Breaking News

Cost of Reform

Cost of Reform WALGA President, Mayor Troy Pickard.

The Western Australia Local Government Association (WALGA) have highlighted the announcement by the New South Wales Government of $1 billion in funding for its reform agenda, demonstrates a serious shortfall of funding for WA reform. Read more >

Northern Beaches Hospital Precinct structure plan

Northern Beaches Hospital Precinct structure plan The Northern Beaches Hospital Precinct

Warringah Council has appointed consultants Hames Sharley to prepare a Precinct Structure Plan to guide future land uses and development around the new Northern Beaches Hospital at Frenchs Forest, New South Wales. Read more >

Disappointment over powers

The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGASA) has expressed its disappointment over recent changes to the powers of Local Government.

Liberal Members of the Legislative Council sided with Government Legislative Councillors recently to vote down a Green's Motion to 'disallow' changes to Development Regulations, which removed the power for inner metropolitan Councils to assess development applications for buildings greater than four storeys.

Family First and the Xenophon Group also voted against the disallowance motion.

"This is a surprising move from the Opposition, who made much of a pre-election commitment to return planning powers back to inner metro Councils for development up to eight storeys, and had publicly criticised the Government for the introduction of these Regulations," LGASA President Mayor David O’Loughlin said.

"I am advised that as recently as 14 February, this year, the Deputy Liberal Leader, Ms Vickie Chapman, released the statement ‘A Marshall Liberal Government will return planning powers to inner metropolitan councils after they were ripped away by the Weatherill Labor Government at the end of 2013’, and she went on to recognise the important role of Councils in the planning process saying ‘we want them to continue to be involved’.

"Last night in the Legislative Council, the Liberals walked away from that pre-election commitment."

Mayor O’Loughlin said that Local Government supports planning reform and has been a strong contributor to the Expert Panel on Planning Reform’s review of the system, providing a detailed submission promoting better integration, accessibility, accountability and local involvement.

"The Government introduced these regulations, without consultation and without any expressed justification or evidence of a problem.

“Furthermore, they did so in the middle of their own reform process, without referral to their own expert panel.” Mayor O’Loughlin said.

“No rhyme or reason given, just a power grab by the State and a thumbs down for local involvement.

“Just the simple act of getting around the table with the LGA, elucidating their concerns and exploring viable alternatives would have been appreciated.”

The LGASA also said that the Government’s recent announcement about the Coordinator General’s ‘call in’ power for developments of over $3 million is another blow to local communities, who will need to wait for an invitation to stand in front of the State’s Development Assessment Commission to be heard on local issues.

“As it now stands, local Councils will be sorely tempted to put up a sign outside every inner metro development over four levels and every project over $3 million called in by the Coordinator General to say ‘don’t call us, call your local member, here is their name, phone number and address’."

Nominations break records

South Australians will vote for a record number of contested positions and a record number of women candidates following the close of nominations for Council Elections.

Local Government Association of South Australia CEO Wendy Campana, said the number of positions elected unopposed was the lowest on record (73) out of 707 positions across the State.

"The ratio of candidates to positions is the highest on record - on average around 1.89 people will contest each position - with a 4.7 percent increase in nominations.

"As a result a record 1261 candidates will be electioneering in the coming weeks for 629 positions in 189 separate elections.

"Five positions in three wards did not receive any nomination which means they will require supplementary elections."

A record number, 382 or 28.64 percent of the total nominees, are women.

"Currently 27.22 percent of Council members are women, which is ahead of the 24.6 percent in State Parliament and behind the 30.1 percent in the Federal Parliament.

"It's up to voters now in terms of outcomes but it is pleasing to see the number of women who are willing to stand for office continues to climb."

Council Elections will be conducted by postal ballot.

Voter packs will be posted between 20 and 24 October and completed voting papers must be returned by close of business at 5pm on Friday 7 September.

A full list of candidates' names is on the LGA website at www.lga.sa.gov.au/electionresults

$6.3m to support the disability sector

Canberra’s disability sector will receive a further $6.3 million in funding to help the ACT adapt to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Minister for Disability Joy Burch said the funding would go to initiatives and activities that help organisations to support families and carers to prepare for the NDIS, build culturally appropriate supports and services and develop the capacity of new and existing services.

“This $6.3 million is the next instalment of the $12.5 million in sector development funding earmarked for the ACT from the Commonwealth Government.”

“We have already invested $3.3 million in initiatives such as Community Conversations and Capacity Building workshops, and more than $1.2 million in funding to local organisations and providers.

“This instalment will target market development and growth in new services as funding for the ACT disability sector doubles to $342 million by 2019-20.

“Last weekend’s Early Intervention and Therapy Services Expo highlighted the range of services which will be provided in the ACT from next year, with 50 providers showing what they can offer.

“About 1,000 people attended the Expo and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Developing a robust and diverse disability sector is paramount, which is why the ACT Government will look to invest in activities that provide assistance and advice to service providers, assist with compliance of national standards and promote career pathways.

“We will also look to host a wide-ranging NDIS conference early next year, which will bring together people with disabilities, service providers and experts to discuss the ACT trial and look at ways we can continue to strengthen our sector.”

Addressing Cultural Diversity

Addressing Cultural Diversity MAV conference keynote speaker Fatima Shama.

Wyndham City Council hosted the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV)ís inaugural biennial multicultural policy development conference on the 12th of September. Read more >

This month

Grants freeze sets in

Local Governments across Australia are beginning to feel the pinch as the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) that was announced in the federal budget sets in. Read more >


Editorial

This month Local Government Focus has launched its new website, and with it we have implemented some exciting new ways to deliver you the news from councils across Australia. Read more >


Have your say... Letters to the editor

Have your say... Letters to the editor This is your chance to speak up about current issues affecting your council. Please forward your letters to editorial@lgfocus.com.au Read more >


70th Anniversary of breakout

The Australian premiere of a renowned Japanese play has been a highlight of this yearís 70th anniversary commemorations for the Japanese Prisoner of War Breakout at Cowra. Read more >


Affordable housing funded

Residents in Roma will have access to more affordable housing options following the construction of the ĎLander No. 4í housing project. Read more >


Welcome changes to Act

Welcome changes to Act Presidentís comment Read more >


Hospital siteís rebirth

The City of Mount Gambier has breathed new life into a former hospital site while laying its turbulent history to rest. Read more >


Clearer drinking water

Yass Valley Council is tackling its discoloured water problems after a new trial manganese removal process implemented by Council in May this year proved successful. It is now being permanently installed. Read more >


Creek clean up

Blue Mountains City Council, with funding from Councilís Environment Levy, is teaming up with the local community and the Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) in a $300,000 project to clean up Leura Falls Creek. Read more >


Funk comes to night markets

The Liverpool Night Markets have returned at Liverpool City Council with a great range of food, stalls and entertainment, including a special performance by the Funky Love Squad dancers, bringing disco back with their incredible stilt-dancing skills. Read more >


New Horizons Program - The Good Oil by Rod Brown

The Cockatoo Network has recently created an alliance of businesses to create new horizons of business - by bringing together previously unconnected investors in various regions around the world. Read more >


Focused climate change strategy

The City of Joondalup has announced it is one of the first local governments in the country to adopt a Climate Change Strategy that combines adaptation and mitigation targets and initiatives. Read more >


Councillor profiles - This month from Willoughby City Council, NSW

Councillor Gail Giles-Gidney, Mayor, Willoughby City Council, New South Wales Read more >


Councillor profiles - This month from Inverell Shire Council, NSW

Councillor Paul Harmon, Mayor, Inverell Shire Council, New South Wales Read more >


New fishing platform

Shoalhaven City Council Mayor, Joanna Gash has joined fellow Councillors in inspecting the Councilís new recreational fishing platform. Read more >


Family Day Care to be hit

Mayor of Hobsons Bay Councillorr Sandra Wilson has expressed concern for the future of councilís family day care program after the federal government announced a reduction in funding. Read more >


Recognising Councilís high achievers - This month from Boulia Shire Council, QLD

Shelly Norton, Boulia Shire Council, Queensland Read more >


Recognising Councils high achievers - From Central Highlands Regional Council, QLD

Jason Akers, Central Highlands Regional Council, Queensland Read more >