Hello archive

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.

The ROSI will be delivered against the following objectives:

• Delivering via a corridor approach to support network improvements, as opposed to upgrades to individual elements that do not address capacity issues along the selected route. That is, works would involve rolling packages of upgrades to raise the standard of the full corridor, as opposed to just upgrading a single bridge or other bottleneck.

• Funding for corridors should primarily deliver improvements to freight movements, based on a solid evidence base. Funding for projects on the corridor should be identified through analysis of data such as the CSIRO’s Transport Network Strategic Investment Tool’ (TraNSIT) model, the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics modelling, and strategic network assessments by states.

• The corridors should also support regional economic growth by helping support the expansion of key local industries and improve connectivity and access, including better access to support tourism growth.

• The upgraded corridors will also improve safety for all users through improved road conditions.

• The initiative should support partnerships between Commonwealth and state governments with local government and industry, including shared funding responsibilities, appropriate recognition and improve data sharing.

• Where appropriate, projects should support targeted freight road reforms. This could involve trials of incremental heavy vehicle user charging where industry have indicated a willingness to contribute an additional charge for a higher level of service (e.g. upgrades, improved access) on a corridor, route or network, including on upgraded local government roads or greater access to the corridor. It should also involve greater consultation with industry on project identification, selection and prioritisation.

• Projects should support wider national reforms, such as Indigenous employment and supplier-use participation.

“We have already allocated $400 million for the Bass Highway and other priorities in Tasmania, $100 million to improve access from regional New South Wales to the Australian Capital Territory via the Barton Highway and $220 million for the Bindoon Bypass in Western Australia,” Mr McCormack said.

“The Government will be looking for other strategic corridors so our investments can support regional economic growth, support the expansion of local industries including the visitor economy, while also improving safety on these key roads.”

More information is available on the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities website.

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’, including economic centres, emergency services facilities, health facilities, educational facilities, indigenous community organisations, local government facilities and not-for-profit organisations.

To support Round 4, the Government recently re-opened the National Mobile Black Spot Database for nominations from local, state and territory governments, Federal Senators and Federal Members of Parliament. The database closed on 11 October 2018, although funding can still be sought for locations not on the database.

Applications will be open until 10 December 2018.

To apply and for more information visit: www.communications.gov.au/mbsp

National NAIDOC Committee welcomes new members

The National NAIDOC Committee (NNC) has welcomed three new members to its ranks as planning commence for NAIDOC 2019.

The new board members are: 

  • Kimberley Benjamin, a young Yawuru, Bardi and Kija woman from Broome in the Kimberley region of WA. 
  • Gordon Cole, a Noongar man from Perth and the South West of WA; and  
  • Steven Satour, a Anangu Yankunytjatjara/Pitjantjatjara Aboriginal man from Central Australia with strong family ties to NSW. 

The three new appointees join seven current committee members including recently appointed Co-Chairs Pat Thompson and John Paul Janke. 

The NNC is a voluntary Committee independent of Government and make key decisions on National NAIDOC. Members are appointed for a term of three years following a following a public expression of interest process. This year’s EOI process attracted a record 59 applications. 

Outgoing Committee members Dr Anne Martin, Ben Mitchell and Jonathon Newchurch have concluded their terms. NAIDOC Co-Chair, Pat Thompson thanked the outgoing board members for their contributions. 

“The contribution and tireless work of Anne and Ben over the last decade – and Jonathon for his three-year term – has been instrumental in driving the extraordinary growth in the status and the diverse celebrations of NAIDOC every year,” Ms Thompson said. 

The Co-Chairs acknowledged that the immediate challenge for NAIDOC 2019 is to build on the extremely successful celebrations held across the country in 2018 under the theme: Because of Her, We Can! 

“We can think of no other NAIDOC theme in recent years that attracted so much attention and acceptance across the nation so we’re looking forward to building on its unparalleled success,” they said. 

To find out more about the new look Committee and upcoming 2019 theme announcements visit www.NAIDOC.org.au

Men’s Sheds receive $400,000 in grants

Men’s Sheds across the country have received a total of $400,000 in grants from the Federal Government to boost the health and wellbeing of men in their communities.

“To mark Men’s Shed Week, I am delighted to announce that under round 17 of the Government’s National Shed Development Programme (NSDP), 104 sheds received grants for various activities and projects,” said the Minister for Health, the Hon Greg Hunt MP.

The Men’s Shed grants programme provides funding for health improvement activities, the purchase of tools and equipment, community projects and training, and for building maintenance and development

“Men are often the last ones to make their health and wellbeing a priority. It’s imperative that we do what we can to ensure they get the support they need and deserve,” Minister Hunt said.

“Feeling part of a social group is important to our emotional and mental health and Men’s Sheds provide men with an opportunity for companionship and support within their community

“Men’s Sheds have been a real success story in promoting health and wellbeing for Australian men and I am delighted to award these grants.”

All sheds that meet the definition of a Men’s Shed are eligible to apply for funding and grants are awarded on a competitive basis up to a total of $10,000, with priority given to sheds in disadvantaged areas. 

Grants are awarded across three categories – health and wellbeing and events, shed improvements and equipment.

A Men’s Shed can be a purpose-built facility, a multipurpose community or private building or shared space used on a regular basis for the purposes of a Men’s Shed. 

For more information about the NSDP and for a list of all successful applicants, please visit the Australian Men’s Shed Association website.

Eighth Emissions Reduction Fund auction called for December

The Clean Energy Regulator has announced that the eighth Emissions Reduction Fund auction will be held from 10–11 December 2018.

David Parker, Chair of the Clean Energy Regulator, said these regular purchasing events are important to promote development of the carbon abatement market.

“This is a great opportunity for interested market participants to come forward with competitive bids at auction and secure a contract. As always, our focus is to purchase the best value abatement available,” Mr Parker said.

Each auction is different, with a changing mix of interested parties and project method types. Participants who missed out in previous auctions are encouraged to take part in December.

For the first time, participants can register projects that both reduce emissions and store carbon on land that would otherwise be subject to more intense and higher emitting savanna fires. This may be of particular benefit to indigenous communities.

An innovation being offered for this auction is that, in addition to existing contracting arrangements, the Clean Energy Regulator is open to entering into contracts that are contingent on the participant entering into a further Australian carbon credit unit (ACCUs) contract with a third party. This is intended to help broaden the availability of ACCUs to the private market.

“By offering a new flexible arrangement where participants can enter into a contract with us, and subsequently a third party, we hope that the market innovates in response to the varied options available to finance and structure their project,” Mr Parker said.

Of the 429 total Emissions Reduction Fund contracts—committing the government to purchase 192 million tonnes of abatement—over 31 million tonnes of abatement has already been delivered.

More than $249 million in funding presently remains in the Emissions Reduction Fund. Those interested in participating in this auction have until 26 October 2018 to apply to register their project(s), and until 9 November 2018 to qualify to participate in the auction.

The auction guidelines and details about the auction process are available on the Clean Energy Regulator website.

Gawler council leads the way with continence initiative

Gawler Council has been credited for leading the way, nationally, in providing services for men who suffer incontinence.

Council recently agreed to install sanitary disposal units to accommodate incontinence products in all council-owned public toilets and allocate $1,800 towards the annual servicing costs for the units.

Continence Foundation of Australia chief executive officer Rowan Cockerell congratulated the council on “leading the way on this fantastic initiative”, which it believed was the first of its kind across Australia.

“We hope to see other local governments adopt this and prioritise continence issues in their community,” Mr Cockerell said.

“Incontinence is often stigmatised and dismissed as an issue that doesn’t affect men. This clearly is not the case, with the prevalence of incontinence estimated at 10 to 15 per cent of Australian males, and increasing with age.”

Gawler Mayor, Karen Redman, said she was personally motivated to support the health and ‘social justice’ issue, and hoped other councils followed suit.

“The next step is now community awareness and just getting the message out that these services will be rolled out over the next few months,” she said.

“I think that the more people that get on board the better, because it’s not just council public facilities, it’s other ones like football clubrooms and the Men’s Shed that have toilets that people will access.”

The sanitary disposal units will be rolled out progressively over the coming months.

This story first appeared in the Bunyip.

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.

The 2025 National Packaging Targets are:

  1. 100% of all Australia’s packaging will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025 or earlier
  2. 70% of Australia’s plastic packaging will be recycled or composted by 2025
  3. 30% average recycled content will be included across all packaging by 2025
  4. Problematic and unnecessary single-use plastic packaging will be phased out through design, innovation or introduction of alternatives

I commend the steps taken by APCO to set some clear targets for its members to improve material types and help reduce the quantities of packaging waste entering the system. I also commend APCO on ensuring the compostability of packaging is also within their 2025 target and on the launch of a new label to help make it easier for householders to know what bins to put their rubbish in.

While these steps are indeed essential, I would also like to highlight the importance of moving Australia towards a more circular economy to better capture and use resources already in the system.

The Commonwealth has a critical role in promoting and strengthening a circular economy for a sustainable future. Without this national leadership, we risk mounting stockpiles of waste manufactured here and overseas, along with the associated safety concerns and ever-increasing amounts of potentially useful materials going to landfill. A coordinated, Australia-wide approach should be adopted to prevent inefficiencies associated with inconsistent state-based regulations, labelling or collection standards. Such inconsistencies will be a barrier to achieving a nationwide circular economy for recycled products and risk diminishing values for recyclables – something that is already impacting upon councils kerbside and when negotiating contracts.

With the closing date for comments only a week away to inform the update on the National Waste Policy, I encourage you to read the discussion paper and consider how those proposed targets relate to your councils and communities.

Comments can be made to the National Waste Taskforce by Friday 5 October via their online survey or by written submission at http://www.environment.gov.au/protection/national-waste-policy/consultation-on-updating-national-waste-policy

Don’t waste your chance to tell them what matters to you and your community.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President

Do you have a bright idea to get Australians moving?

Who needs to get moving? The answer is, all of us! Physical inactivity remains a huge problem in Australia with 50% of adult Australians and only 1 in 5 children meeting the national physical activity guidelines.

The Heart Foundation, funded by the Australian Government, knows that getting more Australians to do more physical activity is vital to building heart health and reducing the risk of heart disease, currently Australia’s biggest killer.

On a local level, being more active makes communities healthier, happier and more connected.

If your council has a great idea to get your community active, submit a 2-minute video, or 250 words, outlining the barriers to physical activity and your innovative idea to overcome them.

Finalists will be invited to explore their idea further and pitch it in a public forum. Up to eight grants of $10,000 are available to help bring the idea to life.

Find out more on the Heart Foundation website.



The aim of Anti-Poverty Week is to:

  • Strengthen public understanding of the causes and consequences of poverty and hardship around the world and in Australia; and
  • Encourage research, discussion and action to address these problems, including action by individuals, communities, organisations and governments.

Everyone is encouraged to help reduce poverty and hardship by organising an activity during the Week. Please tell us about your activity so we can demonstrate how many people in Australia care about this issue!


Visit the Anti-Poverty Week website for more information on how to get started.

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, and the transformation of the economy towards service- and knowledge-based industries are causing profound changes in Australia’s urban and regional landscapes.

“These are big challenges, and they require a new understanding of our cities and their relationship with surrounding regions,” Mr Alexander said.

“Managing these challenges requires a national vision—a national plan of settlement.”

To direct this process, the report also recommends the creation of a Minister for Cities and National Settlement, with responsibility for the oversight of the national plan of settlement and housing, and a National Chief Planner, to provide independent expert advice on urban and regional planning and development.

The report makes 37 recommendations addressing issues at a national, regional and local level across a broad range of subjects. Recommendations relating to local government include:

  • 4.97   The Committee recommends that the Australian Government develop a framework for the development of cities and regions outside the major metropolitan centres, based on the hub-and-spoke concept, within the context of a national planning framework. These Regional Plans would:
    • Explore options for local action and investment, including local government leadership in infrastructure and investment
  • 8.78   The Committee recommends that the Prime Minister appoint a senior Minister with responsibility for housing to:
  • monitor housing affordability issues and lead a joint federal, state and local government response;
  • 9.82   The Committee recommends that the Australian Government offer additional funding and technical support to local governments by extending the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program and the Future Ready Incubation Package indefinitely. The Committee also recommends that the Future Ready Incubation Package specifically address local governments’ capacity to effectively and efficiently procure smart cities technology.
  • A COAG Cities & Regional Development Ministerial Council involving representation by state and territory treasurers, housing ministers and planning ministers, and local government
  • 11.81 The Committee recommends that the Australian Government, in pursuit of a sustained, coordinated, holistic vision for the development of Australia’s cities and regions, create:

A copy of the report can be obtained from the Committee’ website or from the secretariat on (02) 6277 2352.

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. Ministers tasked officials with drafting a renewed strategy, informed by the consultation process, to be considered by Ministers at their meeting in 2019.

Ministers heard a presentation by Mr Craig Ritchie, CEO of the Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies outlining Australia’s involvement in the United National Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) 2019 International Year of Indigenous Languages and agreed to work together to continue preparing Australia’s Action Plan.

Ministers also noted the work of the National Local Government Cultural Forum and the results of the data collection.

The full communique from the meeting is available on the Department of Communications and the Arts website.

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. They help equalise the level of services across local governments nationally – particularly in rural, regional and remote areas – and they help fund the growth in demand for local government services in line with population growth.

ALGA has stated that the relative decline in core federal funding to local government has reduced the capacity of councils to develop and maintain services and infrastructure in their communities, which fuels the risk of reducing standards of living in those communities and across the nation.

FAGs were equal to around 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996. However, despite an annual growth rate in Australia’s Gross Domestic Product of an average 3.47% from 1960 until 2017, FAGs have declined by around 43% in relative terms over the past 20 years, and now amount to approximately 0.55% (2018) of Commonwealth tax revenue.

ALGA has called for the level of FAGs to be restored to at least 1 per cent of Commonwealth taxation revenue, which would see a $1.42 billion cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit by year 3 and 4,000 new jobs.

Find out more about this and other federal election initiatives from ALGA at www.allpoliticsislocal.com.au

Local councils can drive down transport pollution: new report

Australia’s local councils can drive down transport pollution that is causing worsening climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Council’s Cities Power Partnership.

The new report, Waiting for the Green Light: Sustainable Transport Solutions for Local Government, identifies actions that local governments can take action to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from transport, such as setting strong transport emissions reduction targets, prioritising walking, cycling and public transport use and discouraging car use in towns and cities.

Cities Power Partnership energy analyst Petra Stock says that local councils can be a driving force in reducing Australia’s rising transport pollution, which saw emissions rise by 3.4% over 2017.

“Local governments setting strong council and community targets to reduce transport pollution and ramp up public transport use, cycling and walking have the potential to make serious inroads into reducing vehicle emissions,” she said.

“Many councils across Australia are already taking action to slash vehicle emissions, such as Cities Power Partnership member Moreland’s integrated transport network and Canberra’s plan to increase electric vehicle uptake.

“The local government drive towards clean, effective transport is underway, but we need to see more councils taking action to slam the brakes on Australia’s worsening transport pollution problem.”

The report sets out recommendations for local governments, including:

1. Develop a climate and transport policy and action plan, including setting targets for zero-emissions transport and public and active transport use, and introducing electric vehicles into council fleet.

2. Gather data on local transport patterns, and facilities for walking, riding and public transport.

3. Encourage sustainable transport use by local government staff and for access to local government facilities and events.

4. Encourage sustainable transport use (public transport, walking and cycling) through strategic, transport and statutory planning and design. This may include working with neighbouring councils to create connected, efficient access for public transport, cycling and walking.

5. Provide for adequate cycle lanes (both space and connectivity) and provide bicycle parking and end-of-ride facilities. Encourage building owners and operators to provide end-of-trip facilities such as bicycle parking and change rooms.

The full report can be accessed on the Cities Power Partnership website.

Free route assessment tool for road managers

An agreement between the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) and the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) will deliver a cutting-edge route assessment tool free to all road managers through the NHVR Portal.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the Restricted Access Vehicle Route Assessment Tool (or RAVRAT) would provide local governments with a consistent assessment tool and methodology when assessing heavy vehicle access requests.

“Heavy vehicle operators are looking to the NHVR and road managers to provide a consistent, transparent approach to making access decisions and this tool is an important step forward,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“This collaboration with ARRB and the Local Government Associations of Queensland, NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania will provide consistency while saving road managers time and money.”

ARRB’s State Technical Leader Matthew Bereni said RAVRAT 2.0 included a new user interface for the website and integration into NHVR Portal – Road Manager Module.

“There have been a number of improvements to RAVRAT which will ensure a reduction in assessment times as RAVRAT stores and reuses information from past assessments,” Mr Bereni said.

“RAVRAT currently incorporates three main route assessment modules with the aim to develop more modules in the future.”

To register for the RAVRAT services visit http://ravrat.com/sign-up.aspx

For more information about using RAVRAT or the recent changes, please email ravrat@atlab-arrb.com

Cutting red tape for trucks carting hay

Trucks will now be able to carry more hay and fodder to drought affected farmers.

From today, longer and higher loads of hay and fodder will be allowed to travel on state and national-controlled roads.

Heavy vehicles up to a maximum height of 4.6 metres and 2.83 metres wide will no longer require a permit to access the existing state-controlled road networks. Previously access was limited for Class 3 vehicles up to 2.6 metres wide and 4.3 metres high.

The announcement by the Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, the Hon Michael McCormack MP, is a step to support the large amounts of fodder from Western Australia and Tasmania loaded and transported to drought affected areas, particularly to regional NSW.

Permits will still be required through the NHVR Portal (www.nhvr.gov.au/drought) for access to some local government roads.

NBN Co offers support to upgrade unmonitored medical alarms at a reduced cost

NBN Co will provide additional support for unmonitored medical alarm users to help improve their experience when they migrate to the nbn™ access network.

As part of a nationwide upgrade of Australian telecommunications, services over the nbn™ access network are scheduled to progressively replace most existing fixed-line phone and internet services. This means people may need to upgrade their unmonitored medical alarm so it continues to be able to dial out in the event of a power outage.

An unmonitored medical alarm calls a family member, friend, neighbour or 000 when triggered. It differs from a monitored alarm, which calls an alarm-monitoring centre that may have a monthly fee, or a locally-monitored alarm, which calls the staff at an aged care or retirement facility.

The new network requires power to operate and in the case of an outage, some unmonitored medical alarms that rely on a home phone line may not work as they will be unable to call a family member, friend or 000 when triggered.

Under the ‘Unmonitored Medical Alarm Upgrade Offer’, eligible people can obtain an upgraded medical alarm at a discounted price of up to of 80 per cent off the normal price – to a maximum of $300 off, from participating alarm suppliers.

As a first step, owners (or carers on their behalf) should make sure their unmonitored medical alarms are registered in NBN Co’s Medical Alarm Register. NBN Co will contact registered medical alarm users when their home is ready to be connected to the network. They will get advice about potential compatibility issues with their unmonitored medical alarm and their options to upgrade, or speak to their existing alarm supplier about continuing to use their existing alarm, before their current phone service is switched off.

The advice will also be distributed in other channels including medical alarm support services, thousands of GP waiting areas and through selected aged care community groups.

To check if you, your family member or friend is eligible for the ‘Unmonitored Medical Alarm Upgrade Offer’, or to find out more about the offer, please visit nbn.com.au/alarmupgrade or call 1800 003 095.

There’s no excuse for abuse

Our Watch has launched a new campaign, No Excuse for Abuse.  
The campaign aims to raise awareness of non-physical abuse and encourage the community to recognise it as serious and inexcusable. It covers financial abuse, social abuse, emotional and/or psychological abuse, spiritual abuse, technological abuse and stalking.
The campaign is targeted at women and men aged 20-30. Research shows that this group are significantly more likely to find non-physical forms of abuse difficult to recognise.  
Understanding what constitutes violence (including physical and non-physical) is crucial to ensure that the community challenges the condoning of all forms of violence.
You can see the campaign here and click on each scenario to watch the videos and read more information.  

A non-physical abuse resource pack for practitioners will be available soon. This will include seven narrative stories that can be used to demonstrate and explore non-physical forms of violence and the link to the gendered drivers of violence outlined in Change the story. If you would like to receive a copy of the resource pack, please email Cuong La at Our Watch. 
The No Excuse for Abuse campaign will run online until June 2019. It is an initiative of Our Watch and funded by the Australian Government Department of Social Services.

Climate wake-up call

The world risks crossing the point of no return on climate change, with disastrous consequences for people across the planet and the natural systems that sustain them, the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned, calling for more leadership and greater ambition for climate action, to reverse course.

The pledge made by world leaders in the Paris Agreement three years ago to stop temperature rising by less than 2-degree-Celsius and working to keep the increase as close as possible to 1.5-degree-Celsius, “were really the bare minimum to avoid the worst impacts of climate change,” said Secretary-General Guterres, in a landmark speech on climate action, at UN Headquarters in New York.

“Put simply, we need to put the brake on deadly greenhouse gas emissions and drive climate action,” he added, calling for a shift away from the dependency on fossil fuels towards cleaner energy and away from deforestation to more efficient use of resources.

In his message, Mr. Guterres highlighted the huge economic costs of climate change and the opportunities presented by climate action.

“Climate action and socio-economic progress are mutually supportive, with gains of 26 trillion dollars predicted by 2030 compared with business as usual, if we pursue the right path,” he said, citing the findings of the recent Climate Economy report from the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate Change.

The benefits transcend monetary figures.

“Climate-resilient water supply and sanitation could save the lives of more than 360,000 infants every year, clean air has vast benefits for public health [and] in China and the United States, new renewable energy jobs now outstrip those created in the oil and gas industries,” explained Mr. Guterres, noting several examples from across the world of climate action resulting in enormous benefits for countries and communities.

Underscoring that important strides are being made, the UN chief highlighted the imperative to speed up these transitions.

“And for that to happen, the leaders of the world need to step up.

“The time has come for our leaders to show they care about the people whose fate they hold in their hands. We need them to show they care about the future,” he stressed.

Looking ahead, the UN chief emphasised that he would be reiterating this message at the General Assembly’s high level segment later in the month as well as at other key events, including the G7 and G20 meetings of world leaders; and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) meetings.

President’s column

It’s been reported that the current drought being experienced in parts of eastern Australia is the worst in decades with scientists and industry experts predicting the conditions will only get worse.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced that he will be hosting a National Drought Summit on 26 October, 2018. The summit will bring together the nation’s leaders and key stakeholders to look at actions to deliver assistance, cut red tape and tackle gaps that need addressing.

In particular, rather than just looking at an immediate response to the drought challenges, the summit will also address long-term resilience.

As ALGA President, I will represent the sector at the summit and I’m keen to report on the things that councils are already doing to assist their communities, as well as where we all can chip in to ease the drought burden. ALGA will soon be seeking input from your state/territory local government association about your council’s experiences and priorities on this issue, so if you have any information to share, please send it through to your LGA for a collated response.

ALGA has also sought a seat on the inter-jurisdictional committee that will be coordinating the national drought response to ensure that our sector can play its part to support our farmers and drought-stricken communities.

While not all states are currently in drought, this is a persisting national problem that we are told is likely to get worse with climate change, and all levels of government are working together to face this national challenge.

Your information, your reports and stories about what is happening on the ground will greatly help us understand the issues in more depth in order for us to, collectively, arrive at the best solutions.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President

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.

“We have had fantastic outcomes over the first two funding rounds of the Building Better Regions Fund and I expect Round 3 to deliver more of the same with up to $45 million earmarked to increase tourism and—importantly—create even more local jobs.

“In previous rounds, projects have ranged from building new community-based aged care facilities, developing training programs to support young people in starting their own businesses, and improving freight access to airports, just to name a few.”

Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment Simon Birmingham said this was a great opportunity for regional communities to kick-off new tourism infrastructure projects.

“Tourism is a major industry for many regional areas, and this fund could give regional communities the helping hand they need to seize on local tourism opportunities,” Minister Birmingham said.

Minister McCormack said Round 3 would continue delivering projects across the Community Investments and Infrastructure Projects streams, including tourism-related infrastructure projects, to drive economic development, create jobs and create stronger partnerships across communities.

“I encourage all interested and eligible organisations to apply for infrastructure and community-based project funding, to ensure our regional and remote communities continue to thrive,” he said.

Applications will close on 15 November 2018.

For further information on eligibility and how to lodge an application, please visit http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/bbrf.

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.

Local government roads and bridges in general were designed and built decades ago and are no longer fit for purpose. As a result, vehicle access to parts of the local road network is more limited as road providers try to balance access with protection of the road assets from vehicle damage.

Limited access frequently requires high productivity vehicles to ‘break down’ to smaller configurations at the start or end of the journey. This requires drivers to depart production facilities with only one trailer attached and drive to a suitable assembly point adjacent to an approved high productivity road before returning to collect subsequent trailers, and then assembling it all in a double or triple configuration. This process negates some of the benefits of higher mass limit reforms.

Many councils have demonstrated their willingness, capacity and competence to undertake regional planning on behalf of their region. These regional plans could be developed in all regions and can provide the basic building blocks for project identification, prioritisation and investment, to drive productivity improvements across council boundaries and in some cases jurisdictional boundaries.

A Local Government Higher Productivity Investment Plan funded at $200 million per annum over five years could see a $1.66 billion cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit by year 3 and 2,300 new jobs.

Find out more about this and other federal election initiatives from ALGA at www.allpoliticsislocal.com.au

Councillor Coral Ross awarded the 2018 Churchill Fellowship

Gardiner Ward Councillor at the City of Boroondara, Councillor Coral Ross, has been awarded the prestigious Churchill Fellowship to look into improving gender equality in local councils.

Cr Ross will travel to USA, Canada, UK, Sweden, and Germany in 2019 to gain new knowledge and insights on best practice to increasing the number of elected women in local government.

“It is a huge honour and privilege to be one of the 112 recipients of the prestigious Churchill Fellowship,” Cr Ross said.

“There is an ongoing under-representation of women in local government as councillors. In Australia, only 32.8 per cent of councillors are women, which is considerably less than the percentage of women making up our communities. I believe we need to do more to see women participate equally in local government, as councils which do not reflect their communities cannot serve their communities.

“I am looking forward to gaining new knowledge and sharing insights with my overseas counterparts and to bringing best overseas practice back to Australia to improve gender equality in our local government.”

Cr Coral Ross has been a City of Boroondara councillor for 16 years and is the National President of Australian Local Government Women’s Association.

$40m funding round for aged care regional, rural and remote infrastructure closing soon

In the 2018-19 Budget, the Australian Government announced $40 million for infrastructure investment in regional, rural and remote residential and home care services to support quality aged care service delivery in these regions. Commonwealth Home Support Programme services will also be considered, where there is exceptional need.

The grant opportunity is designed to target funding in regional, rural and remote regions where services may not have access to infrastructure funding. It will assist aged care services where geographical constraints, significantly higher costs and reduced capacity to generate revenue in low socio-economic locations, impede aged care services ability to invest in infrastructure work.

The Department of Health has released the grant opportunity, allowing existing approved aged care providers in regional, rural and remote areas, to apply for grants up to $500,000 per service.

What to do now:

The Grant Opportunity Application Form, Guidelines and FAQ’s for the Aged Care Regional, Rural and Remote Infrastructure Grant can be accessed via GrantConnect: www.grants.gov.au

Applicants must submit their completed forms, including requested attachments, in the electronic format detailed in the Grant Opportunity Guidelines.

Closing time and date:

All applications must be received within the Department of Health by 2pm (AEDT) 24 October 2018.


The 8th Annual Workforce Planning for the Public Sector Summit 2018

27 – 28 November 2018, Novotel Canberra

Ahead of the Workforce Planning for the Public Sector Summit 2018, we chat with Simone Cook, Director of People and Performance at the City of Canterbury Bankstown who explores the strategies for creating an amalgamated Workforce Planning strategy to develop resilience for immediate and long term demands. 

Read the full article here.

If you’re interested in hearing more, join us at the 8th Annual Workforce Planning for the Public Sector Summit, held 27 – 28 November 2018 at the Novotel Canberra.

The summit brings together 30+ workforce planning experts from the likes of the Workforce Planning Global, Parks Victoria, Queensland Public Service Commission and more who discuss strategies to prepare for the future workforce through scenario planning, workforce analytics and capability building.

View the full program here.

Spaces are filling fast so reserve your seat now by registering online or calling 02 9229 1000.

National Landcare Program is full steam ahead

The National Landcare Program is full steam ahead with 47 organisations selected to deliver the $450 million Regional Land Partnerships program.

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud said the successful tenderers have demonstrated they have the knowledge, capability and experience to deliver vital sustainable agriculture services to regional communities.

“This program will be delivered at a local level by groups that know the lay of the land to help our farmers improve their productivity in the good years and the bad,” Mr Littleproud said.

“A focus of the regional program will be on the key element of any farm – soil. The program will aim to improve soil health on farms, targeting soil acidification, wind erosion and hillslope erosion.

“The program will also focus on helping farmers adapt to growing markets by demonstrating sustainable management practice credentials.”

For further information about the program, visit: www.nrm.gov.au/

Anti-Poverty Week 14 – 20 October

At least a million Australians live in poverty or severe hardship. The causes and symptoms include inadequate access to work and income, education, housing and health care services. They cannot afford essential goods and services which most Australians take for granted.

During Anti-Poverty Week, all community leaders are encouraged to organise or take part in an activity aiming to highlight or overcomes issues of hardship and poverty in their local community.

This year Anti-Poverty Week is 14-20 October.

Councils are encouraged to organise an initiative in their communities during the week, and promote their events by linking to the 2018 calendar of Anti-Poverty Week activities. 

Examples of activities local councils organised last year included:

  • The City of Busselton held a Councillor’s Cook-Off to help raise awareness of the causes and consequences of poverty.
  • Mackay Regional Council held a “Connecting Communities” event to raise awareness about poverty.
  • Blacktown City Council held the Colo Lane Couch Race – their Annual Couch Surfing Championship to raise awareness about homelessness.
  • Oberon Council held a food drive for people in need in Oberon.
  • Moreland City Council organised a gathering to share stories about homelessness.

Councils can help promote Anti-Poverty Week in their communities by including information in their council newsletters. Resources are available on the Anti-Poverty Week website www.antipovertyweek.org.au.

If you want more information email apw@antipovertyweek.org.au.

More inclusive remote communities

Remote communities in the Northern Territory, Queensland and South Australia will receive more than $9.3 million in grant funding to help make their communities more inclusive and supportive of people with disability.

Minister for Social Services Dan Tehan said the thirteen projects funded in NT, QLD and SA have a strong focus on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people with disability.

“This funding is trialling targeted activities in hard-to-reach areas to improve access to services and enable people with disability to more actively participate in their communities,” Mr Tehan said.

Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services Jane Prentice said: “There are many challenges in delivering services to remote and regional Australia. It is crucial that we work with Indigenous communities, to ensure that they have the capability to deliver the services they need.”

Funded projects include:

  • An Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara region (APY Lands) project that upskills local people to help them get employment in the disability service industry, and supports people with disability to register for the NDIS.
  • Helping people with disability in the Northern Territory access and use Assistive Technology (AT) and build the capacity of communities to maintain and repair AT equipment.

The projects have been funded through the NDIS’ Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Program.

More information about ILC grants is on the NDIS website: https://www.ndis.gov.au/communities/ilc-home.html.

Additional drought assistance for eligible councils

The Drought Communities program has been extended with an additional $75 million in further support for drought-stricken communities.

Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government Dr John McVeigh said the fund would provide immediate and short-term support for farmers and regional communities doing it tough.

“We are providing an additional $75 million this financial year for eligible councils to address local needs,” Dr McVeigh said.

“This is a terrible drought affecting the livelihoods and wellbeing of our farmers and regional communities, particularly those in New South Wales and Queensland. This fund targets those most seriously impacted by the drought.”

The funding will deliver flexibility for councils to choose projects that will have the biggest impact. These can include:

  • Employing local contractors to undertake repairs and maintenance
  • Upgrading or building new community facilities
  • Holding events and undertaking drought-relief activities
  • Carting potable water into communities for drinking and bathing.

The additional funding for the program will initially offer $1 million in grants funding to 60 eligible drought affected councils to provide immediate and short-term support for their communities.

Councils will be invited to submit appropriate projects, which address local conditions and needs. The program will prioritise projects that use local businesses to the greatest degree possible.

More information about the Drought Communities Program is available here: http://regional.gov.au/regional/programs/drought-communities.aspx

Funding supports national rollout of Neighbourhood Hub

The success of a local community support and friendship organisation will be shared across the nation, thanks to a $42,000 grant from the Federal Government.

Minister for Aged Care, Ken Wyatt AM, said the Sydney-based Waverton Hub was an outstanding example of how communities can support older Australians and combat social isolation.

“I’ve experienced first-hand the warmth and camaraderie of the Waverton Hub and I’m proud to support the replication of this unique model across the country,” said Minister Wyatt.

“Already, more than 30 communities have expressed interest in the Hub model and this grant will help the founders share their expertise widely and encourage the development of new hubs.

“The Waverton Hub model has also attracted international interest, with a number of seniors’ communities in New Zealand indicating their intention to apply the model locally.”

The Waverton Hub has just celebrated five years of helping the older residents of Waverton, Wollstonecraft and neighbouring areas of Sydney.

“The Hub works to constantly engage and reinvigorate older locals and is run by 80 of its contributing members,” Minister Wyatt said.

“As well as almost daily activities, Hub members look out for each other and connect their colleagues to the services they need.”

More information can be found at the Waverton Hub website.

Research on temporary and tactical urbanism

Do you know of any examples of temporary or tactical urbanism projects in Australia? These open space projects occupy previously-underused sites, involve rapid temporary physical transformations, and test innovative design, development and management approaches.

Researchers Quentin Stevens (RMIT) and Kim Dovey (University of Melbourne) are seeking information about such projects from professionals in urban planning and design, architecture, landscape, civil engineering, placemaking, local government, and property management.

Participation should only take 15 minutes. Your input will help inform future design, planning and community engagement approaches for Australia’s urban spaces.

Go to the survey.

Working with the heavy vehicle industry to improve freight networks

The heavy vehicle industry is invited to submit proposals on how best to trial a user-pays system for delivering the road infrastructure needed to improve freight networks.

The Business Case Program for Location-Specific Heavy Vehicle Charging Trials has opened and is seeking industry-driven proposals on how best to trial a system designed to fund upgrades to the road freight network and elimate pinch points.

Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities Paul Fletcher said road freight is the engine of our economy and roads are our most valuable infrastructure asset.

“Australia has 874,000 kilometres of roads and our exports, imports, domestic deliveries, e-commerce and many jobs, rely on ensuring that this vast network runs as efficiently as possible,” Minister Fletcher said.

“We are inviting heavy vehicle operators to explore how they can help improve a particular route or network by paying a fair and equitable user charge. We would like to work with them to develop a business case to test the value proposition for all stakeholders.

“Work is also progressing with industry on designing options to trial the possible replacement of heavy vehicle registration fees and fuel charges at the national level, through a related initiative – the National Heavy Vehicle Charging Pilot.”

A range of stakeholders connected to the road freight sector are eligible to submit a proposal to develop a business case by 21 September 2018.

Local councils are also encouraged to take the opportunity to identify where, how and why a heavy vehicle charge could improve supply chain productivity by submitting a proposal to develop a business case. 

For further guidance on how to submit a proposal visit: https://infrastructure.gov.au/roads/heavy/charging-trials/business-case.aspx

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, where we saw valuable progress towards higher levels of on-shore recycling. We will seek to deepen our relationships with them in their new roles.

I’d also like to recognise the work of outgoing Prime Minister Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP. He was warm, accommodating and welcoming to us at COAG and let’s not forget his very popular appearance at this year’s National General Assembly dinner – the first appearance at the NGA by a PM in years.

The shuffle in Canberra has interrupted but not stalled ALGA’s election advocacy plan; rest assured that, if required, we are ready to deploy our full campaign advocating for the sector’s priorities and I will continue to be active in my advocacy to ensure the Government and Opposition remain attentive to our priorities.

I also wanted to touch on ALGA’s Roads and Transport Congress in Alice Springs, which is just months away and promises an exciting program for delegates.

Under the theme Connecting Transport Networks Now and into the Future, the Congress will feature presentations by leading industry professionals who specialise in safety, connected infrastructure, and those at the forefront of debates surrounding road infrastructure funding reform and public transport policy.

The Congress is an opportunity to hear from Federal Ministers and Shadow Ministers about their visions for the future and how local government fits in to these plans. It is also our platform to fight for our case for vital local government roads and transport funding.

At the Congress in 2000, our united voices inspired the creation of the highly successful Roads to Recovery Program, which has seen more than 60,000 local road sites upgraded and repaired. It is now time for us to revive our campaign for an increase in funding under the program to $800 million per annum to more sustainably manage our component of the national road network.

ALGA Vice President, Mayor Damien Ryan, and I have sent each council a personal letter of invitation to this important event where you can add your voice to those of 300 mayors, councillors and senior council staff from across Australia so that our calls may be heard by the Federal Government.

You can register now to attend the Congress on the ALGA website.

I look forward to seeing you there.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President

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. I’ve taken the opportunity to seek a meeting with Minister McKenzie as soon as convenient to discuss the Government’s policies concerning our sector and the current priorities facing our communities. I also invited the Minister to join the ALGA Board at its meeting next month as an early opportunity to meet the sector’s leaders.

I look forward to continuing to work with the Government and Minister McKenzie to improve the resilience of our local communities and help support regional development.

With the swearing in of Minister McKenzie, we say goodbye to our outgoing minister the Hon Dr John McVeigh MP. I’m thankful for Dr McVeigh’s support during his time as Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government. I greatly appreciated his willingness to engage with myself and the local government sector including his attendance at this year’s Regional Cooperation and Development Forum and National General Assembly. 

I wish Dr McVeigh well in his Parliamentary career and I’m sure I speak for us all when I say how grateful we are for his dedicated service and support.


Mayor David O’Loughlin

 ALGA President

Statement from the incoming federal local government minister

From Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie on being sworn in as the Minister for Regional Services, Sport, Local Government and Decentralisation:

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, further work on obesity and delivering the Murray Darling Medical Schools Network, keeping regional medical students in our regions.

The Government continues to be focused on delivery of 21st Century communications for the regions including the soon to open the next round of the Mobile Black Spot Program where we will taking feedback directly from the community, state and local government on where they most need better coverage.

I am also excited to be Australia’s first Minister for Decentralisation. Getting people out of our congested cities and into our regions is a core priority of the National Party and something I have long supported.

Having clear policies and strategies to encourage more development and growth in our regional communities is key to the future of our regional families and youth, and the future prospects of our nation.

I also look forward to working with Local Governments to strengthen their communities.

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 www.sportaus.gov.au/csi.  Applications close 14 September 2018. 

To support the grant program, a Value of Community Sport Infrastructure report was recently released by Sport Australia. Findings from the report show how community sport infrastructure generates more than $16.2 billion worth of social, health and economic benefits each year. The report, produced in partnership with KPMG and La Trobe University, demonstrates that the impact and value of community sport infrastructure extends far beyond the cost of the facilities.  

In particular, the report shows the impact and value of community sport infrastructure provides at least: 

  • $6.3 billion worth of economic benefits, including construction, maintenance and operation 
  • $5.1 billion of social benefits, including community cohesion and mental wellbeing, and; 
  • $4.9 billion worth of health benefits due to promoting physical activity.   

You can read the full report on the Sports Australia website.

A new innovation hub at the Digital Transformation Agency

The federal Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) has launched a new co-Lab innovation hub to help accelerate cross-government collaboration and digital innovation.

Based in Sydney, the co-Lab is a dedicated place for teams across government to work on products in partnership with the DTA and private sector specialists.

The co-Lab team is led by DTA digital experts across content design and strategy, service design, user research, accessibility and agile delivery.

The DTA will host 3 types of tailored programs in the space to make sure teams are getting the best outcomes:

  • single day experiences for teams to share and learn from others
  • multi-week experiences for testing solutions or creating proofs-of-concept
  • in-residency experiences for problem-solving initiatives that might span months.

Spaces like co-Lab brings together agencies and align efforts to design better government services for people and businesses.

DTA hopes that the shared environment of co-Lab will create new partnerships, conversations and ways of working.

Interested in participating? Contact the team at co-lab@digital.gov.au

Draft Basin Plan report released

Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources David Littleproud has welcomed the Productivity Commission’s draft report—Murray-Darling Basin Plan: Five-year assessment—on Basin Plan implementation.

The Commission found that significant progress has been made with about 20% of the water that was used for agriculture now dedicated to the environment and evidence of environmental improvement. But it says there is still a lot of hard work ahead in key areas and success is not guaranteed.

“By 2024, Governments are to deliver an ambitious suite of projects. If these succeed, they will deliver the same environmental outcomes with less water, easing the burden on farmers and Basin communities and saving taxpayers about $480 million dollars,” the Commission said.

“In addition, the Plan requires that an extra 450 GL (about 20% more than water recovered to date) be acquired for the environment, so long as there are no negative socioeconomic impacts.

“The Commission has found that some of the timelines are unrealistic and that institutional and governance arrangements are deficient.”

The Commission has proposed draft recommendations designed to give the Plan every chance of success.

“I’ll continue on my path of implementing the Basin Plan on time and in full, as agreed by both sides of politics.”

The Productivity Commission’s draft report is open for public consultation and its final report will be completed by the end of 2018.

More information is available on the Productivity Commission’s website.

Do you work in or have an interest in the primary prevention of violence against women?

Do you work in or have an interest in the primary prevention of violence against women? If so, please consider responding to the Our Watch national survey. 

Violence prevention is an emerging field, and Our Watch needs your help to understand what the organisation can do to support you and your work. Even if your role only partly involves preventing violence against women, Our Watch wants to hear from you.

This survey is part of an organisation wide evaluation of Our Watch, being undertaken by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). A full participant information statement and consent form is included at the start of the survey (see link below).   


The survey will only take 10-15 minutes to complete and is also accessible on iPhone or tablet. Your participation is voluntary and, unless you indicate otherwise, will remain anonymous.

Councils step up to improving heavy vehicle productivity and safety across Australia

The Federal Government has announced that 93 road upgrade projects will share in a total of $132.5 million in federal funding under Round Six of the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program.

Acting Prime Minister, Nationals’ Leader and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack said the program has been successful at increasing the productivity and safety of heavy vehicles by building the capacity of existing roads and improving connections to the nation’s freight networks.

“One of the keys to the success of this program is the input of local knowledge to address local road issues. Of these 93 road projects, more than 60 per cent will be undertaken by local councils,” Mr McCormack said.

“By upgrading these routes and rolling out supporting infrastructure such as rest stops and parking bays, heavy vehicle operators across the country will enjoy safer, quicker and more productive journeys.”

Assistant Minister for Roads and Transport Scott Buchholz said the productivity improvements stemming from the more efficient movement of freight across the national road network would also provide all manner of industries with major benefits in terms of their ability to compete more effectively in domestic and international markets.

“The Australian Government’s commitment of $132.5 million in this round of the program will be matched by local councils and state and territory governments, delivering a total investment of at least $319 million towards these vital projects,” Mr Buchholz said.

More on the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program, including a full list of successful Round Six projects, is available at: http://investment.infrastructure.gov.au/infrastructure_investment/heavy_vehicle_safety_and_productivity.aspx

Launch of the new Water Quality Australia website

A joint initiative between the Commonwealth, state, territory and New Zealand governments will help better manage and protect water resources.

Head of Water at the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources, Paul Morris, said a new website had been created to publish an extensively revised, nationally-supported strategy and guidelines for improving water quality in Australian waterways.

“This new website will provide water managers with the tools and advice they need to assess, manage and monitor water quality at a local level,” Mr Morris said.

“Protecting water quality is integral to securing the health of our aquatic ecosystems, meeting the needs of people, agriculture and industry, and protecting the cultural, spiritual and natural values that we hold dear.

“The water quality website will support state and territory governments to apply the Australian and New Zealand guidelines according to local regulations and conditions.”

The website contains the National Water Quality Management Strategy and the Australian and New Zealand Guidelines for Fresh and Marine Water Quality.

The guidelines have been updated over several years using the best available science and new techniques to make them more relevant and current.

The guidelines have been used by all Australian and New Zealand governments since 1992.

The new website is available at waterquality.gov.au

London looking to be world’s most walkable city

London is targeting an extra million walking trips a day by 2024 as part of the UK capital’s first walking action plan, of which technology will play a major role. The city will invest £2.2 billion to redesign streets, install better signposting and maps, and add more pedestrian crossings.

Along with walking, the mayor Sadiq Khan, wants this investment to increase the proportion of people cycling and taking public transport to 80 percent of journeys by 2041, from 63 percent now.

“We are committed to creating people friendly, safe streets for all to enjoy,” Lilli Matson, Director of Transport Strategy, City Planning, Transport for London (TfL), said.

“To do this, pedestrians, and particularly those who are vulnerable, need to be able to confidently use pavements which are free from unnecessary obstructions.”

TfL will use the lastest technology to implement the plan including pedestrian countdown technology–which lets people know how long they have to cross the road–and SCOOT (Split Cycle Offset Optimisation Technique). Detectors are used to count the number of people waiting to cross to provide longer and more frequent ‘green’ pedestrian signal times when it is busier.

Matson said that technology and innovations present new opportunities for big data to inform analysis, and that TfL will be engaging with technology developers and app designers to explore partnerships.

“Video analytics could be used to assess how people behave at a new crossing, or data on walking trips could be combined with data on the weather,” she said. “Using technology to track progress and develop the plan over time will play a crucial role in delivering the mayor’s aim for 80 percent of all journeys in London to made by walking, cycling or public transport by 2041.”

Other aspects of the plan include:

  • Identifying opportunities for new walking trips.
  • Improving walking access to town centres and transport interchanges, including rail and Underground.
  • Reducing the impact of traffic and making local streets better places to walk and spend time.
  • Targeting trips to school, with a focus on reducing car use and increasing walking.

This article was published in Cities Today.


Australian Regional Tourism Convention 2018

Invest in your professional development at the Australian Regional Tourism Convention 2018.

The conference is a must-attend event for regional tourism professionals. It provides a platform for delegates to exchange ideas, problem-solve shared challenges and discuss important issues facing our industry.

The 2018 Australian Regional Convention theme is “pushing the boundaries”.

  1. Learn how to foster sustainable growth with Nigel Collin, a memorable speaker and business coach. Nigel will share strategies from his business help book, “Game of Inches”.
  1. Explore agritourism in regional and rural Australia. What are its challenges and opportunities? Learn about the national strategic priorities identified and next steps.
  2. Discuss and compare two contrasting ends of the destination management spectrum, from digital marketing to product development strategies—what’s best for your destination?

… and much more!

Download the conference program.

Register now!

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.

“The Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics (BITRE) has found that, on average, Black Spot projects reduce the number of crashes causing death and injury by 30 per cent,” Mr Pitt said.

“The Black Spot Program provides much needed funding for safety measures such as traffic signals and roundabouts at dangerous locations.”

Dave Jones from the RACV said local communities should get involved in the Black Spot Program.

“We encourage local communities to consider nominating sites with significant safety issues for future funding,” Mr Jones said.

“Many of these sites are in regional and rural areas, where further work needs to be done to improve the safety of roads.

“As our population grows, it's essential that spending on safety measures and road maintenance keeps pace with higher traffic volumes.”

The Federal Government has committed $744.5 million to the Black Spot Program from 2013–14 to 2021–22 to improve road safety across the nation.

For more information on the Government's Black Spot Program, or to nominate a black spot, visit: investment.infrastructure.gov.au/funding/blackspots/.

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. It underlies approximately 22% of Australia – an area of over 1.7 million square kilometres beneath the arid and semi-arid parts of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory. This Basin is highly valued and supports a range of industries, communities, cultural values and the environment. In some parts of the Basin it is the only reliable source of freshwater available for drinking. It is estimated that the Basin supports the generation of nearly $13 billion of production for Australia each year.

The draft Plan 2018 was developed by the Australian, state and territory governments in consultation with the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee who represent communities, landholders, water users and the various industries operating in the Basin. The new Plan will set the future vision for the Great Artesian Basin and be implemented over a 15-year period.

The draft Plan 2018 builds upon the objectives, outcomes and activities of the previous Strategic Management Plan which had been in operation since 2000. The draft Plan 2018 sets out seven guiding principles for future water management in the Great Artesian Basin. These principles cover coordinated governance, maintaining the health of the Basin, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultural values, judicious use of water, information and knowledge management and educating water users on the Basin.

The previous Strategic Management Plan was reviewed in 2015 by Australian, state and territory governments in consultation with the Great Artesian Basin Coordinating Committee. A review report was released in August 2015, Future Directions for the Management of the Great Artesian Basin and is available at gabcc.gov.au. A range of findings were identified in the report which have been considered as part of developing the draft Plan 2018.

Consultation will consist of a public on-line consultation process and meetings with stakeholders. The consultation process will close on 5 October 2018.

More information on the on-line consultation process can be found on the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources website at https://haveyoursay.agriculture.gov.au/great-artesian-basin.

If you have any questions regarding the draft Plan 2018 please contact the Great Artesian Basin Secretariat at gabsecretariat@agriculture.gov.au.

The feedback provided will be considered when finalising the new Great Artesian Basin Strategic Management Plan 2018.

$3.9 million funding boost for heavy vehicle safety projects

Fourteen initiatives have received funding from the latest round of the National Heavy Vehicle Regulator’s (NHVR) Heavy Vehicle Safety Initiative.

Among the initiatives are an edu-tech app to help educate learner drivers about sharing roads safely with trucks, Australia’s first roadside effluent disposal facility for livestock carriers, and a video series promoting 10 top safety tips.

In announcing the $3.9 million funding program, Deputy Prime Minister and Infrastructure and Transport Minister Michael McCormack said it will continue to support industry-led heavy vehicle safety projects throughout Australia.

Mr McCormack said learner drivers using the DriveAbout app will soon receive comprehensive advice on sharing the road with trucks safely.

He said previous research has shown most road fatalities involving heavy vehicles are the fault of the other party – not the truck driver.

“As a country MP I know the challenges many young and new drivers can face with sharing the road with trucks,” he said.

“Sadly young drivers are significantly overrepresented in fatal crashes involving heavy vehicles.

“However, programs such as these are there to gear new drivers with the information and advice they need to improve and enhance safety outcomes.

“Teaching learner drivers how to safely share the road with trucks will have real impacts on ensuring our young people stay safe on the roads, especially in the regions.”

The DriveAbout app is currently available in English and eight Indigenous languages.

NHVR CEO Sal Petroccitto said the safety projects played a crucial role in improving heavy vehicle safety and productivity.

“These new initiatives contribute collectively to better heavy vehicle industry safety, education, policy and practice in Australia,” Mr Petroccitto said.

“The NHVR is looking forward to working with the winning bids to ensure the projects deliver safety outcomes for all road users.”

Other safety initiatives to receive funding in 2018-19 include:

  • A truck safety resource in WA and the NT
  • The development of a brake calculator
  • A #GetTruckWise trial campaign in Bendigo
  • A series of workshops in WA and Alice Springs raising awareness about the Chain of Responsibility amongst transport customers
  • Expansion of the National Safety Camera Network.

For more information visit www.nhvr.gov.au/hvsi

Australia’s leading research minds to tackle PFAS

Some of Australia’s best scientists and researchers will commence ground-breaking work to address PFAS contamination in the environment, thanks to new research projects announced by the Federal Government. 

The nine research projects will share in $8.2 million in funding under the first round of the Australian Research Council’s Special Research Initiative PFAS Remediation Research Program.

The projects will focus on the development of new technologies and remediation solutions to minimise and remove PFAS from contaminated areas in soil, groundwater, waterways and marine systems.

It’s expected researchers will work closely with industry and business partners to develop and refine solutions for tackling PFAS that can be applied in the field across Australia.

The successful research projects include:

  • $999,082 to researchers at Deakin University to create a waste-to-resource remediation strategy for PFAS contamination, including inexpensive and effective treatment of PFAS-contaminated sites and a mechanism to turn waste products into valuable resources.
  • $880,187 to researchers at the University of Queensland to develop a self-contained and portable system for the onsite destruction of PFAS at contaminated sites.
  • $940, 000 to researchers at the University of Newcastle to develop new technology to allow for the catalytic destruction of PFAS reactions at elevated temperatures.
  • $1,103,883 to researchers at The University of New South Wales for a new treatment technology to defluorinate PFAS in contaminated water.

A second round of the PFAS Remediation Research Program will open to eligible organisations in the coming months, inviting new grant applications for funding between $50,000 to $1 million per year for one to three years.

The PFAS Remediation Research Program is funded through the ARC Special Research Initiatives (SRI) scheme. The ARC SRI scheme provides funding for new and emerging fields of research and builds capacity in strategically important areas.

For more information about the ARC PFAS Remediation Research Program, please visit the ARC website.

New inland rail Queensland Community Consultative Committee

A new Community Consultative Committee (CCC) has been established for the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton section of the Inland Rail project.

The Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton committee will be the fifth established in Queensland, with the entire Queensland section of the Inland Rail route now covered by Community Consultative Committees.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael McCormack said the establishment of this committee by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is an important opportunity for residents in the southern suburbs of Brisbane, Logan and parts of the Scenic Rim area to contribute local knowledge to the Inland Rail project.

“The Government understands strong working relationships between ARTC, local communities, stakeholder groups and councils are critical to the success of this project. CCCs help ensure community issues are brought to the fore and addressed during the planning and design of each Inland Rail section,” Mr McCormack said.

“CCCs provide an important mechanism for local communities to be listened to, delivering on the Government's commitment to ensure strong relationships are developed with local landowners and community groups along the route.

“An important role for the Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton Community Consultative Committee will be to provide community input on aspects of the studies required as part of the project approvals process.”

ARTC began seeking nominations for the committee on July 28 and the nomination process ends on 5pm, Friday 31 August.

Interested community members wanting to participate in the CCC are encouraged to nominate with more information about the CCCs available at www.inlandrail.artc.com.au.

Changes to working with vulnerable people reporting requirements

As part of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet’s response to the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse, the Department is working with all currently funding and future grant recipient to implement Working with Vulnerable People, including children (WWVP) reporting requirements.

The Department has provided guidance for grant recipients in its publication Changes to Working with Vulnerable People Reporting Requirements – Guidance for Grant Recipients

The publication states that grant recipients will need to provide evidence in the following forms:

  1. Evidence of a risk assessment to identify the level of contact with vulnerable people including children and the level of risk of harm or abuse, and implement appropriate strategies to manage those risks
  2. Evidence that grant recipients have training and compliance regimes in place regarding WWVP
  3. An annual Statement of Compliance confirming that the grant recipient complies with all relevant WWVP State or Territory legislation

Further information and guidance, including checklists and templates, are provided within the document to help grant recipients meet these requirements.

Any questions can be answered by contacting the Department.

Cultural Forum – latest communique

The communique for the 11th National Local Government Cultural Forum (Cultural Forum), held on 17 May 2018, is now available.

The Cultural Forum is an initiative of the Cultural Development Network with the Australia Council for the Arts, Australian Local Government Association, its member state and territory associations and capital cities, and the Commonwealth Ministry for the Arts.

The Cultural Forum aims to extend the quality, understanding, reach and profile of local government’s contribution to Australia’s cultural life.

The 11th meeting of the Cultural Forum agreed to progress the following activities:

1. Quality. A review of measurable economic outcomes that are intrinsic to engagement in cultural development activities (arts, libraries, heritage etc.) continued and will wrap up over the next few months.

2. Understanding. The results of the trial collection of ‘input’ data (resources applied) and ‘output’ data (activities resulting) from across the 22 council types in Australia, for 2016-2017, returned the first data of its type to be collected at a national level.

3. Reach. Through the first half of 2018 the development of CDN’s WhiteBox online outcomes planning platform continued with paper-based trials running in three councils and one national cultural institution.

4. Profile. The National Local Government Cultural Forum is a six-year initiative that commenced in 2013 and will be completed at the end of 2018.

The full communique from the Cultural Forum will be available on the Cultural Development Network website.

Community engagement: What can we learn from the USA?

How do communities create sustainable solutions to their own social issues? And what is the role of local government in bringing together these communities under a shared agenda for change?

Senior Advisor to the US-based Collective Impact Forum and co-Chair of Barack Obama’s Civic Engagement Group – Paul Schmitz – has been at the forefront of civic engagement in the US, advising local government authorities on how to involve communities and citizen leaders in solving community problems.

One of these initiatives includes the United Way of Greater Milwaukee, where issues like family violence, teen pregnancy, youth crime and homelessness required a common agenda for reform across local government agencies, services, non-profits, local business and the community itself.

“To solve social problems in our communities, the solution must be to build stronger communities not just stronger programs and services,” says Paul Schmitz.

Paul Schmitz is coming to Australia in September for a series of 1-day Community Engagement Masterclasses, hosted by Collaboration for Impact.

For more information or to register for the ‘Communities Leading Change’ Masterclasses, visit: