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  • In 2022 ALGA commissioned AEC to undertake an analysis of the importance of Financial Assistance Grants to local government, which found that these untied federal grants contribute more than 20% of annual operating revenue for nearly one in four Australian councils. Financial assistance to local governments from the Commonwealth is relied upon by all councils to provide+

  • As we celebrated the first sitting week of the 47th Parliament in Canberra, your ALGA Board also met to finalise National General Assembly motions and discuss post-election ALGA priorities. I was honoured to be in Canberra to congratulate former ALGA Vice President Tracey Roberts MP on her first speech, and welcome former mayors and councillors,+

  • Infrastructure’s role in driving a circular economy – with recycled and reused materials at the forefront – will be explored at a Melbourne conference in September. The Greener Infrastructure Conference, convened by ecologiQ, will also examine how governments at all levels can use procurement and policy to change how waste is used. Keynote speakers will+

  • Twenty councillors from across Australia are being sought to take part in a pilot program to create practical tools for leading communities through urban change. The six-week program, run by Studio THI (formerly the Hornery Institute) will involve two-hour online workshops from 4-6 pm every Monday, starting 1 August 2022. Studio THI says the program+

  • Climate change, habitat loss, invasive species, and mining continue to threaten at-risk species and ecosystems, the latest State of the Environment report says. Released last week by Federal Environment Minister Tanya Plibersek, the State of the Environment Report 2021 paints a sombre picture of the overall outlook for the Australian environment. Among other things, the+

  • Over 4200 people have registered with the Queensland government for funding to repair and retrofit their houses to better cope with future floods. The $741 million Resilient Homes Fund also allows for properties to be bought under a voluntary buy-back program. State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Minister Steven Miles said this week that+

  • New national environment laws enforced by a federal environmental protection agency have been flagged by Environment Minister Tanya Pliberesek. Speaking at the National Press Club last week after the release of 2021 State of the Environment Report, Ms Pliberek said a “fundamental reforming” of national environment laws was needed to restore damaged landscape, repair coral+

  • Disaster assistance has been made available in five additional local government areas (LGAs) in NSW after damaging rains and flooding. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) to the Kempsey, Port Macquarie Hastings, Narromine, Oberon, and Strathfield LGAs. It takes the number of LGAs in NSW that have+

  • Biosecurity and surveillance measure have been stepped up at Australian airports following outbreaks of Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) across Indonesia. The measures include giving airport biosecurity officers extra powers to direct travellers from Bali and other Indonesian ports to use sanitising foot baths or clean their shoes. Testing and surveillance of meat products has+

  • Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) has engaged SGS Economics and Planning to explore specific funding challenges facing its member councils. The research also aims to identify potential alternative income sources for rural councils struggling financially to meet the needs of their communities. Such challenges can stem from smaller dispersed populations, lower rates base, and large geographic+

  • A nationwide project to reduce single-use plastics from entering landfills and the ocean has been widened to include support for councils. Plastic Oceans Australasia’s (POA) EPIC Business (community initiative) program will provide support and guidance for councils, community groups and schools. POA will work with councils to make strategic investments in pre-paying waste avoidance programs (to+

  • Entries for the 11 categories of the 2022 National Awards for Local Government, including entry-level employment initiatives, waste management and disaster preparedness, close next month. Submissions of no more than 350 words can be entered via the online platform. Following the entry period, councils and communities will have the opportunity to recognise the work and+

  • NSW Labor Senator Tony Sheldon has been appointed to the new role of Special Envoy for Disaster Recovery by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Senator Sheldon, a former national secretary of the Transport Workers Union, will work with Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt to “ensure much-needed support is delivered to communities when natural disasters hit”. Mr+

  • The sustainability, resilience, productivity, and safety of roads and transport infrastructure will be a major focus of ALGA’s 2022 National Local Roads Congress. The growing incidence of extreme weather events in Australia has significant implications for the sustainability of council road and other infrastructure assets, which the 2021 State of the Assets Report valued at+

  • WIN! Advocacy for increased disaster mitigation spending rewarded. We applaud the Albanese Government for prioritising greater investment in long-term disaster mitigation measures that will grow the resilience of our communities. Floods that have again devasted Greater Sydney, the Hunter Valley, and surrounding areas show resilience spending must be ratcheted up. That has been ALGA’s long-standing+

  • Disaster assistance has been made available in 37 local government areas (LGAs) in NSW impacted by severe storms and flooding earlier this month. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and will include $80 million to help with the clean-up and removal of flood and storm-related damage, debris,+

  • Plastic microbeads will be banned in Queensland from 1 September 2023 under a five-year roadmap to phase out harmful, single-use plastics. Mass releases of lighter-than-air balloons will also be banned next year, along with polystyrene packing peanuts and plastic-stemmed cotton buds. As well, new minimum standards will be introduced for heavy plastic bags requiring them+

  • Local Government NSW (LGNSW) is convening a new series of free climate change webinars in partnership with the NSW government. This series will comprise four 90-minute webinars showcasing how many councils displayed adaptation in action via the Increasing Resilience to Climate Change grant projects, as well as how councils can fund net zero emissions actions.+

  • Last month marked NATSPEC’s 15th year as the key organisation that develops, updates, and distributes AUS-SPEC specifications and information. AUS-SPEC facilitates local governments to design, construct and maintain their infrastructure assets and is a joint venture between NATSPEC and the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA). CEO of IPWEA David Jenkins said: “This set+

  • Councillors guilty of serious breaches of WA’s Local Government Act 1995 could be suspended for three months under new reforms unveiled last week. Those councillors suspended three times could face 10-year bans from elected office. Other changes in the proposed reform package presented by Local Government Minister John Carey include: a new Inspectorate of Local+

  • A federal/state funding package announced last week will see disaster-damaged essential public infrastructure in Queensland rebuilt to a better standard. It is the largest ever amount made available in a single disaster season in Queensland, with $150 million directly targeting local government areas seeking to build back better following the extraordinary flooding events of 2021-22.+

  • The Emergency Response Fund will be remodelled to allow local and state governments to apply for more disaster mitigation funding. Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt told a Sydney newspaper last weekend that the government was committed to changing the ERF Act to enable more investment in mitigation projects. “The fact that we’ve got a+

  • A predictive analysis tool to improve road maintenance is a step closer to being rolled out with new trials set to begin in NSW. The Asset AI initiative involves installing sensors on garbage trucks and buses that can track road deterioration, including identifying potholes before they form, and prioritise road repairs. The tool was pre-trialled+

  • A research project to minimise flood risks in Northern NSW has been approved by Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt. The study was first announced by the then Coalition government in March after catastrophic flooding in the NSW Northern Rivers region. Although supported by the then Labor Opposition, the initiative was paused during the election.+

  • Cycling and Walking Australia and New Zealand (CWANZ) wants more councils to join its efforts to increase all aspects of active transport. The organisation’s vision is safe and connected walking and cycling networks and neighbourhoods for all, through working collaboratively to recommend strategies and actions that make walking and cycling an easy choice and a+

  • Senior Australian of the Year Val Dempsey is calling on all governments to make first aid training a part of gaining a driver’s licence. Ms Dempsey, a long-time St John Ambulance ACT volunteer, also wants to see bystander first aid included in the National Road Safety Strategy. Delivering a keynote address at last month’s National+

  • The Institute for Sensible Transport is running a group master class on transport and accessibility for local government elected officials and staff. To be held at Potts Point in Sydney on 15 September, the master class will cover parking, congestion, and safety – issues commonly voiced to local government from the community. With council decisions+

  • A federal parliamentary committee inquiring into GP and health services in outer metro and regional areas will not be providing a final report “at this time”. The Senate Community Affairs References Committee said last month that considering its substantive interim report tabled on 1 April and the subsequent proroguing of Parliament by the Governor-General “it+

  • A new interactive guide to managing workplace and food safety in restaurants and cafes has been published. The AR Interactive Restaurant and Café Guide outlines health and safety management systems to help hospitality staff minimise risk, maintain and improve food management – and is endorsed by the NSCA Foundation. The foundation says hospitality staff respond+

  • Insured losses from the South-East Queensland and Northern NSW floods in late February/early March have reached $4.8 billion. The Insurance Council of Australia, which is tracking claims, is now classifying the floods as the third costliest extreme weather event in Australia’s history. Only Cyclone Tracy (1974) and the Sydney hailstorm (1999) caused more insured losses.+

  • Hornsby Shire Council has been named one of Australia’s top local government mobile phone recyclers for the fourth year running. The NSW council was named one of seven state and territory winners of MobileMuster’s 2022 recycling awards announced at the Australian Local Government Association National General Assembly last week. Other winners included East Arnhem Regional+

  • Emergency Management Australia (EMA) and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) will be merged to create a new single federal agency. The new organisation, to be called the National Emergency Management, Resilience and Recovery Agency (NEMRRA), will start operating on 1 September. Announcing the changes today, Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the+

  • There is ample scope to use more recycled materials, including plastic and organic food waste, in road and rail projects, a new report says. The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) says using more recycled materials in road and rail infrastructure confers many national benefits, including less waste sent to landfills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, job+

  • Kristy McBain has flagged Constitutional recognition of local government as likely to be on the radar of a second-term Albanese Labor government. Interviewed by a national media outlet this week, the Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Minister acknowledged councils have long campaigned for constitutional recognition, saying that “I think it will be a priority+

  • Internal migration to the regions has reached a five-year high, with young people leading the way, according to the Regional Australia Institute (RAI). The RAI’s Regional Movers Index report for the March 2022 quarter shows the number of people moving to regional areas rose by 16.6 percent, almost double pre-pandemic levels, with most being  Millennials+

  • We had a big win at our 2022 National General Assembly last week when our new Minister Catherine King committed to working with Minister Kristy McBain to re-establish the Australian Council of Local Governments. This is an annual meeting with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Mayors, Shire Presidents, and councillors that was founded under the+

  • Local government leaders from around Australia gathered in Canberra from 20-22 June 2022 for the 28th National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA). This event was held on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people, and the Assembly paid its respects to their elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledged the vital and ongoing contributions+

  • A survey to help university researchers better understand the benefits, costs, and barriers to increasing residential density in middle ring areas has opened. The University of Queensland survey seeks to understand the experiences and thoughts of those involved in, and impacted by, the residential development industry, including planners, engineers, architects, urban designers, and elected officials.+

  • A national expert working group has been set up to support government responses to human cases of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). JEV was declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance in March after being detected in piggeries in NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. JEV is spread only through mosquito bites, and while most+

  • The 2022 National Awards for Local Government have been expanded to 11 categories, with nominations to open at 9am on Wednesday 22 June. Convened by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, the awards promote local government’s significant role in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities. The+

  • Voting in Tasmania’s local council elections in September will be obligatory after the State’s Parliament passed new legislation on 2 June. Minister for Local Government Nic Street said bringing council elections into line with State and Federal elections would lift community perceptions of local government and its importance. “As a former elected member of Kingborough+

  • Domestic airline passenger numbers in April were the highest since the COVID pandemic began in 2020, the national competition regulator said last week. However, a surge in jet fuel prices meant airfares will likely increase in the coming months the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said. The agency’s quarterly Airline Competition in Australia report+

  • A former chief executive of Perth’s largest urban council was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this week. Michael Foley, who was chief executive officer of the City of Swan for 14 years until his retirement in 2020, was recognised for his service to local government. During his+

  • Victorian councils will no longer be able to use debt collectors to pursue unpaid rates under new legislation introduced in State Parliament last week. During the pandemic, many local governments relaxed their hardship policies to provide relief to those struggling financially, and started engaging earlier with ratepayers who did fall into debt. Local Government Minister+

  • The CSIRO has attributed a 29 percent reduction in plastic pollution along Australia’s beaches and coastline to strong local government measures. New research by the national science agency builds on a 2013 survey where researchers circumnavigated the entire continent inspecting beaches and other coastal areas in 100km increments. Then, in 2019, they used a targeted+

  • A pilot program to improve the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics has begun in Victoria’s Lodden Mallee region. Collection sites at the Mildura Rural City Council landfill, the Swan Hill Rural City Council landfill, and North West Ag Services in Ouyen are accepting table grape covers and irrigation tubes from horticulture and grain silo+

  • I’m looking forward to next week’s National General Assembly, and with close to 1,000 mayors and councillors set to attend, it’s going to be our biggest NGA in almost a decade. From Sunday through to Wednesday, we will explore the partnerships we have – and the partnerships we need – to deliver real progress in+

  • A new university survey has found that experiencing a disaster greatly influences how prepared and resilient people feel if disaster strikes again. Researchers at the Monash Fire to Flourish project surveyed 3,522 Australians about their perceptions of preparedness and resilience to natural disasters such as fires, floods and major storms. The survey compared responses between+

  • Congratulations to our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his new Labor Federal Government. In a massive win for councils and our communities, the local government portfolio was elevated to Cabinet this week with the appointment of our new Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP. Former Bega+

  • SEA Electric is shaping the future of Australian transport, with the world’s first true range of battery-electric trucks accelerating the transition to zero-emissions motoring. Propelled by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive® power-system, the patented technology is available in various performance and range packages, from 4.5 tonne car licence vehicles through to 22.5 tonne three-axle trucks for practically+

  • Over 50 sites recorded a metre of rainfall or more in one week during record falls across south-east Queensland and coastal NSW in February/March. Some regions recorded more than five times their monthly average, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said last week, while others had 2.5 times their monthly average rainfall. In its Special Climate+

  • A national survey to help provide a blueprint for a “reimagined future for volunteering in Australia” opened last week. Volunteering Australia, the national peak body for volunteering, says the survey will underpin the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering. “It is a historic opportunity to capture the current state of volunteering, map trends, and+