Breaking News

WA planning reforms bypass local government

Major reforms to ‘simplify Western Australia's planning system and boost the State's economic recovery from COVID-19’ passed the Legislative Assembly on 20 May and will go before the Legislative Council this week.

The McGowan Government's planning reforms were urgently brought forward to support the wider economic response to the pandemic, protect WA jobs and create new job opportunities.

A series of amendments to planning legislation and regulations aim to simplify the planning system, cut red tape and increase support for small business.

The first initiative, made effective upon the passing of the legislation, would introduce a new development application process for significant, job-creating projects for the next 18 months to provide immediate support for the State's economic recovery.

In the short term, the Western Australian Planning Commission will be the decision maker for such projects, with plans to create a new Special Matters Development Assessment Panel after the 18 month period based on a similar model.

WA Local Government Association President, Mayor Tracey Roberts said not enough consideration had been given to the potential impact on residents and communities of the wide ranging reforms when an expedited process of reviewing the potentially unforeseen impacts of the legislation could be achieved within one month.

“Rushing through such important legislation without the proper consideration by all affected parties, especially residents and the community, is a high risk.”

Mayor Roberts said she was aware of a suggestion by the property and investment industry that WA needed to hasten the reforms to ensure projects were not lost to other states.

“The proposed planning reform is well intentioned, but it would be a tragedy if the legacy of the pandemic response was ill considered or problematic developments that adversely impact communities for the long term.

“The unintended consequences on the community could be projects that are not required to give consideration to issues such as, traffic, heritage, or appropriate building heights to reduce overlooking and overshadowing of private property."

Federal boost for local government

Federal boost for local government PM Scott Morrison has announced a national Local Roads and Community Infrastructure Program which will be based on the existing Roads to Recovery allocations model.

The Federal Government today announced a $1.8 billion boost for road and community projects through local governments across Australia. Read more >

Launch of Cleantech Conversations

NCTCE Free Webinar Series

Thursday 28 May 2020

12.30pm - 1.30pm AEST

How are local government sustainability leaders preparing for the ‘next normal’?

The COVID19 pandemic, along with the summer bushfires and floods, has highlighted that healthy and resilient cities, communities and societies are more important than ever. As attention turns to the post-pandemic phase, what role will SDG projects play in local government recovery plans?

This webinar will discuss:

  • Are these crises presenting an opportunity to rebuild or reboot in a sustainable way helping to make sustainable development become a priority for local government?
  • With local government resources being stretched across two significant crises, how has this altered future planning?
  • Has the disruption enabled councils to undertake projects they wouldn’t normally do and/or bring shovel ready projects forward?
  • As the health crisis disrupts and is taking precedence, how are local government sustainability leaders grappling with the prospect of SDG projects losing momentum and taking a backseat to the COVID19 response?
  • What are the local communities asking for right now?

Facilitator:

Tracie Armstrong, Senior Program Manager, Climate Response, Knox City Council

Panellists:

Tina Perfrement, Business and Industry Engagement, Economic Development and Events, City of Greater Geelong

Cr Declan Clausen, Deputy Lord Mayor, City of Newcastle

Troy McGrath, Senior Manager, Market Development, CitySmart Brisbane

Scott Breust, Industry Advancement Lead - Clean Technologies and Advanced Manufacturing, Sunshine Coast Council

Register via this link

Integrity hub

Integrity hub Mayor Teresa Harding, former head of open data for the Queensland Government, said while the concept of a transparency and integrity hub is new to Australia, it has been adopted as public sector best practice in many countries.

New Mayor, Teresa Harding, announced Ipswich City Council, Queensland, will ‘set the gold standard’ for accountability of ratepayers’ money by having a dedicated hub for transparency and integrity – a first for local government in Australia. Read more >

New computers from old

New computers  from old Ella Misisa has received a refurbished computer to assist with learning from home.

Logan City Council, Queensland, has found a way to make learning from home easier for more families with rebuilt computers provided to families in need. Read more >

Sister cities retie the friendship knot

A decision made last month for Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, to cut ties with sister city Kunming, China, was reversed at an extraordinary meeting of Wagga Wagga City Council held remotely one week later and livestreamed via Council’s facebook page and website.

Councillors voted 6-1 in favour of a motion to rescind a resolution from the 14 April 2020 ordinary meeting for Wagga Wagga to repeal and sever, any and all sister city agreements associated with China.
Council also endorsed a report put to the meeting by Mayor Greg Conkey, authorising the him to write a letter of apology to the Mayor of Kunming and recommit to Wagga Wagga’s sister city and friends in China.

In his report to Council, the Mayor outlined the city’s strong relationship with Kunming spanning more than 30 years.

“As a Council and as a community, let’s show the world that we haven’t changed – we are the same community with a proud history of leading regional initiatives.

“A letter to our friends in China is a start towards reclaiming the reputation and confidence in the compassion and inclusiveness of our city.”

The resolution was passed in unusual circumstances which enabled the three councillors to pass a motion which was strongly opposed by most of the elected members.

The Acting Chair from the 14 April meeting, who effectively passed the motion with his casting vote, has since publicly apologised for making the wrong decision and announced he supported the rescission motion.

The majority of councillors expressed deep regret that the resolution had caused harm to the reputation of the city and completely misrepresented the inclusive and multicultural heart of the community.

This month

Integrity hub

New Mayor, Teresa Harding, announced Ipswich City Council, Queensland, will ‘set the gold standard’ for accountability of ratepayers’ money by having a dedicated hub for transparency and integrity – a first for local government in Australia. Read more >


Editorial

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New computers from old

Logan City Council, Queensland, has found a way to make learning from home easier for more families with rebuilt computers provided to families in need. Read more >


Sister cities retie the friendship knot

A decision made last month for Wagga Wagga, New South Wales, to cut ties with sister city Kunming, China, was reversed at an extraordinary meeting of Wagga Wagga City Council held remotely one week later and livestreamed via Council’s facebook page and website. Read more >


Combating racism

City of Hobart has launched a new anti-racism campaign, Hobart Respects All, building on an earlier campaign to support migrants, immigrants and refugees, Hobart Welcomes All. Read more >


Andrew Barr MLA ACT Chief Minister – President’s comment

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Growing smarter

Innovative technology designed and developed in Geelong, Victoria, will greatly benefit the City’s Botanic Gardens. Read more >


Restocking the rivers

Around 12,000 Golden Perch fingerlings were released into the Macquarie River in Narromine in early April to help restore the region’s native fish population in natural waterways. Read more >


Bushfire recovery

Coffs Harbour City Council, New South Wales, has ensured the bushfire clean-up program remains a key priority with the appointment of a dedicated Bushfire Recovery Officer. Read more >


Electronic warning signs help protect wildlife

The installation of electronic warning signs in Red Hill in 2019 has reduced kangaroo roadkill on rural roads in the Mornington Peninsula Shire, Victoria. Read more >


Generous deed does a world of good

Vulnerable young residents in the City of Swan, Western Australia, will receive much needed supplies thanks to a generous personal donation by City employee Corrie Oliver. Read more >


Positive spin-offs from a global crisis - The Good Oil by Rod Brown

Nothing like a crisis to bring out the best in people. And it extends to our national and state government leaders who have been exemplary in their bipartisanship and in keeping us reliably informed of COVID-19 developments. Victorian Premier Andrews really has shone with his no-nonsense TV grabs. And the National Cabinet has been an outstanding success. Read more >


Civic and Cultural Centre opens

Tweed Heads Shire Council, New South Wales, opened its newly redeveloped $1.2 million Civic and Cultural Centre with a bang last month. Read more >


Fun Bus goes on tour

City of Darwin’s ever popular free mobile playgroup Fun Bus is going on tour! Read more >


Designed to bring out the best

How do you bring out the best in the community in the face of the biggest public health emergency in living memory? Read more >


Invitation to have a say

Having a say has never been easier at Isaac Regional Council, Queensland, with the launch of a brand-new online community engagement platform. Read more >


Playgrounds reopen, recovery begins

Local playgrounds and skate parks have begun reopening as South Australia takes its first steps towards recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more >


Councillor profiles - Mayor Loretta Baker Maitland City Council

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Councillor profiles - Mayor Matthew Deeth Wollondilly Shire Council

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