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Intro

The Local Government Act 1995 (the Act) outlines the role of council, elected members and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Ambiguity in these roles can be a source of dispute within local governments. Amendments to further define these roles and responsibilities in the Act will help to address this.

Principles

New principles will be included in the Act to foster a culture of better practice, based on the recommendations of the Local Government Review Panel Report. New principles will include:

  • recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal Western Australians
  • recognition of tiers (based on SAT bands)
  • guidance for community engagement
  • guidance for financial management
  • promote economic, social and environmental sustainability within local government districts.

Communication agreements

Local governments will be required to introduce a communications agreement outlining communications process between councillors and the CEO. It will outline, amongst other things, how information will be requested and received by councillors.

Elected members

Elected members will only be able to use the title of their local government position while performing their role in an official capacity.

Statewide caretaker period

A statewide caretaker period for local governments is proposed. This means that all local governments across the State will have the same clearly defined election period, during which all councils operate on a caretaker basis<./p>

Remuneration

Local governments will have the discretion regarding the payment of superannuation contributions for elected members, as well as the tuition fees for elected members undertaking relevant study. The purpose of this reform is to encourage great representation and training amongst elected members.

CEO recruitment

DLGSC will establish an approved panel of CEO recruitment panel members for the role of independent person on a recruitment and selection panel. Local governments will be able to appoint people outside of the designated panel with approval from the Local Government Inspector.

Clarifying roles

The roles of the CEO, elected members, council and mayor/president will be further defined. This will provide a greater understanding of the CEO’s responsibilities and a clear delineation between the functions of council and the CEO, as leader of the administration.

WALGA

In accordance with the Local Government Review Panel Report’s recommendation, WALGA will no longer be constituted under the Local Government Act 1995. This will provide clarity that WALGA is not a State Government entity.

Feedback

Questions? Get in touch with DLGSC via email to actreview@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 16 March 2022