NSW local roads fix | New push for road user charges | Apprentices going cheap | ALGA News 3 July 2020

Image shows President David O'Loughlin smiling in front of a black background

President's column

Are journalists about to return to country council chambers? The Federal Government has thrown the regional media a much needed lifeline – and there was more good news for the sector this week. Further details of the $50 million package to support public interest journalism were announced and the sale of Australian Associated Press (AAP)+

Federal financial relations review calls for EV road-user charges

The NSW Government should replace transfer duty with a broad-based land tax and work with the other states on a national road user charging scheme for electric vehicles. The recommendations stem from the Review of Federal Financial Relations set up by NSW Treasury  in 2019 to examine how the states and the Commonwealth can work+

NSW councils get $382m in Fixing Local Roads Program funding

Around 80 NSW local councils will receive a share of $382 million in NSW and Federal Government funding to upgrade regional roads, it was announced this week. The money will flow from NSW Government’s Fixing Local Roads Program, to which the Commonwealth and State Governments have both committed $191 million. The two governments have also+

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Building inspector registration plan opened for consultations

A draft national registration framework for private building surveyors and other building industry practitioners has gone on public exhibition. The draft was developed in response to the recommendations of the Building Confidence report of February 2018 which addressed a succession of building failures and apartment tower fires exacerbated by flammable cladding. The report advised that,+

Cuballing Shire stands out in snapshot of WA council finances

Western Australian local governments raised more than $2.4 billion in rates during the 2018-19 financial year while managing assets worth more than $45 billion. These and other key facts from the 2018-19 financial year were published by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries this week – along with a financial health indicator+

New incentive for councils to re-engage apprentices and trainees

Local councils employing eligible out-of-trade apprentices and trainees may be eligible for a 50 per cent wage subsidy under a new Commonwealth employment initiative. At the Federal Government’s request, the National Apprentice Employment Network began operating the Apprentice and Trainee Re-engagement Register in April to enable recently laid-off apprentices and trainees to link up with+

APCO touts Plastic-free July with new resources toolkit

The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation is commemorating the 10th anniversary of Plastic Free July with a new resource toolkit. The toolkit contains the latest plastic packaging statistics and 15 case studies showcasing organisations that are championing issues like single-use plastic avoidance and phase out, reusable packaging, community education, and recycled content. APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly+

Another 71 NSW showgrounds to get govt-funded upgrades

The NSW Government is adding $10.77 million to its showground stimulus funding program, with the new money slated to fund 129 projects at 71 showgrounds. In May, the Government said it was committing $12.5 million to support 393 shovel-ready projects at 137 showgrounds across the state as part of its Covid-19 stimulus package. It has+

New draft design guide for greening NSW urban areas

A draft design framework for planning, designing, and implementing urban green infrastructure has been published by the Government Architect New South Wales. Green infrastructure is the network of green spaces, natural systems and semi-natural systems that supports sustainable communities and a good quality of life. It includes waterways, bushland, tree canopy and green ground cover,+

CWANZ looking to boost local government membership numbers

Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand is seeking expressions of interest from local governments to become full or associate members. CWANZ is the Australasian peak group for walking and bike riding for transport, working collaboratively with state, territory and NZ transport agencies, local councils, and other organisations to make walking and cycling an easy+

HVNL reform options on the table for discussion

The next phase of the Heavy Vehicle National Law review has begun with publication of a consultation regulation impact statement by the National Transport Commission. The NTC is reviewing the HVNL and its supporting regulations at the behest of Transport Ministers after a meeting in November 2018. To date, the review has found that the+

New blueprint for state, regional and local wild dog management

Australia’s new National Wild Dog Action Plan, which emphasises humane, evidence-based, and best-practice control measures, was implemented on 1 July. Wild dogs are estimated to cost farmers and graziers upwards of $89 million a year in lost production and control costs – with significant flow-on effects for rural and regional economies. The new plan was+

Weaknesses found in WA council information security practises

An information systems audit of 10 local governments in Western Australia has found all had “significant shortcomings” in their information security practices. The inaugural review conducted by Office of the Auditor-General found only four entities demonstrated that they were effective or partially effective in at least half of the 14 areas of the security standard.+

Struggling oil recycling sector to get $8m in temporary funding

Oil recycling facilities are to be provided with $7.8 million in temporary Commonwealth funding to enable them to keep operating during the Covid-19 crisis. The Federal Government has also said it will bring forward a scheduled review of the Product Stewardship for Oil Scheme to ensure it remains viable and sustainable into the future. About+

SA local government reform Bill now before state parliament

The SA Government’s Statutes Amendment (Local Government) Review Bill 2020 was introduced into state parliament on 17 June. Key proposed reforms in the Bill include a new conduct management framework for council members; an expansion of expert, independent advice to councils on a range of critical financial and governance matters; modern approach to public consultation;+

Regional news publishers and broadcasters get $50m lifeline

One hundred and seven small-to-medium newspapers and commercial broadcasters will share $50 million in Public Interest New Gathering Program funding. PING is a Commonwealth government initiative to provide direct support for local and regional news outlets at a time when many have scaled back operations or closed due to Covid-19. Of the $50 million, $18+

Game on: Queensland kids get ready for future natural disaster

A new online educational game to help Queensland children and their families prepare for future disasters and severe weather events went live last week. The Get Ready Queensland Challenge game can be accessed via desktop or mobile devices and is intended to reinforce the Get Ready Queensland program to educate people about disaster risks and+