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Coordinated resourcing needed to deliver

Rugby Australia will receive $20 million to upgrade facilities but Blacktown City Council will have to go it alone on its planned International Centre of Training Excellence despite recommendations by Infrastructure Australia’s Planning Liveable Cities Report launched last week.  

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) has called on the NSW Government to heed recommendations in the Planning Liveable Cities report which highlights the need to enhance incentives that promote improved governance and better collaboration between all levels of government to achieve the liveability aspirations of our cities.

WSROC President and Mayor of Hawkesbury, Barry Calvert, said, “This is an ongoing challenge for local government. We see the need to make greater investments in liveability infrastructure for our rapidly growing communities but have limited resources to deliver.

“Within the space of two weeks, two announcements were made that demonstrate the lack of sufficient existing incentives for local government to deliver on the key liveability infrastructure their communities want.”

On the 29 November, Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres announced $20 million to Rugby Australia for improved facilities and initiatives.

On the 13 December Blacktown City Council announced that $100 million has been put aside to build and run the Australian-first International Centre of Training Excellence at Rooty Hill.

Mayor of Blacktown, Stephen Bali, said, “We are building facilities that will be ‘elite for all’ — world class infrastructure that will benefit and be available to the whole community.”

The NSW Government has declined to offer support for the Blacktown facility.

Mayor Calvert said, “I find it difficult to see how spending $20 million in Eastern Sydney for a professional sports code has greater merit than spending $20 million for a local government initiative that will benefit all of Western Sydney and a number of different sporting codes.

“This is infrastructure that serves the whole region, and we believe that not enough attention is being directed towards region-shared infrastructure.

“If the State Government wants local government to play a more strategic role in infrastructure delivery then it needs to step up.”

New waste policy lacks backbone

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is calling for leadership from the Commonwealth following endorsement of the new National Waste Policy (NWP) at the 8th Meeting of Environment Ministers in Canberra last Friday.

ALGA President, Mayor David O’Loughlin, said, “We congratulate the Environment Ministers on the delivery of Australia’s new National Waste Policy, but the job is not done yet.

“The new policy may be full of good intentions and strong principles, but has as much backbone as you’ll find in the average plastic shopping bag.

“Urgent action is needed as Ministers themselves have acknowledged.

“Industry and communities need to see real on-ground action and there is a critical need for national leadership to maintain a unified approach.

“It is essential that councils, federal, state and territory governments increase their procurement of goods and infrastructure that incorporate recycled materials – such as those used in road bases – which will help to reduce items entering the waste stream in the first place and create jobs.”

Mayor O’Loughlin said that there are already many local governments paying for innovative products made entirely or partly from recycled materials, but that state and territory governments also need to take the necessary steps to help the recyclate industry sector go further.

“There is more than $1 billion sitting in state waste levy funds that could be invested in industry innovation, pilot projects and financially supporting transitions from virgin product feedstock to recycled feedstock.

“There’s another $1 billion to be collected next year, but the meeting achieved no strong policy commitment, no agreement on concrete targets or timeframes, miniscule investment and little progress.

“Let’s work together over the next few months, years and beyond to fulfill the vision of a sustainable future - one that supports jobs, local businesses and the environment.”

Battered river fixed

Battered river fixed Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen, Brisbane Lord Mayor Graham Quirk, and Ipswich City Council Interim Administrator Greg Chemello join forces to launch the Bremer River Catchment Action Plan.

South East Queensland’s (SEQ) worst performing catchment is being thrown a lifeline from local councils in a bid to protect the Bremer River from the ongoing impacts of urban development, severe weather events and flooding. Read more >

First smoke free CBD in Tasmania

First smoke free CBD in Tasmania

Central Coast Council, Tasmania, made history last month when it introduced a ban on smoking in the principal shopping strip. Read more >

Strong growth in female leadership

Strong growth in female leadership ALGA SA and ALGWA SA ran comprehensive campaigns encouraging young people, women and culturally diverse candidates to stand for local government.

South Australian councils have the highest ratio of female representation in the State’s history. Read more >

This month

Battered river fixed

South East Queensland’s (SEQ) worst performing catchment is being thrown a lifeline from local councils in a bid to protect the Bremer River from the ongoing impacts of urban development, severe weather events and flooding. Read more >

First smoke free CBD in Tasmania

Central Coast Council, Tasmania, made history last month when it introduced a ban on smoking in the principal shopping strip. Read more >


Read more >

Strong growth in female leadership

South Australian councils have the highest ratio of female representation in the State’s history. Read more >

Safety prioritised at roads congress

Road safety featured early and was an ongoing theme at this year’s Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) Local Roads and Transport Congress in Alice Springs, 20-21 November. Read more >

Defence strategy welcomed

Chair of the South West Group Voluntary Regional Organisation of Councils (VROC), City of Melville Mayor, Russell Aubrey, has welcomed the development of Western Australia’s Defence Strategic Plan. Read more >

Scoring the region

In a first for Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, the towns, villages and precincts of the region will soon have their own score to reflect how unique, vibrant and exciting these places are in the eyes of the community. Read more >

President’s comment – Damien Ryan – LGANT elects new board

Read more >

A one night stand to remember

More than 30,000 people flocked to the coastal hamlet of St Helens on Tasmania’s east coast, for Triple J’s annual One Night Stand. Read more >

Continence care for men

Town of Gawler, South Australia, is leading the way for local government by installing continence pad disposal bins in their men’s public toilets. Read more >

Celebrating 25 years

A popular Port Douglas Carnivale crowd-pleaser has been locked in for another three years as Douglas Shire Council kicks off preparations to mark the event’s 25th Anniversary. Read more >

Removing the pain from IT software choices*

A fully cloud based total software solution for local government, directly competing against other software suppliers, is taking the pain out of choosing council information iechnology (IT) software and it is already bringing significant cost savings and new administration efficiencies to Councils across Australia and Fiji. Read more >

Champion young hackers

Mount Gambier, South Australia, teenage trio Lilli Fulwood, Elly Bachmann and Dale Bachmann received top honours at the GovHack Open Data Competition National Awards taking out the Best National Youth Team award at the red carpet event held in November. Read more >

Hubs and spokes – The Good Oil by Rod Brown

It was a smart decision by the feds last month to create a regional hub and spoke arrangement at the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). Read more >

Council spreads festive cheer

From Sarina Range to Eungella, Bloomsbury to Koumala and everywhere in between, Mackay Regional Council’s Christmas grants will dole out lashings of festive cheer across the region. Read more >

Bring your community together this Australia Day with the Australian Citizenship Affirmation*

Across the country, there are thousands of organised events held on Australia Day each year, from fun runs first thing in the morning, to fireworks in the evening. Read more >

Councillor profiles – Mayor Lilliane Brady OAM Cobar Council

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Councillor profiles – Mayor Simon Murray Armidale Regional Council

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FOGO trial awarded

Western Australia’s South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) and City of Melville have received the Avoid Recover Protect – Waste Management Award at this year’s Infinity Awards, for the first Perth Metropolitan 3-bin Food Organics Garden Organics (FOGO) trial. Read more >

Regions benefit from new national search platform*

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Libraries take collections global

Wagga Wagga City Library is helping bring local oral history collections out of the archives and into the world in a new partnership with the State Library of New South Wales (NSW). Read more >

Garden of reflection

City of Darwin takes mental health issues very seriously, and following a tragedy in the city’s northern suburb of Jingili in 2014, it became very clear to Council just how important it is for community members to have access to a space for personal reflection. Read more >

High Achievers – Ross Graham Group Manager Engineering Services, Clarence City Council

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High Achievers – Wayne Flint Parks and Reserves Co-ordinator, Waratah-Wynyard Council

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An old friend returns

One of Portland’s old cruise season friends is returning next summer with a new look and new name. Read more >

Historic partnership

City of Greater Geraldton, Western Australia, has struck an historic partnership with Linfen City, China. Read more >

Spring cleaning Coen

The streets and facilities at Coen, in Queensland’s far north, have a new lease on life after Cook Shire Council’s first community blitz program swept through the town. Read more >

Thumbs up for new playgrounds

Children in Snowy Monaro, New South Wales, have given two new playgrounds the ‘thumbs-up’ following their official opening last month. Read more >

Diary Dates

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the team at Local Government Focus.

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