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Chair's report

This has been an important year for the Local Government Advisory Board (the Board) and for the sector in general, in anticipation of the local government elections in October 2019.

In preparing for the elections, and for those local governments that operate with a ward structure, many councils undertake a ward and representation review to ensure a balanced ratio of councillor to electors. These reviews also provide the opportunity for comprehensive public consultation, which contributes to creating a structure which is both fair and best meets the needs of the local community.

This year, the Board analysed and assessed 13 individual ward and representation reviews – with the Minister for Local Government approving all of the Board’s recommendations. The Board would like to acknowledge the work done and to thank those local governments that submitted reviews ahead of the 2019 elections.

The Board supports the concept of autonomy and accountability for all local governments in Western Australia. Providing the opportunity for each local government to undertake their own ward and representation analysis is a positive step towards this goal.

I would also like to note the significant work which is currently being undertaken by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in its review of the Local Government Act 1995. This is the first significant reform of local government conducted in more than two decades. The objective is for Western Australia to have a new, modern Act that empowers local governments to better deliver for the community.

As part of the comprehensive public consultation process, the Board made a submission to the Act review, with suggestions on how to improve and streamline its processes, which in turn would have a positive flow-on effect for local government in WA.

As I was appointed to the position of Board Chair in September 2018, I would like to publicly acknowledge the work of the previous Chair, Mr Mel Congerton, whose term finished in August 2018, after more than nine years in the role. Thanks go to Mel for his dedication and commitment to the Board and also to Mayor Gary Brennan, whose role as a deputy member also concluded in 2018.

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Board members and deputies for their contribution throughout my first year as the Chair. Their depth of experience delivers a professional, knowledgeable and independent approach to the decision making process.

I would also like to thank our executive staff, Julie Knight and Julie Craig, who provided great support to the Board throughout the year. Your assistance helps us to operate in an efficient and effective manner. I look forward to the Board continuing its excellent work over the coming year.

Marion Blair OAM
Local Government Advisory Board

31 August 2019

Page reviewed 11 September 2023