Page title

Intro

Departmental circular 3 2019

WA State Parliament

​As a result of consultation undertaken as part of phase one of the review, the Local Government Legislation Amendment Bill 2019 was drafted. I am pleased to advise that the Bill passed the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday, 10 April 2019, and was read into the Legislative Council on Thursday, 11 April 2019.

While the Bill makes a number of amendments to the LG Act and other pieces of legislation administered by the Minister for Local Government, there are some changes which will require local governments to commence activities to prepare for when the Bill passes.

Improved transparency

The Bill includes reforms to enable local governments to be more efficient and flexible while ensuring that the community and other stakeholders have greater access to information held by the local government.

Access to information held by a local government

The Bill introduces the requirement for information that is currently made available at the local government office during business hours, to be available on the local government’s website. Some additional information will also need to be made available for inspection and on the local government’s website (see attachment A for details).

Local governments will no longer be required to make available the CEOs employment contract. There is also no requirement for the rate record or electoral roll to be published on the website.

Some amendments will require real time reporting and posting of information on the local government’s website, for example the gifts register. This has been referred to in the Bill as an ‘up-to-date version’, and local governments will be required to post an updated version of the document or register on their website as soon as practicable after it has been amended.

New public notice requirements

The specific requirements for the publication of local and State-wide notices is being removed from the LG Act and will be included in regulations. This will enable the flexibility to adapt to changes in technology in the future.
A local public notice will require a notice to be published on the local government’s official website and via at least three of the following mediums:

  • in a newspaper that circulates generally throughout the district (if available)
  • on a State Government website;
  • on a social media platform;
  • published in a newsletter or newsletters available to the majority of residents throughout the district;
  • exhibited on a notice board at every local government office and library within the district; or
  • electronic mail distribution list.

A state-wide notice will require local governments to publish the notice in a newspaper that circulates throughout the State, in addition to the requirements of a local public notice.

Administrative Efficiencies

Authorised persons

Currently a local government has the power to appoint persons to exercise powers under a number of pieces of legislation, including the LG Act. A valid appointment must be in writing and the person appointed provided with a certificate.

The requirement to issue a certificate is no longer considered the best practice method for establishing a person’s identity or authority to exercise enforcement or other powers.

The Bill introduces a change to the appointment process so that when a local government appoints an authorised person under the LG Act, they must issue an identity card with the following:

  • the official insignia of the local government;
  • the name of the person;
  • a recent photograph; and
  • a list of each law that the person’s appointment relates (on the rear of the card).

A detailed appointment certificate which lists each piece of legislation and the relevant section or regulation numbers will still need to be signed by the CEO and retained by the local government.

Transitional arrangements will ensure that current appointments remain valid.

The Bill contains a number of other changes, including the introduction of mandatory training for council members, a model code of conduct for council members and a new framework for council members and CEOs receiving gifts.

I encourage you to review the Bill and Explanatory Memorandum, which is available on the Parliament’s website.

For further information, please contact the Strategic Initiatives team via email at actreview@dlgsc.wa.gov.au.

Duncan Ord OAM
DIRECTOR GENERAL
18 April 2019

Tags

Page reviewed 30 July 2019