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  • Unfortunately the 2020 National General Assembly (NGA) will not go ahead in June 2020. The ALGA Board has made this difficult decision in light of the Government’s decision to ban non-essential gatherings of more than 100 people at indoor venues as part of its efforts to slow the spread of coronavirus. The Prime Minister has+

  • On Wednesday 18th March, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced restrictions being put in place to address the spread of coronavirus in Australia. He stressed this is not a two-week solution it is most likely to be six months. “Life is changing in Australia, as it is changing all around the world. Life is going to+

  • Droughts, bushfires and now a global virus – the need for strong and stable Local Government has never been greater for our communities. The Prime Minister’s recent announcements dramatically underline that Governments at all levels must step up to keep the nation healthy, our businesses solvent and people in jobs. Councils are the most connected+

  • Animals perceive light differently from humans and artificial light can disrupt critical behaviour and cause physiological changes in wildlife. Artificial light can stall the recovery of threatened species and interfere with a migratory species’ ability to undertake long distance migrations integral to its life cycle. To address this conservation challenge, the Commonwealth Department of Agriculture,+

  • Plastic Free July is a global movement that helps millions of people be part of the solution to plastic pollution – so we can have cleaner streets, oceans, and beautiful communities. What started out as a local government initiative in WA, the award-winning Plastic Free July behaviour change campaign is now one of the world’s+

  • The Commonwealth Department of Finance is reviewing the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA), which is the key legislation used by the Commonwealth to acquire and dispose of interests in land for public purposes. The LAA also regulates the disposal of Commonwealth land to local government and the acquisition of local government land by the Commonwealth.+

  • In the wake of Australia’s catastrophic bushfire season, many communities are now embarking on a journey of recovery. But what does disaster recovery really mean? A free webinar hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience aims to tackle the topic hearing from speakers with experience and expertise in the field. John Richardson from Australian Red Cross+

  • A new report produced by the Climate Council has looked at the devastating climate impacts Australians experienced this summer. The bushfire season started in winter and was the worst on record for New South Wales in terms of its intensity, the area burned, and the number of properties lost. It was also the worst season+

  • The Federal Government has announced the 147 projects that will be funded in NSW under the 2020-21 round of the Black Spots Program. The Government has committed $1 billion to the Black Spot Program from 2013-14 to 2022-23 to improve road safety across the nation. “By specifically targeting road locations with a history of crashes+

  • Today I’m attending COAG where the Prime Minister, First Ministers and I, on behalf of our sector, will discuss the issues currently impacting our country. These include bushfire relief, drought, violence against women, mental health, the proposed waste export ban, and the ever-evolving COVID-19 pandemic. Bushfire relief has been slow, despite best efforts of governments.+

  • Coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a “disease of pandemic potential” in Australia on January 21, 2020. The potential threat of the virus taking hold in Australia has already had economic implications to tourism, universities, the building sector and seafood exports. The Federal Department of Health is closely monitoring the respiratory illness outbreak caused by the virus.+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is conducting its latest survey into how the heavy vehicle industry and supply chain is tackling their safety responsibilities. NHVR Safety Assurance Director Greg Fill said the online safety survey would assist the NHVR to decide how best to develop future safety information. “With the introduction of safety duties+

  • The Federal Government has released an Issues Paper as the first step in preparing the Regional Aviation Policy Statement in a bid to improve connectivity and innovation in regional aviation. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon. Michael McCormack said it’s important anyone who travels on planes or through+

  • On 27 March, the ATO and 26 other agencies are retiring the AUSkey and Manage ABN Connections login credentials. This means anyone accessing the ATO’s Business Portal or a range of other government online services will need to start using myGovID. Once the app is set up, the business owner will need to link their+

  • The Federal Government has announced an additional $2 million in scientific research through the Threatened Species Recovery Hub to help guide wildlife recovery efforts and habitat rehabilitation strategies following Australia’s bushfire crisis. “I have approved the funding as part of the National Environmental Science Program via the University of Queensland to assist with on-ground post+

  • International Women’s Day (IWD) this Sunday is a chance to celebrate women and recognise their achievements. Under the theme Each For Equal, celebrations this year aim to highlight that, individually, we can actively choose to challenge stereotypes, fight bias, broaden perceptions and celebrate women’s achievements. While collectively, each one of us can help create a+

  • Now in its 27th year, the Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community groups to help preserve and manage locally held but nationally-significant cultural heritage collections. Since the program began in 1994, more than $7.26 million has been allocated to 1,445 collection preservation and management projects around the country,+

  • Time is running out for councils to have their say on life in regional Australia. The House of Representatives Select Committee on Regional Australia is looking at the contribution regional Australia makes to the nation’s identity, economy and environment. The committee is also examining the effectiveness of existing programs to develop and promote regional centres,+

  • What needs to change, across government and industry, to curb the roughly 1.4 million tonnes of waste plastic, paper, glass and tyres that we export every year? With the waste export ban drawing nearer – in less than six months for glass and just over a year for mixed plastics – we need practical solutions+

  • Councils are invited to join the Bureau of Meteorology’s next free webinar on Thursday 5 March which covers climate and water. Participants can ask climate experts questions about their outlook for Autumn to help their decision making for the months ahead. The webinar runs 12-1pm AEDT. Register now via http://ow.ly/2d4a50yr2CU

  • While Victoria’s recycling system is set to change following an announcement this week by the Andrews State Government, Local Government New South Wales has warned that Australia’s most populous state risks having more of its waste sent to landfill. Recycling Victoria is a $300m, 10-year plan to create a circular economy through measures including a+

  • The City of Newcastle (NSW) said it has estimated it could save up to $4.8m of ratepayers’ money over the next 25 years if it switched to 100 percent renewable electricity. The City said as its electricity contract expires on 13 December, now is the appropriate time to move toward more sustainable and cost-efficient electricity+

  • Local councils could save money by switching their fleets to electric vehicles because they pay for themselves if the total cost of ownership is considered, a study featuring council data from the Municipal Association of Victoria has found. The study by ClimateWorks Australia in collaboration with MAV and the Electric Vehicle Council was discussed at+

  • The annual Landcare Week, which runs 2-8 September, is special this year as it’s the environmental entity’s 30th birthday. Landcare Australia estimates that since 1989 it’s evolved into a movement of 6,000 groups and hundreds of thousands of volunteers who perform sustainable agricultural practices and conservation activities, while also developing and uplifting their communities. Its+

  • The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a series of free online training courses to help groups understand the National Principles for Child Safe Organisations. They were developed by the Commission and other entities and are aimed at people working or volunteering in all organisations of various sizes that engage with children and young people,+

  • A new site has for the first time brought together millions of data sets to provide a wide-ranging picture of the state of housing in Australia, from financing for a mortgage through to population changes and homelessness. The Housing Data Dashboard as developed by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) and the Commonwealth+

  • The Australian Government has published a new biosecurity web site aimed at helping the general public, councils, businesses and individuals better understand how to identify and respond to biosecurity threats. The site has been developed by the National Biosecurity Committee, to which the Australian Local Government Association is an observer, and follows an agreement by+

  • I was pleased to participate in a memorable second meeting of the Joint Council on Closing the Gap last week in Adelaide. There can be few more pressing tasks than reducing the differences in life span, health, housing and employment between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians – and local government has a key role to play.+

  • The NSW Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) has recently called for a review of local infrastructure contribution rates, with a discussion paper available and feedback required by 3 May 2019. Chair of IPART’s Local Government Committee Deborah Cope said escalating developer contribution rates by a representative index allows them to change broadly in-line with+

  • The Victorian Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek has announced the timeframes and terms of reference for the State Government’s review of the local government rating system. The review will be undertaken by an independent panel led by former Chief Executive Officer of the Royal Childrens Hospital and City of Melbourne, Dr Kathy Alexander. The+

  • In the majority of towns and cities within Australia there are memorials to veterans that have not returned home. A growing problem, however, continues to be the integration into the community of those that have returned from active service and have been affected by that service, whether it be physically or psychologically. Organisations such as+

  • Last month the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Families and Social Services, and the Hon Sarah Henderson MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services, Housing and Disability Services issued a media release announcing that from April, the Australian community can take part in national consultations to shape the future of Australia’s disability policy for beyond+

  • My column this week comes at a time of reflection for us as individuals and as community service providers. Today marks the end of a week which has included Easter and Anzac Day, events of great religious and national significance which have been celebrated and commemorated in local communities right across Australia. Councils and elected+

  • National Road Safety Week is an initiative of Safer Australian Highways and Roads (SARAH) Group, founded by President Peter Frazer following the tragic death of his daughter Sarah, who was killed in a roadside crash on the Hume Highway in 2012. In March this year, the ALGA President, David O’Loughlin and Peter Frazer sent a+

  • The Coalition Government has committed to invest more than $58 million in 10 Industry Training Hubs in key locations across regional Australia to create more jobs for young people. The investment will also include 400 Vocational Education and Training (VET) scholarships and is part of the Coalition’s plan to address youth unemployment in key parts+

  • Labor is committed to reducing Australia’s pollution by 45 per cent on 2005 levels by 2030, net zero pollution by 2050 and 50 per cent renewable energy in the electricity mix by 2030. These are some of the other areas in the renewable energy policy that may be of interest to local government. Labor will+

  • Don’t miss the early bird registration discount for this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), which will be held from 16 to 19 June in Canberra. Early bird registrations are set to close on 10 May. The theme for this year’s NGA is Future Focused, reflecting that change is constant – and we+

  • The upgrade of 1860 payphones across Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide are causing Councils concerns. In March the City of Melbourne refused 81 development applications by JCDecaux to upgrade Telstra payphones including new 75 inch (190cm) digital advertising screens that will display commercial advertising. Chair of the City of Melbourne’s Planning portfolio Councillor Nicholas Reece+

  • This week, ALGA News is coming to you a day earlier than usual because of the Easter break and I expect that many Australians will be taking the opportunity for an extended break over the Easter/Anzac Day period. This period also coincides with school holidays in the majority of states and territories and so people+

  • Soldier On Australia is calling for support for modern veterans and their families this Anzac Day, in honour of those who suffered after World War I. One hundred years ago, with WW1 having ended only a few months before, hundreds of thousands of Australian ex–servicemen – many terribly injured mentally and physically – began to+

  • In December 2018, COAG agreed that the Commonwealth, state and territory Treasurers and the President of the Australian Local Government Association would consider a framework for national population and planning to address population management in Australia, for consideration at a future COAG meeting. In addition to participating in the Treasurers Forum ALGA is also participating+

  • A Labor Federal Government would replace City Deals with a City Partnerships program that will foster collaboration between the three levels of government. It will also: Re-establish the Major Cities Unit within the independent Infrastructure Australia and task it with recommending and assessing the progress of City Partnerships; Establish an expert panel to update strategic+

  • Future Earth Australia invites you to complete a survey on issues and options for more sustainable development of Australia’s cities and urban settlements. It applies to all settlements from large cities to smaller regional towns and centres, and considers economic, social and environmental outcomes. Future Earth Australia, a program of the Australian Academy of Science,+

  • The Australian Local Government Association and your state/territory local government association have made it simple for your council to participate in the national advocacy campaign to get fairer funding for local government and our communities. http://fairershare.com.au/ We have designed a staged advocacy program that will ensure that our message is heard and understood and lead+

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison visited Government House early yesterday morning to ask Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove to trigger an election to be held on 18 May 2019. The 45th Parliament was suspended and Parliament dissolved. This cancelled the Senate Estimates hearings that were due to commence at 9am. The 2019 election will see all MPs+

  • The Federal Election and our call to action is now upon us. To assist, the ALGA Board has authorised campaign materials for your immediate use to help you win a Fairer Share for your local community. ALGA has worked with state and territory local government associations to develop materials for use by every council in+

  • ALGA has advocated to establish a Local Government Climate Change Partnership Fund of $200 million over four years. Unfortunately, this request was not funded in the Federal Budget. The need for this support is re-enforced by the release of the 2018 International Energy Agency Status Report. The IEA says global carbon emissions hit a record+

  • The Australian Government has announced the appointment of Rod Hook to the Board of Infrastructure Australia (IA). Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack said Mr Hook brought a wealth of infrastructure knowledge and experience to the Board. “Mr Hook will be an asset to IA thanks to his+

  • The Alcohol and Drug Foundation’s purpose is to prevent and minimise the harm caused by alcohol and other drugs in Australia. We work in partnership with others to support and create evidence-based policies and practice to achieve these goals. We co-design our evidence-based programs with communities, including local councils and government, and support them to+

  • Milparanga is run by the ARLF and is a cross industry leadership program with a focus on regional and remote Australia. The Australia Council is supporting First Nations artists and arts practitioners to participate in the program. Milparanga, meaning ‘watching over country and its people’ (in Mithaka language), honours Indigenous knowledge, philosophies and reclaiming of+

  • Last night the Federal Labor Opposition Leader, the Hon Bill Shorten MP delivered his Party’s Budget reply to Parliament. Further details are expected to be released during the election campaign but some of the issues in the Budget Reply of interest to local government include: Larger taxation cuts to lower income workers; Transport plans and+

  • Tuesday’s Budget announced the establishment of a new $3.9B Emergency Response Fund. The Fund will be established through legislation as a Commonwealth Investment Fund, and will allocate up to $150M per annum for natural disaster recovery and response initiatives above and beyond existing funding for severe and catastrophic disasters. The additional funding will not interfere+