LGiU has teamed up with ALGA to bring you a fortnightly edition of the Policy Roundup containing the local news, policy reports and LGiU briefings from the last week plus the latest updates from ALGA.
For more information on this collaboration click here
  • 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”.+

  • A new federal agency will support local community responses to major natural disasters and administer a $600 million “Preparing Australia Program”. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the new program will enable the Commonwealth to directly fund disaster mitigation and risk-reduction projects. These projects will include flood levees, hardened telecommunications infrastructure, and bushfire and cyclone-proof housing.+

  • Treasurer Josh Frydenberg’s revelation that next month’s federal Budget will contain further fiscal stimulus and job-creation initiatives is great news for our sector. As the national focus shifts to creating the infrastructure and jobs needed to sustain a more dynamic and prosperous Australia, ALGA will be stepping up its campaign for funding from the Commonwealth+

  • Planning is well underway for the Water Management Conference 2021 convened by Local Government NSW and its co-host, the Narrabri Shire Council. The theme for this year’s conference is Building Resilience and Capability, with the agenda covering all aspects of water management including water supply, sewerage services, and more.  The event is being staged at+

  • An online climate summit scheduled for 26-27 May will discuss how local governments can capitalise on the clean economy and create thousands of jobs. Hosted by the Cities Power Partnership, Australia’s largest local government climate network, the event will bring together council leaders from across the country to develop regional climate and energy solutions. Dr+

  • Energy derived from waste streams has significant potential to complement power from renewable but intermittent generating sources, a new discussion paper says. Generators powered by post-recovery wastes can be configured to provide some or all the ancillary services needed to support clean renewables (as well as balancing technologies and firming technologies), according to the Australian+

  • Women and Leadership Australia (WLA) is offering three scholarships to encourage more women to step into local government leadership roles. The programs are designed for women with limited leadership experience through to executive leaders, with scholarships available across three key levels: Early career managers can apply for a scholarship of $1000 towards the Leading Edge+

  • Eight Melbourne metropolitan councils have invited their residents to help document urban biodiversity as part of the global City Nature Challenge. The councils – Boroondara, Whitehorse, Knox, Manningham, Monash, Maroondah, Stonnington, and Greater Dandenong – will “compete” with 250 cities from around 40 countries to celebrate “the healing power of nature”. Residents will be asked+

  • Work is about to begin on 400km worth of road safety upgrades in regional South Australia funded under various federal and state government programs. Most of the 15 separate projects have been fast-tracked under the recently announced $104.6 million first tranche of the Road Safety Program for South Australia, which is jointly funded by the+

  • Communities in seven NSW North Coast local government areas are to get additional DRFA assistance for flooding that occurred in February. Recovery grants of up to $75,000 for primary producers and up to $50,000 for small businesses are now available in the Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Kyogle, Lismore, Nambucca Valley, Port Macquarie-Hastings, and Richmond Valley+

  • Increased demand for housing in the regions during the Covid-19 pandemic has exacerbated social and economic disadvantage, new university research suggests. In places where social and affordable housing is in short supply, lower-income tenants, including students and young unemployed people, are now at increased risk of experiencing more housing stress and precarity. The findings come+

  • The Federal and Victorian governments are investing a combined $24 million in Australia’s first drum pulper to recycle mixed waste paper and cardboard. To be installed at a Visy paper mill in Melbourne’s northern suburbs, the drum pulper will process an additional 95,000 tonnes of kerbside waste for manufacture into a range of paper products,+

  • Electric scooters will be trialled for up to a year in three Victorian council areas, the Victorian Government announced last week. Starting later this year, the trial is seeking to ascertain out how e-scooters could be integrated safely into the transport network. It will be conducted in two metropolitan LGAs and one regional LGA. The+

  • Journalist and author Gabrielle Chan knows a thing or three about regional Australia, having moved from Canberra to rural NSW with her farmer husband in 1996. She has described her home town of 25 years, Harden-Murrumburrah, as “the place in which I first understood a sense of belonging, of community, and the impulses to protect+

  • It was an honour to visit Darwin this week, spending time meeting and listening to the magnificent work being done by NT local governments, in towns and remote areas across the vast Territory. Thank you to Darwin’s Lord Mayor Kon Vatskalis, President of the Local Government Association of the Northern Territory (LGANT), and the LGANT+

  • An extra $5 million is being invested to support performing arts touring in regional and remote communities recovering from the effects of Covid-19. The Regional Performing Arts Touring program (Playing Australia) funding is being provided through the Australia Council and will be on top of grants already disbursed to performing arts organisations under previous rounds+

  • Twenty-five of Queensland’s 77 councils are at “high risk” of becoming financially unsustainable, the state’s Auditor-General has found. The impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, while not unexpected, contributed significantly to a deterioration in councils’ financial performance, with 70 percent spending more than they earned, Auditor-General Brendan Worrall said this week. The office’s Local+

  • Australia’s government-owned airports could produce enough electricity to power 136,000 homes if they had large-scale rooftop solar systems installed, a new study suggests. Researchers at RMIT University compared electricity generated by residential solar panels in a regional city to the potential green energy production of 21 leased federal airports. They found that if large-scale solar+

  • A wireless network proposed for the Cootamundra-Gundagai and Snowy Valleys LGAs has been awarded funding under the Regional Connectivity Program (RCP). The project is one of 81 place-based projects announced last week under the Commonwealth’s $90 million RCP initiative. The grants for the successful projects range from $80,500 for targeted mobile capacity upgrades in small+

  • Almost $34 million in federal government funding was disbursed to 378 shows and field days across the country from 1 July 2019 to 30 June 2020. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud provided the summary of the grants as he announced that a further 110 events will share in more than $710,000 in supplementary expenses claims+

  • The top 35 local government collectors of old mobile phones and components have been announced ahead of MobileMuster’s national awards in June. Councils in the running for the telecommunication product stewardship awards include Australia’s largest metropolitan council, Brisbane City, as well as rural and remote area shires such as Baw Baw Shire and East Arnhem+

  • Four road projects in the Muswellbrook, Singleton, Dungog and Upper Hunter local government areas will go ahead with Federal and NSW Government funding. The projects being funded under round 2 of the accelerated Fixing Local Roads Program include: Dungog Shire Council – Flat Tops Road – Stage 1: $924,000 Muswellbrook Shire Council – Widden Valley+

  • A proposed overpass in inland northern NSW has been given a $35.2 million boost courtesy of the Roads of Strategic Importance initiative. The $44 million Intermodal Overpass project is intended to improve supply-chain efficiency for local communities and better connections to the Newell Highway and the Inland Rail connecting Melbourne and Brisbane via regional Victoria,+

  • Communities in Western Australias’s Mid-West, Gascoyne and Wheatbelt regions are getting help to enable them to recover from severe flooding in early March. The financial assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) and will help the local governments of Dandaragan, Greater Geraldton, Menzies, Mount Marshall, Northam, and Victoria+

  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been chided for appearing to dismiss the role of inner cities in helping to achieve net-zero emissions. In a statement issued this week, Cr Anna Reynolds and Cr Nuatali Nelme noted that city local governments have set climate change targets that are more ambitious than the Federal Government’s commitments. “We+

  • The Building Stronger Homes Roundtable wants codes, standards, and land use planning systems revised to promote housing resilience. The roundtable was established by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA) to discuss policy changes that make buildings throughout Australia more resilient. ICA chief executive officer Andrew Hall said increased collaboration was+

  • An Australia-wide network of mass immunisation centres, supported by local government, could get the nation’s flagging Covid-19 vaccine program back on track. University of NSW epidemiologist Mary-Louise McLaws, pictured, said this week that vaccinations would need to be stepped up significantly if most of the adult population is to receive at least one shot by+