Breaking News

Local government councils invited to reconnect communities*

Local government councils invited to reconnect communities* 2021 Parks and Leisure Australia National Virtual Conference, The Park Bench, Reconnecting Communities, 23-24 November 2021.

Peak body and industry leader Parks and Leisure Australia invites all local government council workers involved in policy and planning management, maintenance of parks and leisure planning, and related fields, to get involved in the 2021 Parks and Leisure Australia National Virtual Conference, The Park Bench, Reconnecting Communities, 23-24 November 2021. Read more >

Proposed developer contribution changes opposed

Armidale Regional councillors have voted unanimously to make urgent representation to the New South Wales Government to convey Council’s opposition to the proposed legislative changes to developer infrastructure contributions and request that the Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Infrastructure Contributions) Bill as it stands be withdrawn.

NSW Planning and Public Spaces Minister Rob Stokes, with support from the Treasurer, is proposing to amend a number of planning rules, including the rules governing developer contributions. The Infrastructure Contributions Bill, and associated regulations, introduced to Parliament on 22 June 2021, and then referred to an Upper House Committee for inquiry and report, could inter alia: -

A. Reduce the type of community infrastructure that could be funded by developer contributions; and

B. Place developer contributions into four Treasury- controlled regional funds, with no guarantees that the money would be directed back into projects in the local areas where the levies had been collected.

C. Dictate to councils on what and how they spend their contributions – through Ministerial directions.

D. Enable future governments to make further potentially damaging changes to the system without parliamentary scrutiny.

The Upper House Committee rejected the Bill and recommended that it be withdrawn and that there be consultation with councils before any changes were made. The matter is to come back to Parliament today, 12th October 2021.

Armidale Regional Council Mayor, Ian Tiley said the proposed reforms would remove the right of local communities to ensure the development in their area was matched by the community infrastructure they wanted and needed. He said it was another form of cost shifting that would create a need for rate increases and it would move costs from developers to landowners.

Twenty-three metropolitan councils have launched a campaign to create public awareness of the detrimental impact the developer levy changes would have on their communities, arguing that developer levies should be spent where they are raised to ensure new development is accompanied by appropriate investment in the surrounding area. The proposed legislation would break the nexus between where contributions are made and where they are spent.

Climate costs councils

Climate costs councils Flooding on the New South Wales Central Coast February 2020.

More funding is needed to help local governments cope with the costs of climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Council and Cities Power Partnership.  Read more >

Hidden emissions a growing problem

Without action, embodied carbon will be responsible for 85 percent of Australia’s built environment emissions by 2050, a new report from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and thinkstep-anz has found.

The report, Embodied Carbon and Embodied Energy in Australia’s Buildings, was developed by GBCA and thinkstep-anz with support from the Australian Government’s Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources. It found embodied carbon – the emissions generated during the manufacture, construction, maintenance and demolition of buildings – made up 16 percent of Australia’s built environment emissions in 2019.

Without intervention this share will balloon to 85 percent at a time when Australia must achieve net zero emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.

The GBCA’s Chief Executive Officer, Davina Rooney, said the challenge of decarbonising the built environment had never been more urgent since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sounded the global alarm, announcing temperatures were likely to rise by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels within just two decades, bringing with it widespread devastation and extreme weather.

“We are on a journey to decarbonise our buildings, but up until now we haven’t quantified the hidden emissions in Australia’s built environment – our embodied carbon.

“While we are making great strides forward in our work to tackle operational carbon in buildings, embodied carbon is largely locked in before a building is occupied. The decisions we make today will have implications and impacts for decades to come.”

Chief Executive Officer of thinkstep-anz, Dr Barbara Nebel, said, “As Australia’s electricity grid decarbonises, and as more buildings are powered by renewable energy, embodied carbon from the built environment will make up a greater proportion of Australia’s total carbon footprint – increasing by 50 percent from 2019 to 2050.”

Embodied carbon is hard to solve and requires systemic change along the length of the supply chain. A significant share of embodied emissions in buildings come from common building products, like concrete and steel, that are manufactured through process heat and chemical reactions. This means their embodied emissions will not decrease by decarbonising the electricity grid alone.

Rooney explains, “On the supply side, we need manufacturers to innovate – to experiment with design, process substitution, carbon capture and storage and green hydrogen, for example. On the demand side, we need constructors to ask for low-carbon products, to reuse existing materials and to refurbish, where they can, rather than rebuild.

“Industry and governments must also step up their game. The report makes this clear: there is a clear need for governments to support suppliers as they decarbonise and for investment in research and development of new materials and practices.

“Tackling embodied carbon is an enormous challenge, but by doing so we will not only drive down emissions in our building stock. We will also help to future-proof Australia’s energy-intensive industries and ensure we can maintain our global competitiveness in a low-carbon world.”

Cloak of Hope installed

Cloak of Hope installed Cloak of Hope by Kevina-Jo Smith. Photograph courtesy Maja Baska.

Blue Mountains City Council, New South Wales, has completed the upgrade of the Katoomba Civic Centre with a magnificent art installation by local artist Kevina-Jo Smith, titled Cloak of Hope, draped over the northern wall of the former Katoomba Library. Read more >

Shinju moonrise brings connection

Shinju moonrise brings connection Inaugural moonrise event is a symbol of connected cultures for the people of Broome.

When the full moon rose over Chinatown in Broom, Western Australia, on 23 August 2021, the metaphorical stars and planets aligned to create local history. Read more >

This month

Climate costs councils

More funding is needed to help local governments cope with the costs of climate change, according to a new report from the Climate Council and Cities Power Partnership.  Read more >


Hidden emissions a growing problem

Without action, embodied carbon will be responsible for 85 percent of Australia’s built environment emissions by 2050, a new report from the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA) and thinkstep-anz has found. Read more >


Editorial

Read more >


Cloak of Hope installed

Blue Mountains City Council, New South Wales, has completed the upgrade of the Katoomba Civic Centre with a magnificent art installation by local artist Kevina-Jo Smith, titled Cloak of Hope, draped over the northern wall of the former Katoomba Library. Read more >


Shinju moonrise brings connection

When the full moon rose over Chinatown in Broom, Western Australia, on 23 August 2021, the metaphorical stars and planets aligned to create local history. Read more >


Pop ups breathe new life

The Toowoomba Gallery is relocating to new premises in the redeveloped Rowe’s complex fronting Victoria Street next month following its successful launch as part of a trial Creative CBD Toowoomba program by Toowoomba Regional Council, Queensland. Read more >


President’s comment – Cr Denise Massoud President Victorian Local Governance Association (VLGA)

Read more >


Counting the cost of lost events

Figures presented to the City of Greater Geelong, Victoria, last month highlighted the devastating impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the region’s events sector. Read more >


Environmental action for the long term

Southern Mallee District Council, South Australia, has adopted its first ever Environmental Action Plan (EAP), taking a proactive approach to protecting and preserving its environmental assets and long- term sustainability. Read more >


Councillor profiles – Paula Masselos Mayor of Waverley

Read more >


Councillor profiles – Maurice Collison Mayor of Upper Hunter Regional Council 

Read more >


The Good Oil by Rod Brown – Sad misjudgement by Defence

Australia’s defence purchases have been notoriously problematic, but our submarine saga is the most glaring. It will have huge ramifications for years to come. Read more >


Councils unite against homelessness

The number of homeless men, women and children is growing in suburban areas and COVID-19 has further impacted the vulnerability of those without a safe place to call home. Read more >


Short-stay changes target growing housing crisis

Hobart City Council will consider taking steps to limit the number of new permits to convert entire homes to short-stay visitor accommodation in an attempt to address housing affordability and rental property supply in the Tasmanian capital. Read more >