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Intro

The Local Government Act 1995 (the Act) outlines the role of council, elected members and the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). Ambiguity in these roles can be a source of dispute within local governments.

Amendments to further define these roles and responsibilities in the Act will help to address this.

Principles

New principles will be included in the Act to foster a culture of better practice, based on the recommendations of the Local Government Review Panel Report. New principles will include:

  • recognition of the unique status of Aboriginal Western Australians
  • recognition of tiers (based on SAT bands)
  • guidance for community engagement
  • guidance for financial management.

Communication agreements

Local governments will be required to introduce a communications agreement outlining communications process between councillors and the CEO.

Elected members

Elected members will only be able to use the title of their local government position while performing their role in an official capacity.

Statewide caretaker period

A statewide caretaker period for local governments is proposed. This means that all local governments across the State will have the same clearly defined election period, during which all councils operate on a caretaker basis.

Superannuation allowances

Local governments will be able to decide to make superannuation contributions for elected members. Councils will also be able to decide to cover tuition fees for elected members who undertake further study related to local government.

CEO recruitment

DLGSC will establish an approved panel of CEO recruitment panel members for the role of independent person on a recruitment and selection panel. Local governments will be able to appoint people outside of the designated panel with approval from the Local Government Inspector.

The role of CEOs

Roles will be further defined, providing a greater understanding of the CEO’s responsibilities and clear delineation between the functions of council and the CEO, as leader of the administration.

WALGA

In accordance with the Local Government Review Panel Report’s recommendation, WALGA will no longer be constituted under the Local Government Act 1995. This will provide clarity that WALGA is not a State Government entity.

Feedback

To provide your feedback on these reforms, please email your comments to actreview@dlgsc.wa.gov.au by 4 February 2022.

Page reviewed 26 August 2021