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Message from the Director General

Director General, Duncan Ord at the 2018 Have a Go Day event.

Welcome to the last edition of Local Matters for 2018.

This has been an eventful year for WA's local governments. The most significant legislative changes in 20 years have provided the sector with much food for thought, having a direct bearing on the way in which you conduct business.

It's been great to see how the sector has approached change positively, and collaboratively. We look forward to continuing our work with local governments, WALGA and LG Pro to progress more reform, with benefits to the sector and of course, WA's local communities.

It was a great opportunity to be part of the Local Government Professionals WA annual conference held in November. The department hosted a session on the review of the Local Government Act 1995 and staff enjoyed being part of the DLGSC booth at the Trade Exhibition, discussing our programs and services with representatives from the local government sector.  It was a terrific event and we look forward to being involved again next year.

A significant milestone for local government came to fruition in November with the passing of the Suspension and Dismissal Bill 2018. The Bill amends the Local Government Act 1995 to enable the Minister to suspend and/or order an individual council member to undertake remedial action. This will enable intervention at a much earlier stage to ensure that the actions of an individual do not impede local governments from continuing to provide good governance and services to their communities.

Consultation continues be a hot topic which features strongly throughout this edition. State-wide consultation to inform the development of the new Local Government Act is well underway. We have partnered with WALGA to host a series of workshops and talked extensively with the WA community. A forum is being planned for 30 January 2019 with WALGA and Local Government Professionals WA. The forum will provide an update on the feedback from the consultation on the review and consider the future of the sector, please save the date for this important event. The department has received more than 600 submissions to date. It's a fantastic effort and I'm certain we will receive many more by 31 March 2019.

Your input is crucial to informing a new legislative framework and improving the ways that you conduct business so if you haven't yet completed the surveys I would encourage you to do so. Read more about where the review team have been and how to have your say within. We also touch on the consultation feedback from the Stop Puppy Farming project and highlight a great example of consultation undertaken by the City of Nedlands in partnership with the Department of Transport to contribute to safe, active streets for everyone. As we approach the holiday season, road safety is paramount. It's great to see so many local governments involved in WALGA's RoadWise program working together on the local coordination of road safety activities.

Recently, I attended the Aboriginal History Unit's launch of their latest publication 'No Less Worthy' which was released in time for Remembrance Day. The publication acknowledges the significant contribution of WA Aboriginal servicemen to the World War One effort. No Less Worthy is available for download from our website or you can request a hard copy as a keepsake for your administration office.

I also attended the annual Have a Go Day on 14 November which is supported by the department through the Seniors Recreation Council of WA. This is an important initiative which encourages the over-45's to participate in sport, recreation and associated physical and mental activities. It also plays a key role in promoting engaged and connected communities.

I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome all new CEOs to their roles. This edition, we have spoken with Peta Mabbs on her role as CEO at the Town of Bassendean. You can read more about Peta within.

I'd also like to extend my best wishes to outgoing CEO of WALGA, Ricky Burges. Under Ricky's leadership we have been able to work together to develop and progress the State Local Partnership Agreement to improve relationships between our two sectors. Her expertise will be missed by all from across the sector and more broadly.     

Finally, I'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season. We'll be back with more Local Matters in February 2019.

Until next time.

Duncan Ord OAM
ā€‹ā€‹Director General