This has been an extraordinary and challenging year for the local government sector, our state as a whole and for every country around the globe. The COVID-19 pandemic changed the reality of what was being done and what could be done to help keep our communities vital, active and functioning.
While being mindful of community expectations and priorities, the Local Government Advisory Board (the Board) was largely able to maintain a “business as usual” approach to its work – and thus retain some stability in relation to its role within the local government sector in WA.
The Board would like to publicly acknowledge the amazing efforts of each and every local government – and to thank them for their leadership, spirit, common sense and flexibility during this time.
These challenges also highlight the importance of maintaining the close relationships between local governments and their communities – as we continue through the recovery phase of the pandemic.
For the sector, the first half of the financial year included the October 2019 local government elections.
In preparing for the elections, many councils undertake ward and representation reviews to ensure a balanced ratio of councillors to electors and to ensure that the number of councillors provides reasonable and appropriate representation for the size of the district.
Ahead of the 2019 elections, the Board analysed and assessed 13 individual ward and representation reviews – with the Minister for Local Government approving all of the recommendations. The Board would like to acknowledge the work done and to thank those local governments that submitted reviews for consideration.
Since the 2019 elections, the Board has assessed two further reviews – where any approved changes will be implemented ahead of the next local government elections.
I would like to acknowledge the continued work of the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries in its review of the Local Government Act 1995, which is a significant and long-term undertaking. The objective of the review is to have a new, modern Act that empowers local governments to better deliver for the West Australian community.
As always, I express my sincere appreciation to the members and deputies for their contribution to the ongoing operations of the Board. Their depth of knowledge and experience delivers a professional, knowledgeable and independent approach to the decision-making process, which ultimately benefits the local government sector.
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 this coming year.
Marion Blair OAMChairLocal Government Advisory Board
31 August 2020
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