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BOM webinar on Autumn outlook

Councils are invited to join the Bureau of Meteorology’s next free webinar on Thursday 5 March which covers climate and water.

Participants can ask climate experts questions about their outlook for Autumn to help their decision making for the months ahead.

The webinar runs 12-1pm AEDT. Register now via http://ow.ly/2d4a50yr2CU

ATO urges councils use e-invoicing

Did you know more than 60 percent of councils spend around 100 hours on processing invoices every month? Or that more than half of councils spend over $10,000 each month on this task?

E-invoicing is a smarter and cheaper way to do invoicing, and Local Government needs to get involved because the way those transactions are done is changing, the Australian Taxation Office says.

Australia and New Zealand are bridging the digital divide for businesses and opening trading borders through a common approach to e-invoicing.

This relies on international standards and common digital services that speak the same language, connecting trading partners and their systems into an open network.

Unlike scanning and emailing of invoices, e-invoicing enables suppliers and buyers to send and receive invoices directly to and from their software.

The result is no manual entry, less paper, scanning errors, phone calls and more focus on things that matter – your community.

The Australian Government is behind e-invoicing and committed to paying suppliers quicker when they use e-invoicing.

The ATO has been granted legal powers to administer the e-invoicing system in Australia and is working with government agencies and businesses to drive adoption.

State Governments are onboard and progressively making practical steps towards Peppol, such as NSW.

The ATO says it’s time for Local Government to get involved and benefit from e-invoicing.

Learn more here and ask your financials software provider about e-invoicing.

Budget contains some good news for local councils but more needs to be done to unlock community potential

The Morrison Government’s 2019/20 Federal Budget makes good progress in addressing some of the infrastructure issues facing local councils but is a missed opportunity in delivering a fairer share of revenue back to our local communities according to the President of the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Mayor David O’Loughlin.

The Budget includes an increase in next year’s base funding for the Roads to Recovery program from $400m per annum to $500m per annum from 2019-20, and also sees increases in the annual funding for the Roads Safety Federal Blackspots and the Bridges Renewal programs of $50m and $25m respectively.

Regional Airports also benefit with a $100m package over four years to assist with essential capital works. Councils will also be eligible to apply for funding from a package of $190m over four years for upgrading community sports facilities and accommodating female change rooms.

“The additional infrastructure funding in this Budget is essential and although well short of what we requested is strongly welcomed. It will allow councils to make some progress in addressing our infrastructure backlog which has been put at around $30 billion with almost 10% of local roads and bridges in poor or very poor condition,” said Mayor O’Loughlin.

“The increase in funding for local roads may also help to address some of the urgent access problems heavy freight vehicles have on local roads which were not built to take today’s high productivity heavy vehicles. There is an allocation of $6 million in funding for the National Freight and Supply Chain Strategy to assist councils by funding engineering assessments for local government roads.

But this falls well short of ALGA’s request for a dedicated freight investment program of $200m per annum.

Local government is responsible for 75% of our road network, more than 650,000 kms in length, and cannot maintain this asset with just 3.6% of the nation’s tax revenue.”

“This Budget fails to address this fundamental mismatch of revenue and responsibility. It does not respond to ALGA’s call to restore FAGs to 1% of national tax revenue given that it has now fallen to just 0.55%.

The Budget also fails to restore the reductions in local government grants made in the 2014-15 Budget and more generally falls well short of ALGA’s requests across our Budget priority areas. Nevertheless, the increases announced while modest are a step in the right direction and we intend to continue our discussions with the Government and the Opposition regarding restoring a fairer share of taxation revenue to our local communities.”

Media enquiries: Roz Chivers, Executive Director Policy and Research, Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), 0438 768 359, 02 6122 9414, Roslyn.chivers@alga.asn.au

Available for interview: Mayor David O’Loughlin, President Australian Local Government Association (high resolution head shot available at this Dropbox link)