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.
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  • Emergency Management Australia (EMA) and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) will be merged to create a new single federal agency. The new organisation, to be called the National Emergency Management, Resilience and Recovery Agency (NEMRRA), will start operating on 1 September. Announcing the changes today, Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the+

  • There is ample scope to use more recycled materials, including plastic and organic food waste, in road and rail projects, a new report says. The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) says using more recycled materials in road and rail infrastructure confers many national benefits, including less waste sent to landfills, lower greenhouse gas emissions, job+

  • Kristy McBain has flagged Constitutional recognition of local government as likely to be on the radar of a second-term Albanese Labor government. Interviewed by a national media outlet this week, the Regional Development, Local Government and Territories Minister acknowledged councils have long campaigned for constitutional recognition, saying that “I think it will be a priority+

  • Internal migration to the regions has reached a five-year high, with young people leading the way, according to the Regional Australia Institute (RAI). The RAI’s Regional Movers Index report for the March 2022 quarter shows the number of people moving to regional areas rose by 16.6 percent, almost double pre-pandemic levels, with most being  Millennials+

  • We had a big win at our 2022 National General Assembly last week when our new Minister Catherine King committed to working with Minister Kristy McBain to re-establish the Australian Council of Local Governments. This is an annual meeting with the Prime Minister, Cabinet Ministers, Mayors, Shire Presidents, and councillors that was founded under the+

  • Local government leaders from around Australia gathered in Canberra from 20-22 June 2022 for the 28th National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA). This event was held on the traditional lands of the Ngunnawal people, and the Assembly paid its respects to their elders past, present and emerging, and acknowledged the vital and ongoing contributions+

  • A survey to help university researchers better understand the benefits, costs, and barriers to increasing residential density in middle ring areas has opened. The University of Queensland survey seeks to understand the experiences and thoughts of those involved in, and impacted by, the residential development industry, including planners, engineers, architects, urban designers, and elected officials.+

  • A national expert working group has been set up to support government responses to human cases of Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV). JEV was declared a Communicable Disease Incident of National Significance in March after being detected in piggeries in NSW, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria. JEV is spread only through mosquito bites, and while most+

  • The 2022 National Awards for Local Government have been expanded to 11 categories, with nominations to open at 9am on Wednesday 22 June. Convened by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development, the awards promote local government’s significant role in delivering targeted quality services to Australians in urban and regional communities. The+

  • Voting in Tasmania’s local council elections in September will be obligatory after the State’s Parliament passed new legislation on 2 June. Minister for Local Government Nic Street said bringing council elections into line with State and Federal elections would lift community perceptions of local government and its importance. “As a former elected member of Kingborough+

  • Domestic airline passenger numbers in April were the highest since the COVID pandemic began in 2020, the national competition regulator said last week. However, a surge in jet fuel prices meant airfares will likely increase in the coming months the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) said. The agency’s quarterly Airline Competition in Australia report+

  • A former chief executive of Perth’s largest urban council was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday Honours this week. Michael Foley, who was chief executive officer of the City of Swan for 14 years until his retirement in 2020, was recognised for his service to local government. During his+

  • Victorian councils will no longer be able to use debt collectors to pursue unpaid rates under new legislation introduced in State Parliament last week. During the pandemic, many local governments relaxed their hardship policies to provide relief to those struggling financially, and started engaging earlier with ratepayers who did fall into debt. Local Government Minister+

  • The CSIRO has attributed a 29 percent reduction in plastic pollution along Australia’s beaches and coastline to strong local government measures. New research by the national science agency builds on a 2013 survey where researchers circumnavigated the entire continent inspecting beaches and other coastal areas in 100km increments. Then, in 2019, they used a targeted+

  • A pilot program to improve the collection and recycling of agricultural plastics has begun in Victoria’s Lodden Mallee region. Collection sites at the Mildura Rural City Council landfill, the Swan Hill Rural City Council landfill, and North West Ag Services in Ouyen are accepting table grape covers and irrigation tubes from horticulture and grain silo+

  • I’m looking forward to next week’s National General Assembly, and with close to 1,000 mayors and councillors set to attend, it’s going to be our biggest NGA in almost a decade. From Sunday through to Wednesday, we will explore the partnerships we have – and the partnerships we need – to deliver real progress in+

  • A new university survey has found that experiencing a disaster greatly influences how prepared and resilient people feel if disaster strikes again. Researchers at the Monash Fire to Flourish project surveyed 3,522 Australians about their perceptions of preparedness and resilience to natural disasters such as fires, floods and major storms. The survey compared responses between+

  • Congratulations to our new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese and his new Labor Federal Government. In a massive win for councils and our communities, the local government portfolio was elevated to Cabinet this week with the appointment of our new Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, and Local Government, the Hon Catherine King MP. Former Bega+

  • SEA Electric is shaping the future of Australian transport, with the world’s first true range of battery-electric trucks accelerating the transition to zero-emissions motoring. Propelled by SEA Electric’s SEA-Drive® power-system, the patented technology is available in various performance and range packages, from 4.5 tonne car licence vehicles through to 22.5 tonne three-axle trucks for practically+

  • Over 50 sites recorded a metre of rainfall or more in one week during record falls across south-east Queensland and coastal NSW in February/March. Some regions recorded more than five times their monthly average, the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said last week, while others had 2.5 times their monthly average rainfall. In its Special Climate+

  • A national survey to help provide a blueprint for a “reimagined future for volunteering in Australia” opened last week. Volunteering Australia, the national peak body for volunteering, says the survey will underpin the development of the National Strategy for Volunteering. “It is a historic opportunity to capture the current state of volunteering, map trends, and+

  • The water and sewerage service industry will achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the national peak body said last month. In an updated climate change position paper, the Water Services Association of Australia (WSAA) says its members, customers and communities “are even more ambitious and want us to achieve this target much earlier+

  • A toolkit enabling planners and local governments to minimise urban heat impacts has been published by the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA). The best-practice resources in the Resource Toolkit cover each state and territory and are intended to assist practising planners in making “climate-conscious decisions”. Urban heat island is a relatively new issue and largely+

  • There were 1,123 deaths on Australian roads in 2021, an increase of 2.6 percent from 2020, new annual road crash statistics show. Over the decade, however, the number of fatalities declined 1.6 percent from about 1,300 per year to 1,100 per year, the Bureau of Infrastructure and Transport Research Economics (BITRE) said last month. In+

  • A cooperative research centre has been awarded a $50 million Commonwealth grant to help secure a resilient and sustainable Murray-Darling Basin. One Basin CRC – led by the University of Melbourne – will collaborate with the Australian National University, Charles Sturt University, the Goyder Institute, Hort Innovation, the Murray-Darling Basin Authority, Sensand Technologies, and the+

  • Mildura Rural City Council has declared a housing crisis, passing a motion last week calling on the federal government to take urgent action. It’s the fourth Victorian council – after Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, and Mornington Peninsula Shire – to vote to declare a housing crisis. In April/May 2021, the Byron, Bellingen, and+

  • Rubber from used tyres acts like sunscreen for roads, halving the rate of sun damage when mixed with bitumen, new research has found. The UV-resistant, anti-ageing blend can also help roads withstand heavy traffic loads, potentially saving taxpayers millions of dollars spent on annual road maintenance. “We found that the ageing trend is actually slowed+

  • Stakeholders have hailed the NSW government’s decision to make its Farm Gate Access initiative permanent after a successful trial in six pilot areas. Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway said making the network permanent will improve access to local roads for heavy vehicles by reducing the need to apply for access permits. “The+

  • A Sydney council trialling recycled glass in road repairs is reporting significantly higher compaction rates and road-base strength. Using small pieces of glass in the sub-base of asphalt to try and reduce the occurrence of potholes, the Canterbury Bankstown Council said results showed a 20 percent greater compaction in the road surface, meaning it is+

  • The Commonwealth should lift spending on extreme weather resilience measures to $200 million a year for five years, Australia’s peak insurance body says. In a flooding and future risks study published last month, the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA)  also calls on the states and territories to match this funding of $1 billion over five+

  • Place-based initiatives are the key to meeting the growing demand for housing in the bush, the Regional Australia Institute says. New research by the RAI released last week suggests the influences driving regional housing markets differ markedly, a fact not always fully appreciated by policymakers, industry and regional leaders. RAI CEO Liz Ritchie said the+

  • Development of the Second National Action Plan for Disaster Risk Reduction has been stepped up with the release of a discussion paper. The National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) has carriage of the action plan and is seeking feedback and comments to inform its development. The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is also involved in+

  • Working together, Australian councils have secured billions of dollars for our communities in the lead-up to tomorrow’s Federal Election. This includes commitments from both major parties to extend the $2.5 billion Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program. The Coalition has committed an additional $500 million to this program if re-elected, and Labor has pledged $750+

  • The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is offering a new road safety tool to support councils and road managers achieve Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a principle that assumes human beings are fallible and that road infrastructure and traffic policies should be designed to reduce the harm caused when travellers, especially motor vehicle drivers, inevitably+

  • Australia’s first rating and assessment tool for heat was launched by the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) last month. Developed in partnership with Resilient Sydney and the Greater Sydney Commission, the Cool Suburbs Tool is part of a suite of WSROC projects aimed at addressing urban heat under the Turn Down the Heat+

  • The Sydney City Council’s planning for net-zero buildings could be easily replicated elsewhere, judges said in honouring it with a national planning excellence award. The council’s new performance standards framework won the “Climate Change and Resilience Category” award at the Planning Institute of Australia’s (PIA) 2022 National Awards for Planning Excellence held this week. Judges+

  • Local governments would benefit from stronger state/territory legislation in their battle to contain feral and free-roaming cats, a new report says. Cats in Australia kill an estimated 1.7 billion native mammals, birds, reptiles and frogs every year, and local governments spend $76 million annually on trying to reduce their impacts on wildlife populations. The Threatened+

  • The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR) is encouraging local councils to submit applications for funded bridge and culvert engineering assessments. The assessments will be carried out under the NHVR’s Strategic Local Government Asset Assessment Project (SLGAAP), which is designed to support local governments in better understanding their asset capability to assist in making heavy vehicle+

  • Three regional Tasmanian councils will receive a share of $1.8 million in Federal and state government funding for recycling infrastructure projects. Flinders Council is to receive $424,000 through the Recycling Modernisation Fund to upgrade its waste management facility at Whitemark. Upgrades will include a sorting shed, sorting line and conveyor and a commercial glass pulveriser+

  • NSW councils are being encouraged to apply for a share of $30 million in joint federal and state funding to reduce future natural disaster risks. Eligible organisations, including local councils, local Aboriginal land councils, joint organisations, and regional organisations of councils, can apply for grants between $50,000 and $1.5 million through the jointly funded Disaster+

  • Australia’s national asbestos watchdog is surveying councils to obtain best-practice interventions and case studies for inclusion in a new toolkit. The Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA) says the toolkit will enable local governments to help prevent asbestos exposures and contribute to a more effective and consistent approach to asbestos safety. Participation in the survey+

  • Two short surveys on biodiversity conservation planning processes and threat abatement planning in the states and territories have opened. The Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (Cwth) requires consultation with states and territories in the review of the decision about the adoption of a Threat Abatement Plan. Currently, there is no plan in place+

  • A re-elected Coalition Government will invest more than $20 million in a major upgrade of Wagga Wagga Airport in the NSW Riverina. Nationals Member for Riverina and former deputy prime minister Michael McCormack made the announcement while visiting the airport last week. Wagga airport is owned by the Commonwealth but leased to the Wagga Wagga+

  • In a big win for our communities, Federal Labor has committed to a $250 million expansion of the Local Roads and Community Infrastructure (LRCI) Program, if elected later this month. This is in addition to the $500 million expansion announced by the Government in this year’s Federal Budget. Securing more funding for this highly successful+

  • The Australian Taxation Office is reminding local government payroll managers to transition to the new Single Touch Payroll (STP) Phase 2 reporting requirements. STP Phase 2 reporting began on 1 January 2022, however individual transitions will depend on the readiness of your digital service provider (DSP). Either they are: ready for you to start reporting+

  • A suite of resources has been launched to help community sporting organisations maximise their end-of-financial-year fund-raising activities. Over 50 percent of tax-deductible donations are received from April to June, making this the ideal time of the year to boost fund-raising efforts, according to the Australian Sports Foundation (ASF). To help those efforts, the ASF has+

  • Disaster recovery assistance has been made available to communities in the Shire of Ashburton in WA’s Pilbara region after severe thunderstorms and flooding in February. Assistance will be provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), supporting local government, individuals and families through their recovery journey. The storm brought heavy rainfall to+

  • Local government taxation revenue accounted for about 3.38 percent of the $593.2 billion in total revenues collected by all governments in 2020-21. In statistics released last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics said local government raised $20.06 billion in taxes in 2020-21. This was an increase of 2.6 percent on the $19.55 billion collected in+

  • A project enabling people to build affordable disaster-resilient houses has been launched by the Bushfire Building Council of Australia. The Fortis House Project offers free architectural drawings, construction specifications and handbook guides to anyone wanting to improve the resilience of homes against bushfires or other weather disasters. It was motivated in part by calls for+

  • The Regional Australia Institute (RAI) has issued a consultation paper to help develop a “national regionalisation framework”. The RAI says the lack of a single national framework to unlock regional Australia’s potential risks future growth and prosperity. “This is a clear void, one which we want to fill by creating a national regionalisation framework.” “[It+

  • Thirty-three projects, including 13 in Queensland, are getting a share of the Commonwealth’s $150 million Remote Roads Upgrade Pilot Program. Eleven Queensland councils will benefit from the more than $62 million in grants to upgrade unsealed roads to improve safety, connectivity and freight productivity, a result welcomed by the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).+

  • Muswellbook Shire Council is getting a $300,000 Commonwealth grant to expand its organics recycling facility to include food organics. The NSW council project was one of eight organic processing facilities to secure co-investment of $10 million from the Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund. NSW is the first state to have projects approved under the+