The Australian Human Rights Commission has released the Working Past Our 60’s: Reforming Laws and Policies for the Older Worker paper, detailing how age barriers in workers compensation, income insurance and licencing block willing and able older workers continuing to work their 60’s and beyond.
“Although most people want to continue to work through their 60’s and beyond, they face a number of external barriers,” Age Discrimination Commissioner Susan Ryan said.
“Recent research tells us that, of people aged over 55 years, there are about 2 million who are capable and want to work, but are barred from jobs.”
Commissioner Ryan said that most workers compensation stops at 65, or soon after, and income insurance is hard to get after 60.
“This is a big barrier for tradespeople who need to insure their business and themselves,” Ms Ryan said.
“For example, age bars in licencing stop capable vehicle drivers from getting jobs, even in the current climate of skills shortages.”
The report can be found here
The New South wales Government has announced it will invest $5 billion to build and maintain critical road and maritime infrastructures across the state.
“This year’s budget includes a significant investment aimed at tackling ongestion in our busy city areas and improving our rural and regional network with major commitments to the Pacific, Princes, Hume and Great Western highways,” NSW Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay said.
Features of the roads and maritime budget include:
- $2.2 billion for new roads;
- $1.3 billion for maintenance of the State’s existing roads;
- $311 million for improvements to the traffic network;
- $270 million for road safety; and
- $17 million for commuter wharf upgrades.
Key initiatives to improve NSW roads include:
- $530 million to continue building the Hunter Expressway between the F3 Freeway at Seahampton and the New England Highway at Branxton (State and Federal funded);
- $240 million to start work on the Pacific Highway upgrade between Tintenbar and Ewingsdale, north of Ballina (State and Federal funded);
- $180 million to continue work on the dual carriageway upgrade of the Pacific Highway between Coffs Harbour (Sapphire) and Woolgoolga (State and Federal funded); $90 million to start major work on the Gerringong upgrade of the Princes Highway between Mount Pleasant and Toolijooa Road;
- $70 million to continue planning the upgrade of the Pacific Highway between Woolgoolga and Ballina (State and Federal funded).
This year’s Budget also has funds allocated to complete a number of important projects including:
- $100 million to complete the Holbrook bypass as the final stage of the Hume Highway duplication between Sydney and Melbourne (State and Federal funded);
- $59 million to complete the dual carriageway upgrade of the Pacific Highway at Bulahdelah (State and Federal funded).
Also announced was:
- $10 million to finalise planning and start work on the four lane divided road upgrade of Nelson Bay Road, between Bobs Farm and Anna Bay;
- $9 million to upgrade the New England Highway between the hospital and railway station roundabouts in Maitland;
- $8 million to upgrade of Raymond Terrace-Dungog Road by Port Stephens and Dungog councils;
- $6 million to upgrade Hunter Region wine roads;
- $5 million to upgrade of Wallanbah and Avalon Road by Greater Taree Council;
- $1 million for replacement of railway level crossing on Woy Woy Road at Horsfield Bay; and
- $1 million to upgrade Wisemans Ferry Road on the Central Coast.
The New South Wales Government has announced the creation Urbangrowth NSW, a new organisation responsible for driving investment in key locations in the state and help ‘underpin the future prosperity of urban and regional centres.’
“Establishing Urbangrowth NSW will drive further investment into the NSW economy, particularly the housing market,” NSW Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard said.
“Urbangrowth NSW will continue the Government’s 10,000 housing lots program; coordinate and deliver lead-in infrastructure and service provision to development areas; plan and fast-track urban renewal projects to unlock further private sector investment -providing more housing choice and affordability.”
The New South Wales Government has announced plans to refinance State-owned assets, including Port Kembla, in a bid to fund and expedite priority infrastructure projects.
“While we have already started the process of releasing funds through the successful long-term lease of the desalination plant, undertaking a scoping study for the long term lease of Port Botany, and the planned sale of the electricity generators announced last month, more needs to be done to free-up vital funds for critical road, school and hospital projects across NSW,” State Treasurer Mike Baird said.
Mr Baird said the Government’s scoping study for the long-term lease for Port Botany has revealed strong bidder interest.
“The successful lease of the desalination plant demonstrates the strong private sector interest in quality infrastructure assets in NSW and we think that both Port Kembla and Port Botany can deliver significant value for NSW taxpayers,” Mr Baird said.
Mr Baird said the additional scoping work on Port Kembla would not delay the Port Botany transaction process. The Government will consider the scoping study recommendations during the first half of 2012, with a view to completing the transaction by mid- 2013.
Mr Baird said proceeds from the transaction will be invested in Restart NSW (with 30 per cent of funds reserved for projects in regional areas), while $100 million is earmarked for infrastructure projects in the Illawarra which will be determined by Infrastructure NSW later this year.
The Federal Government has announced the first 13 grants from its $1 billion Clean Technology Investment Program, aimed at assisting manufacturers significantly reduce their energy bills.
The Minister for Industry and Innovation, Greg Combet, said the initial grants, worth $8.1 million, will help businesses install over $23 million of energy efficient equipment.
Five grants from the Clean Technology Investment Program and eight from the Clean Technology Food and Foundries Investment Program will support energy saving and low pollution projects.
"The Clean Technology Investment Programs are part of the Federal Government’s plan for a Clean Energy Future. They deliver practical help for businesses to become more efficient, more competitive and more sustainable,” Mr Combet said.
"Over coming years the Clean Technology Investment Programs are expected to support around 3,000 projects and help many manufacturers reduce their energy use." Manufacturers can apply at any time and AusIndustry will work with businesses to promote the Programs and help with applications.
The first recipients are:
Clean Technology Investment Programs – Approved Applications
CSR Building Products Ltd
Bradford Insulation, Ingleburn, NSW
Install gas-fired cogeneration system.
CSR Building Products Ltd
Tile production site, Vermont, Victoria
Install high temperature off-take on kiln and utilise waste heat to feed tunnel dryer, reducing gas consumption.
G.H. Varley Pty Ltd
Replace inefficient air conditioning and introduce voltage regulation equipment to increase plant efficiency.
Amcor Packaging (Australia) Pty Ltd
Box making plant, Scoresby, Victoria
Install voltage optimiser units, reducing electricity consumption.
Amcor Packaging (Australia) Pty Ltd
Aluminium can manufacturing, Canning Vale, WA
Replace DOL and DC motors across aluminium can body makers’ coolant pumps and conveying systems with AC motors, improving energy efficiency.
Bega Cheese Ltd
Two sites at Bega, NSW
Seven sub-projects including implementing variable fan speeds in cool rooms, improving efficiency of chilled water heat exchanger, heat recovery, lighting upgrades and variable head pressure controls.
Fonterra Brands (Australia) Pty Ltd
Milk processing plant, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Replace outdated refrigeration system with energy efficient water-cooled ammonia refrigeration.
Crafty Chef Pty Ltd
Food production facility, Emu Plains, NSW
Replace blast freezer system with industrial spiral freezer system using ammonia refrigerant, reducing energy consumption.
D.T.R. Holdings Pty Ltd
Food product manufacturing, Bundaberg, Queensland
Replace High Pressure Processing unit with new, more efficient system.
De Bortoli Wines
Five wine-making sites in NSW, Queensland and Victoria
Energy reduction project across wine making, packaging, warehousing and site services areas through using grid power more efficiently, replacing old equipment and use of solar technology.
Rickety Gate Trust
Winery, Denmark, WA
Install 22.8 kW solar power system with battery backup.
Matilda’s Winery Pty Ltd
Winery, Denmark, WA
Install 23.7 kW solar power system.
Ferngrove Vineyards Ltd
Winery, Frankland River, Western Australia
Install solar power system.
The Federal Government has announced $469 million in funding to support four major new infrastructure projects in New South Wales.
Federal Minister for Water Tony Burke approved the funding for the projects that are expected to return an average of 80 billion litres of water to the system each year. Mr Burke said the funding would equip farmers in NSW with world-class irrigation technology and improve rural water management systems.
"The funding for NSW is part of the $5 billion the Federal Government is providing to for infrastructure investment in irrigation modernisation and related projects across the Basin," Mr Burke said.
"The water acquired from these projects will be used to improve the health of Murray-Darling Basin rivers, wetlands and floodplains and make an important contribution towards reaching the sustainable diversion limits under the Murray-Darling Basin Plan.
"All of the water saved through this package will be achieved through improved water infrastructure efficiency. It means irrigators can increase productivity through improved technology and there is more water to return to our precious environment."
The four major rural water infrastructure projects supported by the funding were proposed by NSW for delivery under the Intergovernmental Agreement on Murray-Darling Basin Reform.
Projects to be delivered under the agreement will improve on-farm irrigation systems for farmers, increase stock and domestic water supply and introduce new, modernised metering and telemetry systems.
The key elements of the four projects are:
- $137 million for the 'Basin Pipes' project to replace inefficient replenishment schemes and stock and domestic license schemes with new and secure pipelines;
- $83 million for an 'Irrigated Farm Modernisation' program in the Macquarie, Namoi, Gwydir and Border Rivers Valleys, additional to the $6.6 million already spent on an on-farm pilot program in the Border Rivers and Gwydir Valley
- $198.6 million for a state-wide program to upgrade rural water meters in addition to the $22.4 million already committed to a pilot project in the upper Murray Valley, with a total project value of $221 million; and
- $50 million to implement the NSW Floodplain Harvesting Policy.
The Queensland Government has approved the construction of the $1.7 billion Grosvenor Coal Mine after the state granted Anglo American the requisite mining lease.
State Natural Resources and Mines Minister Andrew Cripps said the Governor in Council approved the development of the mine.
“The Grosvenor mine will create up to 1000 new jobs for Queenslanders and represents a significant expansion of Anglo American’s Queensland operations,” Mr Cripps said.
“This is another boost for Queensland and demonstrates our commitment to get the State back on track. That includes strengthening the resources sector, one of the four pillars of our economy.”
The State Government said the mining lease has been 'thoroughly assessed' by state agencies and meets the environmental requirements of both the State and the Commonwealth.
“This announcement demonstrates our commitment to a rigorous and transparent mines approval process,” Mr Cripps said.
"A detailed Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) was approved late last year by the Queensland Government, and also by the Commonwealth Government pursuant to the Federal Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999."
Mr Cripps said the approval was also contingent upon Anglo American making provision to accommodate local workers.
“The Queensland Government will work closely with the company and the Moranbah community to address key issues such as accommodation availability and infrastructure support,” he said.
“Residential infrastructure is a critical issue for Moranbah and I am pleased that Anglo American is working with other local coal companies to develop and ensure the availability of accommodation and key community facilities.
Mr Cripps said the mine would create thousands of jobs across its 40 year lifespan.
“This mine will deliver direct economic benefits and jobs to the local Moranbah community, as well as royalties which support infrastructure and services that benefit all Queensland communities,” he said.
“Anglo American expects site construction to begin soon. First development coal production will begin in 2013, and longwall mining in 2016.
“It is expected to produce up to 7 million tonnes per annum of high quality hard coking coal, yielding some 5 million tonnes per annum of product coal for export.”
The announcement by the State Government comes amid an escalating and increasingly public spat between the State and Federal Governments over the environmental assessment and viability of the Alpha Coal mine.
The South Australian Government has released a new blueprint for managing the state's natural resources.
Released by the State Minister for Sustainability Paul Caica, the Our Place Our Future State Natural Resources Management Plan, South Australia 2012-17 establishes the policy framework for natural resource management in the state for the next decade, with specific priorities for the next five years.
“The plan provides high level guidance for anyone making decisions about natural resource use,” Mr Caica said.
“It provides a framework that enables all these groups to work together to responsibly manage natural resources in a way that balances the needs of all community sectors and guarantees the long term sustainability of our resources. These resources – water, soil, plants and animals – are vital to maintaining our economy and way of life.”
The plan was released after a draft copy of the NRM plan was released for public consultation in September last year.
The Federal Minister for the Environment, Tony Burke, and the Queensland Deputy Premier, Jeff Seeney, have met for the first time tor resolve their differences over the disputed environmental approval process of the multi-billion dollar Alpha Coal mine.
The ministers agreed that a Commonwealth process has commenced to deal with the outstanding matters relating to the project.
“There was a common view that the best outcome for the future is to have a streamlined process which is able to fully meet the requirements of Queensland and Commonwealth legislation,” Mr Burke said in a statement.
“There will be discussion in the coming days between jurisdictions to determine how the current bilateral would need to be amended to create greater certainty for the environment and business.”
“A fully streamlined process occurs when reports from Queensland deal with all matters of national environmental significance that are required for a Commonwealth decision to be made.”
Australia's seasonally adjusted unemployment rate increased 0.2 percentage points to 5.1 per cent in May, as announced by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). There was also an increase in the labour force participation rate of 0.3 percentage points in May to 65.5 per cent.
The ABS reported the number of people employed increased by 38,900 to 11,537,900 in May. The increase in employment was driven by increased full-time employment, up 46,100 people to 8,107,900, and was offset by a decrease in part-time employment, down 7,200 people to 3,430,100. The increase in employment was driven by increases in both male and female full-time employment.
The number of people unemployed increased by 22,400 people to 622,800 in May, the ABS reported.
The ABS monthly aggregate hours worked series showed a decrease in May, down 4.7 million hours to 1,627.2 million hours.
The seasonally adjusted underemployment rate was 7.4 per cent in May 2012. Combined with the unemployment rate of 5.1 per cent, the latest estimate of total seasonally adjusted labour force underutilisation was 12.6 per cent in May. For more information on underemployment and underutilisation, please refer to the article 'Understanding Labour Force,' which is published every month in Labour Force, Australia (cat. no. 6202.0).
The Business Council of Australia (BCA) has warned that waning productivity and inflating costs are risking Australia’s unprecedented $921 billion pipeline of major investment in resources, energy and economic infrastructure. New research released by the council shows for the first time just how much capital investment is driving the economy.
The Pipeline or Pipe Dream? Securing Australia’s Investment Future report determines how important the effective delivery of major projects is for the economy and how they will shape the future health of the economy and living standards.
“Our research shows that capital project investments are the main show in town in Australia’s economy and will be for some time,” BCA President Tony Shepherd said.
“The story of our massive investment pipeline is really about an economy-wide investment boom, not just a mining boom, but what is clear is this investment is far from assured.
“We are becoming a high-cost and thus high-risk place to invest, and low labour productivity compared to other nations has reduced the competitiveness of our project delivery.
Mr Shepherd said the combination of dropping productivity levels and increasing costs could compromise as much as half of the $921 billion in capital investment.
“What is at stake if we don’t deliver on the pipeline is the opportunity to transform our cities, regions and communities through economic and social infrastructure, job creation, skills development, and growing government revenues to provide quality services to our ageing population. In simple terms, if we cannot deliver the pipeline more efficiently our standard of living will be reduced,” Mr Shepherd said.
Key findings of the study include:
- by 2013 about 30 per cent of all economic activity will depend on the success of capital investments, making us the most investment-intensive economy in the OECD
- Australian resources projects are 40 per cent more expensive to deliver than in the US Gulf Coast
- Australian labour is typically 35 per cent less productive than in the US Gulf Coast for resources projects near cities, and 60 per cent less productive for projects in remote locations
- infrastructure is estimated to cost much more to deliver in Australia than the US, with airports 90 per cent more expensive, hospitals 62 per cent, shopping centres 43 per cent and schools 26 per cent more expensive
- major productivity problems, labour shortages and planning approvals and conditions are all contributing to delays and project costs
- major projects are numerous, with 72 of 160 projects worth more than $1 billion already underway
- the average resources or infrastructure project is worth $1.5 billion, up from $294 million in 2001
- Australia’s largest ever capital project was Pluto stage 1, valued at $14 billion, but there are now nine projects either underway or about to start worth between $14 billion and $43 billion.
Mr Shepherd said the new study has guided the Business Council in developing a package of recommendations to take to next week’s economic forum in Brisbane. These include recommendations to:
- build higher levels of community understanding and acceptance of the importance of growing our economy and population, as well as of individual projects
- ensure a more concerted effort by government to undertake regional economic development in those communities impacted by growth of major projects
- expand Australia’s capacity to deliver multiple capital projects by growing and developing the workforce, and through open and competitive markets for labour, materials and equipment
- improve project delivery efficiency by streamlining and improving planning approvals processes and outcomes, building capabilities for project design, innovation and management while lifting workplace productivity
- support investment and infrastructure delivery by developing growth strategies, improving strategic planning and unleashing private investment into public infrastructure, and developing infrastructure markets coupled with greater private ownership and operation of infrastructure
- build the confidence of investors to risk capital in large, long-term and complex investment projects in Australia by maintaining a predictable policy environment and fiscal stability
- ensure all jurisdictions agree through COAG the importance of consistent approaches by governments to policies and programs to facilitate efficient capital project delivery by businesses
- require the Productivity Commission to conduct a comprehensive inquiry into the factors impacting on major project costs and delivery performance in Australia, including what is driving high construction costs.
An overview of the report can be found here
The full report can be found here
The Federal Government has announced the remaining $45 million funds from the solar Hot Ware Rebate Scheme will be used to support two separate national programs assisting local communities become more energy efficient.
"A new $24 million dollar Local Government Energy Efficiency Program will be established to help local councils install solar or heat pump hot water systems in community facilities," said Mark Dreyfus, Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency,” Parliamentary Secretary for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Mark Dreyfus said.
"We want to ensure this program supports local businesses, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and makes buildings and facilities cheaper to run for local government and therefore ratepayers.”
Mr Dreyfus also announced an extra $20.7 million for the Home Energy Saver Scheme to assist low income households across Australia.
Mr Dreyfus said the Federal Government would work closely with councils and industry across Australia to finalise the guidelines for the program.
The boosted program will give more households access to a No Interest Loan Scheme, delivered through Good Shepherd Microfinance, and ensure solar hot water systems are available along with other energy efficient products.
The Australian Local Government Association has welcomed the move, saying it will assist with local council’s ongoing infrastructure costs.
“Councils across the country will be grateful in receiving this assistance, as it will help to ensure the comfort of community buildings and facilities, subsidize heating costs and ensure the use of efficient sources of energy,” ALGA President Genia McCaffery said.
“All local governments will be eligible to apply for funding under the $24 million Program and costings have been calculated on a 100 per cent take-up by councils.”
“The funding allocation available to each council will be dependent on size and while the guidelines are still being finalised as part of consultations in developing the Program, it’s understood that small and rural councils can apply for $25,000; medium and regional councils can apply for $40,000; and metropolitan and large regional councils can apply for $73,000.”
The Victorian Minister for Women’s Affairs, Mary Wooldridge, and Minister for Local Government, Jeanette Powell, have addressed the Think Women for Local Government launch at the State Parliament in a bid to promote greater female participation in local government.
“In Victoria there are more women than men but women are under-represented in many areas of local government," Ms Powell said.
"There are 79 Councils in Victoria but only 14 have female CEOs, just 30 per cent of councillors are female and five councils have no female councillors currently sitting.
"We need to do more to assist women to rise to the most senior positions in local government and events like today's are part of an ongoing effort to lift the level of female participation in local government.”
To help address the issue the Victorian Coalition Government has partnered with the Victorian Local Governance Association on the Think Women for Local Government 2012 project.
The Local Government Association of South Australia (LGA) has hit out at the State Government’s ‘hidden’ Solid Waste Levy increase, describing it as a shameless grab for revenue.
"This Budget measure is not about the environment, it's not about families, it's purely about revenue raising," LGA President Kym McHugh said.
Mayor McHugh said that the rise in the levy would see almost $20 per household in Council rates taken by the State Government.
Mayor McHugh said the LGA had had no confirmation of the actual increase in the levy rate but working from Budget papers was estimating it would rise from the current $35 a tonne in the metropolitan area to $42 a tonne, and from $17.50 a tonne in country areas to $21 a tonne.
"The fact that this announcement has been made after most metropolitan and some Councils have finalised consultation with communities about their budgets will provide an additional challenge to Councils," Mayor McHugh said.
"There is no justification for this increase. Councils and their communities are national leaders in recycling initiatives which have markedly reduced domestic waste to landfill and all sorts of waste management inititaives are already in play.
Latest ABS figures show that GDP, in seasonally adjusted volume terms, grew 1.3% in the March quarter 2012, after a revised increase of 0.6% in the December quarter.
The growth for the quarter was driven by a 1.0% contribution from final consumption expenditure and a 0.9% contribution from business investment. The increases were partially offset by a -0.5% contribution from net exports and -0.1% contribution from dwelling investment.
The industries that drove growth in the March quarter were Mining, Professional, scientific and technical services and Financial and insurance services, each contributing 0.2% to growth in GDP.
The March quarter saw the Terms of trade fall 4.3%. This was reflected in Real gross domestic income, which grew by 0.2% in seasonally adjusted terms for the quarter.
Treasurer Wayne Swan welcomed the ‘stunning’ quarterly growth, saying that the figures show the ‘rock-solid’ economic fundementals of the country.
“This is a remarkable outcome and reaffirms Australia's position as one of the strongest economies in the world, with the Australian economy growing faster than every single major advanced economy in the March quarter. In through the year terms, this result is the fastest growth in over four years, which have been the most turbulent in the global economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s,” Mr Swan said.
Further details can be found in Australian National Accounts: National Income, expenditure and Product (cat. no. 5206.0).
The Municipal Association of Victoria has announced it has successfully negotiated a revised unit price with the State Government that reflects the cost of Maternal and Child Health services.
The maternal and child health memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the MAV and the Department of Education and Early Childhood Education will run until June 2015 and ensures that the costs will be equally split by the two branches of government.
The $103.7 million State Budget commitment to early childhood development includes $62.7 million over four years for universal MCH services to provide free access to 10 free key age and stage consultations. In response to the Inquiry into Protecting Victoria’s Vulnerable Children, $16.3 million has also been allocated over four years to continue the enhanced maternal and child health service.
Following MAV advocacy, the 2012 - 13 Budget secured an 8 per cent increase in the hourly rate from $83.01 to $89.76 (of which the state pays 50 per cent). DEECD will also increase funding payable each year of the agreement by the rate of indexation approved by the Victorian Government.
24 Mayors and councillors have been recognised for their outstanding contributions to their communities at the Annual Conference of the Shires Association of NSW.
The Mayors and councillors received their Outstanding Service Awards and Emeritus Mayor Awards from the Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, and President of the Shires Association of NSW, Cr Ray Donald, on the first day of the conference held at the Sofitel Wentworth, Sydney.
“Between them the 24 mayors and councillors have dedicated 511 years of service to NSW Local Government – a remarkable feat, deserving of recognition!” said Cr Donald.
Recipients of the Outstanding Service and Emeritus Mayor Awards, in alphabetical order are:
- Cr Ernie Bennett – Kyogle Council – Emeritus Mayor (17 years; Mayor 1997-1998, 2001-08 & 2010-11)
- Cr Paul Braybrooks OAM – Cootamundra Shire Council – Outstanding Service and Emeritus Mayor (21 years; Mayor 1996-2011)
- Cr John Bruce – Berrigan Shire Council – Emeritus mayor (14 years; Mayor 2000-01 & 2004-12)
- Cr Robyn Faber – Narrabri Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor (4 years; 2008-12)
- Cr Graham Falconer – Forbes Shire Council – Outstanding Service (21 years)
- Cr Kevin Ferrier – Walcha Shire Council – Outstanding Service (21 years)
- Cr Nigel Judd OAM – Narraburra Shire Council – Outstanding Service (35 years)
- Cr Bruce Kingham – Blayney Shire Council – Outstanding Service (21 years)
- Cr Clive Linnett OAM AFSM – Central Darling Shire Council – Outstanding Service (21 years)
- Cr Alister Lockhart OAM – Forbes Shire Council – Outstanding Service (22 years)
- Cr John Martin OAM – Singleton Municipal Council – Outstanding Service (40 years)
- Cr Paul Maytom – Leeton Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor (25 years; Mayor 2004-07 & 2008-12)
- Cr Robert Menzies – Coolamon Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor (17 years; Mayor 1999-2012)
- Cr Bruce Miller – Cowra Shire Council – Outstanding Service and Emeritus Mayor (21 years; Mayor 1994-2008)
- Cr Brian Mitsch – Deniliquin Council – Emeritus Mayor (13 years; Mayor 2000-01 & 2009-12)
- Cr Gary Poidevin – Corowa Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor and Service Bar (32 years; Mayor 1995-2002 & 2004-10)
- Cr Joy Schultz – Forbes shire Council – Outstanding Service (21 years)
- Cr Phillip Silver - Ballina Shire Council - Emeritus Mayor (10 years; Mayor 2002-12)
- Cr Maurice Simpson – Weddin Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor (17 years; Mayor 1999-2012)
- Cr Peter Speirs OAM – Narraburra Shire Council – Outstanding Service (35 years)
- Cr Ron Sullivan – Coonabarabran Shire Council – Outstanding Service (25 years)
- Cr Susan Taylor – Deniliquin Council – Outstanding Service (20 years)
- Cr Mark Troy – Bellingen Shire Council – Emeritus Mayor (8 years; Mayor 2004-12)
- Cr Graham Wellings – Central Darling Shire Council – Outstanding Service (30 years)
The Melbourne City Council has released the city’s new draft Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) for the final phase of public consideration prior to the Council’s Future Melbourne Committee considering it later this month for adoption.
The Council has described the MSS as the start of a ‘fresh era in Melbourne’s evolution,” saying will serve Melbourne’s cultural and industrial development for the coming decades.
The MSS sets out the guiding urban design and planning principles for the decades ahead. The plan includes economic, social, cultural and environmental measures that will shape the city over the next 40 years.
“Recognising that Melbourne will become a much bigger and more intensive city, and planning for that change is essential,” the council said in a statement.
The new planning framework focuses on targeted areas of urban renewal, using land more productively, connecting the city with efficient and convenient transport links and building resilience to the impacts of climate change.
“The MSS demonstrates the strategic approach we are taking to secure our vision for Melbourne. We have identified areas that will benefit from development, and we have recognised areas where the existing character will be largely retained. The MSS strikes the right balance,” Lord Mayor Robort Doyle said.
More information can be found here
The New South Wales Government has announced the release of its Destination 2036 Action Plan, which ‘sets out a new direction for local government in NSW’ and details how councils will deliver services to their communities in the future.
In launching the plna, State Minister for Local Government Don Page said the plan gives gives NSW residents, communities and Councils a clear explanation of how the local government sector will modernise, reform and improve how they function in the next five years, 10 years, and 25 years.
The initiatives identified in the Action Plan are:
- Efficient and effective service delivery in local government,
- Quality governance and leadership in local government,
- Financial sustainability in local government,
- Appropriate, flexible structural models in local government, and
- Strong relationships within local government
“The Destination 2036 Action Plan gives the residents and communities of NSW an insight into how councils will improve the delivery of services to ratepayers and modernise to meet the challenges of a changing world,” Mr Page said.
“As Minister, I am committed to modernising, reforming and ultimately improving the local government sector in NSW because, if we do not, then there will continue to be communities across this State that are `haves’ and `have-nots’, in terms of the number and quality of services delivered to ratepayers.”
The formation of the Action Plan was a result of the Destination 2036 conferenced held in August last year, which was attended by representatives from all 152 councils in NSW.
The Destination 2036 Action Plan was developed jointly by the Chief Executive of the Division of Local Government, and the Presidents of the NSW Local Government Association, the NSW Shires Association, and the Local Government Managers Australia (NSW).
The plan can be found here
The Federal Government has announced a $66.6 million spending package for New South Wales under the second round of the Regional Development Australia Fund (RDAF).
Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean said the Federal Government will invest $200 million in Round Two of the five-year regional funding program, which builds on the $150 million invested in the first stage.
"The Federal Government is investing $66.6 million in 15 projects across New South Wales with a total value of more than $243 million," Mr Crean said.
"The local communities have responded to the challenge of developing creative proposals that stack up, effectively leverage other funding and sustain the economic and social future of their regions.
"Round Two funding builds on the $150 million distributed to 35 projects through Round One last year, which included $30.87 million for projects in regional New South Wales."
The successful projects in New South Wales are:
- $14.5 million for the Wagga Wagga City Council for the $57.39 million Riverina Intermodal Freight and Logistics Hub;
- $7 million to the Lake Macquarie City Council for the $50 million Lake Macquarie Transport Interchange Stage 1;
- $5 million to the Wollongong City Council for the $14.92 million Crown Street Mall Refurbishment;
- $5 million to the Tweed Shire Council for the $42 million Arkinstall Park Regional Sports Centre;
- $4.9 million to the Orange City Council for the $13.91 million Orange Airport expansion;
- $4.7 million to the Bombala Shire Council for the $9.47 million Bombala Timber Precinct Infrastructure Project;
- $4.3 million to the Ballina Shire Council for the $8.5 million Ballina Biochar and Waste-to-Energy project;
- $3.5 million to the Albury City Council for the $10.5 million Albury Regional Art Gallery redevelopment;
- $3.5 million to the Dubbo City Council for the $5.3 million Barden Park Regional Centre for Excellence for Athletics;
- $3 million to the Bathurst Regional Council for the $6.07 million Mount Panorama Infrastructure Project;
- $3 million to the Broken Hill City Council for the $8.12 million Broken Hill Heavy Vehicle Bypass Road;
- $2.7 million to the Muswellbrook Shire Council for the $5.71 million Affordable Student Accommodation in the Upper Hunter Project;
- $2.6 million to the Southern Youth and Family Services for the $5.15 million Southern Community Hub and Youth Foyer in Warilla;
- $2.5 million to the Gosford City Council towards the $5.18 million Narara Valley Sporting Precinct; and
- $500,000 to the Deni Play on the Plains Festival for the $911,000 Southern Riverina Regional Event Complex.
The Federal Government has announced Queensland will receive $33.6 million to fund eight projects as part of Round 2 of the Regional Development Australia Fund.
"The Federal Government is investing $33.6 million in eight projects across Queensland with a total value of more than $134 million," Federal Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean said.
"The local communities have responded to the challenge of developing creative proposals that stack up, effectively leverage other funding and sustain the economic and social future of their regions.
The projects selected in Queensland are:
- $7.78 million to the Moreton Bay Regional Council towards the $44.89 million The Corso at the Lakes Construction;
- $5 million to the Torres Strait Island Regional Council towards the $24 million Torres Strait Coastal Protection Works;
- $5 million to the Ipswich City Council towards the $15 million Robelle Domain (Stage 2) Parkland Development;
- $4.99 million to the Central Highlands Regional Council towards the $9.98 million Emerald Airport Apron Extension;
- $4.99 million to the Mackay Regional Council towards the $29.10 million Mackay Regional Events Centre;
- $3.40 million to ACT for Kids towards the $4.60 million ACT for Kids Child and Family Centre of Excellence;
- $2 million to Toowoomba Regional Council towards the $5.5 million Toowoomba Regional Arts and Community Centre; and
- $500,000 to the Somerset Regional Council towards the $1 million Kilcoy Showground Facility Development.
The announcement has been met with a mixed reception, with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) complaining that the majority of the funding is being allocated to towns and coastal cities rather than rural and remote communities.
Local Government Association of Queensland chief executive Greg Hallam said while those communities that attracted funding would be grateful for the Government’s investment, rural and remote Queensland was entitled to be disappointed.
“This is the second time rural and remote communities have largely been passed over for regional development funding under this program,’’ Mr Hallam said.
“The Government seems to have a definition of regional development that excludes large parts of Queensland.’’