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  • A City of Busselton project testing new technology to warn motorists of cyclists has won a share of $2 million in funding from the Commonwealth Road Safety Innovation Fund. It was one of 13 projects that will share in funding over the next four years through Round 1 of the Road Safety Innovation Fund, which+

  • Twelve projects in the Northern Territory will receive a share of Round 5 funding from the Commonwealth’s Safer Communities Fund (NT stream) announced this week. The NT stream is the result of a 2019 election commitment to deliver $4 million in security infrastructure specifically to community safety and security projects in the Top End. Under+

  • The economic growth being achieved by regional cities like Ballarat is more broadly inclusive than that of the capitals, a new study suggests. Ballarat, Geelong, Newcastle, Wollongong and smaller centres like Bacchus Marsh, Griffith, Warragul-Drouin, Ballina, and Griffith were among the top 10-performing locations in a study examining population and business growth, employment, welfare reliance,+

  • The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is hosting a webinar on 14 July tailored to fire and land managers who manage prescribed burning. The webinar will also launch the Prescribed Burning Atlas, a new tool to inform prescribed burning strategies and tailor them to outcomes that will best reduce the risk in a target area+

  • Public perceptions of local government’s leadership for the greater good have risen during the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, peaking at +11 in a recent survey. The eight-week survey is the latest in a series conducted by Swinburne University of Technology researchers to gauge perceptions of the degree to which different institutions – including+

  • The NSW Productivity Commission has released an issues paper as part of its review into the state’s infrastructure contributions system. The paper examines how infrastructure is currently funded in NSW, focusing on the role of infrastructure contributions and the key issues and challenges encountered in their application.  Stakeholders are encouraged to respond to the discussion+

  • Proposals to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code have been tabled for consultation. Developed by the Australian Building Codes Board, the consultation regulation impact statement assesses regulatory options for including accessibility requirements for housing (Class 1a buildings and Class 2 apartments) into the National Construction Code. In line with the+

  • The National Transport Commission wants feedback on its review of automated vehicle trial guidelines and its “Government access to vehicle-generated data” discussion paper. Early trials of automated vehicles in states and territories relied on exemptions from state road rules and road safety Acts, without any uniform guidance for governments and trialling organisations. The guidelines lessen+

  • A project to duplicate the Princes Highway between Traralgon and Sale has received additional funding of $191 million from the Federal and Victorian governments. The duplication is one of 21 shovel-ready infrastructure projects and urgent road safety upgrades in Victoria that were announced this week. The Commonwealth is investing $320.3 million in the 21 projects,+

  • Grants of up to $1 million are being offered by the Commonwealth to support the establishment of new product stewardship schemes or to expand existing ones. $14 million has been made available for this National Product Stewardship Investment Fund grant opportunity. Product stewardship schemes help reduce waste and prevent harmful materials ending up in landfill+

  • A $1.4 million project to help five local councils across Greater Melbourne take their first steps to becoming “smart cities” was completed on 30 June. The Northern Melbourne Smart Cities Network project involved developing and implementing a LoRaWAN network to enable improved municipal service delivery and pave the way for new services in future. Five+

  • The Commonwealth is investing $190 million to ramp up Australia’s waste processing capacity ahead of bans on exports of unprocessed waste. The money will go to a newly established Recycling Modernisation Fund to finance new infrastructure spending in sorting, processing, and reusing plastic, paper, glass, and tyres. Funding from the RMF will be contingent on+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s annual National Local Roads and Transport Congress has been expanded in 2020 to encompass natural disaster impacts, recovery and resilience, and Covid-19. With few opportunities left in 2020 for the Local Government sector to connect on a national level, the Special Recovery Conference will focus on the issues that have+

  • Are journalists about to return to country council chambers? The Federal Government has thrown the regional media a much needed lifeline – and there was more good news for the sector this week. Further details of the $50 million package to support public interest journalism were announced and the sale of Australian Associated Press (AAP)+

  • A new online educational game to help Queensland children and their families prepare for future disasters and severe weather events went live last week. The Get Ready Queensland Challenge game can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices and is intended to reinforce the Get Ready Queensland program to educate people about disaster risks and+

  • One hundred and seven small-to-medium newspapers and commercial broadcasters will share $50 million in Public Interest New Gathering Program funding. PING is a Commonwealth government initiative to provide direct support for local and regional news outlets at a time when many have scaled back operations or closed due to Covid-19. Of the $50 million, $18+

  • Western Australian local governments raised more than $2.4 billion in rates during the 2018-19 financial year while managing assets worth more than $45 billion. These and other key facts from the 2018-19 financial year were published by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries this week – along with a financial health indicator+

  • The SA Government’s Statutes Amendment (Local Government) Review Bill 2020 was introduced into state parliament on 17 June. Key proposed reforms in the Bill include a new conduct management framework for council members; an expansion of expert, independent advice to councils on a range of critical financial and governance matters; modern approach to public consultation;+

  • Oil recycling facilities are to be provided with $7.8 million in temporary Commonwealth funding to enable them to keep operating during the Covid-19 crisis. The Federal Government has also said it will bring forward a scheduled review of the Product Stewardship for Oil Scheme to ensure it remains viable and sustainable into the future. About+

  • An information systems audit of 10 local governments in Western Australia has found all had “significant shortcomings” in their information security practices. The inaugural review conducted by Office of the Auditor-General found only four entities demonstrated that they were effective or partially effective in at least half of the 14 areas of the security standard.+

  • Australia’s new National Wild Dog Action Plan, which emphasises humane, evidence-based, and best-practice control measures, was implemented on 1 July. Wild dogs are estimated to cost farmers and graziers upwards of $89 million a year in lost production and control costs – with significant flow-on effects for rural and regional economies. The new plan was+

  • The next phase of the Heavy Vehicle National Law review has begun with publication of a consultation regulation impact statement by the National Transport Commission. The NTC is reviewing the HVNL and its supporting regulations at the behest of Transport Ministers after a meeting in November 2018. To date, the review has found that the+

  • Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand is seeking expressions of interest from local governments to become full or associate members. CWANZ is the Australasian peak group for walking and bike riding for transport, working collaboratively with state, territory and NZ transport agencies, local councils, and other organisations to make walking and cycling an easy+

  • A draft design framework for planning, designing, and implementing urban green infrastructure has been published by the Government Architect New South Wales. Green infrastructure is the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems that supports sustainable communities and a good quality of life. It includes waterways, bushland, tree canopy and green ground cover,+

  • The NSW Government is adding $10.77 million to its showground stimulus funding program, with the new money slated to fund 129 projects at 71 showgrounds. In May, the Government said it was committing $12.5 million to support 393 shovel-ready projects at 137 showgrounds across the state as part of its Covid-19 stimulus package. It has+

  • The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is commemorating the 10th anniversary of Plastic Free July with a new resource toolkit. The toolkit contains the latest plastic packaging statistics and 15 case studies showcasing organisations that are championing issues like single-use plastic avoidance and phase out, reusable packaging, community education, and recycled content. APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly+

  • Local councils employing eligible out-of-trade apprentices and trainees may be eligible for a 50 per cent wage subsidy under a new Commonwealth employment initiative. At the Federal Government’s request, the National Apprentice Employment Network began operating the Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register in April to enable recently laid-off apprentices and trainees to link up with+

  • A draft national registration framework for private building surveyors and other building industry practitioners has gone on public exhibition. The draft was developed in response to the recommendations of the Building Confidence report of February 2018 which addressed a succession of building failures and apartment tower fires exacerbated by flammable cladding. The report advised that,+

  • Around 80 NSW local councils will receive a share of $382 million in NSW and Federal Government funding to upgrade regional roads, it was announced this week. The money will flow from NSW Government’s Fixing Local Roads Program, to which the Commonwealth and State Governments have both committed $191 million. The two governments have also+

  • The NSW Government should replace transfer duty with a broad-based land tax and work with the other states on a national road user charging scheme for electric vehicles. The recommendations stem from the Review of Federal Financial Relations set up by NSW Treasury  in 2019 to examine how the states and the Commonwealth can work+

  • “What’s the drift, tell me what’s a’happening!” Regional population growth is more than a song line, it’s actually happening. Demographers, commentators, and economic forecasters are suggesting that arresting the drift to big cities and achieving sustained growth in the regions is not just attainable but perhaps even inevitable. The evidence seems to back them up.+

  • Former Australian Rail Track Corporation managing director John Fullerton has been appointed chairman of the new Freight Industry Reference Panel. The panel will provide industry with “a clear line of sight” on implementing the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy, and it will report to Transport and Infrastructure Ministers annually. It will also elicit more+

  • Feedback to inform a review of local government vocational and education training qualifications will be open for public validation from Friday, 19 June to Friday, 10 July 2020. Local government employs around 200,000 people nationally, and VET qualifications (Certificate III to Diploma) provide this group with many of their training and skills. Current qualifications have+

  • The problem of feral and domestic cats in Australia will be examined in a new federal parliamentary inquiry that got underway this week. Feral cats have caused the extinction of some ground-dwelling birds and small to medium-sized mammals and they are a major cause of decline for animals such as the bilby, bandicoot, bettong, and+

  • Disaster recovery expert Anne Leadbeater will offer her insights on local government and community-led recovery in a Red Cross-hosted webinar on 9 July. Ms Leadbeater worked on behalf of the Murrindindi Shire Council to coordinate the initial recovery effort for communities in the Kinglake Ranges after the Black Saturday bushfires in 2009 when 173 people+

  • A major rezoning to create new housing in the Hills Shire Council area of Greater Western Sydney is among the latest tranche of projects to undergo fast-tracked assessment in NSW. The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) announced the third tranche of fast-tracked assessments on 21 June, with all 19 projects to be determined+

  • A Federal Parliamentary inquiry looking at how migrants might be encouraged to settle in regional Australia has been suspended because of immigration restrictions. The Joint Standing Committee on Migration had cancelled public hearing in March due to the Covid-19 epidemic, but with no prospect of borders re-opening soon decided last week to wind up proceedings.+

  • Local Government, along with the states and Commonwealth, can enable more waste to energy projects by helping the sector develop a social license to operate. This means openly engaging with communities – not only on the benefits of advanced forms of waste processing but also addressing any environmental or health concerns. In a new report+

  • Feedback on Phase Three (urban areas) of South Australia’s Planning and Design Codes has been published by the State Planning Commission. The commission received 1790 submissions from councils, state agencies, industry practitioners and members of the community during a five-month consultation period. The What We Have Heard Report summarises these responses, including   a range+

  • Regional Australia attracted more people than it lost in the five years to 2016, contrary to popular perceptions that rural populations are declining, a new Regional Australia Institute report says. The report, The Big Movers: Understanding Population Mobility in Regional Australia said 65,200 people moved to the country based on 2011 and 2016 Census data.+

  • Major planning reforms brought forward to support the West Australian Government’s economic response to Covid-19 have passed through State Parliament. The reform centrepiece is a new development application process for significant projects that will be in operation for the next 18 months. Significant development will now be defined as:  development proposals with an estimated cost+

  • The Townsville City Council is to receive $145,00 in State and Commonwealth funding to buy five trailer-mounted generators to maintain services in areas susceptible to flooding, tidal inundation or sewer overflows. The Cairns Regional Council will receive $119,000 for a satellite trailer to supplement the communication networks and restore connectivity during network outages. These and+

  • The NSW Government will look at creating “greater flexibility” in the current rating system to allow councils to generate the income needed to support population growth. This would include creating additional rating categories and greater use of differential rating within urban residential rating systems. The proposal follows the Government’s decision to decline Independent Pricing Regulatory+

  • The Brisbane City Council has been allocated $11.7 million under the Federal Government’s $500 million Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. Other sizeable allocations have been made to the City of Gold Coast ($5.9 million), Moreton Bay Regional Council ($5 million), Toowoomba Regional Council ($4.1 million) Logan City Council ($3.5 million), Mid-Coast Council ($3.4 million),+

  • The Federal Government supports more money for the Black Spot Program and an increase in funding for projects in regional and remote areas. However, it remains detached about revising the definition of “black spot” to account for the dispersed nature of accidents in remote and regional areas, saying the program is sufficiently flexible to fund+

  • Is Local Government going to be part of the solution, or part of the problem, as the Commonwealth responds to a looming budget blowout and the nation’s first recession in 29 years? As councils step up to create new jobs in parallel with minimising rate rises (a tough ask) are we to be assisted by+

  • The Bureau of Statistics is soliciting local government involvement in consultations on the content proposed for collection in the 2020-21 Agricultural Census. The census is undertaken every five years to provide benchmark national, state, and sub-state data to inform Australian agriculture. The starting point for consultation is a proposed reduction in content (in comparison to+

  • Seventeen microgrid feasibility studies in West Australian and Northern Territory indigenous communities have received $19 million under the Regional and Remote Communities Reliability Fund. The funding has been allocated under Round One of the $50 million initiative established last year to provide more reliable, secure, and cost-effective energy supply options for regional and remote communities.+

  • The Women’s Leadership and Development Program – which supports women working in local government, among other things – has received $1.8 million in new funding. Four successful grant recipients will receive a portion of the funding this financial year (2019-20) to deliver on projects targeted towards achieving women’s economic security, and supporting women during the+

  • The first meeting of the Smart Beaches Community of Practice (CoP) will be conducted by video-link on 23 June 2020 from 2-3pm. The Smart Beaches CoP has been established for local councils to share knowledge, establish best practice approaches and support collaboration of smart technology to improve beach safety. Lake Macquarie City Council is leading+

  • NSW council elections due later this year but postponed because of coronavirus health concerns have been rescheduled for 4 September 2021. Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock announced the new date this week, saying current councillors will continue to hold their civic offices until the rescheduled elections are held. An order has been published in the+

  • $15 million is being fast-tracked under South Australia’s Regional Growth Fund for projects to aid regional economies affected by Covid-19 restrictions. Grants from $50,000 on up to $2 million are available for projects which “provide enduring economic benefits and growth for regional South Australia”. Applications will be accepted from individual commercial enterprises, incorporated associations, and+