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  • This week has been National Recycling Week, a chance for councils across Australia to highlight the major role local government plays in dealing with the country’s waste challenges and opportunities. Some held tours of waste transfer and recycling facilities, or promoted the range of recycling services they offer, or will be introducing, or explained the+

  • There are just 10 days left until we welcome delegates to the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf in my home state of South Australia. Around 250 people from around Australia will join us for three days of discussions about the latest developments and trends involving local roads and bridges, traffic management+

  • Local Government will have a role to play in the development of an Indigenous voice to the Government, following moves this week by the federal Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Ken Wyatt. Since the Uluru Statement from the Heart was released in 2017, Indigenous Australians have called for a First Nations Voice enshrined in the Constitution.+

  • This week, on your behalf, I was in Canberra for more meetings with Commonwealth Ministers about drought relief, grants, population and settlement, recycling and disaster mitigation. I thanked Mark Coulton, the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, for the Commonwealth’s earlier round of drought relief, which local councils welcomed, and stressed the need+

  • This week I want to discuss poverty and drought, and the vital role Local Government plays in trying to reduce both. Local Government could say that scourges like poverty and drought are caused by external factors, for others to deal with, but should we? Anti-Poverty Week, which concludes tomorrow, is an annual assessment of the+

  • The annual Stay Smart Online Week draws to a close tomorrow, and this is an opportunity for councils to take stock of their online security measures, and also consider the menace of cyber bullying of councillors and staff. The Commonwealth Government says almost one in three Australian adults fell victim to a cybercrime in 2018,+

  • This edition I want to highlight how local councils around Australia proudly invest in their local communities’ art and cultural sectors. You only need to look at a council’s homepage or its social media presence to see how much we celebrate our artists, festivals and other cultural activities that help define our communities. These activities+

  • There have been many issues affecting regional and rural Australia on which ALGA has been advocating in recent months – jobs, visas and drought assistance. Some three quarters of Australia’s local governments are in rural, remote or regional areas of Australia, with many local governments actively trying to attract and retain workers and residents in+

  • This week I want to give thanks to the many councils and communities across Australia who have rallied in difficult circumstances in the face of weather extremes. The continuing drought across much of the eastern seaboard has been compounded by dozens of bush fires across northern NSW and southern Queensland during the first few weeks+

  • It’s just over nine weeks until our National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hahndorf in the beautiful Adelaide Hills, only half an hour from downtown Adelaide. Registrations are already up on last year, indicating the joint metro and regional focus is hitting the mark. If you haven’t already registered, I encourage you to do+

  • Each year the Federal Government provides billions of dollars to councils across Australia to help them deliver services and infrastructure for their local communities, and by far the largest amount is provided under the Financial Assistance Grants program (FAGs). ALGA’s Fairer Share campaign is aimed at ensuring councils receive a fairer share of federal funding+

  • 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.+

  • This week’s 4 Corners investigation, ‘Cracking Up’, shone a national spotlight on shoddy apartments and building certifications across Australia. We saw problems with buildings such as Opal Tower and Mascot Towers in Sydney with cracked walls and foundations and forced residents to flee, while frustrated owners showed their leaking apartments in Canberra and Melbourne. I+

  • After over a year of calling for national leadership and months of arguing at various ministerial councils on your behalf, ALGA achieved a major breakthrough at COAG last Friday with Prime Minister Morrison and all First Ministers agreeing to join us in the fight against waste, to boost recycling, and to do it onshore. The+

  • Last week on your behalf I attended the meeting of the Transport and Infrastructure Council in Adelaide, at which a major focus was road safety. Road safety is a vital issue for local government, as we are the owners and managers of over 75% of Australia’s roads by length. Some 52% of all casualty crashes+

  • It’s commendable to see so many councils sharing what they do, such as this animation from Shoalhaven City Council (NSW) about the 40 beaches they manage, or this from Bathurst Council in central western NSW which highlighted a local theatre group. On Tuesday 6 August, join them and other councils to make #PartOfYourEveryday trend nationally+

  • Communities across Australia are either currently facing drought, tentatively recovering from it, or have been affected by it in the past. With climate change we are advised to expect more frequent and harsher droughts. Consequently the passing of the Future Drought Fund legislation through Parliament was important for local governments. The fund will be for+

  • Local councils are at the forefront of community efforts to tackle Australia’s worsening housing affordability and homelessness challenges. While people sleeping rough on the street in our capital cities is of course a problem, our communities in rural, regional and remote Australia are also responding to housing challenges including lack of affordable housing, or overcrowding.+

  • Water security and reliability is again in the national headlines following the ABC TV Four Corners report into the Murray Darling Basin, and the Federal Government decision to wind up the Drought Task Force and fold it into the Department of Agriculture. ALGA has expressed its concerns to the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet+

  • This week I’ve been in Canberra, advocating on your behalf to some of the new ministers in the second Morrison Ministry. I appreciated being able to again see Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, so soon after our National General Assembly for Local Government, which the Minister generously+

  • As the Australian economy continues to slow and the global outlook remains uncertain, local government is ready to step up and play its part with infrastructure projects. In recent weeks, the heads of both the Reserve Bank and the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development have highlighted infrastructure investment as a way of+

  • Well, if the huge amount of feedback we received is any guide, what a fabulous National General Assembly we’ve just had! Thank you to the nearly 900 people who travelled to Canberra this week to join us for the Assembly, and the over 250 who attended the most popular and well-received Regional Cooperation and Development+

  • The Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Nationals, the Hon. Michael McCormack MP, the new Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Mark Coulton MP, and the new Shadow Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Jason Clare MP will all be joining us at the largest gathering of local government delegates in Australia in Canberra+

  • Last week on your behalf I welcomed the Morrison Ministry, particularly those ministers and assistant ministers in portfolios encompassing local government, road safety and freight, regional tourism, and waste reduction. This week it was the Opposition’s turn, now led by new Leader Anthony Albanese, to whom I have also written to extend the best wishes+

  • We welcome the new ministry unveiled last weekend by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The new team contains a strong focus on a range of issues facing local governments, including infrastructure, regional development, waste reduction, and road safety and freight. Congratulations firstly to the new Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton. The+

  • Congratulations to Prime Minister Morrison on his victory in the federal election and continuation as Prime Minister after a long campaign that culminated in the 18 May vote. The Prime Minister and the yet to be named incoming Minister for Local Government have the best wishes of councils across Australia as they resume the task+

  • This week ALGA welcomed the Australian Labor Party’s commitments under the Plan for Local Government issued by the Opposition in response to our Federal Election priorities document, All Politics is Local, which we issued last September. Our document identified 12 priorities including restoring funding assistance to local government, improving the safety of local roads, national+

  • The 2019 Federal Election is eight days away, and whilst so far it’s been a lacklustre campaign for local government, to date Labor’s policies are marginally ahead of the Coalition’s, except for local councils fortunate to be in marginal electorates where the results are more mixed. However neither of the major parties have met all+

  • Some 52% of all casualty crashes and 40% of all road deaths occur on local government roads. Around 1,200 people die in crashes on Australia’s roads each year, while 35,000 people are injured and all of us in Local Government have a responsibility to do what we can, as owners and managers of 75% of+

  • 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+

  • 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+

  • 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+

  • This week’s Federal Budget includes an increase in next year’s base funding for the Roads to Recovery program from $400m per annum to $500m per annum from 2019-20, and also sees increases in the annual funding for the Roads Safety Federal Blackspots and the Bridges Renewal programs of $50m and $25m respectively. Regional Airports also+

  • We have now had two weeks to process the awful events in Christchurch and to reflect on the lessons beginning to emerge, including the importance of social cohesion, both in reducing the risks of community discord and division and in helping to strengthen the resilience of communities in facing traumatic events. The outpouring of offers+

  • One of ALGA’s election priorities is to foster indigenous well-being and prosperity. Key to this is closing the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. Only modest progress has been achieved, with only one target met, and Indigenous Australians remain well behind on a range of indicators. Stable, safe and appropriate housing is fundamental to reaching+

  • Local Government Workforce challenges revealed One of local government’s most valuable assets is its workforce and councils across Australia employ around 189,000 across an amazing 394 occupations. Most of our employees are full time (68%), committed, long term employees with the unplanned turnover rate in our sector being a relatively low 8.3%. But we do+

  • We are living through an exciting time in history where gender equality has become an expectation, rather than a far-fetched ambition. The community is increasingly questioning its absence at the same time celebrating a whole new era of heroes (or heroines if you prefer). The tenacious campaigns during the early 20th century by the suffragettes,+

  • The ALGA Secretariat in Canberra has been abuzz with preparations for the upcoming National Assembly of Local Government, which will be held on 16 – 19 June. At last year’s Assembly, the NGA encouraged you to donate coats to support our first partner charity – National Coat Day via Enormity – and we are excited+

  • Do you want to run a mile when invited to an annual Strategic Planning workshop? Yet we all know it is a vital process in local government to ensure our limited resources will be applied to the most important tasks in the coming year. Population, infrastructure and planning, waste and recycling, workforce development, and services+

  • Should there be consistency of Local Government Acts across states and territories in Australia? I had the opportunity last week to speak at the WALGA Future of Local Government State-wide Forum and offer a possible answer to this question by looking at Local Government Act trends in Australia. Local government is a creature of the+

  • New Year etiquette would suggest that today is perhaps a little late to send you good cheer for the new year, but as this is the first ALGA Newsedition of 2019, I wanted to take this opportunity to wish you a prosperous New Year and every success in the year to come! I trust you all+

  • Improving population planning and management was the hot topic at Wednesday’s COAG meeting of First Ministers, which I attended as local government’s representative. It seems everyone has an opinion on population, and that would be reasonable given its far reaching consequences – be it pressures on infill, or fringe areas of the city being developed+

  • The nation’s environment ministers will meet today at Parliament House in Canberra to review the proposed updated National Waste Policy and discuss other national environmental issues. I’m looking forward to attending in my official capacity as ALGA President and ensuring the issues important to our sector get some traction at this influential forum. In particular,+