Scheme could fail if rushed.
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The National Waste and Recycling Industry Council (NWRIC), whose five foundation members are Veolia, JJ Richards, Cleanaway, Remondis and Suez, last week voted to lobby the NSW government to delay the NSW scheme. The NWRIC says the proposed state-wide network of more than 450 collection points that the government has asked network operators to set up is incomplete. The network could face further delays as some collection points need development applications and work on safety and traffic management. The industry group argues that the scheme is not yet ready to be rolled out as scheduled by the NSW government on December 1 and says that pushing ahead with it this year could end in tears. NWRIC CEO Max Spedding said there were several issues yet to be properly thrashed out and the rules around the scheme had been released only six months ago. “The industry feels that the scheme is under done and a bit rushed. We’re concerned that there are still these unknowns that would like to see resolved earlier rather than later,” Mr Spedding said. The issues included: awarding tenders; negotiations between local councils and industry about the ownership of deposit containers; achieving clarity around payment for containers (especially because of new regulations specifying that scrap steel trading must be cashless) and a final decision on which containers are eligible for refunds. “The scheme may commence with sub-standard collection infrastructure and poorly implemented systems. Fraud may occur. This could undermine public confidence in this scheme and the industry more broadly,” he warned. He said operators could pull out if the CDS did not work for them, especially if there was a lack of collection points that made the scheme unviable. Another concern is that by starting the NSW container deposit scheme earlier than Queensland containers are stockpiled or transported across the border to NSW. “This is always a risk where there are cross-jurisdictional market distortions,” Mr Spedding said. “It is industry’s experience that where money can be made by transporting waste, businesses are set up. More than half a million tonnes currently moves between NSW and Queensland to avoid levies.” NWRIC Chairman Phil Richards said regulators were already working to harmonise the rules of both the NSW and Queensland container deposit schemes, so it seemed natural to harmonise their start dates. “By delaying the start date of the NSW CDS by only seven months - to July 1, 2018 - both NSW and Queensland can prevent cross border transport of beverage containers and stockpiling issues,” Mr Richards said. “CDS programs are complex, so it is also important that adequate time is given to network operators to establish collection and administration systems. These systems are needed to reduce disruption and deliver a high quality service to the public.” But Mr Spedding said the NSW Environmental Protection Authority was adamant that the scheme would start by December at a meeting last week with major players, operators and processors, despite their protestations. Boomerang Alliance Jeff Angel shares Mr Spedding’s concerns and agrees the scheme is unlikely to be postponed. “There has already been one extension and it looks extremely unlikely will be granted,” he said. “There will always be problems with any start date and while NSW has left a relatively short period for the roll-out of the infrastructure [collection points and depots] I think all the stakeholders have to work as fast and as constructively as possible.” Mr Angel said the Alliance still had concerns over whether there would be enough collection points and depots to ensure it was convenient for people to take part in the scheme. Under the NSW CDS people can hand in most empty drink containers of between 150 millilitres to 3 litres and receive a 10c refund at a collection depot or reverse vending machine. Exceptions include milk and flavoured milk containers, casks, juice containers and glass containers for wines and spirits. [post_title] => NSW and QLD container deposit schemes should both start in 2018, says waste industry [post_excerpt] => Scheme could fail if rushed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-qld-container-deposit-schemes-start-2018-says-waste-industry [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-20 10:19:51 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-20 00:19:51 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27440 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27365 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-13 12:21:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-13 02:21:00 [post_content] => Stinky wheelie bins, noisy garbage trucks and scavenging rodents will never plague Maroochydore’s new city centre on the Sunshine Coast. Rather than employing a fleet of wheelie bins and rubbish trucks, Sunshine Coast Council will suck rubbish from waste inlets in the walls of apartments and commercial buildings at speeds of up to 70kmh through a 6.5 kilometre system of underground vacuum pipes, lurking beneath Australia’s newest, 53-hectare city. Three colour-coded waste inlets will deal with general waste, recyclables and organics and each will be compartmentalised and sealed underground until the vacuum pump gets switched on to suck it into the central waste facility, probably twice daily. There will also be waste inlets above ground in public areas which will look a bit like daleks. The waste is then put into sealed compactors and once or twice a week the council receives a message indicating the compactor is full and the waste needs to be collected. The council’s Director of Infrastructure Services Andrew Ryan said the Swedish system, pioneered in 1965, was already popular in the Northern Hemisphere and would be the first one installed in Australia. He said the process functioned similarly to sewerage and water systems. The system will cost $21 million to install but Mr Ryan said costs would be recouped from CBD occupants over the life of the project, around 25 to 30 years. The council will build the central waste collection centre and charge per property to cover operational and collection costs. “One of the things we really liked about this system is they work really well in large-scale, medium density masterplan communities [like Maroochydore], particularly where the developer has a long-term interest in the precinct,” Mr Ryan said. “The most obvious advantages are you have a public realm that doesn’t have garbage trucks trundling up and down the street in the early morning or at night. There’s no noise, no smell and no vermin. “Buildings can have active frontages because you’re just dealing with a pipe [not bins] and you save on labour costs.” Mr Ryan said Sydney and Melbourne had a good look at the system but it was difficult for the business case to stack up because of the cost of sinking pipes underground in an already established city centre, although he said Barcelona and Singapore had both done retrofits. The system was most suited to medium to high density masterplan communities of between 3000 to 5000 people or a resort-style development where five or six buildings were located together. But it is not just about waste collection. At the same time, the council will install a high-speed fibre optic network as part of its smart cities’ project. This will provide free Wi-Fi hotspots, movement sensors, smart signs and lighting. The council is not hanging about. The pipes should be in the ground within three months and the central collection centre should be operational by December 2018. [post_title] => Council dumps wheelie bins for whizz-bang underground waste system [post_excerpt] => Maroochydore in Australian first. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-dumps-wheelie-bins-whizz-bang-underground-waste-system [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-13 13:00:18 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-13 03:00:18 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27365 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27284 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-06-02 11:24:51 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:24:51 [post_content] => NSW councils tentative on housing affordability package Local Government NSW (LGNSW) has welcomed NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s ‘promising ideas’ in the state’s new housing affordability package but said the reforms were ‘somewhat light on detail’. The reforms include stamp duty concessions for first home buyers, changes to the first home buyer’s grant, higher taxes on foreign investors and accelerating council-led rezonings and development application approvals. "LGNSW congratulates the government on its efforts to do what it can to support housing affordability, and there's nothing we'd like more to do than to come out and praise their efforts,” LGNSW President Keith Rhoades said. "Unfortunately until there is more detailed information available it really seems to be a case of the devil will lie in the detail." Mr Rhoades said the sector welcomed many components of the package, including the ‘very positive’ move to lift the cap on development contributions to ensure new homes had the necessary infrastructure to support them, like footpaths, roads and parks. He also cautiously welcomed the announcement of funding of up to $2.5 million for ‘growth priority councils’ to help councils update their Local Environment Plans quicker. "It's great news that these ten to 15 councils will be supported to plan for future growth, but we are a little concerned at the suggestion that councils should accelerate the rezoning of land," Mr Rhoades said. "Rezoning needs good strategic planning at a local level, and it's important that we don't give this up in the pursuit of speed at all costs.” He said it was unclear whether the government’s new guidelines around protecting the local character of communities would have much force. However, Mr Rhoades said councils were pleased the government had not moved straight to mandatory independent planning panels for deciding larger development applications. "These panels work very effectively for some councils, but other councils don't see the need for them - it really needs to be a matter of local choice.” Digital marketplace for smart cities Local councils can now use the Digital Transformation Agency’s (DTA) Digital Marketplace platform to collaborate on smart city projects, including smart lighting, rubbish collection and infrastructure modelling. The new functionality, which is expected to become permanent, was introduced to help councils find suppliers for the innovative products and services they need to deliver smart city ideas. “There is a great appetite for innovation within local councils, who are at the forefront of smart city initiatives,” Assistant Minister for Cities and Digital Transformation Angus Taylor said. “Already 25 per cent of registered buyers on the Digital Marketplace are local government and there are more than 400 sellers who can provide the digital expertise they need to transform their communities.” There are already some exciting projects up on the Digital Marketplace, such as Sunshine Coast’s underground waste collection project and Ipswich Council’s 5D data modelling, which brings together streams of data to build a five-dimensional view of the city’s infrastructure. The Marketplace is supporting the federal government’s Smart Cities Plan and complements the $50 million Smart Cities and Suburbs Program. Applications for the first round of the Smart Cities and Suburbs Program close on 30 June 2017. Eight Sydney councils will offer residents free energy advice Eight Sydney councils will offer free energy advice to residents through the Our Energy Future partnership, going live on World Environment Day, Monday 5 June. Eight councils are working with Our Energy Future: Inner West, Bayside, City of Canada Bay, Canterbury-Bankstown City, Georges River, City of Parramatta, Randwick City, and City of Sydney. Our Energy Future (formerly Our Solar Future) will involve an energy advice website, phone line and free, no-obligation quotes on solar and assessment services. Users can find information such as trusted solar and storage battery retailers and installers and tips on improving the energy efficiency of their homes and workplaces. For a discounted rate, Our Energy Future experts can also conduct comprehensive energy assessments to offer more tailored advice. Southern Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (SSROC) President Councillor Sally Betts said she was excited about the launch. “We’re delighted that Our Energy Future and SSROC have been able to come together with eight councils to deliver financial savings to our local residents,” she said. Our Energy Future is coordinated by Positive Charge, a not-for-profit social enterprise. “Our organisation has its foundations in working with local government to reduce emissions and increase the use of renewable and energy efficiency technologies,” said Manager Positive Charge Kate Nicolazzo. “We are thrilled to be partnering with SSROC to bring this award-winning service to Sydney-region residents,” she said. SSROC General Manager Namoi Dougall said, “Our Energy Future is a key element of SSROC’s Renewable Energy Master Plan, and will be run by Positive Charge for a 15-month pilot.” [post_title] => Around the councils: Digital Marketplace open for smart cities; Response to NSW housing reforms [post_excerpt] => And eight Sydney council's energy efficiency push. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-councils-digital-marketplace-open-smart-cities-response-nsw-housing-reforms [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-06-02 11:32:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-06-02 01:32:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27284 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27216 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-25 05:00:00 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 19:00:00 [post_content] => Bendigo Council's Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd with Clean Cube. Pic: supplied. A solar waste compactor that functions with an ordinary household wheelie bin will be trialled by a Victorian council keen to increase bin capacity, cut costs and reduce the number of rubbish collections the council makes. The City of Greater Bendigo Council is currently trialling Clean Cube, a smart waste compactor which runs on renewable solar energy and tells you when it is full. The Clean Cube was developed by Korean start-up company Ecube and it can hold a 120 or 240 litre bin. Bendigo Council’s Australian supplier is Smart City Solutions. City of Greater Bendigo Presentation and Assets Director Craig Lloyd said it could help reduce the cost of waste collection. “By reducing the frequency of collections there is the potential to reduce the costs and labour associated with providing waste collection services to public areas by up to 80 per cent,” Mr Lloyd said. “It’s important to look at the new technology that exists to see if it’s viable for our community.” He said the Clean Cube used smart technology and multiple sensors to measure the bin’s fill level in real time. “The sensors trigger the automatic compaction of waste inside the bin and by doing this the capacity of the bin is increased by up to eight times meaning it doesn’t have to be emptied as often,” Mr Lloyd said. “However when it is full, the Clean Cube electronically notifies the city’s waste collection staff that it needs to be emptied.” Mr Lloyd said the compactor’s smart technology also included safety features that could detect sudden temperature rises, such as a fire in the bin. Using the compactor bins at events would also reduce overflowing and litter. Ecube Labs’ online marketing manager, Matti Juutinen, told IoTAustralia in June last year that the cube can hold up to eight times more rubbish than traditional bins. “We are the only company in the industry to offer an ultrasonic fill-level sensor (with 10 years battery life) and a smart solar-powered waste compacting bin on a single real-time monitoring platform that generates optimised schedules and routes based on fill-level forecasting,” Mr Juutinen said. He said the compactor could go for two to three weeks without sunlight once fully charged. Charging it takes three to four days if there has been at least four hours of sunlight on each day. The Clean Cube is being trialled at Lake Weeroona, the city’s most popular recreation area, until June 13. [post_title] => Korean solar waste compactor could slash councils' rubbish collection costs [post_excerpt] => Victorian council trials Clean Cube. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => vic-council-trials-korean-solar-waste-compactor-slash-rubbish-collection-costs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-25 16:23:36 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-25 06:23:36 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27216 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 27042 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-05-04 10:27:37 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-04 00:27:37 [post_content] => Cumberland Council will press ahead with a controversial plan to outsource kerbside waste and recycling before September’s local government elections. The Western Sydney suburbs council, born out of a forced merger between Holroyd and Auburn Councils and part of Parramatta in May 2016, has put the council’s waste and recycling services out to tender with a deadline of May 26. Up for grabs are services include kerbside garbage; recyclables; organics and garden waste; council clean ups and picking up dumped rubbish and this covers around 70,000 housesholds. This translates annually into dealing with around 60,000 tonnes of garbage; 14,000 tonnes of recycling and 5,500 tonnes of organic and green waste, as well as two to four council clean ups a year and collecting dumped rubbish within 24 hours of it being reported. Government News understands that new contractors could take over from as early as August. They will manage the transition to a new service and begin a four-year contract from January 2019 with the option to extend this by three years. Council Administrator Viv May commissioned reviews into council services, including garbage collection and council swimming pools, after taking over last year. The waste review, written by council officers, showed a marked preference towards outsourcing services to the private sector and argued that the council could cut its costs by 20 per cent through bigger contracts and reduced operating costs. Most of the council’s waste and recycling services are currently delivered by council garbos, apart from waste services in Woodville Ward, which used to come under Parramatta Council, and the recyclables collection in the former Holroyd Council area. Mr May has copped flak from former Holroyd Mayor Greg Cummings, as well as resistance from the United Services Union (USU), which represents local government workers in NSW. Mr Cummings said Mr May was ‘overstepping his responsibilities’ and driving changes through before the council went into caretaker mode in early August. “This is done at break-neck speed to make sure it’s done before an elected council can review it,” Mr Cummings said. “By all means collect the information and get a report but it should be there ready for the democratically elected council to review.” Mr Cummings said Mr May was known to be an enthusiastic advocate of outsourcing and had a track record in that area. Mr May spent 27 years as Mosman Council’s General Manager where he outsourced the council’s outdoor work and reduced council employed outdoor workers from more than 100 to six. Mr Cummings also criticised the council for omitting diversion to landfill in the tender. He said that the former Holroyd Council had managed to divert 62 per cent of green waste from landfill using UR-3R alternative waste treatment plant in Eastern Creek. But Cumberland Council’s Group Manager, Roads and Waste Peter Fitzgerald defended the decision to go out to competitive tender. He said the council’s review estimated it would yield more than $16 million in savings and ensure a more consistent service. It would also finally give Woodville ward residents a green waste bin so they would no longer have to trek to the council’s depot. “Given that the existing contract for waste services in the Woodville ward expires in November this year council could not wait any longer to make a decision about the provision of waste services,” Mr Fitzgerald said. “Council must provide a consistent service to all residents irrespective of which part of the council area they live in.” He said around 34 council staff would be affected by decision. “All affected council staff have been assured that if they want a job with council they will still have a job with council, regardless of the decision to call tenders for these services,” Mr Fitzgerald said. Mr May told Government News in October last year that Administrators had the same powers as mayors and councillors and would make decisions accordingly. The USU is not convinced and has come out against the outsourcing plans, arguing that service levels will drop and rates will rise. It led a public rally against Cumberland Council outsourcing in February. The USU website says of the tender: “We all know that private waste collection companies don’t care about ratepayers or the local community, they only care about one thin: delivering profit margins to their shareholders. “The contractors won’t have time to do missed services or go the extra mile by taking your bin in if you can’t. Yes, that’s what the hard working council garbos do for the community.” But disentangling the legacy of three different councils’ waste and recycling services will not be easy. The council will have to pay out staff redundancies and long service leave along with paying penalties on any contracts which are terminated early, some of which do not expire until 2020. The United Services Union has been contacted for comment. More to follow. [post_title] => Merged NSW council outsources rubbish and recycling before councillors elected [post_excerpt] => Union and ex-mayor enter fray. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 27042 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-04 10:27:37 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-04 00:27:37 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=27042 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26935 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-04-19 10:59:32 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:59:32 [post_content] =>By Claire Hibbit
SafeWork NSW is waiving the five-day asbestos removal work notification period to allow immediate clean-up of asbestos debris from storm-damaged properties in north east NSW.Property owners in the Ballina, Byron Shire, Kyogle, Lismore and Tweed local government areas will have their assessments fast-tracked to ensure asbestos-containing material can be removed as quickly as possible. SafeWork NSW executive director, Peter Dunphy, urged residents to seek information on the potential risks of being exposed to asbestos and how to manage it safely when cleaning up after a storm or flood. “Flood-affected homes may contain asbestos materials which need to be safely managed and removed so that the health of the community is protected,” Dunphy said. “As the State Emergency Service assesses the damage and residents begin to clean-up or repair properties, we want them to be aware of the dangers.Read more here. This story first appeared in INCLEAN Magazine. [post_title] => SafeWork NSW fast tracks asbestos assessments on flood damage [post_excerpt] => Managing the clean up. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => safework-nsw-fast-tracks-asbestos-assessments-flood-damage [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-02 15:14:17 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-02 05:14:17 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26935 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26910 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-04-18 11:03:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-18 01:03:25 [post_content] => Local Government Excellence Awards Local Government Professionals NSW revealed the winners of its Oscars for local councils earlier this month. Full list below. President LG Professionals, NSW Barry Smith said the awards recognised and showcased the pinnacle of excellence in the local government sector in NSW and significant achievements by NSW councils over the past year as well as the outstanding professional development achievements of our members. “Local government works hard for the communities in New South Wales, and we were thrilled that the Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister joined us in acknowledging the sector’s professionalism and dedication," Mr Smith said.
Excellence in Innovative Leadership and ManagementRecognising the use of superior management and leadership skills to achieve outstanding benefits for the organisation and/or for the community. Winner: Tweed Shire Council Highly Commended: Lachlan Shire Council, City of Ryde Council Community Partnerships and Collaboration Recognising genuine and effective partnerships and collaborations that have resulted in better outcomes for council, as well as initiatives that demonstrate a commitment to working with and/or in the community to achieve positive outcomes. Population over 15,000 Winner: Port Stephens Council Highly Commended: Blacktown City Council, Lake Macquarie City Council Population under 15,000 Winner: Warrumbungle Shire Council Excellence in Local Economic Contribution Recognising innovation in leadership and management for a project/initiative that has enhanced the economic wellbeing of their local government area and increased the value proposition to ratepayers and residents, in parts or all, of their city, town, district or region. Winner: Liverpool City Council Highly Commended: Lake Macquarie City Council Excellence in Environmental Leadership and Sustainability Recognising dedication to sustainability as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit to the environment. Population over 100,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Canterbury-Bankstown Council, Central Coast Council Population under 100,000 Winner: City of Canada Bay Council Highly Commended: Byron Shire Council
Special Project InitiativeRecognising leadership where an individual, team or council has developed a concept or practice that significantly improves the business in which they work, development of processes or practices that has had a major impact on the organisation or its customers. Population over 15,000 Winner: Lake Macquarie City Council Highly Commended: Central Coast Council, North Sydney Council Population under 15,000 Winner: Hunter’s Hill Council
Excellence in Community Development and ServicesRecognising leadership in community services as evidenced by way of corporate process improvements, a particular project initiative, innovation in management and leadership practices or demonstrated practicality and resourcefulness. Winner: Canterbury-Bankstown Council Highly Commended: Cumberland Council
Excellence in Asset Management and Infrastructure InitiativesRecognising excellence in Asset Management as evidenced by the implementation of corporate process improvements, projects or initiatives that demonstrate significant real or potential benefit in asset management. Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, Wentworth Shire council
Excellence in Risk ManagementRecognising the community and/or Council benefits (strategic, operational or financial) delivered through the identification, control and mitigation of risks within a council’s unique risk profile. Winner: Wollongong City Council Highly Commended: City of Canada Bay Council
Excellence in Creative CommunitiesRecognising excellence in bring together communities through art and cultural creative projects. Population over 15,000 Winner: Campbelltown City Council Highly Commended: Bega Valley Shire Council, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Population under 15,000 Winner: Narrabri Shire Council
Excellence in Operational and Management EffectivenessThe Excellence in Operational and Management Effectiveness Award is open to all NSW councils who have participated in the Australasian LG Performance Excellence Program. Winner: Willoughby City Council Dux of the Governance Intensive Course The Governance in Local Government Intensive Course has been developed to enhance the governance knowledge and skills of professionals working in the local government sector. Dux: Christine Priest, Wagga Wagga City Council Dux of the Finance Intensive Course Covering all aspects of local government finance this one week intensive residential course will benefit new finance managers, senior accounting and accounting officers or anyone with a financial background wishing to expand their knowledge of local government finance. Dux: Tracy Wilde, Sutherland Shire Council NSW Environmental Excellence Awards Nominations are open for the NSW Environmental Excellence Awards, which celebrate councils and council staff who have done outstanding environmental work in the state. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades said local government was the closest level of government to communities and had the most direct influence on local environments. "But what is often forgotten is that local government is one of the biggest sectors in the NSW economy,” Mr Rhoades said. "Councils are responsible for maintaining and upgrading $142 billion in infrastructure and land assets, including parks, reserves, roads, community facilities and water and sewerage systems. He said the sector employed more than 50,000 people and injected $11 billion into the state's economy every year. "Combine that economic power with a commitment to environmental sustainability and best practice, and you have a sector making a very real contribution to the environment in NSW." There are 15 award categories, including the prestigious Local Sustainability Award for overall council performance and the Louise Petchell Memorial Award for Individual Sustainability awarded to an individual. They will be announced on October 11 at the University of Technology Sydney and they cover projects and programs from January 2016 to May 2017. The prize for overall winner of the Local Sustainability Award is an overseas study tour or a professional development program for staff, valued at $10,000. Individual councils, county councils and regional council groupings are all eligible to enter, and compete against similarly sized councils in one of three levels: populations of less than 30,000; between 30,000 and 70,000; and more than 70,000. Nomination applications close on 31 May, with further details available on LGNSW's website National Reconciliation Week funding Councils have until the end of this week to apply for federal government funding to support celebrations for National Reconciliation Week, which runs from May 27 to June 3. Celebrations are particularly poignant this year with the upcoming 50th anniversary of the 1967 Referendum and the 25th anniversary of the 1992 Mabo High Court decision. The funding round closes on Friday 21 April 2017. President of the Australian Local Government Association, David O’Loughlin said councils can use the funding to partner with a local Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander community organisation to mark these two historic events through activities that honour and respect their significance to all Australians. “It is a great compliment to the sector that the Turnbull Government has chosen local councils as partners in celebrating this national milestone,” Mr O’Loughlin said. “I would hate to see any council miss out so I urge all councils to submit applications for this funding via the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet website.” Bill Shorten to address local councils Labor leader Bill Shorten will address this year’s National General Assembly of Local Government (NGA) on Tuesday 20 June in Canberra. This week, the Opposition came out in support of ALGA’s call to end the freeze on Financial Assistance Grants (FAGs) indexation agreeing that local government funding has been under pressure following the 2014-15 freeze. The party called on the Government to rule out any extension of the FAGs indexation freeze beyond 30 June 2017. The NGA is the peak annual event for local government, attracting in excess of 800 Mayors and Councillors each year. Themed Building Tomorrow’s Communities, this year’s NGA will be held from 18 - 21 June. [post_title] => Around the councils [post_excerpt] => Full list of NSW Local Government Excellence Award winners. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => around-the-councils [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-18 14:07:16 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-18 04:07:16 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26910 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26574 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-03-20 11:50:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-03-20 00:50:31 [post_content] => The NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) has fitted GPS trackers onto vehicles suspected of illegally dumping building and demolition waste, including asbestos. NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said the trackers were fitted after a covert EPA investigation into illegal dumping last year. The trackers are fitted on a 12-month trial basis - with the owners’ knowledge - and it is illegal for drivers or owners to remove or tamper with them. If the trucks are transporting waste lawfully after this time the EPA has said it will consider removing the GPS devices. Ms Upton said the GPS system enabled the EPA to track the vehicles’ movements, alerting the authority if trucks travelled near known illegal dumping hotspots. “The NSW government is serious about cracking down on illegal dumpers – trial results show the trackers fitted to vehicles has deterred illegal activity and won’t just deter those being watched but others who think they can get away with dumping on our communities and environment,” Ms Upton said. She said the EPA would consider using tracking devices to monitor other vehicles accused of transporting or dumping waste unlawfully once the trial was complete. An EPA spokesperson said that preliminary results showed the trial had acted as a deterrent to illegal dumping, resulting in waste being transported and disposed of at lawful facilities. Local councils count the cost The scourge of illegal dumping is a huge problem for NSW and also for local councils, who are often saddled with the clean-up. Illegal dumping can be a health hazard, contaminating public land and waterways and poisoning wildlife. Dumping can also hinder roadworks and bushfire protection and block emergency access during a fire. An EPA spokesperson said that cleaning up illegally dumped material was a significant cost for local communities, councils and public land managers. She said that data showed that one in 10 LGAs spent $500,000 or more on education, enforcement, clean-up and other illegal-dumping activities each year. A 2004 EPA survey found that construction and demolition waste made up about 12 per cent of waste illegally dumped in NSW and this is just waste the councils deal with. The NSW government introduced tougher laws in 2014, including the power to install trackers onto vehicles and the ability to seize vehicles used in dumping offences. The fines for flouting the rules are steep. The EPA can issue on the spot fines of up to $15,000 for corporations and $7500 for individuals. If the case goes to court, a judge can impose a maximum penalty of $1 million and/or seven years prion imprisonment if an offence is committed wilfully. Illegal dumping incidents can be reported by calling the Environment Line on 131 555 or through the RID online reporting portal at ridonline.epa.nsw.gov.au Want the latest public sector news delivered straight to your inbox? Click here to sign up the Government News newsletter. [post_title] => GPS trackers fitted to vehicles that dump illegally [post_excerpt] => Environment Protection Agency gets tough. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => gps-trackers-fitted-trucks-dump-illegally [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 10:45:06 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:45:06 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26574 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26273 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-17 11:09:19 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-17 00:09:19 [post_content] => The NSW Container Deposit scheme (CDS) will be delayed by five months to give local councils and industry and environment groups longer to prepare. NSW Environment and Local Government Minister Gabrielle Upton said the CDS would be rolled out from December 1, 2017 rather than from July, as originally planned. It also means the cash for cans program will have broader coverage across the state and take in more rural and regional areas. Ms Upton said groups such as Clean Up Australia and the Boomerang Alliance, as well as drinks industry stakeholders had asked for an extension. “This will be the biggest initiative to tackle litter in the state’s history – stakeholder feedback is vital to get the scheme right,” Ms Upton said. Under the scheme, NSW residents can return most empty drink containers between 150 ml and three litres to collection points in return for a 10-cent refund. The aim is to significantly reduce the estimated 160 million drink containers littered every year and ease the burden on local councils. Local Government NSW President Keith Rhoades called it ‘an eminently sensible decision’. "Councils spend hundreds of thousands of dollars each year picking up litter, and would much prefer to be investing this money in other community services,” Mr Rhoades said. "The scheme has the potential to cut litter in NSW by up to 43 per cent, but the complexity of the collection and refund processes required have become increasingly clear.” He said the five-month extension would make it easier to ensure the supporting infrastructure and resources were in place before the scheme began, as well as rolling it out to other local government areas. Boomerang Alliance Director Jeff Angel said the Alliance fought hard for the container deposit scheme and wanted to ensure it would work efficiently for the community and business to maximise the environmental benefits. “The Alliance understood that getting the container deposit scheme up and running was a very complicated process. It’s better to delay the implementation by a few months, so the scheme is ready from day one,” Mr Angel said. Industry groups were also pleased about the delay. Tanya Barden, Director of Economics and Sustainability Australian Food and Grocery Council, said the drinks industry supported an efficient and effective container deposit scheme in NSW. “We’re pleased that the NSW Government has listened to industry and environmental groups’ views about the complexity of introducing such as scheme. This extension allows the time to put the fundamentals in place so that the scheme can operate smoothly for both consumers and industry,” Ms Barden said. The 2015-2016 National Litter Index found that 49 per cent of litter by volume was made up of beverage containers – and 43 per cent of the total volume was containers that will be caught by the NSW container deposit scheme. Ms Upton said container deposit schemes operate in more than 40 jurisdictions around the world and are a proven and efficient way to recover litter and increase recycling of beverage containers. [post_title] => NSW container deposit scheme delayed until December [post_excerpt] => Move welcomed by councils. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => 26273 [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 10:46:22 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:46:22 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26273 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26217 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-02-10 10:36:46 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-09 23:36:46 [post_content] => NSW public buildings could double as chill out areas for the elderly and other people at risk trying to escape this weekend’s predicted heatwave, says the Opposition. As the state contemplates sweating through temperatures of up to 45 degrees in inland areas, Shadow Health Minister Walt Secord has called upon NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian to trial designating public buildings such as council chambers, libraries and art galleries as 'respite cooling centres' for the elderly and families. It has been done before. Mildura in Victoria has an emergency community cooling centre where the elderly can seek relief from the heat and the Canadian city of Toronto has opened cooling centers during heatwaves. Some Eastern European cities have heating centres during cold snaps. Mr Secord said public buildings with air-conditioning could stay open longer to provide shelter for people looking to avoid the extreme temperatures. “State governments need to have contingency plans for extraordinary events and extreme hot weather is one such event,” said Mr Secord. “We want to minimise the effect of heat stress on the most vulnerable in our society; this is about protecting them. Unfortunately, these soaring temperatures are set to continue – and they hit the young and the elderly the hardest.” He said it was easier for younger people and families to avoid the heat because they could go to shopping malls, the cinema, parks or beaches but the elderly and less mobile found this more difficult. NSW Health says those most at risk from the high temperatures are the elderly, pregnant women, babies and other children, people with chronic conditions and those whose immune systems are compromised. Meanwhile, the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has predicted that demand for electricity in NSW will be the highest ever, peaking between 4.30pm and 6.30pm on Saturday, and expected to reach around 14,700 megawatts. NSW residents are being urged to reduce their energy use, where they can. Minister for Energy and Utilities Don Harwin said people should turn up their air con to 26 degrees, adjust fridge temperatures and switch off appliances and lights, where possible. Mr Harwin said that despite the heat the electricity networks were comfortable there would be no break in supply. “We are working with AEMO, TransGrid and generators to ensure that all generation capacity is operating including coal, hydro, gas, wind and solar,” Mr Harwin said. “The government is taking additional steps to reduce peak demand, including in government operations. If required the networks will consider load shedding to manage peak demand.” Load shedding is where AEMO orders power companies to begin switching off customers’ power supply to protect the power system from black outs. “I am being kept up to date on the situation and if further action is to be taken we will make sure that the energy companies are informing their customers, and we will update the community as we know more,” he said. In other news, the Senate Select Committee into the Resilience of Electricity Infrastructure in a Warming World continues with a public hearing in Canberra today (Friday). The Committee will explore how Australia’s electricity networks will cope with increased power demands from severe weather events in the future, including exploring emerging technologies. The committee is due to report to the Senate on or before 24 March 2017. [post_title] => Council chambers could be used as respite cooling centres during NSW heatwave [post_excerpt] => No blackouts, says government. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => council-chambers-used-respite-cooling-centres-heatwave [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-15 16:10:13 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-15 05:10:13 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26217 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 26213 [post_author] => 658 [post_date] => 2017-02-09 16:51:28 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-09 05:51:28 [post_content] => by Ben Hagemann With a new Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) looming in New South Wales, the Australasian Association of Convenience Stores (AACS) has made a last ditch plea to the state government to reconsider the timeframe of the scheme rollout. Earlier this year AACS CEO Jeff Rogut highlighted a lack of detail about the specifics of the scheme as a reason for delaying the rollout, and now says that despite repeated efforts to speak to politicians about the issue, none have “even had the decency to respond”. Read more here. This story first appeared in C&I Week. [post_title] => Delay NSW cash for cans scheme, say convenience stores [post_excerpt] => Contracts too rushed. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => open [post_password] => [post_name] => nsw-container-deposit-scheme-soon-say-convenience-stores [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-19 10:52:09 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-19 00:52:09 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => http://www.governmentnews.com.au/?p=26213 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw )  => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 25995 [post_author] => 659 [post_date] => 2017-01-16 12:42:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-01-16 01:42:50 [post_content] => NSW local councils have been asked to comment on proposed changes to the regulation of water cooling towers in an attempt to prevent future outbreaks of Legionnaires Disease. An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease in March 2016 was tracked back to an infected water cooling tower in Sydney’s CBD and this spawned the NSW Health discussion paper asking councils for feedback on the new regulations. Building owners – some of whom are councils - are responsible for checking water cooling towers every month, cleaning them every six months and getting them certified every year. As well, local councils must keep a register of water-cooling systems in their area, including details about inspections. Legionnaire bacteria can cause a nasty bacterial lung infection, which can be fatal in about 10 per cent of cases, and can be transmitted when a person breathes in contaminated water vapour, dust or soil. Legoinnaire pneumophilia bacteria can contaminate airconditioning towers, spas and shower heads and they live in warm, stagnant water, making water cooling towers some of the riskiest sites. Towers usually sit on top of large buildings forming part of the water-cooling system. A pool of water is sprayed over pipes to cool the air inside the building and then recirculated, making the warm water susceptible to infiltration by bacteria. The infected water droplets can then drift out into the street. The NSW Health recommendations include:
- Minimum standards for testing and inspecting water-cooling towers
- Independently audited risk management plans for operating and testing cooling towers
- Testing laboratories to notify local councils of cooling tower test results where bacteria levels are elevated
- Local government can ask for additional testing and results, if needed
Resource & Waste Management
Maroochydore in Australian first.
And eight Sydney council’s energy efficiency push.
Victorian council trials Clean Cube.
Union and ex-mayor enter fray.
Managing the clean up.
Full list of NSW Local Government Excellence Award winners.
Environment Protection Agency gets tough.
Move welcomed by councils.
No blackouts, says government.
Contracts too rushed.
Local councils asked for feedback.
Retailers call for ‘staged implementation’.