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ALGA News archive 2018
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14 December 2018
President's column
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 and farmland being consumed, or even the development of fringe suburbs without the proximity of jobs.
Adelaide gets new city deal
On 12 December 2018, the Australian and South Australian governments signed a Memorandum of Understanding, agreeing to develop a city deal for Adelaide. Key to the new Adelaide City Deal will be an Australian Space Agency, to be located at the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site, with the Federal Government committing to invest $41 million into the agency.
NGA19: ALGA calling for motions!
ALGA is now calling for Notices of Motions for the National General Assembly 2019 (NGA). The NGA will be celebrating 25 years in 2019! Over the past 25 years, the NGA has provided a platform for local government to address national issues and lobby the federal government on critical issues facing our sector.
07 December 2018
Regional telecommunications report tabled
Minister for Regional Services, Senator Bridget McKenzie, has tabled the report of the 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review, which makes a series of recommendations to improve telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia. The report 2018 Regional Telecommunications Review: Getting it right out there puts forward 10 recommendations to: improve access to telecommunications infrastructure, ensure modern and appropriate consumer protections and promote digital inclusion.
Commonwealth pledge to boost firefighting capabilities & community preparedness
The Federal Government has pledged to invest $26 million to boost aerial firefighting capabilities across Australia, support a new national fire rating program and extend funding for a community alert system. The funding will help support Australians confronting the challenges of natural hazards and reduce the impact they have on communities and the economy.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Support local government's current work in addressing affordable housing and homelessness issues
The lack of affordable rental properties and affordable home ownership is causing significant social and economic impacts in Australia's cities and regions. Homelessness and housing stress can profoundly affect the mental and physical health of individuals and families, as well as impact on their education and employment opportunities and their ability to participate fully in the community.
30 November 2018
New national guidance for public information and warnings
The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience have recently published the Public Information and Warnings Handbook - the authoritative national guide for those who provide warnings before, during and after emergencies. The handbook outlines evidence-based, nationally-agreed principles and provides guidance on developing and issuing warnings. The handbook promotes a coordinated approach to warnings, recognising that all levels of government have responsibilities as well as emergency services organisations, the community, industry, business and the media.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Support communities on their digital transformation journeys
Without additional funding and a broadening of the Commonwealth's Smart Cities and Suburbs initiative, there is a risk the benefit of investments in smart technologies will not be fully realised. Many communities will be left behind and the full benefits of the digital economy will not be realised across Australia. Linked-up, smart communities will foster decentralisation and ensure equitable access to the benefits of the knowledge economy.
ALGA to get a seat at National Biosecurity Committee table
The Federal Government has released its national response to the independent review of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Biosecurity (IGAB), accepting all 42 recommendations including recommendation 19 to include the ALGA CEO on the National Biosecurity Committee. The government agreed to the recommendation in principle stating that "Ministers recognise local governments play an important role in biosecurity and are integral to successful consultation. As such, the ALGA will be invited to be an observer of the NBC."
23 November 2018
President's column
In 2012, a young Sarah Frazer's car broke down. Jammed up to a guardrail and straddling the edge of the inner highway lane, she and her tow truck driver were killed instantly by a distracted driver. Although the driver was guilty of dangerous driving, the road was also at fault by not being constructed to Austroads standards requiring sufficient room to pull off the road safely.
One in five local timber bridges in poor state
ALGA has renewed its call for permanency of the federal Bridges Renewal Program to help fix the roughly one in five local timber bridges that are in poor condition, following findings in the 2018 National State of the Assets: Roads and Community Infrastructure Report launched at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Alice Springs. ALGA President, Mayor David O'Loughlin, said that despite increased investment to renew bridges and the continued effort of councils
2019 Local Government Roads and Transport Agenda
The latest roads agenda for local government has been launched at the recent Roads Congress held in Alice Springs. The document, targeted at councils, highlights some of the challenges facing local governments in the transport arena and also outlines opportunities provided by these challenges. This includes:
16 November 2018
President's column
Alice Springs is set to host ALGA's 2018 National Local Roads and Transport Congress from next Tuesday. From fuel taxes, road funding, road safety and design standards to recycled content, freight impacts, automation and permits, the congress will be buzzing with all this and more as we hear from national specialists and local government gurus. Transport systems across the globe being disrupted and there is no doubt that if current trends continue
Regional road-sharing campaign launched
A new road safety initiative designed to improve regional road sharing between large agricultural vehicles and other road-users is being rolled out to coincide with the upcoming summer harvest period. The National Farmers' Federations' (NFF) 'Common Roads, Common Sense' campaign is being funded by $250,000 from the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator's (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative (HVSI) program. An educational message will be delivered through a series of radio, online and video clips targeting regional road users throughout the nation.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Foster Indigenous well-being and prosperity
Initiatives aimed at closing the gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians in the areas of housing, health, early childhood development, education, economic participation and remote service delivery are vital if our nation is to overcome the economic and social costs of entrenched disadvantage in our Indigenous communities. Water and sewerage infrastructure provision has not kept pace with population growth in remote Indigenous communities. As a result, in some jurisdictions new housing and other new buildings cannot be connected to services due to a lack of capacity.
09 November 2018
President's column
Did you know there are 4.3 million people living with disability in our communities? Many often face social isolation and our arts and community centres, and even our men s sheds and sporting clubs can provide life-changing opportunities for social interaction, participation and meaning.
ALGA sets sights on the future at 2019 NGA
ALGA is keeping its sights set firmly on the future as it reveals the theme for the 2019 National General Assembly of Local Government: Future Focused. Australian Futurist, author, technologist and speaker Steve Sammartino has already been confirmed as a keynote speaker. Steve wrote his first lines of computer code at age 10 and is one of Australia s most respected futurists.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Promote healthier communities
It is estimated that around 10% of Gross Domestic Product is spent on health care. With the cost of health care only increasing, greater priority needs to be given to preventative health to keep people well and to reduce the burden on the hospital and primary care system.
02 November 2018
President's column
Every year, more than 1200 people are killed on Australian roads and this count has been increasing in recent years, not decreasing. More than half of these deaths occur in regional and remote Australia, despite two thirds of Australians living in cities. NSW research reveals nearly 70% of regional deaths are regional people. The only acceptable road toll is zero
Round 6 of Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program open for applications
The Federal Government is now seeking applications for projects to undertake safety and access works at remote aerodromes under round six of its Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program. Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals' Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the program was about improving the safety and accessibility of airstrips across remote Australia to better connect communities to the services they need to survive and thrive.
Federal contribution to Geelong City Deal announced
The Federal Government has announced a contribution of $154 million to the Geelong City Deal. The Government has said that the deal will unlock the economic potential of the region's tourism industry, revitalise the Geelong city centre and boost emerging businesses. Minister for Cities, Urban Infrastructure and Population Alan Tudge said the investment would support the continued transformation of Geelong by leveraging the strengths of the city and region.
26 October 2018
President's column
Drought is slowly strangling the eastern half - and many other locations - of Australia with hundreds of local communities struggling from farm gate to the shop cash register. The outlook points to worsening conditions as we move into summer. The Prime Minister convened a National Summit in Canberra, which is being held today, to focus on what has been done
Regional Growth Fund - council projects proceed to assessment stage
Seven transformational council regional infrastructure projects are a step closer to becoming a reality with applicants asked to submit full business cases for approval under the Australian Government's $272.2 million Regional Growth Fund. The Regional Growth Fund will provide grants of $10 million or more for major projects that support long-term economic growth and create jobs in regional areas
Innovation in waste tyre management
One of the biggest markets for end of life tyres in Australia, and around the world, is in the roads sector. Australia has a long history of rubber crumb utilisation in roads dating back to the 1970's. The road construction sector remains one of the most active users of tyre-derived products (TDPs) in Australia.
19 October 2018
President's column
Did you know it's Anti-Poverty Week this week? Or that poverty and severe hardship affects a staggering 3 million Australians, including 739,000 children, who are currently living below the internationally-accepted poverty line. These are hard numbers to ignore. This year's Poverty in Australia report by the Australian Council of Social Service shows that most of those affected are living in deep poverty, on average living on $135 per week below the poverty line.
Principles released for Federal Government's Roads of Strategic Importance initiative
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack has moved the Australian Government's Roads of Strategic Importance (ROSI) initiative forward and publicly released the principles which will be used to guide the identification of priority road corridors. The Australian Government is set to invest $3.5 billion through the (ROSI) initiative to deliver works such as road sealing, flood immunity, strengthening and widening, pavement rehabilitation, bridge and culvert upgrades and road realignments.
Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program now open
Earlier in the week, the Australian Government released the guidelines for Round 4 of the Mobile Black Spot Program and called for applications from mobile network operators and infrastructure providers, including local government, to the Round 4 competitive assessment process. The Government has committed $25 million to this round which will provide more mobile coverage to regional and remote areas across Australia. This includes targeting mobile black spot issues at regional and remote 'public interest premises'
12 October 2018
President's column
You know what it's like in local government - unless you acknowledge a complainant's issues, and take responsibility for how you've managed the complaint, good or bad, it's difficult to agree a way forward. It's the same with the child abuse inquiry, and the upcoming aged care inquiry. So too it must be with our collective reconciliation and healing journey. This is according to Reconciliation Australia and The Healing Foundation, which held a Truth Telling Symposium that I attended this week.
Additional $75m available for drought-hit communities
Drought affected communities will soon see relief flowing in the form of $1 million in grants to local government areas to help stimulate regional and rural economies. The Drought Communities Programme extension grant hub recently opened and drought-impacted councils have already begun submitting their applications. Nearly one third of eligible councils have started the process since the guidelines were released on 28 September
National Road Safety Governance review announced
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack has announced a new Review of National Road Safety Governance. The Review is one of 12 recommendations put forward by the independent inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy (NRSS) 2011-2020, initiated by the Australian Government in September 2017. Mr McCormack said it was important for work on the Governance Review to start as soon as possible
05 October 2018
President's column
With two local government elections underway and others on the horizon, I thought it would be an ideal time to raise the issues of cyberbullying, trolling and other challenges social media can generate. Before social media, community feedback was provided face-to-face in the street or by letters written by hand or typed by an individual or on behalf of a group. Candidate campaigns were conducted by flyers, door knocks and through community meetings.
Chain of Responsibility changes commence
Ensuring greater safety through Australia's transport supply chain is the focus of changes to Chain of Responsibility laws which took effect from 1 October. Consultation to amend the laws started in 2015 with the National Transport Commission engaging in talks to gather feedback from regulatory agencies and industry groups throughout Australia. The Australian Government also invested more than $800,000 through the Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiatives project over two years
Not long left for Roads Congress early bird registrations
Don't miss the early bird registration discount for this year's National Local Roads and Transport Congress, which will be held from 20 to 22 November in Alice Springs. Early bird registrations are set to close on 12 October 2018. The theme for this year's Roads Congress is 'Connecting transport networks now and into the future' reflecting that local roads and bridges connect individuals, communities and businesses and often provide connectivity between major freight routes
28 September 2018
New funding round now open for Building Better Regions Fund
Regional tourism and local jobs are front and centre of the latest round of the Building Better Regions Fund, with regional Australia set to share in $200 million for local infrastructure and community-building projects. Deputy Prime Minister, Nationals' Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development the Hon Michael McCormack MP said applications opened for Round 3 on Thursday.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Realise the productive potential of Australia's freight routes
The efficient movement of freight is essential in a national economy but bottlenecks and pinchpoints on local road networks are increasing the time it takes for freight to travel from sender to receiver. ALGA is calling for the next Federal Government to fund a Local Government Higher Productivity Investment Plan starting at $200 million per annum over five years to help councils address this important issue.
President's column
Australia's 2025 National Packaging Targets were announced this week at an industry event that I attended convened by the Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO). The targets aim to reduce packaging waste and improve recycling in Australia while building on commitments made by the Commonwealth, state and territory environment ministers and ALGA in April this year to set a sustainable path for Australia's recyclable waste.
21 September 2018
New approach needed for cities
The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities has this week tabled its report on the development of cities. The report, titled Building Up and Moving Out, calls for the development of a national plan of settlement, providing a national vision for our cities and regions across the next fifty years. Committee Chair John Alexander says population growth, urbanisation, the ageing of the population
Arts and Cultural Ministers meeting
A meeting of Arts and Cultural Ministers was held in Canberra on Friday 14 September 2018. ALGA Vice President, Mayor Damien Ryan, attended as local government's representative. At this meeting, Ministers endorsed the consultation plan for a renewed National Arts Disability Strategy and agreed to launch the consultation period on 24 September 2018 at Meeting Place, Australia's leading arts and disability conference.
ALGA federal election advocacy focus: Repair funding to local government
In its recently launched federal election document, ALGA has called for the repair of federal funding to local government stating that the current funding arrangements for local government are no longer fit for purpose. The Commonwealth Government's funding to local government through Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) is critically important. Untied in the hands of councils, the FAGs enable councils to provide a mix of services and infrastructure appropriate to their local circumstances and maintain the well-being of their communities.
14 September 2018
President's column
Have the major political parties lost touch with what's important at the local community level? According to the results of a poll commissioned by ALGA, Australians certainly think so - 81% agreed that political candidates should focus on local issues and local communities at the next federal election. In a bid to refocus the major parties back to what's important for local communities, ALGA has this week launched its federal election document
Australians agree, federal election focus should be local
Findings of a poll published in ALGA's federal election document launched yesterday have revealed that 81% of Australians agree that political candidates should focus on local issues and local communities at the next federal election. Under the theme 'all politics is local', the election document outlines 12 ways political parties and their candidates can keep the election local and deliver for Australian communities.
Government welcomes independent road safety inquiry
The Australian Government initiated an inquiry into the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS) in 2017. On 12 September 2018 the National Road Safety Strategy 2011-2020 (NRSS) Inquiry panel provided its report to the Australian Government at Parliament House. The inquiry focused on the current system's safety, while recognising that modal shifts in transport, urban planning, technology, data, users, usage and cultural factors can and will be important.
07 September 2018
President's column
Late last year, councils were asked to complete a survey as part of the Australian Research Council's Local Government and Housing in the 21st Century Linkage Project, led by Professor Andrew Beer of the University of South Australia. We now have the results of that survey, compiled in the recently-released report Housing Locally, and the findings challenge many of the preconceptions of the federal and state governments around the role of local government and housing
Councils share in $150m program as part of Western Sydney City Deal
Eight local councils across the future Western Parkland City will share in a $150 million Liveability Program to provide high quality community infrastructure and public spaces, as part of the Western Sydney City Deal. The Federal and State governments are each contributing $60 million with councils providing a further $30 million to the Liveability Fund to improve parks and community spaces needed for a growing population.
2018 Roads Congress to tackle road safety
In February 2012, 23-year-old Sarah Frazer was on her way to begin University when her car broke down. After pulling into the emergency breakdown lane, Sarah called for assistance. As a tow-truck driver was hooking up her car, a truck side-swiped the broken-down car and collided with the pair, killing them both instantly. Although the driver was found guilty of dangerous driving, the road was also at fault by not meeting the standards required to allow sufficient room to pull off the road safely.
31 August 2018
President's column
I would like to extend a warm welcome, on behalf of the sector, to our new Federal minister, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, who was sworn in on Tuesday as the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation in Prime Minister Scott Morrison's new ministry. As the President of ALGA, I am determined to build on the already strong relationship that exists between the Commonwealth and local government.
Statement from the incoming federal local government minister
It is an incredible privilege to serve the Australian people in these portfolios. The Regional Services portfolio is a continuation of my current portfolios of Rural Health and Regional Communications and I'm thrilled to be able to continue our work on delivering more doctors and digital connectivity to regional Australia. There are some exciting developments coming up in these areas, including the delivery of the National Rural Health Strategy and the National Ice Strategy
Community Sport Infrastructure grants program
Eligible organisations can apply for grants up to $500,000 to upgrade and develop local community sport infrastructure in 2018-19. The new grant program will support local communities to develop facilities that encourage greater levels of participation in community sport and physical activity, offer safer and more inclusive sporting environments and develop local community sporting hubs. Program guidelines and information regarding the Community Sport Infrastructure grant program is available at
24 August 2018
2018-19 Financial Assistance Grants first quarterly payment
The Government's first quarterly payment under the 2018-19 Financial Assistance Grant program has been delivered to the states and territories for distribution to local councils across the country. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Dr John McVeigh said the $307 million allocated this quarter will be spent in local priority areas including health, recreation, environment, employment and road projects.
First-of-its-kind regional partnership
The Tasmanian and south-west Western Australian members of the national Regional Development Australia (RDA) network have formally agreed to establish a collaborative working relationship designed to support economic growth in their regions. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Dr John McVeigh said the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by representatives of RDA Tasmania and RDA South West marks a significant shift in the way the RDA network operates.
President's column
It's been an animated and dramatic week in Canberra that has culminated with a new leadership team for the Liberals. We welcome Hon Scott Morrison MP to the country's top job as the new Prime Minister, and Hon Josh Frydenberg MP as his Deputy in the Liberal Party. Scott Morrison was the Treasurer who ended the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants indexation and Josh Frydenberg has been very helpful in letting ALGA address the Meeting of Environment Ministers around waste and recycling issues,
17 August 2018
Federal funding for 'black spots' in Victoria
Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister and Member for Hinkler, Keith Pitt, and Member for McMillan, Russell Broadbent, have announced $14.7 million for Victoria under the Black Spot Program's 2018-19 funding round. They were joined by the RACV's Mobility Advocacy Manager and Member of the Victorian Black Spot Consultative Panel, Dave Jones, at the site of a black spot in Bunyip, where more than $850,000 has been allocated to install a new guard rail.
Invitation to participate in draft Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018 consultation
On 27 July 2018 the Commonwealth Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, the Hon. David Littleproud, on behalf of the Great Artesian Basin Ministers released the draft Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018 for public consultation. The Department of Agriculture and Water Resources has invited the local government sector to participate in the consultation process that has now commenced. The Great Artesian Basin is one of the largest underground freshwater resources in the world.
President's column
Although it is now expected that a federal election will not eventuate until early next year, I have taken the opportunity to advance our sector's shared priorities with key politicians in Canberra this week - and I can tell you they are well and truly in 'election listening' mode. If you were one of the nearly 900 delegates at our National General Assembly in June this year, you will recall our top 12 election priorities, developed in consultation with your state and territory local government associations.
10 August 2018
President's column
Having a place to call home is a fundamental human right, but unfortunately too many people in our communities find themselves without a roof over their head - often for reasons beyond their control. It's Homelessness Week and we're reminded that homelessness is one of the most potent examples of disadvantage in the community, and one of the most important markers of social exclusion. The statistics are alarming:
First-of-its-kind report shines a spotlight on Australia's 'rough sleepers'
On Census night in 2016, around 8,200 Australians were 'sleeping rough' - living on the streets, sleeping in parks, squatting, staying in cars or living in improvised dwellings. For the first time, a new report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) provides insights into this complex and vulnerable group in our society. The report Sleeping rough: A profile of Specialist Homelessness Services clients, uses 4 years of Specialist Homelessness Services (SHS) data
Applications for Round 4 of the Stronger Communities Programme are now open
Communities across Australia are set to share in $22.5 million to improve local infrastructure and provide essential community equipment with applications now open for Round 4 of the Stronger Communities Programme. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the program is aimed at funding projects that deliver social benefits.
03 August 2018
President's column
It was promising to see the Government reinforce its commitment this week to the Community Sport Infrastructure Grant Program announced in the 2018-19 Federal Budget. However, there is so much more that councils could do in partnership with the Commonwealth to address public health issues, including obesity. Overweight and obesity is a major public health issue in Australia but is particularly concerning among our kids and teens
Funding boost to build better community resilience to natural disasters in NSW
Communities in New South Wales will receive $1.22 million in grants under the Community Resilience Innovation Program to boost their resilience to natural disasters. The assistance is part of the jointly-funded Commonwealth-State National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience. The funding will support 14 projects designed to improve disaster resilience in New South Wales and support communities to better withstand natural disasters and minimise impacts.
Sport2030 announcement reinforces commitment to community sports infrastructure grant
The Government has unveiled Sport 2030, a plan to reshape the face of Australian sport and build a healthier, more physically active nation. In the announcement, Senator the Hon. Bridget McKenzie, Minister for Sport, Minister for Rural Health and Minister for Regional Communications, said the plan will help to get more Australians more active, more often, drive sporting excellence and success, safeguard the integrity of sport, and strengthen the sports industry.
27 July 2018
President's column
On Monday night, I had the privilege of representing local government on the ABC's Q&A program and engaging in the national debate on how we can, as a nation, do better with our recycling. It was a delight to join other panel members - Craig Reucassel, host of ABC's War on Waste, Ronni Kahn, CEO & Founder of OzHarvest, Gayle Sloan, CEO of the Waste Management Association of Australia, and Jo Taranto who joined the panel as the People's Panelist - to talk about this important issue. It was clear from the show that our communities are not only interested in recycling, but are passionate about it and as the level of government closest to communities, I believe it's our duty to support this passion. We don't want to see the confidence our communities have in recycling collapse.
Infrastructure Australia sets new benchmark for project transparency and accountability
Infrastructure Australia has released new guidelines to drive greater transparency and accountability in infrastructure decision-making and reduce instances of major projects receiving funding before appropriate planning and assessment have been released. Developed out of a recommendation in the 2016 Australian Infrastructure Plan, the Infrastructure Decision-making Principles are designed to ensure major public infrastructure investments deliver the best outcomes for the community.
Future of heavy vehicle road user charges
A Regulation Impact Statement looking at options for different ways to set heavy vehicle road user charges has been released for comment. The Transport and Infrastructure Council of COAG agreed in November 2017 to assess the costs and benefits of independent price regulation and a forward-looking cost base which would provide a more transparent way of setting charges. Heavy vehicle operators currently pay for access to public roads through the federally managed fuel-based road user charge and state government vehicle registration fees,
20 July 2018
President's column
The severe weather season will be with us before we know it. This year it will be covered under the new and improved Disaster Recover Funding Arrangements which will formally come into operation on 1 November 2018, five months later than originally anticipated. The new start date means all eligible events occurring up to and including 31 October 2018 will be governed by the current Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Determination 2017.
Green light for 136 regional projects
The Federal Government has announced that it will invest more than $208 million in 136 projects under round two of the Building Better Regions Fund-Infrastructure Projects stream. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the projects would ensure regional and remote communities had the right infrastructure to unlock economic potential, create jobs, and transform regions. "We are creating new sporting precincts for our young teams to play in
Newcastle City Council partnership brings affordable housing to inner-city
Newcastle City Council, NSW, and Compass Housing will each contribute $3 million towards an affordable housing development in the inner-city. Eight of the 17 one and two-bedroom units on Station Street, Wickham will be reserved for key workers, with the remaining nine for social housing tenants. The project will provide homes for workers such as teachers and emergency services personnel and will typically see rents capped at 30 per cent of household incomes.
13 July 2018
President's column
NAIDOC Week sees the nation come together to learn, respect and celebrate the diversity and resilience of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander histories and culture. Local governments everywhere are proud supporters of NAIDOC Week and actively engage with local Indigenous and non-Indigenous community groups to celebrate indigenous culture, history and experiences with Australians from all walks of life. We play a central role with many NAIDOC Week events either organised by councils, held at council chambers or hosted at council-owned community centres.
Councils receive federal funding for NAIDOC Week events
The Australian Government's NAIDOC local grants round supports communities to celebrate the histories, cultures and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples during NAIDOC Week. This year the Australian Government has funded 528 organisations to deliver NAIDOC Week events in communities across the country. These included a NAIDOC Touch Football Cup, historical recordings, art workshops, and cultural showcases and a Koori Cook Off.
This NAIDOC Week, data shows that because of her, we can
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are empowering themselves more than ever before, data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveals. ABS Centre of Excellence for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Statistics Director Debbie Goodwin said, "Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women are increasingly investing in themselves through education, with a 45 per cent increase in non-school qualification attainment between 2008 and 2014-15."
06 July 2018
President's column
The final sitting week of the federal winter Parliamentary sitting period has seen a number of reports tabled that are of particular interest to Local Government. The most topical was the Senate Standing Committee report on the Waste and Recycling Industry in Australia. This committee, chaired by Senator Peter Whish-Wilson, included a range of recommendations that are consistent with ALGA's existing policy as well as with a number of motions moved by councils at our recent National General Assembly (NGA).
Support for community projects to help build a better regional Australia
Regional and remote communities across the country have received welcome news this week with 109 projects to share in more than $4 million under round two of the Building Better Regions Fund - Community Investment stream. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh said the Community Investment stream was about ensuring regional communities had a strong future. "The Community Investment stream targets community activities from expanded local events and strategic planning, to leadership
Final report on regional development and decentralisation tabled
In its final report tabled this week, the Select Committee on Regional Development and Decentralisation made 13 recommendations to support and promote regional communities as sustainable, vibrant and enjoyable places to live and work. The report Regions at the Ready: Investing in Australia's Future follows a 12-month inquiry which examined best practice approaches to regional development, the decentralisation of Commonwealth entities and supporting corporate decentralisation. The Committee Chair, the Hon Damian Drum MP, said: "Our capital cities are struggling under the pressures of population growth,
29 June 2018
President's column
It has been said that Regional Australia is the engine room of Australia's economy, but are we doing enough to support the important role of our regions in Australia's economic growth?
Early payment of Financial Assistance Grants
The Federal Government has this week announced an early cash injection of almost $1.2 billion under the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) program, which is 50 per cent of the 2018-19 FAGs funding. This early cash injection of more than $1.
Infrastructure Australia calls for a renewed commitment to infrastructure reform
Infrastructure Australia has called on Australia's governments to renew their commitment to infrastructure reform in a new report that outlines what has been achieved since the release of the Australian Infrastructure Plan in February 2016.
22 June 2018
Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council wins 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government
The Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council has taken out the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government with their innovative approach to ensuring lifesaving communications remain accessible during natural disaster events. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh made the announcement during the NGA dinner on Tuesday night commending the extremely high standard of entries that demonstrate what local governments can achieve for their communities.
Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council wins 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government
The Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council has taken out the 2018 National Award for Excellence in Local Government with their innovative approach to ensuring lifesaving communications remain accessible during natural disaster events. Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh made the announcement during the NGA dinner on Tuesday night commending the extremely high standard of entries that demonstrate what local governments can achieve for their communities.
70 coats donated for homeless at NGA
Mayors, councillors and local government representatives have donated 70 coats for the homeless and those in need as part of a coat drive ahead of National Coat Day, which is run by Enormity. The coats were collected at the 2018 National General Assembly of Local Government, which was held this week at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. Senator Steve Martin, who helped launch the drive at the conference, said homelessness does not discriminate.
70 coats donated for homeless at NGA
Mayors, councillors and local government representatives have donated 70 coats for the homeless and those in need as part of a coat drive ahead of National Coat Day, which is run by Enormity. The coats were collected at the 2018 National General Assembly of Local Government, which was held this week at the National Convention Centre in Canberra. Senator Steve Martin, who helped launch the drive at the conference, said homelessness does not discriminate.
New 'Grace Benny Award' to celebrate women in local government
Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh has announced a new national award to encourage more women in local government. "The 'Grace Benny Award' will be added to the national local government awards from next year to coincide with the centenary of the first woman elected to any level of government in Australia - Grace Benny who was elected to the Brighton Council in South Australia in 1919," Dr McVeigh said.
New 'Grace Benny Award' to celebrate women in local government
Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government John McVeigh has announced a new national award to encourage more women in local government. "The 'Grace Benny Award' will be added to the national local government awards from next year to coincide with the centenary of the first woman elected to any level of government in Australia - Grace Benny who was elected to the Brighton Council in South Australia in 1919," Dr McVeigh said.
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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