The National Water Commission has issued a landmark report urging Australian governments to overhaul the way urban water supplies are managed.

The Urban water in Australia: future directions report has found that arrangements for managing water in the towns and cities are inadequate and have led governments to make "panic" decisions - including to build "very expensive" energy-guzzling desalination plants - while paying little attention to the costs imposed on consumers and taxpayers.

The report also concludes that, while Australia's water quality has been good, urban water quality will be increasingly at risk from more frequent and severe algal blooms, bushfires, storms and floods.

The Victorian Government has called for submissions to its Review of the 2010-11 Flood Warnings and Response, and is continuing a series of public meetings in flood affected towns during April and May.

The Queensland Government is providing funding of $98,000 to assist local governments in the Gladstone, Central and South West regions of Queensland to bid for key infrastructure work to prepare the region for growth in the mining industry.

Councils in the Eastern Riverina region of NSW have reiterated the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) calls to meet with the new NSW Minister for Emergency Services to discuss a review of the funding model for emergency services. 

Gold Coast City Council has been awarded $135,000 by the Queensland Government to employ a research officer to undertake the Industry Government Strategic Skills Audit.

Councils in the Western Riverina and Murray region of NSW have called for the newly-elected NSW Government to withdraw the non-rateable status of national parks and are seeking a 'rate equivalent' payment for councils for private land that has been purchased for incorporation into national parks.

The Queensland Government has identified a further 14 councils that will receive advance funding injections for reconstruction efforts following the floods and Cyclone Yasi. .

Thousands of road building jobs have become available in Queensland's Fitzroy and Darling-Down Regions as the state begins its reconstruction effort following February's flooding and cyclone events.

The MacDonnell Shire Council in the Northern Territory has come under criticism for its allegedly outsourcing some administrative jobs to India.

Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) has been allocated an additional $3.45 million by the Victorian Government to continue its work of  representing the interests of small rural communities across the state for at least the next four years.

Legislation enabling the creation of Development Assessment Panels (DAPs) in Western Australia has come into operation.

Councils are now expected to be about much more than just "roads, rates and rubbish" according to a research paper into community governance in Australia.

The sister cities of Blacktown City Council and Liverpool Plains Shire Council have produced a toolkit that deals with establishing carbon forests in urban and rural environments.

The new Gascoyne Regional Planning Committee has held its first meeting  in Carnarvon, WA, becoming the sixth Regional Planning Committee to be established by the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC).

The Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has announced a reshuffle of senior public servants that will result in new leadership of three departments: Premier and Cabinet, Local Government and Planning, and Public Works.

The Western Australian Local Government Minister John Castrilli has announced he will recommend that the Governor declare vacant the remaining councillor positions at the Shire of Cue following the resignations of four councillors in the past two weeks.

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) is calling on the incoming NSW government to increase funding to deal with noxious weeds by $20 million.

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) has received a positive response from  to  all political parties its proposal for a referendum seeking the addition of Local Government to the Australian Constitution.

President of the Local Government Association, Cr Keith Rhoades, said that all parties now support an amendment to allow the Australian Government to directly fund Local Government. 

"We're particularly delighted that the Coalition have committed to our proposal for a referendum to include a reference to Local Government in the Australian Constitution," said Cr Rhoades.

"Labor and The Greens signed a formal agreement following the federal election in 2010 agreeing to a referendum to recognise Local Government in the Australian constitution. This was a significant and exciting decision for Local Government across the country, and we're pleased it has now been reinforced at a state level in the responses to our Election Priorities," he said.

"The Coalition and the Greens have given strong support in their response, acknowledging the vital role Local Government has to play in the delivery of essential services for the communities of NSW."

"NSW Labor have agreed to support the proposal in principle, and we hope that they will follow the agreement received nationally from the Prime Minister and support the referendum in practice."

Prime Minister Gillard committed to holding a dual referendum on the constitutional recognition of Local Government and the recognition of Indigenous Australians in the current parliamentary term.

The LGSA, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) and other state Local Government Associations have been working together in developing the case for constitutional reform.

Councils across Australia are endorsing ALGA's proposal to demonstrate to Federal and State Governments, and oppositions that the position has widespread support within Local Government.

President of the Shires Association of NSW, Cr Bruce Miller, said that the LGSA's preference is simply to add the words 'and local government' to the funding section of the Australian Constitution.

"It's clearly in the best interests of our local communities that the Australian Government - whoever is in office - has the ability to fund councils directly to accomplish national objectives," said Cr Miller.

"Our rural communities have been without adequate funding for many years, and in recent times we have welcomed with open arms successful federal direct funding programs such as Roads to Recovery and the Regional and Local Community Infrastructure Program," he said.

"These programs have been critical in building and renewing crumbling infrastructure. Constitutional recognition of Local Government will ensure that they continue in the years ahead."

For a copy of the LGSA's NSW Election Priorities 2011, and background on the LGSA's preferred model for constitutional recognition of Local Government and the full response from all political parties on this and other issues, visit www.lgsa.org.au/election2011.

A proposal to impose a national insurance levy on Council rates is "just silly" according to South Australia’s Local Government Association and should not distract from important national debates about disability reforms.

The Victorian Minister for Local Government Jeanette Powell has invited residents and ratepayers of Greater Geelong to have their say on the model for the direct election of the Mayor.

The House of Representatives Inquiry into the role and potential of the National Broadband Network has heard that commencement of the NBN nearly a year ago in one of the first three pilot rollout sites, the town of Scottsdale in the Dorset area of north-eastern Tasmania, has attracted several computer-based businesses to the township and has assisted in reviving a local economy that was in decline due to the loss of  the meat industry.

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