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Intro

Local government benefits all Western Australians. It is critical that local government works with:

  • a culture of openness to innovation and change
  • continuous focus on the effective delivery of services
  • respectful and constructive policy debate and democratic decision-making
  • an environment of transparency and accountability to ensure effective public engagement on important community decisions.

Since first coming to office in 2017, the McGowan Government has already progressed reforms to improve specific aspects of local government performance. This includes new laws that work to improve transparency, cut red tape, and support jobs growth and economic development - ensuring that local government works for the benefit of local communities. 

Based on the significant volume of research and consultation undertaken over the past five years, the Minister for Local Government has now announced the most significant package of major reforms to local government in Western Australia since the Local Government Act 1995 was passed more than 25 years ago. The package is based on six major themes:

  1. Earlier intervention, effective regulation and stronger penalties
  2. Reducing red tape, increasing consistency and simplicity
  3. Greater transparency and accountability
  4. Stronger local democracy and community engagement
  5. Clear roles and responsibilities
  6. Improved financial management and reporting.

A large focus on the new reform is oversight and intervention where there are significant problems arising within a local government. The introduction of new intermediate powers for intervention will increase the number of tools available to more quickly address problems and dysfunction within local governments. The proposed system for early intervention has been developed based on similar legislation in place in other jurisdictions, including Victoria and Queensland.

This will deliver significant benefits for small business, residents and ratepayers, industry, elected members and professionals working in the sector. 

Local government reforms

These reforms are based on extensive consultation undertaken over the last five years, and have been developed considering:

  • The Local Government Review Panel Final Report (mid 2020)
  • The City of Perth Inquiry Report (mid 2020)
  • Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) consultation on Act Reform (2017-2020)
  • The Victorian Local Government Act 2020 and other State Acts
  • The Parliament’s Select Committee Report into Local Government (late 2020)
  • Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) Submissions
  • Direct engagement with local governments
  • Correspondence and complaints
  • Miscellaneous past reports.

Consultation

Comments on these proposed reforms are invited. Comments can be made against each proposed reform in this document.

Comment on the proposed reforms

Page reviewed 16 March 2022