The WA Government has launched an Integrated Planning website to assist local governments as part of the state’s Local Government Reform program.

The site provides advice on the development of an Asset Management Policy, Strategy and Plans; the development of a Long Term Financial Plan to inform the Corporate Business Plan; and will soon provide information about workforce planning.

Announcing the site, the Local Government Minister John Castrilli said adopting integrated planning was potentially the most important performance improvement able to be implemented by local governments.

The City of Subiaco has been recognised as Western Australia's most Sustainable City for 2011.

The Productivity Commission has commenced a benchmarking study into the role of local government as a regulator, at the request of the Australian Government and with the agreement of COAG's Business Regulation and Competition Working Group.

Recent data showing WA as having the lowest recycling rate in the nation could point to ineffective use of funds being collected through the State Government’s landfill levy, according to the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA).

The Newcastle Council will place its draft Newcastle 2020 Carbon and Water Management Action Plan on exhibition for a month.

The South Australian Government has abandoned its investigation into Burnside Council, having spent $1.5 million on it over the past two years.

Victorian Planning Minister Matthew Guy has announced the approval of a planning scheme amendment to allow for the $1 billion Caulfield Village development.

The South Australian Government has released its Stormwater Strategy, developed by the Stormwater Taskforce which was established in September last year.

The Western Australian Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls has announced the initial nine towns that will share in $85.5 million in Royalties for Regions funding this year under the Regional Centres Development Plan (SuperTowns).

Queensland communities have been invited to give their views to the independent Local Government Change Commission about changes to their councils' electoral arrangements for the 2012 local government elections.

Deputy Premier and Local Government Minister Paul Lucas said he had directed the Change Commission to conduct public consultation before making any recommendations for changes in the following council areas:

Blackall-Tambo Regional Council
Cassowary Coast Regional Council
Longreach Regional Council
North Burnett Regional Council

Fraser Coast Regional Council
Gympie Regional Council
Townsville City Council

Balonne Shire Council
Blackall Tambo Regional Council
Carpentaria Shire Council
Flinders Shire Council
Richmond Shire Council
Winton Shire Council

Townsville City Council

“The independent Change Commission is responsible for recommending whether to change local government electoral arrangements and I expect them to talk to the local community before making any decisions,” Mr Lucas said

“We already know that there is very strong support from the local community for change in some of these areas.

“The Local Government Act 2009 (Section 19) provides for the Commission to conduct public consultation on this important issue.

“That’s why I’m using my powers under the Act to ensure the Change Commission conducts public consultation and ensures communities are heard.

“While the ultimate report from the Change Commission, after undertaking its enquiries, is a matter entirely for the Commission, it’s my view that conducting public hearings and allowing public submissions will assist the Change Commission in determining whether these proposals are in the public interest,” Mr Lucas said.

The process for changing the electoral arrangements for local governments – from divided to undivided or vice versa, or increasing or decreasing the number of councillors – is undertaken under the Local Government Act 2009.

Section 19(3) (b) specifically provides an example for the way in which the Change Commission may conduct its assessment via holding a public hearing.

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