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  • Federal and state government assistance to flood-impacted communities in NSW has been widened to include new clean-up programs. The activation of Category C and D assistance through the joint Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) will assist households, businesses, primary producers and local councils affected by the floods and will include both insured and uninsured+

  • A toolkit developed by Blue Mountains City Council will be distributed to councils throughout NSW as a “best practice” approach to asbestos management. It follows an independent inquiry into allegations surrounding the council’s handling and management of asbestos before 2017. The public inquiry, conducted by barrister Richard Beasley, SC, examined the council’s response to asbestos+

  • An autonomous electric shuttle bus being trialled on the NSW North Coast is about to go fully driverless, the first time this has occurred in Australia. More than 10,000 people have used the “Busbot” in phases 1 and 2 of the trial that began in December 2018. The NSW government is running the trial in+

  • A further 173 community projects supporting bushfire recovery in NSW are to receive new funding as part of the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF). The funding for projects that are designed to promote community wellbeing and build disaster resilience across NSW is being provided via the BCRRF Stream 2, applications for which closed+

  • A national approach to public toilets is needed to increase accessibility and participation in social, economic and civic life, a Queensland researcher says. Churchill Fellow Katherine Webber has proposed that key stakeholders able to influence public lavatory design and management (including the Australian Local Government Association and Infrastructure Australia) develop design and functionality guidelines based+

  • Local governments are being encouraged to make the new Australian Water Safety Strategy 2030 central to their drowning prevention policies. The strategy seeks to raise awareness about non-fatal drowning incidents, encourage communities to create local water safety plans, and promote access to swimming and water safety skills for all Australians, particularly for those living in+

  • Victorian local governments will have to report on and improve gender equality in the workplace under new legislation that came into force this week. The landmark Gender Equality Act 2020 is designed to close the pay gap across all 300 of the state’s public sector employers, improve gender equality at all levels of the workforce,+

  • A big shout-out to all the Mayors, council staff, and emergency service personnel who helped safeguard local communities during this week’s “Alaska-sized rain event”. That’s how the Bureau of Meteorology described the large weather system that deluged every state and territory except Western Australia and led to the inundation of hundreds of homes and the+

  • The City of Casey Council wants local government’s help in making procuring an enterprise CRM a “shorter, more rigorous process for organisations globally”. “Our goal is to include the evidence-based survey in our requirements phase to ensure anecdotal opinions no longer sway in CRM procurement,” the Melbourne suburban council says. To do this, the council-designed+

  • The Victorian State Government is being urged to make it easier for people to walk and ride as life slowly returns to normal after Covid. A coalition of 14 bike riding, walking, transport, health and research groups, including We Ride Australia, said transport infrastructure investment needed to be spread equitably across all user groups, including+

  • The Council to Homeless Persons is looking for contributions for its national publication that explore local government’s response to homelessness. The forthcoming May edition of Parity will be devoted to examining and discussing the homelessness strategies/policies and initiatives that many capital city and inner-city local governments have embarked on in recent years. According to the+

  • Prominent Tasmanian local government members say online abuse and attacks are having a chilling effect on women wanting to serve on councils. The high-profile group issued a joint statement raising concerns about safe workplaces and respect for women last week. It was signed by Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds (pictured), Deputy Lord Mayor Helen Burnet,+

  • Households that tend their street verges gain extra shade and cooling, privacy, connection to nature, and social interaction, a Perth study has found. Researchers from the University of Western Australia led by Dr Natasha Pauli reviewed the online verge policies of 31 Perth local councils and conducted stakeholder interviews to uncover the benefits and challenges+

  • Australia’s cities have become like a patchwork of local communities over the past 12 months while experiencing low growth rates, making this an ideal time to review our metropolitan governance structures. Appearing at a webinar discussing new research into the role of local government engagement and coordination in metropolitan governance, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA)+

  • Local government areas affected by severe storms and flooding in Queensland and NSW are now eligible to receive Federal Government Assistance. They include the Gold Coast, Logan, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley, Quilpie, Southern Downs, and Scenic Rim LGAs in Queensland and more than 30 LGAs in NSW. NSW local government areas in and around Sydney that+

  • Development of a circular economy is being held back a lack of awareness and knowledge, say local government and other industry stakeholder groups. Deficits in supportive policies, regulations, and standards across all levels of government are also perceived as a barrier to circular economy progress in Australia’s built environment, according to a stakeholder survey conducted+

  • A soft plastics collection trial on the NSW Central Coast is set to be scaled up and rolled out to 140,000 households in the coming months. In what is being billed as the forerunner to a national product stewardship scheme for plastics, the Central Coast Council has partnered with Australian recycler iQRenew, and multinational food+

  • The ALGA Board will be in Canberra next week and will be catching up with Local Government Minister Mark Coulton and Shadow Ministers Jason Clare (Local Government), Catherine King (Infrastructure and Transport), and Murray Watt (Disaster and Emergency Management) to reinforce ALGA’s advocacy agenda. As we approach the Federal Budget and a Federal election, we’re+

  • Registrations have opened for the 2021 Environmental Biosecurity Webinar Series – Knock Knock, Who’s there? Drawing attention to our most unwanted visitors. The seven monthly webinars and discussions, curated by the federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE), will focus on the recently released National Priority List of Exotic Environmental Pests, Weeds and+

  • The Progress in Australian Regions Yearbook has been released as an online interactive dashboard by the Bureau of Communications, Arts and Regional Research (BCARR). The Progress in Australian Regions Dashboard is a statistical resource that shows how regions are progressing against a range of key indicators from the following themes: labour market, infrastructure, housing, economic+

  • Sustainable cities and communities will be a major focus of the UN and Australia Sustainable Partnerships Forum to be held virtually on 20-21 April. On day 1 of the Forum, sector leaders will discuss the way that the global pandemic has shone a new spotlight on the way cities and communities operate and challenged fundamental+

  • An Australia-wide local government and climate change survey is underway to inform the development of an updated Australian Local Government Climate Review 2021. The 2018 Australian Local Government Climate Review has been used extensively over the last few years to inform policies, state parliamentary inquiries, and aid decision-makers throughout Australia, as well as for developing+

  • The Adelaide, Prospect, Townsville, and Sunshine Coast councils have been named as Smart21 Communities of 2021 by the Intelligent Community Forum (ICF). The ICF assesses communities across the world for their strengths in categories such as digital equality, innovation, sustainability, and technological connectivity. Joining the four SA and Queensland local governments in the list of+

  • NSW mayors and councillors could soon be paid superannuation if legislative changes proposed by the NSW government pass parliament. A Bill introduced this week would allow councils to pay elected representatives superannuation payments from July 1, 2022. Local Government Minister Shelley Hancock said the optional payment would address inequity and encourage greater participation in local+

  • Maitland City Council has announced five road and infrastructure projects as part of the Federal Government’s $1.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program. The NSW Central Coast council is just one of scores of local governments across the country planning, consulting on, or actively implementing projects funded wholly or in part by the+

  • NBN Co is inviting submissions from local government associations and other stakeholders on the design of its proposed Regional Co-investment Fund. The $300 million fund is intended to boost connectivity in regional Australia and help communities realise the socio-economic benefits that high-speed broadband can potentially deliver. Towns and localities in rural and remote areas outside+

  • Bushfire-affected Victorian communities can now apply for a further $15 million in state and Commonwealth funding to help with their recovery efforts. Under the second round of the Local Economic Recovery (LER) grants program, $14.6 million is being made available for grants of up to $2 million to fund projects that support local economic recovery+

  • A federal government-funded centre of excellence to help develop new product stewardship schemes and expand existing schemes was launched this week. Based in Sydney, the Product Stewardship Centre of Excellence will be operated by the University of Technology Sydney’s Institute for Sustainable Futures and the Australian Industry Group. Rose Read, currently CEO of the National+

  • Victorian councils lack the comprehensive data needed for cost-efficient and effective road maintenance, a new audit report says. The Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) audited five councils across a spread of types and sizes to determine whether they were achieving value for money when maintaining their road network. Its report, Maintaining Local Roads, concluded that the+

  • Metropolitan governance structures must allow for a greater role for local government if urban growth and development are to be managed more effectively. According to the Australian Housing and Urban Research Institute (AHURI), present and emergent models of metropolitan governance have not emphasised participation or democratic impulses at the local or metropolitan levels, even though+

  • More urban vegetation is urgently needed in Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney to protect residents against the likelihood of extreme temperatures by 2060, a new report claims. Commissioned by the Australian Conservation Foundation and prepared by the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub, the report says that without more urban greening and concerted climate action, Brisbane+

  • Thank you to the City of Newcastle, the Gladstone Regional Council, the Broken Hill City Council, the Livingstone Shire Council, and the many, many other local governments who, having resolved to support ALGA’s calls for a seat on the National Cabinet, have helped secure Federal Opposition commitment to include ALGA in this forum. In a+

  • Consultations to inform the development of a National Voice have begun, with more than 60 planned between now and May 2021. At the sessions, Indigenous Voice co-design members are gathering feedback on the proposals for Local and Regional Voices and a National Voice. The proposals provide a way for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians+

  • The Federal Health Department is looking for additional feedback on the National Preventive Health Strategy ahead of its final launch in mid-2021. The strategy has been under development since September 2019 and is intended to help people improve their health at all stages of life, through early intervention, better information, targeting risk factors, and addressing+

  • Commonwealth grants ranging from $5000 to $150,000 have been awarded to local governments and community groups to support bushfire recovery for wildlife and habitats. Eighty-eight projects in bushfire-hit areas of NSW, Queensland, South Australia, Victoria, Western Australia, and the ACT are being supported by the funding from the Bushfire Recovery for Wildlife and Habitat Community+

  • The Shire of Wyndham-East Kimberley has extended a landing fee waiver for airlines using the Kununurra and Wyndham airports in a bid to underpin local tourism. It is one of a number of councils forced to continue waiving fees and charges normally applied to offset the costs of running airports. Councillors from the WA shire+

  • Fourteen Queensland local governments impacted by the 2019 monsoon trough event are eligible to apply for a share of $19 million in resilience and risk-reduction funding. The local governments include Burdekin, Burke, Carpentaria, Charters Towers, Cloncurry, Douglas, Etheridge, Flinders, Hinchinbrook, McKinlay, Richmond, Townsville, Whitsunday, and Winton. The funding will come from both the Federal and+

  • NSW infrastructure contributions will be reformed after the State Government accepted all 29 recommendations of a NSW Productivity Commission report. The report, which was released last December, described the contribution current system as unnecessarily complex and not properly enabling local governments and the state government to provide the infrastructure required to support development. It also+

  • Bans on commercial water extraction in the Gold Coast hinterland region have been extended to allow for further study of their impacts on aquifers. The bans were introduced in 2020 after bores in Springbrook and Tamborine Mountain ran dry during a drought; they had been due to expire on 5 March. However, Queensland State Water+

  • The Federal Government is offering employers, including local governments, another $1.2 billion as it extends a wage subsidy scheme begun last October. Under the program, employers “of any size, or industry, Australia-wide” that take on new trainees can apply for funding to pay for 50 percent of their wages for the first year, up to+

  • The NSW Government has opposed plans for an electric scooter trial in Sydney despite local council support for the devices to be trialled there. Transport Minister Andrew Constance recently told Budget Estimates in the NSW Parliament that he was “not in the mood” to have e-scooters on Sydney streets, even though his department, Transport for+

  • Local and state planning policies need to be better aligned if city or state-wide development objectives like housing supply targets are to be realised. In a new information paper on short-term planning and zoning policy reform options, the Productivity Commission also canvasses “more flexible and adaptive land-use regulation”. Moving to fewer and more broadly stated+

  • The Federal Government has announced a $1.2 billion aviation and tourism support package with 800,000 subsidised airline tickets as its centre piece. Under the Tourism Aviation Network Support (TANS) program announced on Thursday, the public will be offered up to 800,000 discounted airline tickets to 15 key tourism regions. These include the Gold Coast, Cairns,+

  • Advocating for you. Thank you to the Shadow Minister for Local Government, Jason Clare MP, and Shadow Minister for Cities and Urban Infrastructure, Andrew Giles MP, for their time this week to consider what Australian local governments need to thrive into the future. On your behalf, in a likely Federal Election year, we look forward+

  • The McGowan Government will commit $14 million towards the development of an electronic waste (e-waste) recycling plant in WA if re-elected. Some of the investment funding will be used to support local governments and other groups to enhance their capacity to receive e-waste from households and businesses and to educate the community for the transition.+

  • Australia’s urban water industry has committed to diversifying water sources and improving treatment processes to meet climate change challenges. Releasing a new climate change position last week, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) said the industry is well positioned to respond and adapt to the impacts of a changing climate on the services it+

  • A new guide has been developed to help environmental land managers address the growing threat to wildlife posed by feral cats. Each day, feral cats kill on average 3.1 million mammals, 1.1 million birds and 1.8 million reptiles, and their impact on threatened native species have only increased since the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires. Recent+

  • The aged-care services sector has largely failed older Australians and needs to be urgently overhauled, a damning royal commission report says. The final report of the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety – tabled in Federal Parliament this week – calls for fundamental reform in the way the sector is governed, managed, and+

  • South Australia’s single-use plastic ban began on 1 March, the first such prohibition of its kind in any Australian state or territory. Plastic single-use drinking straws, stirrers, and cutlery are now banned from sale, supply, or distribution across the state, including in supermarkets and other shops. The ban follows passage through State Parliament of legislation+

  • Local political leadership is an important catalyst for incorporating resilience and adaptation into urban planning, a new university study has revealed. Comparing the Gold Coast and the Sunshine Coast – two coastal cities highly vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, with similar socioeconomic and policy contexts – Griffith University researchers said the former lacked+

  • An initiative incorporating recycled crushed glass (RCG) in concrete used on the Pacific Highway in northern NSW is in the running for a national construction award. About 1500 tonnes of crushed glass sourced from the Lismore City Council (LCC) was substituted for sand in a batch of lean mix concrete totalling about 12,800 cubic metres.+

  • WA’s City of Mandurah council has ratified a policy prohibiting junk-food advertising on city-managed lands and road reserves under the control of the Main Roads Department. The decision is believed to one of the first of its kind in Australian local government, and was taken at the city’s February council meeting, Under the policy, any+