with their users. The Yarra Plenty Regional Library – a service comprising nine branch libraries withing the Banyule, Nillumbik, and Whittlesea councils – reacted to the plight of people unable to borrow books+

  • The first national snapshot of disaster resilience to help governments and emergency services improve their communities’ resilience to natural hazards has been published. The Australian Disaster Resilience Index provides a nationally standardised index of resilience in the form of navigable maps of regions across the country and is presented as an interactive website. Funded by+

  • ALGA’s ongoing advocacy to reverse local government’s exclusion from National Cabinet was highlighted on ABC radio and digital platforms this week. In an interview with the national broadcaster, ALGA National President David O’Loughlin said the scrapping of COAG in March effectively meant local government could speak to first ministers and treasurers only once a year.+

  • Vic Pennisi has been an elected member of local government since 2004, and was elected Mayor of the Southern Downs Regional Council in April this year. He has a background in vehicle fleet maintenance, the horticulture sector, and retail business management. The SDRC is located in Queensland’s Darling Downs region, and was created in 2008+

  • Australian Airports Association (AAA) members are losing around $300 million a month, a Senate select committee on Covid-19 heard on Thursday. Making the case for direct government assistance to airport operators (including local governments), AAA chief executive James Goodwin said the aviation sector has been hit by some of the “deepest lows” of the crisis.+

  • Victorian council elections set down for October 24 will go ahead as planned, the State Government confirmed this week. The decision comes despite claims the polls will be compromised by Covid-19 restrictions. The State Government says it sought advice from the Chief Health Officer before making the decision. “The Chief Health Officer has advised that+

  • The Junee Shire Council in NSW is getting $1 million in drought funding for infrastructure projects, including an upgrade of the town’s swimming pool. The projects will be being funded under the Commonwealth’s Drought Communities Program (DCP). Other DCP projects submitted by Junee Council which are to be funded include upgrades to camping grounds at+

  • Twelve Queensland councils will receive funding to fast-track 63 infrastructure and community asset projects across the state’s populous south-east region. The projects – which include a new BMX precinct at Brendale, a foreshore revitalisation at Mooloolaba, Beenleigh CBD improvements, and a new path and boardwalk on North Stradbroke Island – are being funded under the+

  • A NSW Local Government Model Code of Conduct with strengthened investigative processes and penalties for councillor misconduct was gazetted on 7 August. The State Government says the code, which applies to 48,000 staff and 1300 councillors at 128 councils, 10 county councils and 13 joint organisations across the state, will enforce high standards of conduct.+

  • An independent body to drive the National Food Waste Strategy will be set up with $4 million in Federal Government seed funding. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley says the new body “will be a catalyst for tackling food waste in Australia by bringing together industry, businesses, government, research institutions and food rescue organisations to find+

  • A company which uses blockchain technology to facilitate direct renewable power procurement has published a guide for councils looking at sustainable energy solutions. With coal and gas-fired electricity’s social licence in retreat, and more renewable energy projects coming online, many councils are considering shifting to green power, with councils in large urban centres like Sydney,+

  • The Freight Movement Code for the Domestic Border Controls – Freight Movement Protocol – will be implemented in the coming weeks. The code will enable the states and territories to work together to enforce Covid-19 health measures so freight continues moving across states and territories. It will also enable contact tracing, the provision of personal+

  • The Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment has a new map on its homepage showing councils with Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection services. According to the information on the webpage, there are currently 223 local governments across Australia with either  FOGO pickups or GO collections. The map can be magnified to+

  • Proposed local and federal government smart city plans would benefit from improved knowledge-sharing and enhanced cybersecurity, says Standards Australia. With 21 percent of local governments piloting smart city projects, the peak standards body says the Federal Government should develop a smart cities assurance framework that builds on its existing Smart Cities framework, including security-related standards+

  • 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+