Complaints management

Local Government Act Review

As part of the State Government’s reform agenda, a new Local Government Act will be drafted.

Our vision is for the local government sector to be agile, smart and inclusive.

Our objective is to transform local government so that it is empowered to better deliver quality governance and services to their communities now and into the future.

We are looking at complaints management as an area of reform.

The current system

  • Local governments deal with hundreds of complaints every year.
  • They are often the first point of contact for the public in the complaints process.


The department undertook consultation on the topic of complaints management during stage two of the Local Government Act review consultation.

Complaints management summary discussion paper

The following sections outline what was heard during consultation and how feedback will inform a new Local Government Act.

What you’ve told us

  • There is a lack of accountability and transparency in complaints handling processes.
  • 50% of local governments in WA either have no, or limited, documented complaints handling processes.
  • Effective complaints management can improve public confidence in local governments.
  • There is little common understanding of what constitutes a complaint.
  • Ambiguity around the process for the review of decisions.
  • Local governments need effective strategies for managing unreasonable complainant conduct.

Ideas for change

  • Adoption of the Australian/New Zealand standard for complaints management.
  • Implementation of a Customer Service Charter to be made publicly available.
  • Legislative requirement for local governments to adopt a fit-for-purpose complaints management process.
  • Internal independent review process for unresolved complaints.


A summary paper which outlines what we heard from the consultation is now available. The contribution of community members, local governments and others who have supported the process to date will provide valuable input to the Local Government Review Panel and help transform local government in Western Australia.

A new Local Government Act for Western Australia: inclusive

Local Government Act Review Overview: inclusive

In 2017 the State Government announced a review of the Local Government Act 1995 — the first significant review since the Act was introduced more than two decades ago.

Download documents

Page reviewed 26 February 2020