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A cheerful female doctor sits at a desk in her office and takes notes while meeting with an unidentifiable patient.

The Amendments to the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996 (the Regulations) came into effect today. They will make it easier to attract and retain GPs and dentists by allowing tender exemptions for varying and extending contracts for regional medical services.

This means local governments outside of metropolitan Perth or the City of Mandurah will be able to maintain the services of an existing doctor or dentist without needing to call for public tenders.

The Amendments also provide a tender exemption to all local governments to allow novation of a contract. Novation means that a supplier on a contract can be replaced with another supplier, without having to change the existing contract obligations. This means that if a local government supplier sells their business, a local government can novate the contract, to the new owner, without needing to call for public tenders.

There is an acknowledged shortage of medical professionals in rural and remote areas. Many local governments have taken on the key role of contracting GPs, providing incentives such as housing and other living subsidies.

However, there were concerns that procurement requirements under the Regulations were a barrier to rural and regional local governments retaining vital medical services.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) consulted with the peak local government body, the WA Local Government Association, and affected local governments to draft the amendments.

A guide to the Amendments to the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations) 1996


Page reviewed 27 February 2023