Ministerial Circular 4 2018
2018, the McGowan Government continued to deliver on its commitment to
forge a stronger relationship with local government. I am proud of the
partnership that is being achieved through the State and Local
Government Partnership Agreement.
We are delivering on an
ambitious legislative reform program that will empower local government.
Our vision is for local governments to be agile, smart and inclusive.
June 2018, amendments were made to the Local Government (Audit)
Regulations 1996 and the Local Government (Financial Management)
Regulations 1996. These changes simplified audit and financial reporting
for local government as part of the transition of audit oversight to
the Auditor General.
More recently, the McGowan Government
passed legislation to expand the powers of the Minister to suspend or
dismiss an individual council member. This change has long been sought
by the sector and allows the Minister to take decisive action required
to enable a council to get back to business without punishing the other
members of council.
In August 2018, I announced a series of
priority reforms to the Local Government Act 1995. These reforms include
the introduction of universal training for council members and
candidates, a single code of conduct that will apply to council members
and candidates, a streamlined and sensible approach to gifts, and
modernised public notice requirements that reflect contemporary
technology and ways of communication.
I look forward to introducing a bill to Parliament in early 2019 to give effect to these important amendments.
September 2018, I announced plans for a new Local Government Act. The
new Local Government Act will transform local government in Western
Australia. To start a conversation with the community and local
government, discussion papers that addressed topics such as elections,
financial management, rates, council meetings and community engagement
To date, more than 80 workshops have been held
with the community, local government staff and stakeholders across
Western Australia. In addition, workshops delivered in partnership with
the Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) have been
held in each of WALGA's seventeen zones.
This engagement has
been a significant undertaking and I would like to thank all local
government council members who participated and acknowledge the support
of host local governments.
The feedback collected from these
sessions reflects the diverse opinions on the future of local government
in Western Australia and the many possible directions to deliver local
democracy and better services to the community.
approaches, your council may be planning to adopt a formal resolution as
a submission to the review or a submission as input through your WALGA
At the same time, I also wish to highlight the
opportunity for individual council members to have their say via
submissions to the review.
This is a once in a generation
opportunity to transform local government. As leaders of your council, I
encourage you to share this opportunity with your council and broader
While more than 700 submissions have been received
to date, fewer than 100 submissions have been received from council
members. Given the range of different viewpoints expressed in the
workshops, I wish to reiterate that members of your council have an
opportunity to express their own views, as well as reach a consensus
opinion on the new Act.
Confidential and anonymous submissions are welcome.
In closing, I wish to thank you for your contribution to local government in 2018 and wish you a safe and happy festive season.
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