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  • It was wonderful to be able to connect with so many local government delegates at this week’s National General Assembly. The strength and value of our NGA has always been its diversity of views and opinions – not to mention the unrivalled opportunity to share stories and experiences that ultimately advance our communities’ best interests.+

  • The Australian Taxation Office wants feedback on a draft decision that the supply of a burial right in a public cemetery is not subject to GST. Feedback on this draft determination (GSTD 2021/D2: Goods and services tax: is the supply of a burial right in respect of a public cemetery is subject to GST?) can+

  • The role of local councils in migrant settlement and community cohesion will be examined in a Zoom conference meeting in August. Melbourne’s Eastern Region Communities’ Council on Ethnic Issues (CCOEI) is convening the Migrant Settlement Committee (MSC) Zoom meeting on Friday 6 August. The keynote speaker will be the chief executive of Welcoming Cities, Aleem+

  • Public consultations on the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP) have begun as part of reforms to make English tuition more accessible. Recent changes to the Immigration (Education) Act 1971 have provided greater access to government-funded English language tuition: reforms are now being considered to enhance the AMEP business model. For those migrants who don’t speak+

  • Queensland will assume control of the provision of state services to Norfolk Island after signing a deal with the Commonwealth last week. The Heads of Agreement will see Queensland work with the NSW government (the current provider of services to the Island) to develop arrangements for essential school education delivery and health services support. The+

  • The East Arnhem Regional Council was named one of the top seven local government mobile phone recyclers at this week’s National General Assembly. Other state and territory winners of MobileMuster’s recycling awards included Hornsby Shire Council, Cairns Regional Council, City of Charles Sturt Council (SA), City of Launceston Council, City of Monash Council (Vic), and+

  • Many fines example of rotundas, or circular band-stands, are to be found in urban or regional local government areas of Australia. Much used in days gone by, these rotundas are a fond reminder of a gentler era when local communities would be treated to a band or orchestra recital on a Sunday afternoon. Amateur historian+

  • Research showing emissions reduction plans by 60 local governments will achieve 96 percent of the current national target was highlighted this week. A delegation of leading mayors, including Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds, travelled to Canberra to publicise the report. They said the collective commitments of councils planning and implementing large emission reductions in their+

  • Local governments are being invited to apply to take part in NBN Co’s $300 million Regional Co-investment Fund. The fund is intended to further enhance broadband services for rural and regional households, businesses, and communities to help meet the growing and diverse needs of Australians living in regional areas. A particular focus is delivering improved+

  • The Local Government Association of Tasmania and member councils have raised concerns about land banking’s impacts on statewide housing supply. LGAT President Christina Holmdahl told local media this week that solutions to the issue were needed. She said councils could work with the government to release land that can be made available for affordable housing,+

  • Australians continue to be avid consumers of news, underscoring the important role newspapers play in the democratic life of local communities. The finding is contained in the 2021 Digital News Report, a survey coordinated by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism based at the University of Oxford. The report found 81 percent of+

  • Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley has given the solar industry until June 2022 to finalise a nationwide product stewardship scheme. In a speech to the National Press Club last week, Ms Ley said the lack of an industry-wide approach to collecting and recycling solar panels across the country was concerning given the massive popularity of+

  • The golden thread running through our 27th National General Assembly of Local Government starting on Sunday is job creation. It’s a capacity that local government has demonstrated in spades since the last NGA in 2019. In the two years since then, our sector has contended with disasters ranging from drought to bushfires, floods, a pandemic,+

  • Local governments will need to ensure their payroll and accounting systems are updated to incorporate the increased super rate, the Australian Tax Office has said. The superannuation guarantee rate will increase from 9.5 percent to 10 percent on 1 July 2021, and will progressively increase to 12 percent by July 2025. For salary and wage+

  • The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute is offering a 10 percent discount for ALGA News subscribers who register for its upcoming hybrid cities conference. The conference will cover a range of issues relevant to local government, including changing population dynamics as a result of the Covid-19 crisis; how to improve the delivery of critical+

  • For the 4.4 million Australians living with disability, searching for information and services can sometimes be difficult and complex. To counter this, the federal government created the Disability Gateway to help people living with disability, their family, friends and carers find information more easily and connect them to services in their area. The Disability Gateway+

  • Newcastle Museum has become the first local government-funded museum to be declared the overall winner at the Museums and Galleries National Awards (MAGNA). The museum won the award for Temporary or Travelling Exhibition Level 1 (for projects with a budget below $20,000) before going on to win the overall national award out of 42 finalists+

  • Buloke Shire Council in Victoria has become Australia’s first local council to become Peppol e-invoicing enabled via Xero. The council will now start onboarding its suppliers to this new channel to enjoy the benefits of e-invoicing.  The Australian Tax Office says it is good news for the local government sector because e-invoicing adoption by government+

  • Eight local governments have helped develop a strategy to improve flood resilience in Queensland’s Burdekin and Haughton catchments. The strategy was developed in conjunction with the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and funded through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) $242 million Category C and D package for the 2019 North and Far North Queensland+

  • A new federal parliamentary inquiry will examine procurement practices for infrastructure funded by governments at all levels. The inquiry, to be conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities, will also examine the potential to enhance the sovereign capability of Australian industry. The Commonwealth has committed $110 billion to a+

  • The Australian Cyber Security Centre has begun promoting ransomware advice to local governments as part of its “Act now, stay secure” campaign. The centre’s online resources and material are designed to help organisations prevent a ransomware attack and to respond appropriately if held to ransom. Two guides have been published to assist organisations and businesses:+

  • Categories A and B of the joint federal and state Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) have been activated for flood-hit areas of Victoria. Thirty-seven local government areas in central and eastern Victoria impacted by floods and storms are eligible for assistance measures, including personal hardship and distress, personal and financial counselling, counter-disaster operations, removal of+

  • Former Australian Local Government Association Board member and City of Booroondara Mayor Coral Ross has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Also recognised in the 2021 Queen’s Birthday Honours announced on Monday was Felicity-Ann Lewis, who was President and Vice-President of ALGA from 2010-14. Ms Lewis was also state president of+

  • Elected member conduct and CEO remuneration in South Australia will be overhauled after state parliament passed a new Amendment Bill last week. Under the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020, a new conduct management system will be set up to help councils deal quickly with low-level matters, while an independent Behaviour Standards Panel will+

  • Single-use plastics will be phased out in NSW by 2025 under the state’s new Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 released last week. The plan, backed by $356 million in new funding, will also include: financial incentives for manufacturers and producers to design out problematic plastics; requirements for government agencies to prefer recycled content; mandating+

  • Australia’s solar panel industry has been put on notice and told to step up and embrace product stewardship. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the uptake of millions of solar panels across the country from rooftops to solar farms has been vital to helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “[However], the explosion of retailers and importers+

  • This week, I was honoured to represent you at the first meeting of the National Cabinet Reform Committee (Rural and Regional). One of six bodies created in June 2020 to progress the National Cabinet’s job-creation agenda, the Rural and Regional Reform Committee is tasked with promoting economic growth and job creation in rural and regional+

  • The Australian Taxation Office has published a draft decision that the supply of a burial right in a public cemetery is not subject to GST. It is now seeking feedback on this draft determination (GSTD 2021/D2: Goods and services tax: is the supply of a burial right in respect of a public cemetery is subject+

  • Local governments were required to notify the Minister for Foreign Affairs by 10 June of any foreign arrangements entered into on or before 9 March 2021. Councils that would like to discuss any foreign arrangements that were not notified by the 10 June deadline can contact DFAT’s Foreign Arrangements Taskforce at foreignarrangements@dfat.gov.au for assistance.  The+

  • The Blue Mountains Council is considering trialling “cat bibs” as part of a broader program to reduce predation of native wildlife by domestic cats. The bibs, small triangular pieces of neoprene attached to a cat’s collar, are claimed to stop 81 percent of cats catching birds, 45 percent from catching mammals, and 33 percent from+

  • The datasets needed to properly inform community infrastructure planning in rapidly growing urban areas are generally lacking, a new study says. The Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute report found lag times between population growth and new infrastructure delivery “are pervasive in new greenfield development areas”. Not only is there a lack of coordinated and+

  • An old mining town in Tasmania’s north-east has won a major award at a US water-tasting event dubbed the “world’s most prestigious”. Rossarden, in the Fingal Valley, took out the municipal water award at the Berkeley Springs International Water Tasting event held in West Virginia earlier this month. Berkeley Springs is claimed to be the+

  • A task force to support local councils with natural disaster response and recovery has been set up by the NSW state government. The five specialist members of the Disaster Response Taskforce “will assist councils in applying for disaster funding to ensure they have the resources they need to fix vital infrastructure in a timely manner”.+

  • Visitors to a remote southern Tasmanian tourist attraction will enjoy better digital connectivity after new Commonwealth funding was announced this week. An area east of Geeveston (where the well-known Tahune Airwalk is located), together with an additional 51 projects, will receive $27 million from the latest tranche of Regional Connectivity Program (RCP) funding. It brings+

  • The City of Sydney Council has become the first local government organisation to join the Australian Death Notification Service. Launched late last year, the ADNS allows people to inform government and non-government agencies, superannuation funds, utility providers, telcos, and insurance companies when a family member or friend has died. Accounts held by participating organisations can+

  • A processing plant using biotechnology to recover valuable metals from electronic waste is set to be built in Sydney’s western suburbs. The plant in Smithfield will be operated by Mint Innovation, a New Zealand start-up that recently reached a property deal with the Cumberland City Council. Mint uses patented bioprocessing technology involving a combination of+

  • The Federal Government will invest $1 million in funding to support product stewardship efforts to reduce clothing textiles waste. The funding will be disbursed through a new grant round under the National Product Stewardship Investment Fund. The announcement came at last month’s inaugural National Roundtable on Clothing Textile Waste held at Parliament House in Canberra+

  • An emissions reduction project that’s claimed to be Australia’s largest local government scheme will be implemented next month. From 1 July, 46 Victorian councils will begin taking wind energy supplied by retailer Red Energy to power their town halls, sports grounds, community venues, leisure centres, streetlights, and other infrastructure. Under the terms of the Victorian+

  • Brisbane Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner wants people back in Australia’s major central business districts and using public transport again. Addressing National Cabinet last week as the chairman of the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM), Cr Schrinner said that while office occupancy rates had increased from the historic low experienced last year, there was+

  • Copyright laws should be amended to give consumers and independent repairers access to information and tools enabling product fixes, a new draft report says. The Productivity Commission’s draft report on the “right to repair” found the three main sectors where it was becoming harder to get repairs were mobile phones and tablets, motor vehicles, and+

  • Local governments employ a higher proportion of Indigenous Australians than other government sectors – 4.5 percent versus about 2.3 percent for the state, territory, and federal governments. Councils are at ground zero in facilitating and growing local economies (and jobs), so it is not surprising we should be leading the way in improving employment outcomes+

  • Australia Post’s 2021 Community Grants program funding locally-led and delivered mental health and wellbeing projects is now accepting applications. Not-for-profit organisations can apply for up to $10,000 for projects that “help build connections between individuals and their community and that encourage open and positive conversations around mental health”. Australia Post Chief Marketing Officer Amber Collins+

  • The Australian Tax Office is advising local governments that myGOvid will expire on a specific device if it hasn’t been used for an extended period. This is a mechanism designed to enhance online security and identity protection. Many local councils have a myGovID identity to access a wide range of government online services, including Services+

  • Community-based projects in 27 towns across Australia are to share in over $1 million provided through the Tackling Tough Times Together (TTTG) program. They include providing a piano for the local choir and wider community in Kempsey (NSW), installing children’s play equipment in Texas (Qld), and undertaking building repairs at Milang Museum in SA. Applications+

  • A community program to increase resilience in one of NSW’s most flood-exposed areas has been recognised by Floodplain Management Australia. The Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley Community Resilience Program was awarded FMA’s Flood Risk Management Project of the Year Award on 31 May. Prepared by the NSW State Emergency Service and Infrastructure NSW, the program includes 19 projects+

  • TerraCycle is suggesting local councils consider including its free recycling programs in their waste management strategies.  The international recycling company (based in the US) already has “community collection hubs” in retail stores, supermarkets, schools and offices, and wants to make collection points for difficult-to-recycle items made more accessible to the public. Over the past 12+

  • The levy funding the Paintback product stewardship scheme will continue until 18 June 2031 after a ruling last month by the national competition watchdog. The levy on the wholesale sale of certain architectural and design paints will remain unchanged at 15c per litre levy (plus GST), the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission confirmed last month.+

  • A prototype website providing information about traffic volumes, congestion, road condition, and rest area usage has gone live. As well as supporting the day-to-day operations of the transport industry, and providing enhanced freight data across all supply chains, the National Freight Data Hub will enable a data-driven approach for future strategic planning and investment. Deputy+

  • The current accommodation shortage in many regional towns and cities will take time to reverse, the Regional Australia Institute has said. Twenty regions ranging from Port Hedland to Ballina and Townsville to Burnie have residential vacancy rates of 0.5 percent or lower, a situation that threatens to delay work on infrastructure projects aimed at bolstering+

  • Luke Hartsuyker will chair an independent review into the state of telecommunications services in regional, rural and remote Australia. Mr Hartsuyker, pictured, is a former Member for the Federal seat of Cowper in NSW, and will be joined on the review committee by Kristy Sparrow, Sue Middleton, Hugh Bradlow, and Michael Cosgrave. Announcing the appointments+

  • I travelled to Parliament House in Canberra this week for talks with senior Morrison Government Ministers Michael McCormack and Mark Coulton and with senior Opposition figures and crossbench MPs. I thanked Ministers McCormack and Coulton for listening to our advocacy around leveraging the potential of local government to drive a locally-led recovery. My discussions with+

  • Funding of $39.8 million has been announced for projects under the Women’s Leadership and Development Program (WLDP). The money will go toward supporting a variety of opportunities intended to “break down work barriers and enable women to advance in their chosen careers or professsion”. Five key areas, including job creation, economic security, workforce participation, leadership,+