Australia: Local government news update 28 March 2018

Last Updated: 3 April 2018
Article by Jenny Humphris, Joseph Monaghan and Peter Holt

Most Read Contributor in Australia, September 2018

In the media – National

NBN Co to publish customer experience progress report
NBN Co has announced "a new monthly report to track service and quality improvements on the nbn broadband access network. "It includes details such as the number of homes and businesses on a 50mbps (download) wholesale speed plan or higher, installations completed right the first time and average number of faults." NBN Co says the rollout of the nbn access network was more than halfway built and and is expected to be completed in 2020 (13 March 2018). More...

Call for local solutions on housing and heatwave risk
The energy sector should collaborate with state and local governments to develop solutions that alleviate demand during heatwaves given 'peak pricing' is likely to negatively impact vulnerable residents (13 March 2018). More...

Microsoft to roll out versions of Azure for local governments
Microsoft Corp on Monday said it will soon make it possible for government clients to run its cloud technology on their own servers as part of a concerted effort to make Azure more appealing to local and federal agencies (06 March 2018). More...

Victoria commits to Inland Rail freight corridor
The Victorian Government has just signed up to the Inland Rail Project, a development that will provide a direct rail freight connection between Melbourne and Brisbane and jumpstart the state's Regional Rail Revival program (16 March 2018). More...

Productivity Commission Issues paper - Murray-Darling Basin Plan released
The Productivity Commission released as issues paper this week to assist individuals and organisations to prepare submissions to its inquiry into the effectiveness of the Murray Darling Basin Plan. It contains and outlines the scope of the inquiry, the Commission's procedures, matters about which the Commission is seeking comment and information, how to make a submission (13 March 2018). More...

In the media – Queensland

Local government key player in biodiversity
In response to the Australian Government's draft Strategy for Nature, the LGAQ has emphasised that the role of the Australian Government is to provide leadership by establishing the broad strategic vision and objectives and to develop robust regulatory frameworks for biodiversity conservation in Australia. The LGAQ does not support the draft strategy in its current form and proposes that it be revised (16 March 2018). More...

Fraser Coast councillor to represent local government on waste advisory panel
The LGAQ this week nominated Cr Anne Maddern from Fraser Coast Regional Council to represent local government on a technical advisory panel for the Department of Environment and Science (16 March 2018). More...

'Devastated' Kirra Beach caravan park retirees vow to fight eviction
A group of retirees fight eviction from their caravan park after getting a letter from the Gold Coast City Council telling them they have to move out of the homes some of them have lived in for 30 years (15 March 2018). More...

With several Queensland councils in crisis, what is going so wrong?
It seems every week there is a new scandal at a Queensland council, and despite the State Government promising a crackdown on developer donations, experts warn that could just be a band-aid solution (13 March 2018). More...

$22 million in funding for councils to boost infrastructure projects
The Palaszczuk Government is calling on councils to apply for a share of $22 million in funding to support their infrastructure planning, under the Maturing the Infrastructure Pipeline Program (12 March 2018). More...

New $1 million Glass House Mountains District Park officially opened
Mr Hinchliffe was joined by Sunshine Coast Council Mayor Mark Jamieson at the opening of the park, partly funded by a $400,000 contribution from the Palaszczuk Government's Local Government Grants and Subsidies Program (16 March 2018). More...

Councillors criticise mayor for missing neighbourhood meetings
Brisbane City Council's approach to development has been criticised by councillors who called out the lord mayor for not taking the time to listen to concerned residents. On Tuesday, opposition councillor Steve Griffiths (Moorooka) asked lord mayor Graham Quirk if he would meet with residents on Wednesday to discuss a controversial development application at Nathan (14 March 2018). More...

Premier announces State Recovery Co-ordinator
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today announced the appointment of a State Recovery Co-ordinator to work with communities affected by flooding in North Queensland. The Premier said Brendan Moon will begin work immediately to assist local Councils and communities in the recovery effort following this flooding event (12 March 2018). More...

Work under way on new Ipswich Town Centre
Demolition crews have started tearing down the old Woolworths building as Ipswich City Council moves forward with the next stage of the $150 million CBD redevelopment. The Ipswich central revitalisation is the biggest transformation of the city centre in three decades (12 March 2018). More...

Gold Coast Mayor at centre of corruption watchdog investigation
Queensland's corruption watchdog confirms it is investigating allegations Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate influenced council decision-making for personal benefit, failed to declare possible conflicts of interest, and did not disclose flights and accommodation received from a Chinese developer within the required timeframe (09 March 2018). More...

Palaszczuk Government committed to protecting wildlife
The Palaszczuk Government is delivering on a major election commitment with work underway to establish its flagship $500 million Land Restoration Fund (09 March 2018). More...

LGAQ announces new digital partnership
A new partnership with Jadu, leading global provider of web experience management software and digital services, will give councils access to a world-class content management system (08 March 2018). More...

New tree clearing laws introduced to Parliament
Natural Resources Minister Dr Anthony Lynham today introduced tree-clearing reforms to Parliament. New, more accurate vegetation maps were also released today for the entire state, the first major review of major update to vegetation and ecosystem mapping in five years (08 March 2018). More...

Changes to telco carrier powers
The Minister for Communications and the Arts has released a determination following consultation on the powers and immunities afforded to communications carriers. In a statement released last week, the Minister stated that ten of the 24 proposed amendments will be carried. While the LGAQ objected to a number of the proposals that have been accepted as part of these amendments, the Department has indicated that the proposal to install cable and conduit on bridges will not proceed (08 March 2018). More...

New online tool shows latest land valuations
Queenslanders can now access real-time property data showing the state's latest land valuations (07 March 2018). More...

Solar farm forums shine a light on new planning guidelines
New planning and community engagement guidelines are in development to guide Queensland's solar farm boom (07 March 2018). More...

Developer donation ban sought under Local Government transparency reforms
Increased transparency, integrity and accountability measures for Local Government, including a ban on political donations from property developers, will become a reality in Queensland under reforms introduced in State Parliament today (06 March 2018). More...

Queensland land values increase
Queensland's Valuer-General Neil Bray said the 2018 Property Market Movement Report shows improved land values in a number of major urban and farming areas across the state. These new land valuations will be available from 7 March and will provide new valuations for 22 local government areas on the basis of each area's recent land sales history and the state of the surrounding economy (05 March 2018). More...

Palaszczuk Government program delivers new wheelchair bus for Napranum
Member for Cook Cynthia Lui said the funding from the Palaszczuk Government's Indigenous Local Government Sustainability Program 2016-18 (ILGSP) would also enable Council to upgrade its asset and project management systems, human resources system, financial management system and records management systems (08 March 2018). More...

Developer donation ban sought under Local Government transparency reforms
Increased transparency, integrity and accountability measures for Local Government, including a ban on political donations from property developers, will become a reality in Queensland under reforms introduced in State Parliament today. The latest reform measures were recommended by the Crime and Corruption Commission's Operation Belcarra Report (06 March 2018). More...

In the media – Victoria

Council voices concerns over some elements of the new local government act
The City of Greater Bendigo is concerned some elements of a new local government bill may be too restrictive for councils, described by Margaret O'Rourke as "unnecessary regulation" (16 March 2018). More...

'Skill and talent' key to councils' economic development
Victoria's Corangamite Council says a $300,000 support fund it established to attract and expand businesses in its area has contributed $9.2 million in benefits to the local economy (16 March 2018). More...

Local Government and Economic Development
Economic prosperity is important on both a national and local scale, enabling communities to improve their economic future. A number of Victorian councils, particularly non-metropolitan councils, have experienced a decline in their economic growth over the past 10 years (08 March 2018). More...

Waste collection suspended in two Victorian shires as recycling crisis deepens
A waste contractor has suspended household collection services in two central Victorian shires, as the state's recycling problems intensify (07 March 2018). More...

In the media – New South Wales

NSW Government delivers more affordable homes
More affordable housing stock is being delivered to inner-Sydney, following the release of more than $23 million to a key affordable housing supplier, thanks to a NSW Government policy (14 March 2018). More...

Parramatta Council signs MOU for new Gateway Bridge
City of Parramatta Council has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with property company, PAYCE enabling detailed planning and design work to commence for a possible new bridge across the Parramatta River linking Melrose Park and Wentworth Point (12 March 2018). More...

Fed up council impounds dozens of abandoned share bikes
A Sydney council impounds dozens of broken and abandoned share bikes, after losing patience with operators it says need to "clean up their act" (05 March 2018). More...

In Practice and Courts

New South Wales

Remuneration and Legacy Report March 2018
LGNSW's remuneration and legacy report is now available to council general managers and human resources managers. The report contains comparative benchmarking data and reporting on general manager remuneration which can be useful to consider when attracting or retaining general managers, developing organisational structures, and negotiating performance-based pay increases. To order a copy, visit the LGNSW website.

New Round of Circulate Grants Now Open The NSW EPA is offering grants ranging from $20,000 to $150,000 to promote the recovery of commercial and industrial, and construction and demolition waste. Salvaged material can be used for other commercial, industrial or construction processes. Grants are being offered under the Circulate Program which has diverted more than 50,000 tonnes of this type of waste from landfill to date. More...

This publication does not deal with every important topic or change in law and is not intended to be relied upon as a substitute for legal or other advice that may be relevant to the reader's specific circumstances. If you have found this publication of interest and would like to know more or wish to obtain legal advice relevant to your circumstances please contact one of the named individuals listed.

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