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  • The effectiveness of fuel reduction burning varies greatly by region and researchers and practitioners continue to disagree about optimum strategies. A Parliamentary Library research paper published on 28 October also suggests there are significant knowledge gaps about fuel reduction burning, especially regarding its long-term effects. “Recent fuel reduction burns will modify fire behaviour even under+

  • A new circular economy centre of excellence in Adelaide will work with businesses to commercialise new projects and innovations. The centre, to be established at the Lot Fourteen innovation precinct in central Adelaide, will be administered by Circular360. The South Australian State Government is investing $1 million over three years in the centre’s development. State+

  • Many councils manage vertebrate pests and invasive weeds in their local communities, but little is understood of the extent of these efforts nationwide. A broader perspective of the collective work of councils will better inform policymakers at a national level on management priorities in relation to established vertebrate pests and weeds, and resource allocation to+

  • A National Adaptation Policy Office is to be established as part of the new National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy released last month. The strategy is intended to help communities prepare for climate changes “that cannot be avoided, even with global efforts to reduce emissions”, and was announced on the eve of the COP26 climate+

  • Local government projects honouring the service and sacrifice of Australia’s service personnel may be eligible for federal government grants. The Saluting Their Service (STS) Commemorative Grants Program offers funding to assist local communities planning commemorative projects, with $3.5 million earmarked for distribution in the 2021-22 financial year. The types of eligible projects can include: updating+

  • Councils around Australia have one more week to secure up to $30,000 in grants for community events delivered on Australia Day 2022. The grants are being made available through the National Australia Day Council (NADC). NADC chief executive Karlie Brand said councils play a vital role in marking Australia Day, delivering hundreds of events, including+

  • New funding of $250 million has been announced for the Bridges Renewal and Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Programs. Under revised guidelines for the two programs, project proponents can apply for funding to cover up to 80 percent of the total project cost. In another first, the BRP and HVSPP will run concurrently and with+

  • The Bureau of Meteorology is trialling a heatwave warning service with state and territory governments aimed at helping councils, communities and individuals to better plan and prepare for heatwaves. The Bureau has been working across Australian governments, including with local governments in Sydney’s west regarding council requirements on heatwaves. The Bureau publishes public 7-day heatwave+

  • Guidelines for the community infrastructure funding stream of the $600 million Preparing Australia Program have been published ahead of applications opening in December. Grants of between $20,000 to $10 million will be available for proponents of projects which help communities “assess and plan for disaster risk, increase capacity and raise awareness of disaster risk, or+

  • Our strong advocacy for greater targeted funding support for local government mitigation projects paid off last week with the release of the guidelines for the local communities component of the Preparing Australia Program. I’m pleased to report that the Preparing Australian Communities Program is now open to all local government areas at high risk of+

  • Entries for the 2021 National Local Government Awards have opened, with eligible councils invited to nominate projects across eight categories. The nomination process for this year’s awards has been simplified to enable shorter online submissions – and for the first time, councils can recognise the work and achievements of their peers in the local government+

  • The NSW local government areas of Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Oberon, and Wollondilly have been offered disaster assistance after severe storms and flooding this month. A tornado hit the city of Armidale on 14 October, toppling trees and power lines in the city and surrounds, destroying cars and buildings. Thousands of homes were also left without+

  • Six major off-the-road (OTR) tyre importers will join the voluntary Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme from January 2022. They include Bearcat, Bridgestone Mining Solutions, Goodyear, Kal Tire, Michelin, and Yokohama. The national Tyre Product Stewardship Scheme promotes the increase in environmentally sustainable collection and recycling processes and to explore and promote new products and uses for+

  • The Australia Local Government Association (ALGA) will work with a federal task force to mitigate the impacts of bank branch closures on rural communities. The Regional Banking Task Force will “bring together banks and other key stakeholders to ­assess how bank branch closures have impacted local businesses, industries, and communities, and work collaboratively to identify+

  • A guide to help councils secure the internet of things (IoT) for a smart city or location has been compiled by the Australian Computer Society (ACS). A non-technical publication, the short guide has been written specifically for those local government personnel responsible for business operational risk and purchasing decisions. For local governments, IoT has become+

  • Transport infrastructure managers are being encouraged to take part in an online survey to assess the impact of utilities on local roads. With roads increasingly congested by overhead transmission lines and underground services, Austroads has begun a project to reduce the negative impacts of these assets on the delivery of transport infrastructure projects, while ensuring+

  • A recycled materials assessment project has begun in South Australia with the aim of building local councils’ confidence in the use of recycled materials. The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) was engaged by Green Industries South Australia (GISA) to undertake the project, which involves compiling a “knowledge capture” of innovative and sustainable pavement materials. Following+

  • Eight major food businesses have pledged to work towards meeting or bettering the Commonwealth’s goal to halve food waste by 2030. The voluntary Australian Food Pact was launched on 21 October, with Woolworths, Coles, Goodman Fielder, Simplot Australia, Mondelez Australia, and McCain Foods among the eight signatories. Stop Food Waste Australia – of which the+

  • Guidelines for Round 2 of the Regional Connectivity Program – focusing on Northern Australia – are being finalised, with grant applications to open shortly. The program provides competitive grants allowing investment in projects that improve internet accessibility in regional, rural and remote communities. Round 2 will include additional funding under the Connecting Northern Australia initiative.+

  • A new round of grant funding to help local governments address waste infrastructure gaps in remote areas has opened under the Recycling Modernisation Fund. The round is focused on increasing the sorting, processing, and manufacturing or remanufacturing capacity of regional and remote locations, and will total $7 million. Co-funded grants of between $10,000 and $1+

  • Councils will be offered between 80 and 100 percent of funding to upgrade unsealed roads in a new federal program unveiled this week. The $150 million Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program will target safety on unsealed roads, including resurfacing, removing dangerous corners, and managing vegetation. The focus will be on unsealed roads more than 20km+

  • Natural disasters will cost Australia $73 billion by 2060, even under a low emissions scenario, a new business roundtable report suggests. The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities says the $79 billion forecast is “significantly higher” than the $39 billion by 2050 cost it estimated in 2017. The Roundtable’s latest report on+

  • The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) is urging the Commonwealth to invest more to improve telco services in regional and rural areas. In a submission to the Regional Telecommunications Review 2021, the agency said the government should: provide grants and other investment incentives to promote a wider range of services; standardise mobile coverage information that is+

  • The 2021-22 high-risk weather season has arrived – along with renewed concerns about disaster preparedness and capability. Our commitment to working with our communities to help them prepare for whatever this cyclone and bushfire season might throw up remains rock solid. However, we need greater support and stronger partnerships across all tiers of Government, and+

  • The final pieces in ALGA’s federal election campaign are now being put in place, with key aspects of our advocacy strategy about to be road-tested. Thank you to all our state and territory associations for their contributions in the development of the strategy, which is based on a simple but compelling message – Don’t Leave+

  • In a world where environmental responsibility is becoming a “must-have”, EcoTeq has released an all-electric range of outdoor maintenance equipment. The company’s next-generation technology, perfected in Europe and North America, means organisations and governments looking to reduce their carbon footprint don’t need to choose between the environment, safety, or productivity. EcoTeq CEO Michael Mathews says+

  • Consultation on the development of Australia’s next National Digital Health Strategy has begun, with feedback sought from local governments. To further enhance digital healthcare for all Australians, the Australian Digital Health Agency would like to learn from local governments which are leveraging digital health to improve the health and wellbeing of their communities. New models+

  • The National Landcare Program is being reviewed to ensure it is working as intended to protect biodiversity and engender sustainable agricultural practices. The NLP is the federal government’s key natural resource management (NRM) commitment, and the review is examining how phase two of the program has impacted the delivery of NRM activities since its commencement+

  • A website promising a dramatically streamlined business registrations process was launched by the Australian Taxation Office on 6 October. The website for the newly established Australian Business Registry Services (ABRS) will consolidate the 31 business registers administered by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) – including ABNs and ACNs – and the Australian Business+

  • A program to help storm and flood-impacted primary producers and industries in 78 NSW local government areas has opened for applications. The $80 million Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program is being jointly funded by Commonwealth and NSW Governments under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements. The program is one part of the $790 million NSW Storm+

  • A Victorian and NSW council have won a share of $5.8 million in federal funding to provide careers guidance for people at all stages of their working lives. The Eurobodalla Shire Council on the NSW South Coast will work with local schools and businesses to co-design and deliver progressive career guidance activities on the NSW+

  • A virtual forum to advocate for greater local government climate action ahead of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP26) in Glasgow is being held this month. The Australian Local Governments Accelerating Action at COP26 event is being co-hosted by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), ICLEI Oceania, and the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors+

  • The Federal Government has confirmed funding for a new workforce capacity-building initiative in the home and residential aged care sector. The establishment of the Workforce Advisory Service follows a recommendation by the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety for education and training to improve the quality of aged care in Australia. PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)+

  • The Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience has a new handbook to cultivate risk awareness among current and emerging leaders. The AIDR notes that intensifying climate change is making it harder to anticipate where and how disasters will strike, with efforts accelerating to better understand their risks and mitigate the potential for harm. “To do this,+

  • Fifty-one Western Australian local governments will sign up for what is thought to be the nation’s largest joint renewable energy deal. The agreement to deliver 100 percent renewable energy to the 51 councils has been negotiated by the Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA). It is the first renewables and carbon offset aggregation project to+

  • Telstra will have to provide greater detail on whether it is meeting its Universal Service Guarantee (USG) under proposed new licence conditions. The new rules being considered by the federal government will require Telstra to include more information on the services it delivers under the USG, which updates the long-standing Universal Service Obligation (USO). Telstra+

  • The Dungog Shire has become one of the first NSW local governments to declare that people using its facilities must be fully Covid-vaccinated. In a media release this week, the Hunter Valley council said: “In order to visit some of our facilities, customers aged 16 years and over must now be able to show that+

  • The Shire of Wyndham East Kimberley has been awarded a $7.57 million grant from the Commonwealth to complete airside upgrades at its Kununurra regional airport. The Round 5 Building Better Regions Fund (BBRF) grant will allow the shire to strengthen taxiways, build a new apron and improve other airside infrastructure at the East Kimberley Regional+

  • Your ALGA published its Closing the Gap Implementation Plan this week – a proud moment for an organisation that has long championed strong and sustainable First Nations communities. Developed by ALGA with our state and territory association members, the Implementation Plan sets out key actions councils can undertake to meet the priority reforms laid out+

  • Regulatory reform and information-sharing are to be prioritised after a federal departmental review of national disability premises standards. To ensure the standards continue to meet their objectives, the Commonwealth will undertake to: improve regulations for accessible car parks, automatic doors, and the dimensions of openings; help people understand their rights and responsibilities under the standards;+

  • Minimising the hazards to aircraft operations posed by wildlife, including bird strikes, will be the focus of three webinars being held in October. The series will begin with Dr Carla Dove, from the Smithsonian Institute, speaking on the impact of DNA on wildlife hazard management. This webinar will include helpful case studies of innovative hazard+

  • A review of the National Cities Performance Framework (NCPF) says it is not meeting stakeholder needs and should be discontinued. Conducted by the federal Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE), the review says there are alternative data and research products that would “better meet the needs of stakeholders”. The NCPF dashboard was first+

  • A proposal for a glass and mixed recycling collective in eastern Victoria has received interim authorisation from the national competition regulator. A draft determination  authorising the Gippsland Waste and Resource Recovery Group (GWRRG) and six Gippsland councils to jointly tender, procure and manage glass and mixed recycling processing services was published by the Australian Competition+

  • National preparedness briefings with police, fire authorities and other emergency services have begun ahead of the upcoming bushfire season.  Virtual briefings began last week with Queensland authorities and will continue throughout October. Emergency Management Australia (EMA) is coordinating the briefings, with input from the National Recovery and Resilience Agency, the Bureau of Meteorology, the Australian+

  • Indigenous candidates performed strongly in the 2021 Northern Territory local government elections, winning a majority of the vacancies on regional councils. Results from the 28 August elections show that of the 97 elected members on regional councils, 87.6 percent are Aboriginal.  In MacDonnell Regional Council, the Tiwi Islands Regional Council (TIRC), and West Arnhem Regional+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Board has made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 National Local Roads and Transport Congress. ALGA’s Board determined that planning a quality conference with lockdown and travel restrictions still in force across much of Australia – and no clear indication of when these will be lifted – would+

  • A new aviation facility will be built at the Rockhampton Airport after Alliance Airlines secured a $30 million loan from the Commonwealth last month. The Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility (NAIF) loan will enable the construction of a $60 million aviation maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) facility at the Rockhampton Regional Council-owned airport. At least 100+

  • The Federal and Queensland governments have established a $20 million fund to strengthen key infrastructure to better withstand natural disasters. The funding will be available in 47 local government areas impacted in the 2020-21 disaster season. Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Minister Bridget McKenzie said the betterment fund marked a major change in+

  • A City Deal for South-East Queensland involving the Council of Mayors (SEQ) and the Queensland and federal governments is close to being finalised. The deal has been two years in the making, and when concluded will support the growth of industry and businesses across South-East Queensland and enhance the region’s liveability. Federal Cities Minister Paul+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has published its Implementation Plan for the National Agreement on Closing the Gap. The historic agreement – to which ALGA, the Commonwealth, state and territory governments, and the Coalition of Peaks are all signatories – sets out four agreed priority reform targets and 16 socio-economic targets to improve life+

  • Low economies of scale continue to drive high regional airfares, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said this week. Regional airports can also struggle with low economies of scale, the national competition regulator said. “Air services fulfil an important role keeping regional communities connected with the rest of Australia,” the ACCC said in its+

  • Climate inaction at the state and national level may end up costing local governments as much as $54 million annually, a new report has warned. Some coastal councils are already paying more than $1 million to fix eroding beaches or protect beachside property or infrastructure, and the collective bill for remediation could top $54 million+