No major changes to the central concepts. Work to develop and refine detail is ongoing.
It is further proposed to establish a provision that results in a person automatically becoming disqualified for 10 years from being an elected member at any local government in WA if they have been suspended three times (by either the Conduct Panel,
State Administrative Tribunal or Minister).
‘Red Card Resolutions’ will not be progressed. However, it is proposed that the new Meeting Procedure Regulations will have clear powers for presiding members to maintain order at meetings.
No major changes. Work to develop and refine detail is ongoing.
Based on submissions, reforms to annual and primary returns will add new penalties for non-compliance, and powers for the inspector to compel any person to correct a potential error or omission on their return.
Further minor changes to Electors Meetings are proposed to:
Streamlined financial reporting requirements will be extended for regional subsidiaries, so they only need to comply with band 3 and 4 model financial statement provisions.
It is proposed to amend the Act to enable regional subsidiaries to borrow money for capital projects to achieve the purpose specified in the regional subsidiaries charter (subject to conditions, including within prescribed borrowing limits).
It is proposed to allow for minor exemptions to the requirement for live-streaming in defined scenarios (for instance, for a council holding a meeting outside of council chambers, and with the prior written consent of the inspector).
Proposed provisions for managing confidential items at council meetings (and preventing councils from unreasonably using confidentiality provisions to avoid public scrutiny) have been refined to:
To clarify, the online register of contracts is only for the supply of goods and services and will not include direct employment contracts.
To clarify, information about the identity of individual residential tenants of housing owned by the local government will not be required to be published on the online lease register.
It is proposed that a provision is included to allow councils to seek the inspector’s approval not to publish a specific CEO KPI, if there is a clear public interest reason for doing so.
Based on requests from ratepayers, it is proposed that some standard questions be pre-defined in Regulation to allow for the comparison of results between local governments.
Optional preferential voting is proposed, to ensure that electors may lodge a valid vote without numbering all candidates, if they wish to vote in that way.
No major changes. Work to develop and refine detail is ongoing. Transitional arrangements are under consideration.
Based on requests from impacted councils, it is proposed to adjust this to allow local governments with a population of up to 5000 people to decide to have 5, 6 or 7 councillors.
Further work is being progressed to ensure the integrity of enrolment on the owner and occupier rolls for local government elections, including:
No major change to the proposal, though candidate profiles are likely to be published online, rather than on ballot papers.
It is proposed to provide candidates, or their nominated scrutineers, with a specific avenue to request a recount immediately at the counting of votes, if a set percentage margin in the count is within a limit to be prescribed in regulations.
Based on input from the sector, it is proposed to create a new power to allow vacancies on councils arising up to twelve months after an election to be filled by the next highest-polling candidate.
It is necessary to extend timeframes for elections in the Act to account for slower postal services.
It is proposed to amend the Act to allow for the future implementation of electronic voting in elections (when the technology is deemed suitable). Regulations would then need to be developed.
Based on advocacy from the sector, it is proposed to provide a right for elected representatives to take up to six months’ leave if they become a parent or guardian. Similarly, they may take up to six months of medical leave with a medical certificate.
No major changes. Work to develop details and refine exact phrasing/wording is ongoing.
Work to develop details and refine exact phrasing/wording is ongoing.
The default agreement (to be developed in consultation with the sector) will start at the commencement of election caretaker periods. The CEO and an absolute majority of council must agree for an arrangement other than the default to apply.
No change, confirming councils will be able to decide whether to pay superannuation.
This is based on the model recently introduced in New South Wales.
It is proposed to include minor exemptions to allow councils to make specific decisions essential to ongoing operation of the local government during the caretaker period.
No significant changes.
Work on the Model Financial Statements is ongoing. It is expected that the new Model Financial Statements will be in place for the 2022-23 financial year.
A further amendment is proposed to allow a local government to borrow against the freehold (private/zoned) land it owns.
Further work on this is ongoing.
Recognising the practical difficulty in recruiting independent people expressed by several local governments, the requirement for Audit Committees to have a majority of independent members will not be progressed. However, the requirement for an independent
The Act will be amended to allow local governments to pay fees to committee members within Salaries and Allowances Tribunal limits.
No major changes, but it should be clarified that financial institutions may provide the principal funds for the loan.
Local governments would then collect repayments via rates notices (and pass on funds to any external lender) and would be able to foreclose on the land to recover debts using existing Local Government Act 1995 provisions in the event of default by
Work to develop and refine detail is ongoing.
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