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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  • A national conversation is needed about “where and how people build homes” after extreme events like the Queensland and NSW floods, Shane L Stone says. The National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) Coordinator-General told a Sydney newspaper last week that residents whose homes had been inundated must “face realities”. “The taxpayer and the ratepayer cannot+

  • A national emergency has been declared for parts of NSW and Queensland as the federal government ramps up support for flood-affected communities. Grants of $1 million to support urgent clean-up works have been made available to 45 local government areas in NSW and 19 in Queensland. After declaring the emergency – the first time this+

  • The governments of 175 nations worldwide have agreed to start working towards a global agreement on the production, use, and disposal of plastics. The proposal for a legally binding treaty follows a UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) meeting in Nairobi, Kenya earlier this month. Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), said the+

  • Our hearts go out to the many NSW and Queensland communities impacted by intense rain and unprecedented flooding, and particularly to those who have lost homes, businesses and in some tragic cases family and friends. The emergency isn’t over and many councils are still working overtime to save lives, properties and businesses. We welcome the+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) – with the support of its member State and Territory Local government Associations – has identified 17 priorities for councils and communities ahead of this year’s Federal Election.  The full list of priorities can be downloaded here. All Australian councils are encouraged to endorse ALGA’s Federal Election Priorities by passing+

  • The national biosecurity strategy consultation draft has been publicly released for comment. This will be Australia’s first national biosecurity strategy and will set the direction for the future of the national biosecurity system. The consultation draft reflects stakeholder views about how the biosecurity system needs to evolve. It also outlines a “vision and purpose, priority+

  • The Hope Vale Aboriginal Shire Council has become the latest among dozens of councils in eastern Australia to be offered disaster assistance after floods. Hope Vale will get help through jointly funded Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), along with the Cook and Douglas Shire Councils. Public infrastructure in all three Far North Queensland LGAs+

  • Communities still struggling to recover from the devastating 2019-20 bushfires are set to receive a further $110 million in federal support. The money is in addition to the $280 million originally set aside for the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants program and will fund 524 grants identified by affected communities as likely to best support+

  • The Federal Government has rejected advice that it develop and implement a national homelessness strategy with state, territory, and local governments. The recommendation was one of 35 contained in the final report into homelessness in Australia conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. In its response to the+

  • A new program to help fund projects to mitigate the impacts on local communities of coastal hazards will open for applications in March. The Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, which is being funded $50 million from the Emergency Response Fund, will invest in: Priority national coastal hazard risk mitigation measures such as grey, blue+

  • Councils are increasingly expected to facilitate telecommunications service delivery in the outback but aren’t properly resourced to do so, an inquiry has found. The 2021 Regional Telecommunications Independent Review Committee (RTIRC) singled out identifying connectivity needs and deploying suitable solutions as areas where councils needed more resourcing It also found federal, state, and territory governments+

  • A new battery recycling scheme aims to redirect 90 percent of used power cells away from landfills for recycling into the circular economy. Launched last week, the B-cycle Scheme is a Battery Stewardship Council (BSC) initiative that was enabled by a $1 million investment from the Commonwealth government. The scheme comprises 2351 drop-off points at+

  • The Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) has become the fifth product stewardship arrangement to receive Commonwealth accreditation. The accreditation signifies APCO’s scheme has been verified for environmental and human health outcomes and means APCO and its members can use the federal government’s official product stewardship logo. Assistant Minister for Waste Reduction and Environment Management Trevor+

  • The Federal Government has committed $678 million to seal and upgrade the Outback Way, which stretches 2720km from Laverton in WA to Winton in Queensland. The Commonwealth’s funding commitment represents 80 percent of the total funding package, with the WA, Qld and NT governments providing the remaining 20 percent. The Mayor of Queensland’s Boulia Shire Council,+

  • Councils can apply for new funding of $127.9 million to integrate zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) technology into their vehicle fleet operations. The money is being disbursed under the Federal Government’s Future Fuels Program and will be available for light vehicle fleet operators to install charging and electrical infrastructure. Heavy fleet operators will also be able to+

  • Local governments are eager to support efforts to make municipal waste streams cleaner, including bin harmonisation, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said last week. Appearing at a recycling roundtable convened by The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age newspapers, ALGA President Linda Scott said councils also wanted to invest with industry in modern resource+

  • Allowing wider trucks on local roads without increasing local government funding would be a potential recipe for disaster, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) said this month. The comments followed the 11 February Infrastructure and Transport Minister’s Meeting where regulatory changes to increase the width of heavy vehicles from 2.5 metres to 2.55 metres were+

  • A national recycling roundtable I attended last week reinforced my optimism that our efforts to unlock the circular economy are steadily gaining support. This event, hosted by the Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, and Visy – one of Australia’s largest recycling and packaging companies – was notable for its strong industry presence. I was heartened+

  • Local governments and local government associations are being invited to nominate projects for the 2022 Resilient Australia Awards. The awards recognise outstanding contributions to building whole-of-community resilience to disasters and emergencies around Australia and are sponsored by the Federal Government in partnership with the states and territories. Nominations for the awards, which are managed by+

  • A free webinar this month will explore the Murray-Darling Basin’s economic and social value and how science is being used to protect it for the future. Attendees will hear from Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) member Susan Madden, as well as Megan Winter (the general manager of the MDBA Basin Plan) and David Galeano (Assistant Secretary+

  • Federal Government efforts to mitigate the impacts of light pollution on nocturnal wildlife are being extended to include night skies famed for star-gazing. Australia’s relatively dark skies are a magnet for astronomers and night sky gazers of all kinds, and three regions in NSW, Queensland and SA have been officially designated as dark sky places+

  • Fourteen local government areas in South Australia’s north have been deemed eligible for financial assistance to help with flood recovery. With road and rail links still affected by the impacts of ex-tropical cyclone Tiffany, the Commonwealth and SA governments will jointly fund repairs to key public infrastructure through the Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).+

  • Melbourne’s Brimbank City Council will attach high-resolution cameras and GPS sensors to its garbage trucks in a trial aimed at improving local roads. The devices will collect data in real-time and transmit it to a cloud-based system that can create an easy-to-use map of assets that require maintenance, such as damaged roads, traffic signs, or+

  • A federal inquiry into small business natural disaster preparedness and how to improve the resilience of small and medium-sized enterprises has begun. The Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman (ASBFEO) inquiry will examine and make recommendations to improve education and engagement programs to best target and assist small businesses in preparing for fires, floods,+

  • Round 9 of the Commonwealth’s Remote Airstrip Upgrade Program opened on 3 February, with grants of up to $3 million are on offer for eligible applicants. A total of $15 million is available in Round 9, with eligible aerodrome owners or operators able to apply for a grant of between $5,000 and $3 million. Aerodromes+

  • Local community organisations will be able to access federal money to plant trees under a new program celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Running for three years from 2021-24, the Planting Trees for the Queen’s Jubilee program will provide up to $15.1 million of grant funding to eligible groups and organisations for community-based tree plantings. Each+

  • Thirteen Victorian recycling projects have secured a share of $36.5 million in Round 2 funding from the Recycling Victoria-Recycling Modernisation Fund (RV-RMF). The RV-RMF is a Victorian/federal government partnership delivering grant funding over three years to upgrade and establish new recycling facilities. The 13 projects include an expansion of Garden City Plastics’ Dandenong facility to+

  • The design of the national reinsurance pool for cyclone and related flood damage has been finalised after consultations on the draft legislation. The Commonwealth-backed reinsurance pool was announced last May to help reduce significant rates of non-insurance rates across North Queensland, the Northern Territory, and the top end of Western Australia. The Morrison Government says+

  • Apps to help urban planners and architects reduce construction waste and urban heat are about to be released nationally. Developed by researchers at the University of NSW’s School of Built Environment, the apps use machine learning and computational design to help minimise the environmental footprint of buildings. They do this by assisting build environment professionals+

  • The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has used its 2022-23 Federal Pre-Budget Submission to outline a series of partnership opportunities to help drive a strong and inclusive national recovery. ALGA President Linda Scott said Australia’s 537 local governments have the capacity for growing partnerships with the Commonwealth Government – as well as state and territory+

  • I was saddened to learn over the past few weeks that 27 Queensland councils are facing new budgetary pressures due to a reduction in Financial Assistance Grants. This follows a change in the distribution formula used by the Queensland Local Government Grants Commission and comes at a time when financial sustainability is a big issue+

  • A Commonwealth quality assurance agency is looking to improve its communication with stakeholders in the aged care homes services sector. To that end, the Aged Care Quality and Safety Commission has commissioned the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) to consult with various groups within the sector. The consultation and research is intended to help ensure+

  • The National Centre for Coasts and Climate wants local government input to help inform its work on climate adaptation and mitigation. According to the NCCC, the need for diverse solutions to coastal protection is becoming more urgent with climate change and population growth. Traditionally, shorelines are protected with artificial, non‐adaptive structures, such as sea walls+

  • Submissions on the Stewardship for Consumer and Other Electrical and Electronic Products discussion paper close on 25 February. The paper is intended to inform future decision-making on e-stewardship and was published last month by the Federal Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment (DAWE). The rate of e-waste generated each year by Australians has more+

  • Applications for round two of the Federal Government’s Supporting Agricultural Shows and Field Days program opened this week. Grants from $10,000 to $70,000 will be available for eligible show societies and field days organisations to help them plan their events in 2022 and beyond. Federal Agriculture Minister David Littleproud said the program is a way+

  • Women now comprise nearly four in 10 councillors across NSW, an 8.5 percentage point increase on the number of women elected in 2016-17. Sixty-nine of 124 councils that held elections in NSW last month now have more women on council than in previous terms, a result welcomed by Local Government NSW. “It’s a great outcome+

  • The new and updated national road safety strategy launched last month aims to reduce road deaths by 50 percent by 2030. Developed by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), state and territory governments, and the Commonwealth, the strategy also aims to reduce serious injuries by 30 percent by 2030. The release of the National Road+

  • The Commonwealth will invest $64 million on GPS upgrades in South Australia as part of a national project to deliver “real-world” infrastructure benefits. Working with the SA government and private sector partners, the Commonwealth will expand and upgrade 68 GPS reference stations across the SA network and build 12 new additional stations. Federal Minister for+

  • Former Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President Troy Pickard has been remembered as a fierce advocate for local government. Mr Pickard, whose career in local government spanned 16 years, died suddenly in Perth earlier this month. He was 48. Elected as a City of Stirling councillor in 2001, Mr Pickard later won elected office at+

  • Stakeholders have until 14 February to provide feedback to the draft National Plan to End Violence against Women and Children 2022-32. The draft plan was released earlier this month with a two-week window for review and comment by interested parties. However, domestic violence groups criticised the short timeframe, and the deadline for public submissions was+

  • The Productivity Commission has released an issues paper as part of its review of the National Housing and Homelessness Agreement (NHHA). Implemented in July 2018, the NHHA is intended to facilitate cooperation between the state, territory, and Commonwealth governments to improve housing outcomes. The Commission will examine the roles and responsibilities of government to help+

  • A national plastics summit focused on designing reusable, recyclable or compostable plastic products will be held in Canberra on February 14. Federal Environment Minister Sussan Ley is hosting the summit, which will “will explore opportunities to unlock growth for new industries and new markets”. “We simply can’t keep creating virgin plastic on the scale we+

  • It’s wonderful to be back with you at the start of what will be a big year for local government and indeed our country. ALGA’s federal election advocacy is already delivering wins for our communities, with the Federal Labor Party committing to invest up to $200 million per year in disaster prevention and resilience if+

  • Lynn Mason, a former Mayor of Flinders Island Council – and ALGA Vice President – has been appointed a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). Ms Mason received the award in the 2022 Australia Day Honours List in recognition of her “significant service to local government, and to the community”. First elected to the+

  • The coming Federal Election marks a watershed moment for our cities, towns, regions, and communities. The past two years have been perhaps the toughest we have faced as a nation since World War II. During the COVID19 pandemic, the bushfires, and the floods, Australian councils have delivered emergency support, helped businesses, created jobs, and showed+

  • ALGA’s policies and initiatives, at end of the day, are your policies and initiatives. We propose frontline solutions which are informed by your communities and your work on the ground – and your input and guidance adds immeasurably to our effectiveness in progressing shared national objectives. To help build an even better Australia post-pandemic, we’re+

  • We are proud to launch ALGA’s Federal Election Platform. Informed by motions submitted by councils at our National General Assembly, and unanimously endorsed by our Board in conjunction with our member state and territory local government associations, this document outlines 17 national policy initiatives that will optimise Commonwealth/local government partnerships designed to benefit every community.+

  • This past week, on your behalf, I met with the Prime Minister, Premiers, Chief Ministers, and Treasurers as part of the National Federation Reform Council, to ensure local government voices are heard at the national decision-making table.    I provided them with an overview of the significant efforts of local governments in 2021 to support communities dealing with the impact of COVID-19.   I also used+

  • Applications have opened for Round 2 of the National Flood Mitigation Infrastructure Program, with a $50 million set aside for priority projects. These include levees, levee systems, infrastructure to promote flood plain restoration, and specific green infrastructure initiatives that mitigate flood risk. The program, which is administered by the National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA)+

  • Australia’s national disability strategy has been updated with a stronger focus on housing, safety, employment, and community attitudes. Launched on 3 December with pre-recorded messages from Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) President Linda Scott and state, territory, and federal government leaders, Australia’s Disability Strategy 2021-31 is the culmination of two years of engagement between various+

  • Communities in eight Queensland local government areas will be able to apply for disaster assistance after extensive flooding in central, southern, and western parts of the state. Assistance is being provided through the jointly funded Commonwealth‐State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) to the LGAs of Banana, Barcaldine, Goondiwindi, Lockyer Valley, Maranoa, Scenic Rim, South Burnett,+

  • The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has responded to the increasing threat of heatwaves by developing and trialling a new Heatwave Warning with state and territory agencies. It has also released a new Heatwave Decision Support Product for state and territory agencies to assist heatwave preparation and response. It comes as Marble Bar, in WA’s north-west,+