The Local Government Legislation Amendment Act 2019 has received
Royal Assent with some of the amendments taking effect immediately. As
such, all local governments need to take action now to ensure they
continue to comply with the requirements of the Local Government Act
Access to information held by a local government
that is currently required to be available at the local government
office during business hours must now be available on the local
government’s official website. The rate record, register of owners and
occupiers, and electoral roll are not to be published on the website.
Some new information will also need to be made available for inspection and on the local government’s website. Departmental Circular no 03-2019 provides full details of this.
governments will no longer be required to make available the CEO’s
employment contract or that of senior employees. Regulations will
require that the CEO’s (and senior employees’) total remuneration
package be published. Advice will be provided when these regulations are
The CEO of a local government will no longer be
able to, after a meeting, deem that documents should not be made
available because in the CEO’s opinion the meeting should have been
closed to the public.
local governments to live stream meetings, statutory protection has been
provided for the local government from defamation for publishing
council proceedings on its website. This protection does not extend to
the people making the comments such as council members, officers and
members of the public.
Amendments to public notices
new scheme of public notices providing greater choice and flexibility to
local governments will come into effect when regulations are gazetted.
changes take effect immediately. Local, rather than Statewide notice,
will be required for advertising local laws. When a local law is
gazetted, the gazettal notice must advise that the local law is
available on the local government’s official website and that copies of
the local law may be inspected at or obtained from the local
Business plans for proposed major trading
undertakings and major land transactions must be published on the local
government’s official website when public notice is given of the intent
to undertake these activities.
Public notice will no longer
be required to be given for the policy on making additional payments to
employees on termination (prepared under section 5.50 and adopted by the
council). The policy must, however, be published on the local
government’s official website. If payments are made outside of the
policy, local public notice must still be given.
to rates, the local government must publish on its official website the
document describing the objects of, and reasons for, each proposed rate
and minimum payment. The local public notice required to be given under
section 6.36 in relation to the imposition of differential rates or
minimum payments must advise electors and ratepayers that the above
document is available on the website.
Notices under Schedule
6.3 in relation to the sale or transfer of land for unpaid rates or
service charges are required to be published on the local government’s
official website for at least 35 days.
Furthermore, the notice
requirements within the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act
1960 (1960 Act) have been simplified and aligned with the requirements
of the Local Government Act.
Amendments to the minor breach system (Local Government Standards Panel)
To improve the transparency, accountability and overall outcomes of the minor breach system, amendments have been made.
Panel is provided with the power to request the parties to a complaint
undertake mediation prior to dealing with the complaint.
respondent’s willingness to participate and the outcome of the
mediation will be considered by the Panel when determining how the
breach, if a breach is found, is dealt with. This will provide a further
option for the Panel when the complaint deals with behavioural matters.
power is also provided to the Panel to order a council member found to
have committed a breach to reimburse the local government for the costs
of the Panel proceedings (rather than this being borne by the
- Rather than dismissing a complaint after a breach has been found, the Panel has the power to order that no sanction be imposed.
- There is a reduction in the timeframe for complaints to be lodged from two years to six months.
adverse findings of the Standards Panel and the State Administrative
Tribunal relating to elected members of that council must be published
on the local government’s official website.
- Censure orders will also now need to be published on the local government’s website.
- The register of found minor breaches that must be kept under section 5.121 will also be required to be published on the website.
Confidentiality of complaints
section 5.123 of the Local Government Act provided that it was an
offence to disclose any information concerning a complaint of a breach
of the Act (minor breach, serious breach or a recurrent breach) pending
the outcome of the matter if the complaint was made during a campaign
period for a local government election.
This prohibition on
the disclosure of any information concerning a complaint has been
expanded to include all complaints, regardless of when the complaint is
made until the matter is finally determined and a breach has been found
to have occurred.
Breaching confidentiality can result in a fine up to $5000.
A number of amendments will increase efficiency. Special majority decisions have been removed from the Act.
5.38 has been reworded to clarify that the local government is to
review the performance of the CEO, and that the CEO must ensure that the
performance of every other employee who is employed for longer than a
year is reviewed annually.
Rates notices may be given by email if the owner or occupier of the property has consented to this.
Introduction of Universal Training
candidate induction and elected member training requirements will come
into effect on gazettal of regulations. This will occur in July,
ensuring that universal training is in place for the upcoming ordinary
elections. All candidates must complete the induction prior to their
The induction module will be available on the
department’s website shortly and all local governments will be advised
when it is available.
Attachment A provides a brief
description of each of the amendments to the Local Government Act 1995
that come into effect on assent; Attachment B provides the same details
for the Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1960.
For further information, please contact the Strategic Initiatives team via email at email@example.com.
Duncan Ord OAM
8 July 2019