SSROC paves the way | DRFA changes in the wind | Kempsey’s change agent | ALGA News 11 September 2020

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

President's column

Australia is in recession and about two million Australians are out of work. If we really care about our communities, what is the role of Local Government in driving recovery? And why? The “why” is obvious. Those two million Aussies are our locals. They are our first-jobbers, family-starters, mums and dads, the middle-aged, the “wiser+

SSROC paves way for councils to use more RCG on roads

A contract believed to be the largest local government-led procurement of recycled road-making materials in NSW history has been put to public tender. The open market tender to provide recycled crushed glass (RCG) asphalt for road construction and maintenance activities for the 15 council members of the Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) was+

Interim fire report posits standing recovery and resilience agency

Creating a single “scalable” national agency to lead disaster recovery and resilience efforts would bring many benefits, an interim bushfires report says. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements released a 40-page list of “interim propositions” last week on Friday for local, state and federal governments to consider and respond to ahead of a+

Meet the Mayor – Kempsey Shire Council’s Liz Campbell

Liz Campbell was born and educated in the Kempsey District and elected to the Shire Council in 2008. With a background in the travel and tourism industries, Cr Campbell became Mayor in 2011 and was re-elected the following year when Kempsey held its first election for a popularly elected Mayor. Kempsey Shire Council, on the+

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‘Dedicated funding needed for LG to counter family violence’

Local government’s readiness to help reduce domestic violence is being stymied by inadequate state and federal government financial support, ALGA has told a federal inquiry. In a submission to the House of Representatives Standing Committee inquiring into family, domestic and sexual violence, ALGA said it is essential councils receive dedicated funding to maximise their capacity+

Council land disposals and acquisitions law under review

Legislation regulating the disposal of Commonwealth land to local governments and the acquisition of council land by the Commonwealth is being reviewed. While the Lands Acquisition Act 1989 (LAA) has not changed substantially since its enactment over 30 years ago, complex land acquisition processes involving compensation payments to landholders have become more difficult to finalise.+

NSW council rate increases for 2020-21 pegged at 2pc

The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal has set the 2021-22 rate peg for NSW councils at 2.0 percent. The rate peg is the maximum percentage amount by which a council may increase its general income for the year. In 2020-21, it was set at 2.6 percent. The 2021-22 peg was calculated by taking the increase+

Future water options must include recycling: WSAA

Public preconceptions about recycling are inhibiting the long-term development of climate-resilient water sources, the country’s peak water industry body says. The Waters Services Association of Australia has released a 68-page report, All options on the table: Urban water supply options for Australia, that finds the cost of purified recycling water for drinking is comparable to+

Water buybacks scrapped as Cth props up MDB communities

The Federal Government will end contentious buybacks of water entitlements from Murray-Darling Basin irrigators and subsidise water infrastructure on farms instead. Announcing the Murray-Darling Communities Investment Package last week, Water Minister Keith Pitt said upgrading infrastructure for farming irrigators will ensure  greater water savings than buybacks while maximising benefits for Basin communities. A recent review+

Better early fire detection could save $8b over 30 years: ANU

Early bushfire detection could save the economy $8.2 billion over the next 30 years, according to Australian National University modelling. Research led by the ANU’s Centre for Social Research and Methods examined how much money would be saved between 2020 and 2049 under three fire detection scenarios: a 30-minute reduction in detection time for large+

Bigger role likely for LG on livable housing design guidelines

Momentum for all homes built nationwide to incorporate livable housing design principles is picking up, with implications for local government. Advocacy group Livable Housing Australia (LHA) says the Australian Building Codes Board’s proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC) – together with aspects of the Aged Care Royal+

Yarra Ranges rallies residents to wax poetic during Covid-19

An outer Melbourne council is using traditional Japanese poetry as a vehicle for reflecting residents’ experiences of Covid-19 lockdowns. The Shire of Yarra Ranges has invited residents to write and display haiku – three-line poems capturing moments in time, moments of stillness, and fleeting observations – on their rubbish bins.  Notable examples will be featured+

WA container deposit scheme will boast 200 collection points

Western Australia’s new container deposit scheme will have 200 refund points – including depots, reverse vending machines, bag drops, and pop-ups – when it is launched on 1 October. Announcing the details last week, Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said 35 per cent of refund points will be operated by social enterprises and not-for-profits, 15 per+

Harvest employment service expanded to 16 new regions

A seasonal labour employment service is being expanded to enable regional fruit and vegetable growers to harvest crops and dispatch them to market. The Federal Government’s Harvest Trail Services (HTS) connects employers, growers, and farmers with workers to fill seasonal harvest jobs in major horticulture regions across the country. To address labour shortages created by+

Call for council finance officers to join ATO govt relations group

Tax or finance professionals working in local government are being asked to help improve the client experience of the Australian Taxation Office. The ATO recently formed a government relations group to explore the tax and super issues unique to government entities and to identify opportunities to support government at all levels in complying with tax+

Get kids involved in emergency planning: Save the Children

The Save the Children Fund wants young people involved in emergency planning at the local government level to ensure their needs are met. In a submission to the recent bushfires royal commission, Save the Children said youngsters’ needs were “systemically misunderstood and overlooked” in the responses to the fires, even though they are “uniquely vulnerable+