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ALGA News archive 2018
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08 June 2018
President's column
Will you be attending this year's local government Assembly and Regional Forum in just over a week? One of the highlights of this year's Regional Forum will once again be the launch of the State of the Regions report, which draws on the latest data and analysis to describe the performance of Australia's regions. I can tell you from the data we've received from this year's report that it will paint a picture of the importance of opportunities for human interaction in our communities
New Infrastructure Australia incentive-based modelling
New economic modelling released by Infrastructure Australia shows that introducing incentive payments to encourage the states and territories to progress nation-shaping infrastructure reforms could boost the economy by $66 billion and deliver better infrastructure for our growing cities and regions. Infrastructure Australia has published a new report in the infrastructure Reform Series, Making Reform Happen, which argues that the Australian Government should make additional investments in state and territory infrastructure - over and above existing commitments - in return for the delivery of much-needed reforms.
New Parliamentary inquiry into PFAS contamination
A new Parliamentary inquiry will examine the Commonwealth Government's management of (PFAS) contamination in and around Defence bases. The inquiry will be conducted by the PFAS Sub-Committee of Parliament's Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade. The Sub-Committee is chaired by Mr Andrew Laming MP. Mr Laming said the inquiry will examine the progress of the Commonwealth Government's response to and management of PFAS contamination.
01 June 2018
President's column
This week is Reconciliation Week, a terrific time to reflect, to celebrate, and to build stronger connections between our ancient and modern histories. It's also a time to build deeper relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. Many local councils play a leadership role in this space, hosting events, engaging with local schools, and advancing local engagement as we strive towards a truly reconciled history.
5 mins with... Warren Overton (CEO, Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform Limited)
Warren Overton, CEO Australia and New Zealand Recycling Platform Limited, has more than 20 years' experience in government, education, not-for-profit, and the private sector. He has worked in government policy and program delivery, facilities management, sustainability consulting and association management which has provided him with a broad experience base. Warren is also an experienced trainer, facilitator and public speaker with a passion for sustainability and innovation
Reflections on the past pave the road to reconciliation
This year's National Reconciliation Week theme was Don't Keep History a Mystery: Learn. Share. Grow. It encouraged all Australians to unearth our shared past and discover more about Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and cultures. Reconciliation Action Plan Project Manager at the Federal Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Casey Millward, said the week invited Australians to ask themselves: what are some of the things I don't know about our history?
25 May 2018
President's column
It's terrific when we stand up for the sector and have a win, in this case with the biggest movers in the nation. Recently, the Federal Government released the report of the 'Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities'. The Inquiry was conducted by a four-member panel of senior industry experts to inform the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy. It's an initiative of the COAG Transport and Infrastructure Council
Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities released
The Australian Government has today released the Inquiry into National Freight and Supply Chain Priorities Report and commenced discussions with State Governments on priority actions. 54 priority actions have been identified by the independent Expert Panel, which undertook the inquiry in consultation with industry. The actions will inform the development of a National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy through the Council of Australian Governments Transport and Infrastructure Council to ensure our freight transport system meet the needs of a growing Australia.
5 minutes with... Andrew Motherway (Industry Lead, Government at Microsoft Australia)
Adrian Motherway is the Government Industry Leader at Microsoft Australia and works with public sector executives across the country to help them achieve their goals through the thoughtful application of transformative technologies. Adrian believes that technology, used appropriately, has the potential to help people and organisations do and achieve more and can empower cities to be more sustainable, prosperous, and inclusive.
18 May 2018
President's column
Will your voice be heard? This year's NGA, set to convene next month in Canberra (17-20 June), is shaping up to be a showdown between the political parties in the lead up to the next federal election. As there is a strong possibility of the federal election being called later this year or early next, we all need to be ready to speak up on behalf of our communities and this NGA will be the perfect opportunity for you to contribute
Govt summary of what Federal Budget delivered for regions
On 8 May 2018, the Australian Government released the Regional Ministerial Budget Statement Regional Australia - A Stronger Economy Delivering Stronger Regions 2018-19. This statement outlines more than 500 measures that benefit regional Australia across health, education, employment, infrastructure, telecommunications, agriculture and other portfolios. With more people calling regional Australia home each year, the Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, and the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP, said that it is clear
Six Kyogle Council bridges upgraded under Bridges Renewal Program
Kyogle Council opened five upgraded bridges on Gradys Creek Road, and another on Lions Road, all funded under the Australian Government's Bridges Renewal Program. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, said the $3.95 million investment saw Kyogle Council's bridge crews, with the help of piling and concreting sub-contractors, build five new composite-fibre bridges on Gradys Creek Road and one new steel truss bridge on Lions Road.
11 May 2018
President's column
The much-anticipated 2018/19 Federal Budget was handed down on Tuesday and focused on the big-ticket items of infrastructure investment and lowering taxation rates. For our sector, this was a status quo budget with no new extra funding for local government. We're grateful that key funding streams such as Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), Roads to Recovery (R2R), the Bridges Renewal Program, Black Spot Program and the Building Better Regions Fund went untouched and will continue at current levels.
Budget overview for local government
The Turnbull Government's 2018/19 Federal Budget has left local government funding untouched with funding in key programs such as Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) and Roads to Recovery (R2R) to continue at current levels. The Federal Budget also delivered a continuation of the Bridges Renewal Program, the Black Spot Program, the Building Better Regions Fund and Safer Communities Fund. The Government additionally committed $29.7 million to deliver up to 500 local community sporting infrastructure grants of up to $500,000 to improve community sporting facilities.
5 minutes with...Warwick Powell, Founder and Director, Sister City Partners
Warwick Powell is the founder and director of Sister City Partners (SCP), an organisation that works with communities to rebuild regional economies via a not-for-profit regional investment banking model. Passionate about the challenges and opportunities of Australia's regions, Warwick is also a director of a number of companies in Australia and Hong Kong involved in investment banking, big data analytics, renewable energy and agribusiness services.
04 May 2018
President's column
The restoration of indexation to Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) announced in last year's budget was warmly welcomed by our sector, but we were left picking up the pieces after the three-year freeze permanently reduced the base level of the FAGs payments. Will this Tuesday's Federal Budget help fill the gap? With the permanent dent made to our core grant stream, this year ALGA urged the Government to help local communities build their economic resilience by investing in infrastructure, investing in job creation and providing continued support for essential community services.
Applications now open for Round 2 Smart Cities and Suburbs Program
Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, has announced that applications are now open for Round Two of the Government's Smart Cities and Suburbs Program, which commits $22 million to support local governments to solve local problems. "Local governments are encouraged to make submissions that deliver innovative, technology-based approaches to improve the liveability and increase the productivity and sustainability of Australia's cities, suburbs and towns," Mr Fletcher said.
ALGA Vice-President Damien Ryan joins climate advisory panel
ALGA Vice-President and Alice Springs Mayor Damien Ryan has been announced as an expert advisor to Australia's largest local government climate network. The newly-announced Cities Power Partnership expert advisory panel will provide specialist guidance to the climate network, which currently has 70 member councils who together represent more than 8 million Australians. The advisory panel will meet annually to help to set future direction for the partnership.
27 April 2018
President's column
Today I attended the Meeting of Environment Ministers where the topical issue of waste and recycling was discussed at length. The meeting was chaired by the Commonwealth Minister for the Environment and Energy, the Hon Josh Frydenberg MP, who expressed immediate support for more sustainable solutions. In opening the meeting, Minister Frydenberg invited me to speak about the impact of the China Sword import restrictions on local councils - some immediately, most over coming months or at their next pricing cycle.
Registrations now open for local government roads congress
Registrations have opened for the 2018 National Local Roads and Transport Congress, which will be held on 20-22 November in Alice Springs. The theme of this year's congress is 'Connecting Transport Networks Now and into the Future', recognising the importance of improved transport connectivity to the economic well-being of Australia. Sessions at the congress will acknowledge and discuss the critical role of local roads and bridges in connecting individuals, communities and businesses and often providing connectivity between major freight routes.
Calls made for an independent freight body
A new report by Infrastructure Partnerships Australia, Fixing Freight: Establishing Freight Performance Australia, has called on the Federal Government to establish an independent freight body to arrest the decline in Australia's trade competitiveness. "Australia's freight network is the backbone of our competitiveness. It contributes $170bn to our economy, yet we lack clarity on why we do freight badly compared to our international peers," said IPA Chief Executive Adrian Dwyer.
20 April 2018
President's column
The issue of waste and recycling has reared its head again this week following the decision by Ipswich City Council to send the recycled materials it collects kerb-side to landfill. This decision came about during contractual negotiations with a new contractor whereby unsustainable cost burdens would have been put on council and its rate payers.
Not long left for NGA early bird registrations
Don't miss the early bird registration discount for this year's National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), which will be held from 17 to 20 June in Canberra. Early bird registrations are set to close on 4 May 2018.
Queensland govt working with councils on waste
The Queensland Government has announced that it will work with councils and industry on a zero-waste future. Deputy Premier and Treasurer Jackie Trad said the time to act was now, given the unprecedented decision of the Ipswich City Council to start dumping recycling in landfill
13 April 2018
President's column
The opportunities and pressing need for constitutional change, and in particular local government's efforts towards constitutional recognition, have been top of mind this week as the Federal Government continues to consider whether amendments are needed to section 44 of the constitution in light of the double citizenship saga last year.
Opportunity to include your projects in ALGA's Community Infrastructure Ideas Register
Does your council have a list of potential community infrastructure projects that need funding? In the next Federal election, ALGA will be advocating for the establishment of a Community Infrastructure Program with funding of $300 million per annum for four years.
Regional Growth Fund applications close in two weeks
Councils have just two weeks left to apply for a portion of the Federal Government's $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund. On 2 March 2018 the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP, Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, announced the opening for initial applications to the fund.
06 April 2018
President's column
It's budget season in Canberra and now is the time make our shared budget aspirations known to our Federal representatives. ALGA has put together a Federal Budget Submission with recommendations that are designed to benefit every community by improving local services and infrastructure, promoting fairness and boosting local, regional and national productivity.
Annual progress report of Australia's first City Deal
According to its first annual progress report, the Townsville City Deal is already creating more local jobs and attracting additional investment to Townsville. Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said progress to date on Australia's first City Deal was a great example of collaboration between all levels of government and the local community.
Make the most of opportunities to use solar power
A project that will inform decisions about how urban planners and home owners can make the most of opportunities to use solar power has been launched by Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.
30 March 2018
Focus on road safety
It is the time of year when governments turn their attention to road safety. Some adopt temporary measures designed to enforce road discipline, such as double demerit points. Many run awareness campaigns.
Building Big Australia
More than $55 billion of nation-shaping projects need to be developed in Australia over the next 15 years, according to Infrastructure Australia's updated Priority List.
President's column
Easter is a popular time for driving long distances to holiday destinations. We all long for a happy time, however our risk of being involved in an accident triples in the first 24 hours of the break.
23 March 2018
Putting the case on recycling
ALGA representatives appeared before a Senate Committee public hearing this week to put the association's views on waste and recycling.
Art museum on the way
Mayor Kim O Keeffe recently welcomed federal and state politicians to Shepparton for an update on the city's art museum project to be built at Victoria Park Lake.
President's column
The recycling issue continues to make headlines, with the Queensland Government this week moving towards the reintroduction of a waste levy.
16 March 2018
President's column
If housing affordability is related to demand, and demand is related to population growth, is it okay to ask if we have a population policy?
Call for action on recycling
The Federal Government should send a clear message that the challenge facing the recycling industry is a priority issue needing a national response, a Canberra meeting was told.
Pledge not to sledge
It's time for respect to go viral, the Mayor of Redland City Karen Williams believes. She is leading a social media campaign to bring civility back into public discourse.
09 March 2018
President's column
Unfortunately councils too often find themselves in the position of attempting to sort out problems created for them by the actions of State and Federal governments.
'Carrot and stick' call for councils
A new report by the Grattan Institute calls for the adoption of a carrot and stick approach to councils in the pursuit of housing supply and affordability.
News in brief
DESPITE widespread damage caused by recent flooding in north and western Queensland, locals have welcomed the rain after a long drought. Mount Isa City Council Mayor Joyce McCulloch said though council crews were kept busy with repairs on the weekend the weather was welcome. The rain had already filled Lake Julius and substantially boosted water levels at Lake Moondarra.
02 March 2018
President's column
The next two state elections, Tasmania this weekend and South Australia on St Patrick's Day, March 17, pose specific threats to local government.
Communications claim more space
The size of some telecommunications facilities will be allowed to increase, under changes announced by the Federal Government on Thursday.
Key points for councils in infrastructure report
The recently released report on cities from Infrastructure Australia contains some key recommendations which are of considerable interest to Local Government.
23 February 2018
Minister McVeigh meets ALGA Board
THE FINANCIAL stability of Local Government was a key aspect of talks this week between the ALGA Board and Federal Regional Development and Local Government Minister John McVeigh.
Victorian councils confront recycling realities
WARRNAMBOOL City Council says its ratepayers face hikes of between $40-50 next year as a result of the collapse in the global market for recyclable materials.
President's column
LIKE A SLOW-motion car crash, the unfolding crisis in the waste and recycling industry is looking worse by the minute for Local Government, particularly in Victoria.
16 February 2018
US study confirms mitigation's cost-effectiveness
EVERY dollar spent on increasing the resilience of existing buildings saves $6 in property losses, health costs, and business interruptions, new US research has found.
President's column
THE DEBATE around reducing indigenous disadvantage is usually so steeped in disappointment it's hard to see the upside, or to even consider how we in Local Government could play a key role.
09 February 2018
President's column
THIS WEEK's COAG meeting will be discussing a range of important issues, not the least of which is the child sexual abuse inquiry and the implications for Local Government.
Recyclables outlook continues to worsen
THE RIPPLES from China's waste import ban and the depressed recyclables market are continuing to spread, with further stockpiling of council collections a near inevitability.
NSW councils 'need to lift reporting standards'
LOCAL Government in NSW is not doing enough to demonstrate competent service delivery to its constituents, says the state's Auditor-General.
02 February 2018
Outlook for recyclables continues to worsen
THE RIPPLES from China's waste import ban and the depressed recyclables market are continuing to spread, with more stockpiling of kerbside collections an inevitability.
Toowoomba 'a model for decentralisation'
REGIONAL Development Minister John McVeigh says Toowoomba's emergence as a major regional centre is a strong advertisement for federal decentralisation.
President's column
THE PROSPECTS of achieving tangible social housing justice for remote Indigenous communities are at risk.
26 January 2018
Funding confirmed for Launceston City Deal
PRIME MINISTER Malcolm Turnbull has confirmed the Commonwealth will invest $130 million in the Launceston City Deal, and set in motion a deal for Hobart.
Trauma surgeon wants national black spot program scrapped
LEADING surgeon John Crozier says the 'flawed' national black spot program needs to be replaced by a more proactive road improvement strategy.
President's column
WHETHER you're enjoying the last of your summer holidays or you're already back at your desk, Happy New Year. It's shaping as an exciting and important time for Local Government.

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