About the Local Government Act Review
Currently, the Local Government Act 1995 establishes the system of local government in Western Australia. It covers a wide range of features of local government and describes:
- the functions of local government
- the election of councillors
- the roles of the council and local government administration
- the framework for the administration and financial management of local government.
In 2017, the McGowan Government announced a review of the Local Government Act. The review is being undertaken by the department.
The intention of the review is to identify areas of reform that either:
- should be introduced as a priority into the current Local Government Act (now completed); or
- should be incorporated into a new Local Government Act.
How the review is being conducted
Given the breadth of matters covered by the Local Government Act, a staged approach to the review has been adopted:
- Stage one: Priority reforms
- Stage two: Wide ranging reforms
The following process has been undertaken in both stage one and stage two of the review:
- Topic identification: identification of topics within the Act that should be reviewed.
- Community consultation: seeking feedback from the community and key stakeholders on the key topics under review.
- Analysis of submissions: compiling and analysing the feedback from community and key stakeholders.
- Consideration and decision by Government: a decision by Government as to how the Act should be amended.
- Changing the Act: amending the Act to reflect decisions of Government. Changes to the Act are being progressed either:
- immediately as a priority (please refer to the Reforms Introduced page for more information); or
- when an entirely new Local Government Act is drafted (information on the new Act is available below).
Local Government Act Review Reference Group
In 2017, the department formed a reference group of key industry stakeholders to provide feedback and advice on:
- topics to be reviewed
- materials prepared for consultation
- the analysis of the community’s feedback.
The Reference Group met throughout the process to provide invaluable insights and guidance. It completed its role in October 2019.
A new Local Government Act
It is intended that a new Local Government Act will be drafted to incorporate reforms identified in the review.
Work on a new Local Government Act is being undertaken by the department.
Following the extensive consultation, the process for developing a new Local Government Act is as follows:
- Policy development: identification of what will be included in the new Act, including incorporating reforms identified in the review. The Review Panel will be making recommendations on this taking into consideration the feedback received.
- Approval of Government to draft a new Act.
- Consultation with the community on the draft of the new Act.
- Analysis of feedback.
- Local Government Review Panel consideration of feedback and recommendations to Government.
- Decision by Government to adopt a new Act.
- Consideration and approval of Act by Parliament.
- Implementation of the new Act.
Local Government Review Panel
In November 2019 a panel of experts was formed to progress the development of a new Local Government Act for Western Australia.
The Local Government Review Panel was established to consider and recommend high-level direction and guiding principles for the new Act.
The panel met from November 2019 to May 2020 and looked at best practice models in Australia and overseas as well as the recent consultation on WA’s Local Government Act 1995.