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ALGA News archive 2016
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16 December 2016
President's column
Our first formal one-on-one meeting with a Prime Minister in seven years was the highlight of last Friday's COAG meeting. On behalf of local government, I advocated for an end to the Financial Assistance Grant indexation freeze and a return to previous funding levels, with an emphasis on the impact on regional and remote communities. I also assured the PM that the sector has a very successful track record in delivering nearly 60,000 projects in
National General Assembly Resolutions
The Government's responses to the Resolutions from the 2016 National General Assembly of Local Government have recently been received by ALGA and published to the ALGA website. Responses received cover the Government's intention to resume the indexation of financial assistance grants from 1 July 2017, City Deals, infrastructure funding, smart city and digital transformation initiatives, water, regional development telecommunications and community service provision. The responses received to date are from: Senator the Hon Simon Birmingham,
Release of Smart Cities and Suburbs Program guidelines for comment
Draft guidelines for the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program have been released by the Assistant Minister for Cities, the Hon Angus Taylor MP, with stakeholders - including councils - invited to provide feedback on the guidelines. Assistant Minister Taylor said the program would support projects which put citizens at the centre. "Smart Cities need to take a people-first approach to designing and delivering responsive public services with the help of smart technologies. The Australian Government is
09 December 2016
President's column
Infrastructure investment, value capture, road user charging and funding reform were among the key policy areas I was able to discuss during my lengthy meeting with the Minister for Urban Infrastructure, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, in Adelaide this week. The Minister appreciated my explanation of the constraints our state and territory rating legislation places upon the sector with regard to value capture, and the significant constraints that rate capping legislation imposes on councils with
Benchmarking of Australia's major cities coming in 2017
The Commonwealth has announced that it will evaluate the performance of Australia's major cities to improve decision making on city development. Assistant Minister for Cities Angus Taylor said that a new National Cities Performance Framework would be developed in 2017 to assist the Federal Government to target smart cities policy and allow the public to see how cities were progressing. In an address on Wednesday to the Committee for Sydney, Assistant Minister Taylor also announced
Remote Housing Review submissions due next Friday
An expert panel has recently been formed for the independent Remote Housing Review of the National Partnership Agreement on Remote Indigenous Housing (NPARIH) and the Remote Housing Strategy (the Strategy). The panel is looking at how well the NPARIH and the Strategy has worked across the states and different communities. It is also looking at what all governments should do next to improve housing for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders living in remote communities.
02 December 2016
President's column
Minimising food waste; recycling e-waste and PV panels; access to Clean Energy Finance and the Emissions Reduction Fund; funding levy banks; and legal liability for councils approving development in potential inundation zones were all topics I discussed on behalf of local government at my first meeting of the Environment Ministers as ALGA President last Friday. Overall, it was refreshing to see the level of collaboration between jurisdictions and their willingness to address these important community and environmental issues, among others.
Round 2 of Mobile Black Spots Program to deliver 266 base stations
The Government's $60 million investment in Round 2 of the Mobile Black Spot Program will deliver another 266 new and upgraded mobile base stations in regional Australia, covering some 1,400 black spots. The Prime Minister, the Minister for Regional Communications, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, and the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, announced the outcome of Round 2 of the Program in Canberra this week. The new and upgraded base stations will deliver
Latest update on low THC hemp as food
Australian Ministers, the New Zealand Minister responsible for food regulation and ALGA recently met in Brisbane to discuss the latest updates on investigations in relation to low THC hemp as a food among other issues. In October 2016, the Australia and New Zealand Ministerial Forum on Food Regulation (the Forum) received an update regarding the research project evaluating the impact of the consumption of low-THC hemp as a food in regards to random drug testing
25 November 2016
President's column
Opportunity knocks this week with two Government announcements that are significant for the local government sector. The first relates to road funding and the second to the new Building Better Regions Fund. The Government has responded to Infrastructure Australia's 15-year Plan; it has supported 69 of the 78 recommendations made by Infrastructure Australia and confirmed that the 15-year plan will guide key infrastructure policy directions. One of the supported recommendations complements ALGA's call for a targeted investment
Government responds to Infrastructure Australia 15-year Plan
The Australian Government has committed to five key initiatives in its response to the IA 15-year Plan, which it released this week. The Government will: > Work with state governments to develop urban rail plans for Australia's five largest cities and surrounding regions. The review will consider global trends and drivers of urban rail, including technology developments and changing demographic patterns, as well as linkages between rail and urban planning; > Progress next steps for heavy vehicle reform
Guidelines released for new regions funding
Rural, regional and remote Australia can apply for funding to build better regions under a new fund announced by Minister for Regional Development Senator the Hon Fiona Nash. The new Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) will see the Government invest $297.7 million over four years into regional community and infrastructure projects. The BBRF replaces the National Stronger Regions Fund and refocuses funding towards regional areas, meaning smaller regional applicants no longer compete with major capital city
18 November 2016
President's Update
This week the Government has released a discussion paper on value capture for comment. The paper outlines a number of opportunities and challenges that the Government is considering in its contemplation of value capture as a complementary infrastructure funding approach and a land planning tool. This is an interesting concept and ALGA is keen to work with the Government to fully explore the issue. As we know, all major transport infrastructure projects, particularly major road projects, have a local dimension
Government seeking input on value capture
Using 'value capture' to help deliver more infrastructure is the subject of a discussion paper released this week by Minister for Urban Infrastructure, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP. The discussion paper examines the potential to more widely use value capture funding to supplement the billions of dollars each year already spent by all three levels of Australian governments on infrastructure.
Launched: New disability inclusion guide for councils
A new guide for councils - the first in 20 years - has been launched in Brisbane this week to help local councils meet their obligations to support the inclusion of Australians with disability in their communities under the National Disability Strategy. The Australian Bureau of Statistics estimates that more than 4 million Australians have a disability with around a third of them living with profound or severe disability requiring additional support and assistance.
11 November 2016
New President for the U.S. and for ALGA
As the U.S. prepares to usher in a new president-elect after a close presidential race, ALGA has elected a new president, Mayor David O'Loughlin, at its annual general meeting in Toowoomba today. City of Prospect Mayor David O'Loughlin has served on the ALGA Board for three and a half years and is also the immediate past President of Local Government of South Australia.
Councils renew calls for Commonwealth action on freight bottlenecks
Councils have renewed their calls to the Federal Government for action on freight bottlenecks on local roads and are seeking $200 million per year for five years from the Commonwealth to address the issue. Speaking at the National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Toowoomba, Queensland, incoming President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Mayor David O'Loughlin, said the funding would help bring local road networks up to scratch to more effectively move freight and boost transport productivity.
President's column
I'm honoured to be writing my first column for ALGA News as the new President of the association following my election to the position at the ALGA Board Annual General Meeting this week. I thank my fellow Board members for entrusting me with the responsibility of being the spokesperson for ALGA, and I commend Mayor Troy Pickard for his presidency over the past two years during which he's done an enormous amount.
04 November 2016
President's column
Next week at the ALGA Board Annual General Meeting in Toowoomba, a new ALGA President will be elected for a two-year term making this my final President's column. The past two years have certainly been eventful. As well as welcoming a new Prime Minister, a new Infrastructure and Transport Minister, and a new Minister for Regional Development and for Local Government and Territories, the local government sector also claimed its biggest win in securing an extra $1.105 billion in Roads to Recovery funding
Roads Congress heading to Toowoomba next week
The 2016 National Local Roads and Transport Congress gets underway next Wednesday in Toowoomba, Queensland. This year's Congress, themed Local Infrastructure, Developing Regions, will focus on the value and importance of strong regional and local collaboration and how those connections contribute to Australia's economic competitiveness. Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, will be addressing the Congress on Friday 11 November. This is the sector's first opportunity to collectively hear from Minister Chester on the key infrastructure and transport issues
Submissions open for Australia's first Open Government National Action Plan
For the past year, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet has been leading the development of Australia's first Open Government National Action Plan. The draft Plan has now been released by the Government for the final round of public consultation. The draft plan sets out an ambitious agenda for the next two years, focused on: transparency and accountability in business; open data and digital transformation; access to government information; integrity in the public sector; and public participation and engagement.
28 October 2016
President's column
Domestic violence is a major problem affecting all communities in Australia, and all levels of government need to play their part in helping to reduce violence against women and children. The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) has convened a National Summit today to address this problem and as President of ALGA I had the opportunity to present to the Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers and summit delegates on some of the leading practices adopted by individual councils and state and territory local government associations.
Minister Chester to address Roads Congress
ALGA is pleased to confirm that the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, will be addressing the National Local Roads and Transport Congress on Friday 11 November. This is the sector's first opportunity to collectively hear from Minister Chester on the key infrastructure and transport issues affecting all councils and our communities. The Government's goal with regard to transport and infrastructure is to ensure all communities are served by the best possible transport mix, and that infrastructure service provision is sustainable and focused on future economic development.
Healthy council communities recognised in awards
The Heart Foundation's Local Government Awards has recognised councils that have demonstrated best practice in creating healthier communities. South Australia's Mid Murray Council and New South Wales' City of Sydney have been named National Winners of the 2016 Heart Foundation Local Government Awards. Mid Murray Council demonstrated its commitment to community health by taking out the national award for the third time in four years. The City of Sydney implemented a comprehensive mix of community, individual, social and environmental initiatives
21 October 2016
President's column
As the President of ALGA, I have sought to attend and speak at as many state and territory local government association conferences as possible to hear about local priorities and share ALGA's priorities and provide an update of developments at a Federal level. This week I attended the Local Government of South Australia Conference in Adelaide and took the opportunity to reiterate the importance of the Federal Government recognising the leadership and implementation role played by councils.
COAG Summit to address violence against women and their children
The Council of Australian Governments (COAG) will host a national summit on reducing violence against women and their children in Brisbane on 27 and 28 October 2016. The theme for the summit will be Connect.Act.Change Hosted by the Queensland Government in partnership with the Commonwealth, the summit will bring together governments, frontline services, business, community leaders and experts in the field. ALGA will also attend the summit as an official member of COAG.
Can bigger trucks help to reduce the impact on council roads?
This year's National Local Roads and Transport Congress, to be held in Toowoomba QLD from 9-11 November, will feature a demonstration of a number of high productivity vehicles and their maneuvering capabilities. The demonstration will showcase the superior productivity and safety benefits of modern, innovative heavy vehicles and the difference they can make to the viability of local businesses and productivity. The demonstration will highlight the improved capabilities of vehicles certified through the Performance Based Standards (PBS) scheme
14 October 2016
President's column
Infrastructure remains a key issue on the Federal agenda and there have been some noteworthy developments this week with the Government announcing successful projects under the third and final round of the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) and Infrastructure Australia publishing an update to its list of national priority projects. More than half of the successful projects in this round of the NSRF were from councils and there were a wide variety of projects from restoring cultural facilities to upgrading regional airports.
Infrastructure Australia adds new projects to national infrastructure priority list
Infrastructure Australia has updated its Infrastructure Priority List to include four additional projects that address Australia's current infrastructure gaps and meet the challenges of the future. Infrastructure Australia Chief Executive Philip Davies said its Board had positively assessed business cases for the following four projects: M80 Ring Road Upgrade (Victoria); Perth-Forrestfield Airport Rail Link (Western Australia); Moorebank Intermodal Terminal (New South Wales); and Adelaide-Tarcoola Rail Upgrade (South Australia).
More than $96 million allocated to council projects
Successful projects under the third and final round of the National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) have been announced, with more than $96 million allocated to council projects and around $12.5 million to roads projects. Forty-three out of the 67 successful projects were from councils. Minister for Regional Development and also Minister for Local Government, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, recently announced that the Federal Government will invest more than $126 million into 67 successful projects worth a total of $462 million.
07 October 2016
President's Column
The recent severe weather, and in particular the flooding, experienced in parts of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia has once again brought to the forefront the importance of natural disaster mitigation funding and the urgent need for additional investment to improve the resilience of our local communities. Local government has been a strong supporter of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) under which the costs of restoring government infrastructure are shared across the levels of government
Defence seeking council support for new fleet road access
The Department of Defence will be reaching out to local government road managers to seek their support to approve access for Defence's new medium and heavy vehicle fleets on local road networks. Defence has already negotiated access with jurisdictions for state-controlled roads and has been working closely with the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator and state and territory local government associations to arrange access to connect the 'first and last mile' between the state road network and Defence's base and training locations.
New resources to help families get NDIS ready
New resources have been released to help parents and families understand how the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) can support children with developmental delay or disability. The Early Childhood Early Intervention (ECEI) resources, developed by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), explain the importance of early intervention and how the process works. The NDIA announced its ECEI Approach in February, which was the first nationally-consistent approach to supporting children under the age of six with developmental delay or disability.
30 September 2016
President's column
The 2016 National Local Roads and Transport Congress is shaping up to be one of our most interesting and engaging congresses yet. I'm pleased to note that we have just released details of a heavy vehicle manoeuvring demonstration as well as a tour of some of Toowoomba's recent major infrastructure developments which will be held as part of the Congress. The heavy vehicle demonstration will put higher productivity vehicles through their paces.
Councils' innovative regional transport plans to be showcased at Congress
Council case studies of regional transport planning submitted to ALGA will be showcased during a panel session at the 2016 National Local Roads and Transport Congress. The case studies demonstrate the capacity of councils to collaborate and play an essential role in regional economic development and national productivity. One of the regional plans that will be highlighted at the Congress is the North-West Freight Network, a local government-sponsored program to bring greater efficiency, productivity, sustainability and agricultural investment
Productivity Commission releases preliminary findings of human services inquiry
The Productivity Commission has released the preliminary findings of its ongoing public inquiry into the increased application of competition, contestability and informed user choice to human services. The Commission's inquiry into applying competition principles to human services was a recommendation of the Harper Review (Competition Policy Review). The Commission has identified six priority areas where the potential to give people a greater say over the human services they use could improve the effectiveness of those services
23 September 2016
President's Column
Last week saw the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs roundtable consultations with meetings held in Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth and continuing in Sydney, Rockhampton and Brisbane this week. A session has been confirmed for Hobart on 28 September. ALGA attended the roundtable in Adelaide which sought to understand what smart cities initiatives were already underway in local government, what challenges councils faced when introducing such initiatives, and how smart city technology can be applied to solve local challenges.
Release of updated guidelines on transport assessment and planning
The Transport and Infrastructure Council recently approved the release of updated guidelines on transport assessment and planning. The new guidelines, the Australian Transport Assessment and Planning (ATAP) guidelines, replace the previous National Guidelines for Transport System Management. The ATAP guidelines provide a comprehensive framework for planning, assessing and developing transport systems and related initiatives. The guidelines play a key role in ensuring that proposals to improve transport systems in Australia to achieve jurisdictional objectives
ALGA Board actions on NGA resolutions
The ALGA Board has released a report outlining the actions it will be taking on the resolutions passed at the National General Assembly of Local Government, which was held in June this year. More than 130 motions were submitted to this year's NGA coming from a variety of councils across the country with the issues raised reflecting the breadth of challenges that councils face on a daily basis. The motions covered a broad range of topics including Financial Assistance Grants
16 September 2016
President's Column
Today I will convene a meeting of representatives from a number of key national peak organisations to explore opportunities for further collaboration in the interests of our constituents and the nation as a whole. In May 2016, representatives from ALGA, the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Logistics Council, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Property Council of Australia, National Farmer's Federation and Green Building Council of Australia launched our Joint Infrastructure Statement
Terms of Reference released for RDA programme review
The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development has released the Terms of Reference for an independent review of the Regional Development Australia (RDA) programme. The Hon Warwick L Smith AM will conduct the review. Mr Smith will examine the RDA programme framework, as well as governance and administration of the programme to make recommendations regarding its future scope, structure and delivery model.
Anthony Albanese to address Roads Congress
Champion of "long-term nation building spending" the Hon Anthony Albanese MP, Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, will address the 2016 Roads Congress in just under two months' time. If you haven't yet registered your attendance, you can still do so on the event website. Mr Albanese was instrumental in negotiations for the $800 million Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program, a key part of the Rudd Government's economic stimulus packages
09 September 2016
President's Column
I believe local government has a major interest in regional development with councils contributing significantly to the sustainable growth of their regions. Councils create and maintain their region's investment environment, facilitate new local investment and attract external investment through the creation of new business and capital, among other key regional development efforts. In my recent meeting with the Hon Fiona Nash MP, the Minister for Local Government and also Minister for Regional Development, I strongly supported a partnership approach between
Half of successful heavy vehicle projects from councils
Federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport the Hon Darren Chester MP earlier this week announced the list of successful projects from Round 5 of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programme funding. Minister Chester advised that 152 applications were received from state, territory and local governments, highlighting the program's importance to regional and rural communities. The Australian Government's commitment of $97.6 million in this round will be matched by local councils and state governments
Mobile Black Spot audit report released
The Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) has released an audit report on the first round of funding under the Mobile Blackspot Programme. The report concluded that the Department of Communications and the Arts, which was responsible for administering the programme, established the key elements that would be expected to form part of a competitive, merit-based grants programme and, in the main, implemented these elements in accordance with the published guidelines for Round 1 of the Mobile Black Spot Programme.
02 September 2016
President's Column
On the ground advocacy with ministers and shadow minsters is a key part of ALGA's role on behalf of the sector and I was in Canberra this week as Federal Parliament returned to meet with, among others, the new Minister for Local Government, Senator the Hon Fiona Nash, our former Minister and now Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, and the Office of the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester. My focus was to continue ALGA's advocacy around local government funding and infrastructure investment and the Government's new thinking on regional development programs.
Inaugural NHVR local government forum
An inaugural National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) local government forum was held last week in the NHVR's Brisbane offices in partnership with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Local Government Association of NSW (LGNSW). Further forums may be held with other local government associations. The Forum's focus on improving the efficient movement of freight is consistent with ALGA's current call for case studies of regional transport planning that has been undertaken by regional groups of councils.
Coast Adapt website launched for feedback
Councils face day to day issues arising from our changing climate. Adaptation measures are necessary for communities to prepare for the unavoidable consequences of climate change. This issue impacts almost every facet of life that local government has a role in, in both the long and short-term, from planning, infrastructure services and key local industries (such as tourism). ALGA has been calling for increased and ongoing support for both local activities, as well as national agencies.
26 August 2016
President's Column
Ensuring that the use of council roads by heavy vehicles is safe and contributes to local and national productivity remains a key priority for many councils around Australia and a key focus for national transport reform. Local roads are around 75% by length of all roads in Australia (about 640,000 kilometres) and the National Transport Commission has estimated that 36 per cent of all kilometres travelled in Australia are on local roads.
Smart Cities and Suburbs Program - finding local technology solutions
The Australian Government has announced a $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. The Program will support local governments to fast-track innovative technology solutions that improve long-standing urban problems. The Program seeks to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of urban service delivery, infrastructure and planning to improve the liveability of cities and their suburbs. The Australian Government expects a wide variety of cutting-edge projects will be supported under the Program
Showcasing the benefits of high productivity heavy vehicles
More than 10 heavy vehicle operators took the opportunity to meet with Mayors and council representatives at an NHVR demonstration day for high productivity heavy vehicles recently. The event was hosted by the Wide Bay Burnett Regional Organisation of Councils. The heavy vehicle demonstration day aimed to build awareness and a greater understanding of the Performance Based Standards Scheme and to assist local councils to make decisions about their road network.
19 August 2016
President's Column
The importance of infrastructure and the contribution it makes to economic growth remains a key issue being debated in Australia as we ask ourselves how to fund the infrastructure investment we need, now and into the future. For many individual councils, local roads and bridges are their single largest area of expenditure and present the greatest challenge in terms of asset management and financial sustainability.
Land Use Planning Guidelines for Disaster Resilient Communities
The Planning Institute of Australia has released an e-handbook, the National Land Use Planning Guidelines for Disaster Resilient Communities , which brings together some of the best-practice thinking in the area of disaster planning, recovery and betterment, including the Rockefeller Foundation’s Framework for Resilient Cities and the outcomes of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements.
Roads Congress International Speaker
We are delighted to have secured one of the key decision-makers in transport from New Zealand as our international keynote speaker at the Roads and Transport Congress in November. Martin Matthews brings a wealth of knowledge from his eight years as the Secretary of Transport in NZ. Local roads underpin the freight movement and productivity of our nation. Effective road financing and appropriate asset management are critical to the successful management of our local roads.
12 August 2016
President's column
This week's announcement of the Senate results provides us, at last, with a clear picture of the make-up of the Parliament for the next three years and highlights the challenges the Government will face in the coming parliamentary term. The Turnbull Government will be dealing with an Upper House crossbench of 20, including nine Greens senators, four One Nation senators, and three Nick Xenophon Team, when Parliament first sits on 30 August.
Climate change to worsen disadvantage in rural and regional communities - report
The Climate Council this week released a new report which reveals that climate change is likely to worsen the systemic disadvantages suffered by rural and regional communities, and further widen the gap between rural and urban areas. The report, On the Frontline: Climate Change and Rural Communities, finds the increase in extreme weather events is disproportionately affecting those in rural areas, with serious social, health and economic impacts.
Call for Case Studies - Local Government Regional Cooperation on Regional Transport Plans
In the lead-up to the 2016 National Local Roads and Transport Congress to be held from 9 - 11 November in Toowoomba, Queensland, ALGA is calling for high quality examples of regional transport planning that has been undertaken by regional groups of councils. These case studies will be used by ALGA in advocacy for additional support for councils seeking to unlock the increased productivity of their regional freight routes.
05 August 2016
President's column
This coming Tuesday will officially mark Census night, which is conducted every five years and provides a snapshot of Australia on the night. The Census is the largest statistical collection undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) and one of the most important. This major national undertaking plays an important role for not only every individual and household but also for every level of government, as well as community groups and businesses, as the data collected helps us, collectively, to better plan for the future.
US-Australia agreement set to drive better, safer, smarter infrastructure
Australia's vision for developing smart cities and thriving regions, and utilising new technologies to revolutionise our transport networks was strengthened with a collaboration announced between Australia and the United States on driving the next generation of transport infrastructure. Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, announced the agreement following discussions with the United States Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, at the Transport and Infrastructure Council meeting this week.
29 July 2016
President's column
The Hon Bill Shorten MP's announcement last weekend of his new Shadow Ministry saw the appointment of a new Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Mr Stephen Jones MP. On behalf of the local government sector, I congratulated Mr Jones on his appointment and welcomed him to the portfolio. I sought a meeting with Mr Jones as soon as possible to go over ALGA's proposed range of initiatives to the Government and Opposition
Federal Labor Shadow Ministry announced
The Hon Bill Shorten MP, Leader of the Opposition, recently announced Federal Labor's Shadow Ministry for the 45th Parliament. ALGA welcomes the continuation of the Hon Anthony Albanese MP as Shadow Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, who has also had Regional Development added to his portfolio responsibilities and title. ALGA also congratulates incoming Shadow Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Mr Stephen Jones MP, and we look forward to working with him
Registrations to 2016 Roads Congress in Toowoomba now open!
Registrations are now open to the 2016 National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Toowoomba, Queensland from 9 - 11 November 2016. The Congress, convened by ALGA, and is attended by up to 300 Mayors, Councillors and senior council staff from across Australia and focuses on local roads and transport issues that impact on local councils. This year's Congress, themed Local Infrastructure Developing Regions, has a broad focus on the value and importance of strong regional and local collaboration
22 July 2016
President's column
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his Ministry this week and, although it remained mostly unchanged, there was an important development for the local government portfolio which was elevated to the Cabinet and now sits with Senator the Hon Fiona Nash. The Senator was appointed the Minister for Local Government and Territories in addition to her role as the Minister for Regional Development. The local government portfolio structure will remain the same with the Hon Darren Chester continuing as Minister for Infrastructure and Transport
Local government portfolio elevated to Cabinet Ministry
ALGA has welcomed the recent elevation of the local government portfolio to the Cabinet Ministry, with Senator the Hon Fiona Nash appointed the Minister for Local Government and Territories in addition to her role as the Minister for Regional Development. ALGA President, Mayor Troy Pickard, said the elevation was a positive step for local government and community priorities. "This appointment illustrates the importance of preserving and strengthening the partnership between federal and local government to ensure the sustainability of local communities."
Roads to Recovery List variations following amalgamations
Variations have been made to the Roads to Recovery List to enable payments to be claimed by newly-amalgamated councils. On 12 May 2016 the New South Wales Government created 19 new councils as part of its Stronger Councils / Stronger Communities initiative resulting in the abolition and merger of 41 councils including the Parramatta City Council being renamed as the City of Parramatta Council.
15 July 2016
Aussies to get the world's leading satellite broadband service
A new report from global telecoms researcher, Ovum, has found that Australia's NBN Sky Muster satellite broadband service will be the world's leading overall satellite broadband service in delivering a combination of fast download speeds, strong data allowance, and value for money compared to global peers. Ovum has released a new report Satellite Broadband: A Global Comparison which has compared the plans from Retail Service Providers (RSPs) offering services on the Sky Muster platform with satellite broadband plans from 18 other global operators.
Save the date for council twitter day
Following a successful trial of a national Local Government Twitter Day in 2014, QLD, NSW, VIC and SA State and Territory Local Government Associations and ALGA have agreed to run it again in 2016. The aim of the day is to showcase the diverse range of council services with your Twitter community and to increase awareness of the important work that local government does. In 2014, the national Local Government Twitter Day recorded about 2,100 tweets
President's column
With a close but clear election result determined this week, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull convened the Coalition's leadership team to determine their political agenda and map out details of their path forward with a 'new-look' Ministry to be announced on Monday. Following this announcement, ALGA will review and refine its advocacy approach for the local government policy initiatives outlined in our Local Government Plan for Innovation and a Prosperous Australia, taking into account any significant and relevant changes to the Cabinet.
08 July 2016
President's column
Last Saturday, Australians went to the polls to determine who would be the Government for the 45th Australian Parliament and, as we still await a clear outcome, ALGA and local governments across Australia are keen to progress the policy initiatives outlined in ALGA's Local Government Plan for Innovation and a Prosperous Australia. As the peak national body for local government, ALGA strongly advocated these policies which, according to National Economics modelling, would create 19,300 jobs across the country and add more than $7.4 billion to GDP.
NAIDOC Week 2016: share, participate and discover
This week, communities have been invited to take the time to learn, share and participate in the unique local and national celebrations that mark NAIDOC Week 2016. NAIDOC Week, established in 1938, provides the opportunity for all Australians to proudly acknowledge and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Under this year's national theme: Songlines - The living narrative of our nation, diverse celebrations and activities have been held across the country
New Transport Commission work program tackles emerging transport challenges
The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released a new work program that includes strategic projects designed to identify and address the transport problems of the future. Chief Executive of the National Transport Commission Paul Retter said there was little point waiting for transport problems to occur before taking action. "Australia is undergoing rapid technological, social and economic changes which will result in the biggest transformations to our transport system since the invention of the motor car," Mr Retter said.
01 July 2016
President's column
This week we've received a response from the Greens to the nine points raised in our Joint Infrastructure Statement and the Opposition has announced its Infrastructure Policy ahead of the election this Saturday. The Joint Infrastructure Statement was a strong call to all political parties to make a commitment to maintaining long-term infrastructure spending, address the growing infrastructure shortfall and improve national productivity and I was pleased to see the Greens respond to each of the concerns raised
Greens respond to ALGA's Joint Infrastructure Statement
Senator Richard Di Natale, Leader of the Australian Greens, has responded to the Joint Infrastructure Statement, which highlights concerns about the risk to Australia's economic growth posed by years of under-investment in public infrastructure. This under-investment has led to much of the nation's public infrastructure failing to meet the needs of Australian businesses and communities. The statement also presented a 9-point Infrastructure Plan to ensure Australia's cities and regions remain competitive, liveable and sustainable.
Labor announces its infrastructure policy
The Opposition has announced its infrastructure policy, which it says will get Australia moving by tackling congestion issues by investing in public transport. Labor has committed to return the independent Infrastructure Australia to the centre of decision-making about nation-building and ensure that major projects are the subject of cost-benefit analysis before they receive Federal Government investment. Infrastructure Australia would also administer Labor's new $10 billion infrastructure investment facility using financing instruments such as loans, guarantees and equity
24 June 2016
President's column
This week we held our annual Regional Cooperation and Development Forum (RCDF) and National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) in Canberra and both events delivered rich and inspiring content that challenged the sector with innovative ideas. We focused on the direct link between our work in local government and the productivity of our nation, highlighting the importance of innovation, adoption to change, technology and collaboration to help shape the future of our councils and communities.
Government closest to the community seeks support for productivity plan
Local government delegates attending the NGA in Canberra this week have called for politicians to support a freight productivity plan by ALGA, which would add an estimated $1.07 billion to GDP, create 2,400 new jobs in local communities over three years and add potential billions to national productivity beyond the first three years. ALGA's Local Government Higher Productivity Investment Plan, which requires Commonwealth investment of $200 million per year for five years, would support local government to effectively play its role
Coalition's proposed Smart Cities Program welcomed
ALGA has welcomed the Government's election commitment to a $50 million Smart Cities Program for local government initiatives which apply innovative, technology-based approaches in the areas of planning, infrastructure and service provision. The program will encourage councils to partner with communities, local businesses, not-for-profits and research institutes to create service improvements and cutting-edge technology solutions to urban problems. The program is part of the Government's broader Policy for Smart Cities, which promises to ensure our cities are more liveable, more productive, and more prosperous
17 June 2016
President's column
This week, we acknowledge and congratulate those who have been recognised with awards in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for a diverse range of contributions and service across various fields such as community work and professional endeavours. I was delighted to see local government award winners from around the nation receive accolades for their achievements and contributions and I extend my personal congratulations to all of them. These individuals don't seek recognition, but give their time and energy to make their communities a better place.
2016 Queen's Birthday Honours List
The 2015 Queen's Birthday Honours List has once again recognised the time and effort that many exceptional community members have dedicated to their local community through service to local government. The Governor-General and Chancellor of the Order of Australia, His Excellency General the Honourable Sir Peter Cosgrove AK MC (Retd), said: "We are fortunate as a community to have so many outstanding people willing to dedicate themselves to the betterment of our nation and it is only fitting that they have been recognised through the Australian Honours system."
Making innovation real in local government: lessons from Boston
What does innovation mean at the local government level and what does global best practice look like? To help answer these questions, Microsoft has been taking a close look at Boston and the many smaller cities that are contained within it. Their initial focus was to understand how Boston and the wider state of Massachusetts has become a global powerhouse in fields such as biotechnology, computing and robotics. However, the more time they spent looking under the hood, the more they discovered that much of Boston's recent success came down to its reinvention at the local government level.
10 June 2016
President's column
We're now just three weeks away from the Federal election and, as the level of government closest to the community, it's important that local government as a sector has its voice heard on the issues that are important to our communities this election, and the NGA next week is an ideal opportunity to make this happen. It is clear from the election so far that the contest is about which party has the right policies to not only maintain and improve the quality of life for all Australians, but also boost and strengthen our economy.
It's not too late to register for NGA 2016!
There's just one week left until we kick off this year's National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) from 19 - 22 June in Canberra but it's not too late to register! Delegates attending this year's NGA will look at the many ways local government is being innovative both here and overseas under the theme of Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Australia.
Funding pledges made for threatened species as election campaign continues
Funding pledges have been made by the Coalition and the Greens to protect Australia's threatened species as the Federal election campaign crossed the halfway point this week. The Coalition has announced that if re-elected it will create a $5 million Threatened Species Recovery Fund to support local communities in the fight to protect Australia's vulnerable wildlife.
03 June 2016
President's column
This year's National General Assembly (NGA), now just two weeks away, is uniquely positioned during the last few weeks of the Federal election campaign and is set to be an important opportunity to keep local government priorities on the election radar. This will be our chance to push strongly on the critical issues and challenges facing our sector and to hear directly from the Government and the Opposition in the lead up to the election with confirmed attendance from key political players in our sector.
Coalition's election plan to deliver safer communities
The Coalition has promised to establish a $40 million Safer Communities Fund if re-elected at the July Federal election. The fund will support community efforts that use preventative measures to tackle crime and anti-social behaviour and keep Australians safe. The $40 million Safer Communities Fund will consist of two streams. Stream one will boost the efforts of identified local governments and community organisations to address crime and anti-social behaviour by funding crime prevention initiatives (such as fixed and mobile CCTV and lighting).
Are you registered to attend the 2016 Regional Forum?
If you haven't yet registered to attend this year's Regional Development and Cooperation Forum and National General Assembly, it's not too late! You can still register at this link. Delegates attending the Regional Forum will enjoy a special keynote address from ABC Regional's Matthew O'Sullivan, the Content Director Rural at ABC Regional who has an exceptional understanding of Australia's regions and regional communities. Matthew will challenge delegates to reflect on their communities and the opportunities to communicate and promote economic activity and growth in their regions.
27 May 2016
President's column
Over the past week, the ALGA Board has considered the potential motions submitted by councils for debate at the National General Assembly (NGA) next month. More than 130 motions were submitted this year coming from a variety of councils across the country with the issues raised reflecting the breadth of challenges that councils face on a daily basis. The motions cover a broad range of topics including Financial Assistance Grants, Roads to Recovery and other government grant programs, freight improvements, rate capping, tax reform, community infrastructure funding proposals, affordable housing, preventative health, early childhood education, discrimination, migration and settlement, climate change and the environment.
Julie Collins confirmed to address Assembly next month
Shadow Minister for Regional Development and Local Government and Shadow Minister for Employment Service, the Hon Julie Collins MP will address this year's National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) on Wednesday 22 June. Ms Collins is a strong advocate for communities and has recently talked about the need for infrastructure investment and longer-term planning in communities to increase productivity. Ms Collins' advocacy fits well with this year's NGA theme, Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Australia, which focuses on the role of local government as a partner not just in providing essential services to communities but also on broader issues of importance to the nation, particularly in the context of the upcoming Federal election.
$30m promised for local parks and environment
The Coalition recently announced that it would deliver a $30 million funding package to support local parks and environments if elected this July. The funding package includes a $24 million investment for a new Improving Your Local Parks and Environment Programme to support the local parks and green spaces that make our communities more liveable, healthy and sustainable and a $5 million Solar Communities Programme to help local community organisations go solar. Local government has long been involved in shaping and enhancing the overall local landscape and contributing to the health and wellbeing of the community by providing and maintaining parks, nature reserves, gardens walkways and promenades.
20 May 2016
President's column
A few months ago, I informed you about a proposed joint infrastructure statement between ALGA and other peak bodies to publicly advocate for continued Commonwealth funding into infrastructure. Today, I'm pleased to tell you that this statement was finalised and launched yesterday with a strong call to all political parties to make a commitment to maintaining long-term infrastructure spending, address the growing infrastructure shortfall and improve national productivity. The signatories of the joint statement included ALGA, Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia, Planning Institute of Australia, Australian Logistics Council, Urban Development Institute of Australia, Property Council of Australia, National Farmer's Federation and Green Building Council of Australia.
Increased traffic congestion a symptom of larger infrastructure funding issue
The traffic congestion experienced by many of Australia's major cities is a symptom of a larger infrastructure funding issue that is taking its toll on Australia's productivity, Mayor Troy Pickard, President of ALGA, has said at the launch of a joint statement signed by ALGA and seven other peak bodies yesterday. "Years of under-investment in public infrastructure, particularly transport infrastructure, means that we now have a national infrastructure network that is struggling to meet the needs of Australian businesses and communities, with traffic jams set to cost the nation an estimated $53 billion a year by 2031," Mayor Pickard said.
Don't miss the Regional Cooperation and Development Forum
This year's Regional Cooperation and Development Forum will be held on Sunday 19 June at the National Convention Centre, Canberra. Given the upcoming Federal election, the forum will provide the unique opportunity for delegates to workshop the positions and arguments that local government should advocate for in the development of a new national regional policy. The forum allows for the sharing of ideas and opportunities through a mix of academic and practitioner insights.
13 May 2016
President's column
Last Sunday, the Prime Minister the Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP called a double dissolution election to be held on Saturday 2 July, marking the beginning of an election campaign lasting almost two months. With the election campaign officially set in motion, local government has an opportunity to advance some of the key issues that are important to our sector. ALGA has already begun to implement an election advocacy strategy, developed and fine-tuned over the past 12 months, which takes a three-pronged approach. Firstly, ALGA's plan, Local Government's Plan for an Innovative and Prosperous Australia, has already been provided to all Federal politicians and all major political parties
NSW amalgamated councils announced
NSW Local Government Minister, Paul Toole MP, has announced the NSW council mergers, with 19 amalgamations or boundary changes determined by the Government across Sydney and NSW. The Minister also indicated his in-principle support to create a further 9 new councils, subject to the decision of the courts. Some of the newly formed councils will include: Canterbury-Bankstown Council : The merger of Bankstown City and Canterbury City councils
NGA motions debate set to be wide-ranging
ALGA has received more than 130 motions for our National General Assembly to be held in Canberra next month from 19 - 22 June, demonstrating the enthusiasm of councils to debate and discuss issues of importance to the sector and participating in the opportunity to shape ALGA policy. The motions cover a broad range of topics including Financial Assistance Grants, Roads to Recovery and other government grant programs, freight improvements, rate capping, tax reform, community infrastructure funding proposals
06 May 2016
President's column
The 2016-17 Federal budget handed down this week was in line with broad expectations and saw some substantial changes to taxation to address revenue shortfalls but little in the way of new spending initiatives, with the Government reserving its options in advance of the Federal election expected to be set for 2 July over the next few days. There was no explicit statement on ending the freeze of indexation for Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs), but the budget out-years did indicate an expectation that indexation would return from 2017-18.
Local government perspective on Budget2016 - Finance
Each year the Australian Local Government Association provides an analysis of the Federal budget with a specific focus on its impact on local government. The aim of the analysis is to provide local government with information on the total financial assistance it receives from the Australian Government as well as putting this assistance into context with the government's overall budget priorities. In the 2016-17 financial year, the Australian Government will allocate $2,289 billion in Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) for local government services to the community.
Local government perspective on Budget2016 - Transport
There was little in terms of new funding announcements in the 2016-17 Federal budget, with most funding already allocated in previous budgets. It is reasonable to expect that any significant project announcements will take place during the upcoming election campaign.
29 April 2016
President's column
Today I will be attending what is set to be an interesting Smart Cities Summit focused on liveable cities and city deals, and on exploring the link between transport infrastructure and urban development in the innovative financing and value capture of infrastructure. This summit will be crucial to the development of a cities policy ahead of a Federal election this year. ALGA welcomes the Government's recognition of the importance of a cities policy in Australia’s economic future
FAGs indexation front and centre of ALGA election plan
ALGA's election plan launched last week is seeking the support of all political parties and their candidates for the immediate restoration of the indexation of Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs). The decision in the 2014-15 Federal Budget to freeze the indexation of the FAGs until 2017-18 is having significant long-term impacts on councils, undermining equitable access to facilities and services. Over the three-year freeze, almost $1 billion will have been taken out of communities
One-week extension to NGA early bird rates!
The early bird rates for the National General Assembly (NGA), which were set to close next week, have now been extended for a further week to Friday 13 May 2016. This will give councils additional time to register their attendance at the NGA at the special early bird rate of $929, offering a substantial saving compared to the standard registration of $1,029. The NGA will be held in Canberra from 19 to 22 June.
22 April 2016
President's column
I am pleased to announce the launch of ALGA's 2016 Federal election plan, Local Government's Plan for an Innovative and Prosperous Australia, which seeks the support of all political parties and their candidates for local government priorities in the lead up to the election. ALGA has, in collaboration with state and territory local government associations, developed six key priorities for local government this coming election, and has also included an estimate of the economic benefits for each of the initiatives on the national economy.
ALGA election document launched!
ALGA has today launched its election plan ahead of the upcoming Federal election that outlines a number of proposals which, if implemented, could add an estimated $7.46 billion to national GDP and create an estimated 19,300 local jobs over three years. The proposals in ALGA's plan, Local Government's Plan for an Innovative and Prosperous Australia, include strategies to: increase freight productivity through targeted infrastructure investment; create new jobs and economic stimulus through a community infrastructure renewal and replacement program; and improve local and regional development through a permanent doubling of the Roads to Recovery program.
Local government Minister to address delegates at NGA 2016
ALGA is pleased to confirm that the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government, will speak at the 2016 National General Assembly to be held in Canberra from 19 to 22 June. The theme for this year's NGA is 'Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Australia' and it reflects the current issues being debated nationally on innovation, growth and prosperity and positioning Australia as a dynamic 21st century economy.
15 April 2016
President's column
This week I had my first meeting with the Hon Darren Chester MP since he was appointed to the role of Minister for Infrastructure and Transport. Although our discussion was broad-ranging, we covered two key issues of particular importance to his portfolio and the Local Government sector. The first key issue discussed was the sector's need for continued certainty in roads funding from the Federal Government.
Deadline to submit NGA 2016 motions extended
The deadline for NGA motions submissions has been extended to Thursday 28 April giving councils nearly an additional week to submit their motions for the ALGA Board's consideration. To be eligible for inclusion in the NGA Business Papers, motions must follow the following principles set out by the ALGA Board
Glyphosate - APVMA clarifies the facts
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) has recently updated website information about using the herbicide glyphosate. This update provides chemical users, growers, home gardeners, councils and the public with more information about the safe use of products containing glyphosate. It also explains the processes underway, both in Australia and internationally
08 April 2016
President's column
I was pleased to represent local government at the recent meeting of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) in Canberra where commitment was made by COAG Leaders to explore fundamental changes to our Federation that will drive economic reform and secure better outcomes for all Australians. Although discussion on the day centred mostly on health and taxation, we cannot lose sight of some of the other significant issues that COAG dealt with
Public consultation underway for ERF safety mechanism benchmarks
From 1 July 2016, the Emissions Reduction Fund's (ERF) safeguard mechanism will commence to ensure emissions reductions contracted through the ERF are not offset by significant increases in emissions above business-as-usual levels elsewhere in the economy. As set out in the Safeguard Mechanism Consultation Paper in March 2015, benchmarks will be established for new industrial projects that commence post 2020. This will help reduce Australia's emissions and improve the health of the environment.
Passengers and freight compete for city space
The Grattan Institute has released a report, Roads to riches: better transport spending, which finds that although Australia's large cities are the engines of our economic growth, vital urban freight and passenger routes have not been prioritised, putting passengers and freight in competition for city space. The report says that even if passenger travel and household freight demand do no more than increase in line with population growth, competition for space on city transport networks
01 April 2016
President's column
The ALGA Board this week held its quarterly meeting, with a focused discussion and review on the progress of implementing ALGA's 2014-17 Strategic Plan and on ALGA's priorities. The Board agreed on some necessary adjustments to ALGA's priorities to place more emphasis on innovation, digital transformation and productivity. These adjustments reflect key emerging issues and the need for cultural and technological change to ensure innovation is central to the way government operates and uses technology to deliver better quality services.
ALGA Board calling for your NGA 2016 motions
The ALGA Board is calling for motions from councils for this year's National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA), which is now just three months away. Councils still have three weeks to submit motions with the deadline of 11.59pm Friday 22 April fast approaching. Once submitted, motions will be reviewed by the ALGA Board's NGA Sub-Committee as well as by state and territory local government associations to determine their eligibility for inclusion in the NGA Business Papers.
25 March 2016
President's column
This week began with a major announcement from the Prime Minister that the 2016-17 Federal budget will now be handed down a week earlier on 3 May 2016. This change to the Federal budget timeline will have little impact on ALGA; our pre-budget submission was lodged in early February and, since that time, I have undertaken numerous meetings with Members of Parliament, Senators and government officials advocating the priorities set out in ALGA's submission. The submission, titled Investment in an Innovative and Prosperous Future, reflects the role councils play in supporting and stimulating investment and local economic activity. It focuses on support for the priorities and needs of our communities.
Stronger Communities Programme open for applications
Round 2 of the Stronger Communities Programme (SCP) is open for applications and councils are encouraged to put forward SCP project proposals that could improve local community participation and cohesion, and contribute to vibrant and viable communities. Grants of between $5,000 and up to a maximum of $20,000 are available for projects that build capacity in communities and applicants are required to confirm matched funding in cash and/or in-kind on at least a dollar-for-dollar basis
Learn from the brains behind Boston at this year's NGA
Although some may assume there aren't many similarities between Australian councils and those in and around the City of Boston in the US, it turns out that that there is a lot that can be learned from Boston, particularly when it comes to generating wealth and improving the lives of citizens through innovation. Microsoft has released a new report called Accelerating Australia's innovation ecosystem: Lessons from Boston and recommendations for a unique path forward, based on a tour to Boston and nearby Cambridge that was organised late last year.
18 March 2016
President's column
The Government has released a report by the House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure. The report calls for a more coordinated and integrated approach to the development and application of smart ICT to infrastructure, with many of the recommendations set to have some impact on Local Government if taken up by the Commonwealth. Local Government has had several years of experience in working with technology and has developed a number of initiatives in this area.
Welcome to the new-look ALGA News!
You may have noticed that something looks different with this edition of ALGA News… In fact, a lot has changed and we're excited to welcome you to the new-look ALGA News newsletter! The new design presents the same brief ALGA commentary in a fresh, streamlined design optimised for your device, whether you're accessing the newsletter from a desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smart phone. The decision to redesign ALGA News followed a survey of our readers last year which found a need to improve the design and layout of the newsletter. We carefully considered this feedback and redesigned the newsletter to better meet the needs of our audience.
Smart infrastructure is the future
A report by the House of Representatives Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities on the inquiry into the role of smart ICT in the design and planning of infrastructure released by the Government this week has revealed Smart ICT has the capacity to transform the design, construction and management of infrastructure assets, the management and use of existing assets, and the operation of transport, communications, energy and utility systems. "These technologies are transformational with the capacity to dramatically increase the productivity of the Australian economy," Committee Chair, Mr John Alexander MP, said.
11 March 2016
President's column
Key drivers of success for the councils of the future will include the ability to innovate and adapt to change. Today's councillors and mayors must be open to new ideas, innovative ways of engaging citizens and making interactions with councils quicker and simpler.
Assistant Minister focuses cities agenda on access to local jobs
Speaking recently at a Sydney Business Chamber conference, the Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation, the Hon Angus Taylor MP said the Government's cities agenda will focus on improved access to quality local jobs, housing affordability and the sustainability and amenity of our cities. Mr Taylor said the cities agenda was now a whole-of-government focus.
New initiative to boost inclusiveness in local communities
The Scanlon Foundation and Welcome to Australia have launched a new national initiative to assist governments, businesses and individuals to work together to create more inclusive communities.
04 March 2016
President's column
A key focus of ALGA's Submission to the 2016-17 Federal Budget is strengthening resilience in local communities by greater investment in disaster mitigation through a targeted program funded at $200 million per annum. ALGA has long supported such a program and the Productivity Commission proposed greater investment in mitigation in its recent inquiry into natural disaster funding.
Natural disasters to cost Australia $33b per year by 2050
The total annual cost of natural disasters in Australia is expected to increase from $9 billion to $33 billion per year by 2050, according to two new reports launched this week by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities.
Di Natale confirmed to address local government Assembly
ALGA is pleased to confirm that the Leader of the Australian Greens, Senator Richard Di Natale, will attend and speak at the 2016 National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) in Canberra, held from 19 to 22 June. We look forward to hearing Senator Di Natale's reflections on the theme of this year's NGA, which is Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Australia.
26 February 2016
President's Column
This week I have been championing ALGA's pre-budget submission - lodged with the Government earlier this month - in meetings with Federal Ministers, Members and Senators at Parliament House in Canberra. This year's submission outlines the importance of supporting jobs growth, innovation and opportunities across Australia in line with the Government's current innovation agenda.
Round 3 National Stronger Regions Fund closing in 2 weeks
Round 3 of the Government's National Stronger Regions Fund (NSRF) closes in two weeks on Tuesday 15 March. The program is providing funding of $1 billion over five years, commencing in 2015-16, to fund priority infrastructure in regional communities. Local government is eligible to apply.
Showcase your council's projects at the 2016 National Awards for Local Government
The deadline is now looming for a chance to showcase how your council plays a vital role in helping make Australian communities safe, attractive and desirable places to live. The National Awards for Local Government provides an opportunity to promote council projects that exemplify leading practice in local government and that respond to the unique challenges of local communities.
19 February 2016
New ministry members officially sworn in
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced his new ministry on Saturday 13 February which he said combined youth, new talent, experience, continuity and a real sense of innovation and enterprise . Mr Turnbull also paid tribute to the Hon Warren Truss and the Hon Andrew Robb who retired last week.
Report highlights important local government role in boosting freight productivity
The Australian Government this week welcomed the release of Infrastructure Australia's 15-year Australian Infrastructure Plan, which highlighted the important role of local government in boosting freight productivity to enable more efficient movement of freight and remove first and last mile constraints across the national freight network.
NGA 2016 motions - submissions open
With the National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) only four short months away, The ALGA Board is now calling for motions. The theme for this year's NGA is 'Partners in an Innovative and Prosperous Australia', reflecting the current issues being debated nationally and priority issues facing local government.
12 February 2016
President's Column
The Hon Warren Truss this week confirmed his intention to retire from Parliament, with a ballot last night seeing the Hon Barnaby Joyce elevated to the Nationals' leader. The Nationals have been strong supporters of Local Government and Mr Joyce worked closely with ALGA in the past in his capacity as Shadow Minister for Regional Development, Local Government and Water from 2010 to 2013.
Warren Truss announces intention to retire
The Hon Warren Truss MP has announced his intention to retire from Federal Parliament at the next election and stand down as leader of the Nationals and Deputy Prime Minister within the next few days. During his final address to the House of Representative in Canberra, Mr Truss said that it had been a great pleasure and privilege to be a member of the Federal Parliament.
Councils confirm adverse impact of FAGs indexation freeze
The case studies sourced and compiled from councils since the announcement of the Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation freeze in the 2014-15 budget have been published on ALGA's website. The case studies provide real examples of the impact that the freeze on the indexation of FAGs is having on Australian councils.
05 February 2016
Submissions: 2016
As the peak body representing local government in Australia, ALGA makes numerous submissions and presentations to a broad range of organisations and bodies.
President's column
This week, ALGA provided its pre-budget submission to the Government in advance of the Federal 2016-17 Budget in May. The submission outlined the importance of supporting jobs growth, innovation and opportunities for all Australians, particularly those in rural and regional areas.
Local government to be celebrated in national awards
The Hon Paul Fletcher MP, Minister for Major Projects, Territories and Local Government has announced the opening of the 2016 National Awards for Local Government. The awards have attracted thousands of entries since their inception in 1986 and are hotly contested each year.
29 January 2016
President's Column
Happy New Year and welcome to the first ALGA News edition for 2016! With a Federal election set to take place sometime this year, the coming months offer an opportunity to pursue Local Government's needs at the Federal level.
Local government recognised in Australia Day honours
Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announced the Australian of the Year awards on Monday night in Canberra, with the 2016 Australian of the Year award going to former Army chief David Morrison. Local government was strongly represented in the Australia Day honours list through past and present local government councillors and mayors.
Plans for a revamped Regional Australia Development Policy
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development the Hon Warren Truss MP and Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister the Hon Michael McCormack MP this week announced that regional communities will be asked to contribute to a revamped regional development policy paper to be drafted this year.

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