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  • A further $12.6 million is being provided by the Federal Government to expand the Safe Places Emergency Accommodation Program. The funding will allow for the renovation, building or purchase of accommodation to support women and children experiencing family and domestic violence in Cairns and Logan-Beaudesert in Queensland, and Albany, West Pilbara, and the Goldfields in+

  • The City of Melbourne’s response to “significant transport challenges” in the CBD has been recognised with a major planning award. The council’s Transport Strategy 2030 received the Best Planning Ideas – Large Projects award at the 2021 National Awards for Planning Excellence convened by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). Judges commended the city for+

  • The national Covid-19 vaccination program for residents in aged care facilities is nearly complete, and the focus is now shifting to aged care workers. The Federal Department of Health has advised that aged care workers are able to get their Covid-19 vaccination now, in line with medical advice. Aged care workers under 50 years will+

  • Future places of refuge for threatened species will set up and protected under a new biodiversity blueprint unveiled last week. The Threatened Species Strategy 2021-31 will also look at “assisted colonisation” for populations whose local environments are impacted by changing climate, and will pursue a coordinated approach to culling feral pest animals and weeds that+

  • First-round applications for a share of $4.5 million being offered under the Networks to Build Drought Resilience program opened this week. The program is part of the Commonwealth’s $5 billion Future Drought Fund and is intended to support the community organisations, networks, and infrastructure that help people and communities prepare for, and survive, drought. The+

  • Six new Bureau of Meteorology staff will be deployed to Townsville, where the Australian Climate Service (ACS) is being based. Announcing the ACS’s home, Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley said the new staff (supported by the BOM’s Brisbane office) will provide 24/7 on-ground support to Emergency Management Australia, local disaster management groups, and Queensland Fire+

  • The Federal Government has called for the states and territories to commit to future biosecurity funding at or above 2016-17 levels in real terms. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud made the call at this week’s release of Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030, which sets the future direction for Australia’s biosecurity system. “Commonwealth Biosecurity 2030 is our plan+

  • The Federal Government is calling for public input into creating a regional data hub to better inform local leaders and regional communities. The proposed hub will “improve the evidence base for regional communities, local leaders, industry and all levels of government by bringing together key economic, demographic and socio-economic data to provide easy access to+

  • A new Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program to support work not covered by other funding programs is expected to open soon. The $280 million program was first announced in April, having been enabled by a lower-than-expected take-up of programs under the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund. The new grants will be focused on+

  • The City of Sydney Council wants to include energy targets in development applications in a bid to make new buildings more energy efficient. Under a proposal now before the NSW state government, development applications for new office buildings, hotels and shopping centres, and major redevelopments of existing buildings will have to comply with minimum energy+

  • Victorian councils may face “difficult” financial decisions in coming years if revenue growth does not resume post-Covid-19. The warning is contained an Essential Services Commission report on the impact of rate capping on local councils. The Local council outcomes report 2021 found that the sector’s financial health remained strong in general, “putting it in a+

  • Federal Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud has reignited his stoush with Telstra over its regional telecommunications services. In February, Mr Littleproud accused the telco of abandoning its rural customers, particularly in his central Queensland electorate of Maranoa. This week, in an opinion article published in the Weekly Times, Mr Littleproud again said Telstra had “given+

  • Your ALGA has a new chief executive officer, Matt Pinnegar – who takes up his new role when the National General Assembly of Local Government gets underway next month. Many of you probably already know Matt, who is the current CEO of the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA). Matt has seen the LGASA+

  • A webinar exploring the UN-recognised carbon removal technology of biochar using pyrolysis and gasification is being held next week. Convened by the ANZ Biochar Industry Group (ANZBIG), the webinar will be of interest to local councils that want to make their biochar project more viable through voluntary carbon removal credits. The International Carbon Drawdown in+

  • Councils are being encouraged to nominate their most effective crime mitigation projects for the Australian Crime and Violence Prevention Awards. Projects or initiatives that reduce violence and other types of crime in the community are all eligible to be nominated for the awards. They can relate to specific groups such as rural and remote communities,+

  • A new guide to help local government infrastructure managers choose suitably climate-resilient building materials has been published. Though aimed primarily at NSW local governments and developers, the guide will have national application as well, according to Institution of Public Works Engineering Australasia (IPWEA) CEO David Jenkins. The Climate Resilience Design Guide is intended to assist+

  • Government intervention to help address labour shortages and build resilience will help struggling Victorian tourism destinations, a new report says. The Black Summer Bushfires and the coronavirus pandemic wiped $19.5 billion in visitor spending from the Victoria economy, the report found, with two-thirds of tourism operators losing between 75-100 percent of their income. Lead researcher+

  • Regional Drought Resilience Planning programs financed by the Future Drought Fund have been launched in NSW, Queensland, South Australia, and the ACT. These will bring together local governments, regional organisations, communities, and industry to prepare for future drought risks by developing regional drought resilience plans. Based on the premise that no two regions are the+

  • Further assistance has been activated under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements for Western Australia communities impacted by Tropical Cyclone Seroja. Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements had already been activated in the immediate aftermath of Seroja, but Category C and Category D measures have now been added. This assistance will fund a clean-up program and community+

  • Road transport and infrastructure funding will decrease in real terms from 2021-22 to 2024-25 with the end of the $3 billion Road Safety program in sight. The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) says its analysis of the 2021-22 Budget papers shows the Government is predicting a “decrease of 9.7 percent in real terms” in road transport+

  • National Road Safety Week 2021 was launched in Adelaide this week at an event attended by Safer Australian Roads and Highway (SARAH) Group founder Peter Fraser. SARAH partners with road safety organisations and governments in efforts to reduce road trauma, and founded National Road Safety Week in 2013 – a year after Mr Fraser’s daughter+

  • Three joint council waste management authorities in Adelaide will get about $15 million in federal funding to invest in new recycling projects. The Northern Adelaide Waste Management Authority (NSWMA) will get $7.92 million to put towards a $12 million paper and cardboard beneficiation plant in Edinburgh able to process more than 40,000 tonnes of fibre+

  • The Morrison Government’s free-spending Budget marks a major departure from previous economic policy, but one that’s right for the times, says Danielle Wood. “I call it the ‘jump-start the economy strategy’,” the Grattan Institute CEO said this week. “Push hard to try and ignite wage growth, get people into jobs, and hopefully the momentum builds+

  • Matt Pinnegar has been appointed the next chief executive officer of the Australian Local Government Association, succeeding retiring CEO Adrian Beresford-Wylie. Mr Pinnegar is currently CEO of the Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA). Before taking the helm at LGASA in 2015, Mr Pinnegar was the external affairs manager for BP in South Australia+

  • West Australian councils have raised concerns about more recyclables ending up in landfill when a federal export ban on some waste plastics comes into force in July. The state’s biggest recycling plant, operated by Cleanaway in suburban Guildford, burned down in late 2019 and is scheduled to re-open just days before stage one of the+

  • A new organisation to “lead efforts” to eliminate plastic in Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands was launched in Sydney this week. The ANZPAC Plastics Pact comprises 60 founding members from across the plastics supply chain, including corporations, packaging manufacturers and retailers, resource recovery leaders, governments, and NGOs. Its members have pledged to work+

  • It was wonderful to see strong bipartisan backing for local government’s ability to create jobs and lead economic recovery this week, as part of the Federal Budget and the Opposition Leader’s Budget in Reply speech. The direct wins for local government from the Morrison Government’s third Budget included: $1 billion in new funding to extend+

  • Public consultations on the development of the 10-year National Children’s Education and Care Workforce Strategy (2021-30) are now open. And the Australian Children’s Education and Care Quality Authority (ACECQA) is encouraging anyone working in early childhood to: read the consultation document; and provide feedback through an online survey. Feedback will support the development of the+

  • A new safety campaign has been launched to reduce the number of dangerously loaded trucks operating on NSW regional roads. The Load Restraint Public Education Campaign was initiated by the Parkes, Forbes, and Lachlan Shire Councils and includes new “how-to” load restraint videos and factsheets, a social media awareness campaign, and a series of load+

  • The City of Darwin council has taken out the top award at this year’s Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) National Awards for Excellence in Technology. The city won the Australian Achievement of the Year Category (and the Smart City Achievement of the Year category) for its myDarwin Support Local Program. This discount voucher program, launched+

  • The Australian Building Codes Board is inviting public comment on the development of the 2022 edition of the National Construction Code.  Some of the more significant amendments developed for the next edition of the NCC, and covered in this first of a two-stage release of content for public comment, include: Draft provisions relating to accessible+

  • The MyGov and MyHealth government portals will receive $500 million enhancements under the Federal Government’s $1.2 billion digital economy strategy. Tuesday’s Federal Budget contained more detail about the strategy, including a $200 million myGov overhaul and a $302 million investment in My Health Record and the GovPass digital identity initiative. More than $50 million will+

  • Local governments are being encouraged to partner with the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) to improve cyber resilience across the national economy. The ACSC is the lead Commonwealth agency on efforts to enhance national cybersecurity. In 2020, the centre’s ReportCyber online portal received around 57,000 cybercrime reports with losses of almost $357 million, with reports+

  • The regions have been major winners from this week’s Federal Budget with significant initiatives aimed at sharpening their appeal as places to live and work. Issues of disaster resilience and water security in regional areas have also been addressed with new money, including $50 million in co-funding for 22 projects under the National Flood Mitigation+

  • Rockhampton Regional Council’s bid to lure Alliance Airlines to its regional airport has been boosted with a $25 million Community Development Program grant. Tuesday’s Federal Budget committed $25 million (under the Community Development Grants Program) towards the construction of a maintenance repair and overhaul facility at Rockhampton airport for Alliance’s use, a move which could+

  • The Federal Government’s waste and recycling funding initiatives from Tuesday’s Budget have drawn a mostly favourable response from stakeholders. Treasurer Josh Frydenberg announced $77.9 million in new investments to reduce waste impacts on the environment, with $67 million of that to be directed to new food organic and garden organic waste (FOGO) initiatives. A Food+

  • Local governments provide a vast array of services, functions, and amenities according to individual state government legislative frameworks. Last night’s Federal Budget contained measures of varying relevance to local governments, depending on their jurisdiction or location. They include (with Budget Paper references): Home Ownership – First Home Super Saver Scheme (BP2 P17) and First Home+

  • This year’s Federal Budget further recognises Local Government’s essential role in supporting local communities, employment and businesses. It also addresses many of the priority issues that ALGA has been advocating and campaigning for over many years. The level of Financial Assistance Grants is estimated to be 0.6 percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue. This is unchanged+

  • The Federal Government has pledged to release $50 million from the Emergency Response Fund for use in mitigation projects. The commitment came via the Government’s response to the Senate inquiry into lessons to be learned in relation to the preparation and planning for, response to, and recovery efforts following the 2019-20 Australian bushfires. The Finance+

  • Newcastle Airport’s runway will be upgraded with Federal funding of $66 million to allow longer-range domestic and international services. The runway is owned, operated, and controlled by the RAAF (as the Williamtown airbase), but also serves the Newcastle Airport jointly owned by Newcastle City Council and Port Stephens Council. The Commonwealth funding, announced in the+

  • In tonight’s Federal Budget, local governments welcome that the Morrison Federal Government has listened to ALGA’s advocacy, investing in local government in response to our calls for a locally-led economic recovery for Australia. The Federal Budget includes several wins for Australian councils and our communities, including: Community Infrastructure New funding for $1 billion towards Local+

  • In response to sustained local government advocacy, I’m so pleased to welcome the Federal Government’s announcement this week of a properly funded National Recovery and Resilience Agency by July, with former NT Chief Minister Shane Stone as its coordinator-General. Disaster funding must go beyond recovery and reconstruction to embrace mitigation and resilience measures and, this+

  • The Federal Parliamentary committee inquiring into matters affecting regional Australia will hold a public hearing in the Tumut region on 14 May. The chairman of the Select Committee on Regional Australia, Tony Pasin MP, said public hearings had interrupted by the pandemic. “[But] we’re excited to be hitting the road again to meet and hear+

  • Local Governments have until 10 June to notify the Department of Foreign Affairs of non-core foreign arrangements entered into on or before 9 March. Under the Foreign Arrangements Scheme that began last December, Local Governments have (since 10 March) been required to: notify the Minister when proposing to enter into any non-core foreign arrangements; and+

  • Prototypes of two new satellite data tools to map burnt areas and flood extents are expected to be available by July. Developed by Geoscience Australia’s Digital Earth Australia program, the tools will support emergency management efforts across the country. The new tools are intended to complement Geoscience Australia’s existing national bushfire monitoring tool, DEA Hotspots.+

  • The regulation and supervision of local government in Western Australia need to be more forward-looking, a new report by the state’s auditor-general advises. The Office of the Auditor-General says that despite a significant local government reform agenda in recent years, the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is not providing efficient and effective+

  • A new strategy setting out how Adelaide councils could divert more food waste from landfills, potentially saving $6.8 million annually, has been published. The Green Industries SA strategy, Valuing our Food Waste, is part of the South Australian Government’s pivot towards a circular economy. It integrates policy measures, behavioural change actions, and support for industry+

  • A Sydney baseball club, the Ryde Hawks, has become the first of 110 local sporting organisations to enlist in a national waste reduction program. Greening the Green is a 12-week initiative to encourage sporting groups to collect soft plastics and beverage containers through the placement of specific bins placed in high areas. The soft plastics+

  • The Victorian Government will look at the “behaviour and culture” of local councils with a view to strengthening respect, integrity, and trust across the sector. The review will be overseen by Local Government Victoria and will “be undertaken by a research institute, academic or person with appropriate skills and experience from the sector”. The Minister+

  • Federal and state Building Ministers have agreed that the National Construction Code 2022 will include minimum accessibility provisions for housing. The Ministers, who met last week, said the provisions for residential housing and apartments will be based on the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines (LHDG) silver standards. This will mean all new homes will have to+

  • Insurance costs for flood and cyclone-prone communities in northern Australia are expected to fall when a reinsurance pool is set up next year. Announcing the initiative this week, the Federal Government said insurance premiums for households, strata, and small businesses north of the Tropic of Capricorn should drop by a combined $1.5 billion over 10+

  • The Morrison Government will earmark an additional $250 million for a Sixth Round of Building Better Regions Fund in next week’s Federal Budget. Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack made the announcement in a speech at Rockhampton on Wednesday, where he thanked local government for the job “you are doing on behalf of your local communities”.+