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  • Place-based initiatives are the key to meeting the growing demand for housing in the bush, the Regional Australia Institute says. New research by the RAI released last week suggests the influences driving regional housing markets differ markedly, a fact not always fully appreciated by policymakers, industry and regional leaders. RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the+

  • Development of the Second National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction has been stepped up with the release of a discussion paper. The National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) has carriage of the action plan and is seeking feedback and comments to inform its development. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is also involved in+

  • Working together, Australian councils have secured billions of dollars for our communities in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Federal Election. This includes commitments from both major parties to extend the $2.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. The Coalition has committed an additional $500 million to this program if re-elected, and Labor has pledged $750+

  • The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is offering a new road safety tool to support councils and road managers achieve Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a principle that assumes human beings are fallible and that road infrastructure and traffic policies should be designed to reduce the harm caused when travellers, especially motor vehicle drivers, inevitably+

  • Australia’s first rating and assessment tool for heat was launched by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) last month. Developed in partnership with Resilient Sydney and the Greater Sydney Commission, the Cool Suburbs Tool is part of a suite of WSROC projects aimed at addressing urban heat under the Turn Down the Heat+

  • The Sydney City Council’s planning for net-zero buildings could be easily replicated elsewhere, judges said in honouring it with a national planning excellence award. The council’s new performance standards framework won the “Climate Change and Resilience Category” award at the Planning Institute of Australia’s (PIA) 2022 National Awards for Planning Excellence held this week. Judges+

  • Local governments would benefit from stronger state/territory legislation in their battle to contain feral and free-roaming cats, a new report says. Cats in Australia kill an estimated 1.7 billion native mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs every year, and local governments spend $76 million annually on trying to reduce their impacts on wildlife populations. The Threatened+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is encouraging local councils to submit applications for funded bridge and culvert engineering assessments. The assessments will be carried out under the NHVR’s Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP), which is designed to support local governments in better understanding their asset capability to assist in making heavy vehicle+

  • Three regional Tasmanian councils will receive a share of $1.8 million in Federal and state government funding for recycling infrastructure projects. Flinders Council is to receive $424,000 through the Recycling Modernisation Fund to upgrade its waste management facility at Whitemark. Upgrades will include a sorting shed, sorting line and conveyor and a commercial glass pulveriser+

  • NSW councils are being encouraged to apply for a share of $30 million in joint federal and state funding to reduce future natural disaster risks. Eligible organisations, including local councils, local Aboriginal land councils, joint organisations, and regional organisations of councils, can apply for grants between $50,000 and $1.5 million through the jointly funded Disaster+

  • Australia’s national asbestos watchdog is surveying councils to obtain best-practice interventions and case studies for inclusion in a new toolkit. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) says the toolkit will enable local governments to help prevent asbestos exposures and contribute to a more effective and consistent approach to asbestos safety. Participation in the survey+

  • Two short surveys on biodiversity conservation planning processes and threat abatement planning in the states and territories have opened. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwth) requires consultation with states and territories in the review of the decision about the adoption of a Threat Abatement Plan. Currently, there is no plan in place+

  • A re-elected Coalition Government will invest more than $20 million in a major upgrade of Wagga Wagga Airport in the NSW Riverina. Nationals Member for Riverina and former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack made the announcement while visiting the airport last week. Wagga airport is owned by the Commonwealth but leased to the Wagga Wagga+

  • In a big win for our communities, Federal Labor has committed to a $250 million expansion of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, if elected later this month. This is in addition to the $500 million expansion announced by the Government in this year’s Federal Budget. Securing more funding for this highly successful+

  • The Australian Taxation Office is reminding local government payroll managers to transition to the new Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2 reporting requirements. STP Phase 2 reporting began on 1 January 2022, however individual transitions will depend on the readiness of your digital service provider (DSP). Either they are: ready for you to start reporting+

  • A suite of resources has been launched to help community sporting organisations maximise their end-of-financial-year fund-raising activities. Over 50 percent of tax-deductible donations are received from April to June, making this the ideal time of the year to boost fund-raising efforts, according to the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). To help those efforts, the ASF has+

  • Disaster recovery assistance has been made available to communities in the Shire of Ashburton in WA’s Pilbara region after severe thunderstorms and flooding in February. Assistance will be provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), supporting local government, individuals and families through their recovery journey. The storm brought heavy rainfall to+

  • Local government taxation revenue accounted for about 3.38 percent of the $593.2 billion in total revenues collected by all governments in 2020-21. In statistics released last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said local government raised $20.06 billion in taxes in 2020-21. This was an increase of 2.6 percent on the $19.55 billion collected in+

  • A project enabling people to build affordable disaster-resilient houses has been launched by the Bushfire Building Council of Australia. The Fortis House Project offers free architectural drawings, construction specifications and handbook guides to anyone wanting to improve the resilience of homes against bushfires or other weather disasters. It was motivated in part by calls for+

  • The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has issued a consultation paper to help develop a “national regionalisation framework”. The RAI says the lack of a single national framework to unlock regional Australia’s potential risks future growth and prosperity. “This is a clear void, one which we want to fill by creating a national regionalisation framework.” “[It+

  • Thirty-three projects, including 13 in Queensland, are getting a share of the Commonwealth’s $150 million Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program. Eleven Queensland councils will benefit from the more than $62 million in grants to upgrade unsealed roads to improve safety, connectivity and freight productivity, a result welcomed by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).+

  • Muswellbook Shire Council is getting a $300,000 Commonwealth grant to expand its organics recycling facility to include food organics. The NSW council project was one of eight organic processing facilities to secure co-investment of $10 million from the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund. NSW is the first state to have projects approved under the+

  • Federal Labor says it will build a national electric vehicle (EV) charging network and make EVs cheaper and easier to buy if it wins the election. The $39.3 million commitment, which the NRMA will match, will involve partnerships with state and local governments to install 117 charging stations across the national highway network. This will+

  • One in 25 properties in Australia will be effectively uninsurable by 2030 because of worsening extreme weather, a new Climate Council study says. The federal Victorian electorate of Nicholls has the highest number of properties – around 26,000 or nearly 27 percent of total numbers – considered to be at high risk of being uninsurable+

  • The February/March floods in South-east Queensland and coastal NSW look set to become Australia’s single costliest flood event. The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says that based on 197,000 claims filed across both states, the event will rack up $3.35 billion in insured losses. This makes it the most expensive flood in Australia’s history, and+

  • All councils are encouraged to pass a motion supporting ALGA’s Federal Election Priorities at their next council meeting. A draft council motion can be downloaded here. ALGA has prepared a range of creative materials that councils can use to participate in the national “Don’t Leave Local Communities Behind” Federal Election campaign. These materials can be+

  • As the Federal Election nears, we’re stepping up to back your calls for the Australian Local Government Association to be on National Cabinet, the nation’s peak decision-making forum, as well as a voting member of all relevant Ministerial meetings and forums, including the Council on Federal Financial Relations. Thank you to Baw Baw Shire, the+

  • A conference exploring how planners can build more inclusive and sustainable cities post-COVID-19 will be staged in Melbourne next month. The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is convening the Smart Urban Futures Conference  which will cover five themes: Transport integration and better street design; Climate change response, including how to deliver emissions reduction through travel+

  • New federal government guidance has been published on how smart street lighting can be metered under the National Electricity Market. The federal Department of Industry, Science, Energy, and Resources (DISER) briefing paper provides an update on progress with the rule change proposal and next steps, and also provides information on other approvals that smart lighting+

  • The federal Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment’s draft National Established Weed Priorities (NEWP) Framework has been opened up for public comment. A key feature of the framework is its recognition of the interaction between weed management and other land and biodiversity management issues. It proposes a new Weeds Issues of National Significance (WINS) stream+

  • A process to break plastic down to its core elements, enabling it to be recycled time and again, has won a 2022 Banksia National Sustainability Award. Developed by start-up company Samsara Eco in conjunction with the Australian National University, the technology depolymerizes plastic waste and allows for the reuse of the monomers to produce food-grade+

  • Australia’s national asbestos watchdog is surveying councils to obtain best-practice interventions and case studies for inclusion in a new toolkit. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) says the toolkit will enable local governments to help prevent asbestos exposures and contribute to a more effective and consistent approach to asbestos safety. Participation in the survey+

  • Existing approved routes for Australian Defence Force vehicles on public roads are being transitioned to online mapping systems. The National Transport Commission (NTC) project will see 175 pages of textual route descriptions replaced with references to online geospatial maps. Discussions between the ADF and jurisdictions about which online systems are most appropriate are ongoing, with+

  • The Hay Shire Council will receive more than $900,000 in Commonwealth and state funding to build a $1.8 million material recovery facility. The MRF will be equipped with a new sorter, crusher, shredder and baler, enabling it to recover and recycle plastic, glass, paper/cardboard, and tyres from across the local government areas of Hay, Balranald,+

  • The Australian Local Government Association’s initial submission to a productivity review has highlighted councils’ ability to deliver positive economic outcomes. The Productivity Commission inquiry will canvass potential reforms to lift this key economic indicator, focussing on workforce skills and training and how business and regulatory environments can be shaped to spur new technologies and innovation+

  • A new state body set up to oversee rebuilding in flood-devasted northern NSW communities will be given compulsory land-acquisition powers. The Northern Rivers Reconstruction Corporation (NRRC) will also have the authority to sub-divide land and consider proposals to shift services and utilities in riverside communities to higher ground to avoid a repeat of the devastation+

  • Charleville’s levee banks will be upgraded after the Murweh Shire Council last week won a $300,000 share of Commonwealth mitigation funding. The levee remediation project was one of 15 awarded Round 2 funding of $50 million through the National Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Program (NFMIP). The NFMIP is funded through the Commonwealth’s $4 billion Emergency Response+

  • Disaster relief funding has been set aside to rebuild flood-impacted libraries and community facilities in NSW in a departure from historical practice. Usually, only public assets deemed essential (roads, bridges, levees public hospitals, schools and hospitals, etc) qualify for DRFA support when directly damaged by an eligible disaster. However, an omnibus of support measures announced+

  • The federal government is to examine Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) spending with a view to strengthening reporting requirements for the states. Announcing the review last week, Federal Emergency Management Minister Bridget McKenzie, pictured, said the Commonwealth had allocated more than $12 billion to the states following disasters over the past decade. “Often it takes+

  • It was encouraging to see our call for the extension of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program rewarded in last week’s Federal Budget, with a two-year $500 million extension. This program has supported councils to deliver nearly 7,900 projects, created an estimated 9,000 jobs, and helped shield our economy through the worst of the+

  • The Federal Government is providing $837,500 to extend national wild dog, feral deer and feral cat and fox management coordinator programs to the end of June 2023. The coordinators help lead the fight against feral pests by supporting and coordinating action by farmers, natural resource management groups, Indigenous groups, and environmental non-government organisations. They will+

  • Capped airfares have gone on sale in WA in a new state government-backed scheme subsidising air travel from regional centres to Perth and return. The $19.8 million program will see a $299 one-way cap for destinations more than 1000km driving distance from Perth. Regional destinations under 1000km driving distance from Perth will have a $199+

  • Regional businesses that support their local newspaper through advertising should get a tax rebate, a parliamentary inquiry has urged. The inquiry into Australia’s regional newspapers which was prepared by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Communications and the Arts, also recommends the Australian Government develop a targeted grants program aimed at small, independent titles+

  • New funding of $15.4 million has been earmarked for a second round of the oversubscribed Agricultural Shows Development Grant Program. The new funding to support show societies to upgrade or repair showground infrastructure follows an initial disbursement of $20 million in 2019-20. Announcing the new funding this week, Federal Agriculture and Northern Australia Minister David+

  • The Safer Communities Fund will receive an extra $50 million to enable new programs that help reduce crime, violence, and anti-social behaviour. Federal Assistant Minister for Customs, Community Safety and Multicultural Affairs Jason Wood said the fund’s expansion was due to overwhelming demand from the community. “[The] extra $50 million [will] support organisations with demonstrated+

  • Nearly 100 dangerous crash sites in Western Australia, Queensland, and South Australia will be fixed under the 2022-23 Black Spot funding round. About $13 million will be invested to fix a further 30 dangerous crash sites on WA, while SA will receive $8 million for 13 Black Spot projects. Queensland, meanwhile, will receive $22.1 million+

  • The Federal Government has commissioned further research on construction and demolition waste management and resource recovery. It is also assessing current and future waste management and resource recovery infrastructure capacity focusing on volume and potential markets. The commitments were outlined in the Government’s response to the From Rubbish to Resources: Building a Circular Economy report+

  • A public inquiry will look at allowing greater third-party access to mobile towers and how these assets might host temporary roaming services in emergencies. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry will look at the costs of providing towers and associated infrastructure, including land access, and how these translate into the fee structures for firms+

  • The Federal Government has endorsed nearly all of the 12 recommendations of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review. These include the need for local government, consumers, and businesses to have accessible and independent information on telecommunications services in outer urban, regional, rural and remote parts of Australia. The review, A step change in demand, set out+

  • A Yarra Ranges Council project to help communities better understand and deal with hazardous bushfires has won $10 million in federal mitigation funding. The project is one of 158 to have successfully won a share of $150 million in grant funding under Round One of the Preparing Australian Communities Program – Local stream. A corporation+

  • A federal parliamentary inquiry has recommended setting up a regional aerodrome infrastructure fund accessible to owner/operators. The interim report into Australia’s general aviation industry said the ongoing financial viability and adequacy of airport infrastructure in rural and regional communities was a clear issue, with significant financial pressure being placed on local councils. “It is alarming+

  • Publishing star ratings for all roads would enhance accountability around road safety targets, a federal parliamentary inquiry has found. The final report of the Joint Select Committee on Road Safety also suggests that Commonwealth funding for road safety and road infrastructure projects be conditional on the provision of data on road safety outcomes. “Where practicable,+