Minister for Regional Australia Simon Crean has called on political and community leaders to help embed the Federal Government’s ‘bottom-up’ approach to coopoerative federalism, saying that participation will give regions a greater say in the way Australia is governed.

Speaking at the Sustainable Economic Growth for Regional Australia (SEGRA) 2011 Conference in Geelong, Victoria, Mr Crean said cooperative federalism based on localism would turn the existing 'top down' approach on its head; changing the way the nation was governed and delivering long-term benefits to regional Australia.

Mr Crean said he was working with his Commonwealth colleagues, State government counterparts and local governments through Regional Development Australia networks to build this new approach.

The New South Wales Government has flagged the possibility of reform in the local government sector after State Minister for Local Government Don Page told the NSW Local Government Association’s annual conference that changes to the sector are necessary.

Politicians and business groups are calling for reform to local government election laws following the election of two shire presidents through names being drawn from a hat.

The Queensland Government has released the $125 billion Connecting SEQ 2031 transport plan, which outlines the region’s transport vision for the next 20 years.

The Local Government Association of NSW has elected a new president, office bearers and 20 executives at the annual LGA conference.

The Federal Government has released its State of Australian Cities 2011 report, finding that residents of Australia’s major cities are using less electricity, leaving their car in garage more often in favour of catching public transport, producing less household waste and raising children who are staying at home until an older age.

The Federal Government has released the final program guidelines for the Digital Government Program, which will make funding available to councils in the first 40 communities in the National Broadband Network’s (NBN) rollout.

Albury City Council has released a public consultation draft of the Our Future: a community sustainability strategy document.

The South Australian Government has released the Renewable Energy Plan for South Australia, providing an agenda for future growth of the state’s renewable energy sector.

The Western Australian Local Government (WALGA) has welcomed commitments made by the State Government to clarify street lighting tariff changes and introduce a more transparent billing process.

The Federal Government has opened the new Crisis Coordination Centre (CCC) in Canberra, which will serve to improve the government’s capability to respond to large-scale natural disasters or acts of terrorism.

The Federal Government has launched the $30 million Illawarra Region Innovation and Investment Fund, which will support businesses with innovative projects in and around the Wollongong area.

The Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW (LGSA) have praised the NSW Government for meeting its election promise to remove the concept of a 'body politic' from the Local Government Act (NSW) 1993.

The City of Greater Geelong will commence work on a new Environment Management Strategy to provide strategic direction on environmental management in the Greater Geelong region.

The first Environmental Upgrade Agreement has been signed under the City of Melbourne’s 1200 Building Program, opening the doors for significant investment in retrofitting Melbourne’s commercial building sector.

The Queensland Government has passed its Waste Reduction and Recycling Bill through parliament that will aim to halve the amount of rubbish directed to landfill within a decade while creating thousands of green jobs while seeing millions of dollars invested into recycling and resource recovery programs.

The Western Australian Government has urged a greater participation rate in local government voting after recent figures released by the Western Australian Electoral Commission shows that just 26 per cent of ballot papers issued have been returned from the 1,122,309 voting packages sent out.

Recruitment specialists Hays has published the October Quarterly Report, finding a number of hotspots in public sector labour demand.

The Commonwealth Ombudsman has released the ‘Whistling while they work: A good-practice guide for managing internal reporting of wrongdoing in public sector organisations’ guide which argues that the public sector would benefit greatly from the establishment of best practice guidelines for whistleblowing.

The Queensland Government has introduced legislation before parliament that will allow direct management of water and wastewater services to be returned to the Gold Coast, Logan and Redland Councils.

The Victorian Government has opened the second round of the Broadband-Enabled Innovation Program (BEIP), inviting applicants to apply for funding for projects that develop innovative broadband solutions to boost productivity.

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