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Green light for phase one of local government reform

​​A suite of reforms designed to build the capacity of council members and give them the tools to be able to carry out their complex role in a way that meets community expectations will be introduced as early as next year.  

The department is undertaking the review of the Local Government Act 1995 in two phases with phase one policy positions announced by the Minister for Local Government on 1 August 2018.

The review is designed to modernise the Act, reduce red tape and importantly, meet the expectations of Western Australians.

The department has developed the reforms in collaboration with the local government sector and broader community during a four-month consultation process.

Included in phase one of the reforms is the introduction of universal training for council members and laws to ensure greater transparency and accountability around the acceptance of gifts.

Detailed information sheets on each of the key areas of reform are available online​.

Key changes to be implemented under phase one include:

Universal training

  • Online induction for candidates so they better understand the role of a council member and laws covering election campaigning
  • Formal training for all council members to be completed within 12 months of election
  • A requirement for councils to develop and report on a continuing professional development program for elected members.

Standards of behaviour

  • Introduction of a mandatory Code of Conduct applicable to all council members and candidates
  • Greater transparency with adverse findings by the Standards Panel against a council member to be tabled at the council's next ordinary council meeting.

CEO recruitment and performance review

  •  Minimum standards to be adopted by local governments for CEO recruitment, selection, performance review and termination

Gifts

  • Council members and CEOs will be prohibited from receiving gifts that are intended to influence decision-making or a perceived conflict of interest
  • Gifts received by council members and CEOs in their official role valued at $300 or more must be declared within 10 days of receipt
  • Council members will have to declare a conflict of interest if they have received a gift or gifts over $300 from any person who has a matter come before council. They will not be able to vote on the matter or participate in the meeting.

Improved access to information

  • Flexibility for public notice requirements allowing new technologies to be used
  • More information to be published on a local government's website
  • CEO total benefits package and council member fees and allowances to be published in the local government's annual report.

A number of out of date provisions will also be removed to improve administrative efficiencies and reduce red tape for local governments.

Find out more about the Local Government Act Review​