Local government reform explained

Answering your questions on the new reforms.

On this page

Tranche 1

Why the reform bill has been split

This is the most significant reform of the local government sector in more than 25 years. It is a complex task and it makes sense to split the reform bill into tranches and finalise electoral reforms such as optional preferential voting before the October local government elections.

Timeframes of the regulations

To bring the reforms in the Local Government Amendment Bill 2023 into effect, regulations will need to be made.

The first set of regulations will be focused on the electoral changes needed for the 2023 Ordinary Elections on 21 October 2023. This will occur as soon as possible prior to the election.

Further regulations will be made to address non-electoral matters such as communications agreements, CEO performance reviews and uniform meeting procedures.

Consultation with the local government sector

Consultation on these reforms started in November 2021 with webinars, newsletters, forums and meetings. In particular, these reforms drew from the Phase 2 Local Government Act review consultation conducted in 2017-2018 and were further developed as part of working group sessions in 2022 with WALGA and LG Professionals WA.

Commencement of communications agreements, meeting procedures and council plans

These changes are dependent on regulations which will be developed in consultation with the sector. Local governments will be regularly updated about the progress of the regulations and when they can anticipate implementing the changes for communications agreements, meeting procedures and council plans.

Office of the Local Government Inspector

The establishment of a new Office of the Local Government Inspector will be included in the second tranche of reform, which will be introduced into Parliament in 2024.

Keeping up-to-date

Register your email to be included in regular communications. The DLGSC will also issue regular alerts directly to all WA local governments. There will also be regular webinars which will be promoted to all WA local governments. There has been a number of webinars which were promoted to all WA local governments 

Still have questions?

If you still have questions regarding the Bill and local government reform email us at actreview@dlgsc.wa.gov.au or you can even speak to a real person at 1300 762 511. Your question may even make it to this list.

Optional preferential voting

Preferential voting is the same method used in state and federal elections. Optional preferential voting means you are not required to provide all preferences in casting your vote.


Optional preferential voting means that to be elected you need to either achieve a majority of votes in the count for a single vacancy or a quota of votes where there is more than one vacancy to be filled. As a result, the candidates elected are more representative of the majority of voters.

Under the current first-past-the-post voting system candidates have been elected with as little as 4.71% of the vote.

Councils will be more representative of the majority of voters with greater opportunities for a diversity of representation and views on council.

A webinar on optional preferential voting was delivered on 27 April 2023.

Election process impacts

The process of the election will remain the same, the key difference being how you complete your vote on your ballot paper, instead of ticking a box or boxes, you will number a box or boxes.

Multiple vacancy elections under optional preferential voting will require additional steps where preferences need to be distributed.

Elections can be conducted using the CountWA computer system where your local government uses the Western Australian Electoral Commission.

Alternatively, the local government CEO would need to manually calculate the quota, transfer values and surplus fractions as part of a potential distribution of preferences. As a result, local governments are strongly encouraged to engage the Western Australian Electoral Commission to conduct the election.

The WA Electoral Commission recently held a webinar about the counting process for Local Government Elections 2023. The webinar explores:
  • optional preferential voting
  • election type and count processes for single and multiple vacancies
  • how quotas and surpluses work
  • CountWA election counting software
  • candidate information
  • changes to operational planning for counting and declaration process
  • attendee questions and answers.

How-to-vote cards

As with current state and federal elections, it’s the candidate’s decision to issue a how-to-vote card as part of their election campaign.

Swapping of preferences

There will be no ‘group voting tickets’ in this voting system. 

A candidate could suggest preferences for another candidate on their campaign material. However, it is ultimately you as the voter who decide where, if anywhere, you want your preferences to go.

Single vacancy elections

Where the election is for a single vacancy, in the current first-past-the-post voting system you need to be the candidate with the most votes, but do not require majority support. This has created situations where positions such as the mayor of a major city have been elected with as little as 20% of the vote.

Under the optional preferential voting system, a candidate will need the support of a majority of voters to be elected. In order to achieve this, if no candidate has a majority of the first preferences, the lowest placed candidate would be eliminated and their preferences would be distributed to the voter’s next most preferred candidate. This is the same allocation of preferences that occurs in elections for the Legislative Assembly and House of Representatives.

As a result, the elected candidate is the most preferred candidate of a majority of voters. 

Multiple vacancy elections

Where the election is for 2 or more councillors, in the current first-past-the-post voting system you need to be the candidate with the most votes, second most votes and so on. When a significant number of vacancies need to be filled, this has created situations where councillors are elected with as little as 5% of the vote.

Under the optional preferential voting system, the councillors elected will be representative of a proportion of the vote by achieving a quota. This is the same as elections for the Legislative Council and Senate.

Where a candidate has more votes than this quota, their excess votes will be distributed at a reduced value according to their voter preferences, if any. Likewise, if no candidate has met the quota, the lowest placed candidate is eliminated and their voter preferences are then given to the next most preferred candidate, if any.

For example, where four councillors need to be elected, the quota for election is 20%+1 of the vote. This means that the councillors that are elected will be representative of 80% of voters preferences.

As a result, our councils will be more representative of a wider range of community views.

A flowchart explaining the process to count votes in the Optional Preferential Voting system. Explained in a list below this image.
  1. Conduct count for first preferences
  2. Determine the quota
  3. Elect candidates with votes greater than or equal to quota
    • Are all vacancies filled?
      • Yes: end election
      • No: do the number of vacancies equal the number of continuing candidates?

Optional Preferential Voting key terms explained


A candidate is elected if they receive votes equal to or exceeding a quota.

The quota is determined by dividing the total number of first preference votes by the number of candidates to be elected, plus 1. The result is then increased by 1 to provide the quota, disregarding any fraction.

For example, if there are 300 formal first preference votes and 3 councillors to be elected, the quota would be 300 ÷ (3 + 1) = 75 + 1 = 76.

Quota = (Total number of first preference votes) ÷ (Number of offices to be filled + 1) + 1

After the count of first preferences is complete, each candidate who has reached the quota is elected.

Surplus transfer

Where an elected candidate has attained a surplus of votes more than the quota, all the candidate’s ballot papers are then transferred to continuing candidates (those not yet elected or excluded) in accordance with preferences. The value of these votes is the 'transfer value'. The transfer value is dependent on the stage of the count, votes are transferred at a reduced value in the case of votes that were received under a pre-existing transfer value.

For example, if Candidate A receives 80 first preference votes, they have a surplus of 4 ÷ 80 = 0.05. 0.05 is the transfer value for the 80 ballot papers to continuing candidates.

The transfer of a surplus at a reduced value ensures that the proportionality of representation is maintained.

Exclusion transfer

After the counting of first preference votes, or the transfer of surplus votes, if there are still vacancies to be filled, the candidate with the fewest votes is excluded. Any first preference votes for an excluded candidate that indicate a preference for a particular continuing candidate are transferred to that candidate.

Transfer value

First preference votes:

Transfer value = (Total number of surplus votes) ÷ (Total number of first preference votes)

Votes received under a pre-existing transfer value:

Transfer value = (Total number of surplus votes) ÷ (Total number of first preference votes) x applicable transfer value

An inforgraphic about backfilling explained in the text below.

Following an election flow chart for the process of backfilling a vacancy in place of holding an extraordinary election

  1. A vacancy has arisen. The CEO writes to the second placed candidate offering the position.
  2. The second placed candidate has 5 working days to accept and make a declaration that they remain eligible; or the second placed candidate declines or does not respond.
  3. The CEO offers the position to the third placed candidate. The third placed candidate has 5 working days to accept and make a declaration that they remain eligible.
  4. If the third placed candidate declines or does not respond an extraordinary election must be held.

Election of mayors and presidents

Will Optional Preferential Voting be applied to the election of the mayor or president, deputy mayor or president and committee presiding and deputy presiding members?

Yes — Optional Preferential Voting will be applied to all local government elections including elections for:

  • mayor or president election by the council
  • deputy mayor or president
  • committee presiding and deputy presiding members.

Given that these elections will always be for a single vacancy and the maximum number of votes to be cast is 15, these elections will be straightforward for local governments to implement.

A flowchart explaining how Optional Preferential Voting works as outlined in the text below.

Conducting a council count using Optional Preferential Voting for the election of deputy mayor and/or president (and/or other committee deputy and presiding members conducted by council)

Where there are 2 candidates

  • The candidate with the most votes wins. 
  • If there is a tie, hold another meeting, conduct a second vote after adjournment (as per Schedule 2.3), if it is tied again, draw lots to determine the winner.

Where there are more than 2 candidates

  1. Count the first preference votes for each candidate and set aside any informal votes.
  2. Calculate the majority of votes needed to win (which is half the total number of formal, non-exhausted, votes rounded down, plus 1) also known as 50% +1 or an absolute majority.
  3. Does a candidate have the majority of votes? 
    • Yes: elected
    • No: go to step 4.
  4. Eliminate the lowest placed candidate and distribute their vote to the next preference, if any. If the lowest placed candidate cannot be determined due to a tie:
    1. If an equality of votes between 2 or more candidates who are the only candidates in, or remaining in, the count, the count is to be discontinued and follow the processes in Schedule 2.3 of the Act to conduct a second vote.
    2. Otherwise draw lots in accordance with election regulation 75E and the relevant regulation of either 75N or 75O based upon the circumstances.
  5. Repeat steps 2 to 4 until the result is determined. In each instance, if votes exhaust, recalculate the majority, which may reduce.

What's changing

Local governments that are classified as a band 1 or 2 (larger local governments) under the current determination of the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal will be required to elect the mayor or president by a vote of the electors, if they were not already.

Why changes are being made

The mayor or president is in a position of leadership and heightened responsibility on the council. In our larger local governments it is appropriate that they be elected by and accountable to the electors of the entire local government.

Wards and councillors

Changes to wards

Local governments that are classified as a band 3 or 4 by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal will not be allowed to have wards.

Councillors who were part of abolished wards will instead become councillors for each district.

Changes to council sizes

Local governments will have a maximum and minimum numbers of council members based upon their population. Namely:

  • local governments with a population of less than 5000 will have between 5 and 7 members
  • local governments with a population between 5000 and 75,000 members will have between 5 and 9 members
  • local governments with a population above 75,000 will have between 9 and 15 members.

What these changes mean

Each council’s situation is different, and your local government may have undertaken a ward and representation review which may have addressed how and when the council membership will be changed.

Councils that did not undertake a review will be placed onto the ‘reform election pathway’, which may result in all seats on the council being vacated at the October 2023 Local Government Elections to provide a fair pathway for reducing the membership.

Changes to owners and occupiers rolls

The Inquiry into the City of Perth identified that there are flaws with the existing rules regarding people who occupy property claiming to be able to vote in specific local government elections. For example, the inquiry found instances of sham leases to appear to be eligible to nominate as a candidate for council elections.   

The State Government has tightened these rules to ensure people genuinely use the properties they occupy and that the claim they make is for an appropriate place. 

From 1 January 2024, the Local Government Act 1995 and Local Government (Elections) Regulations 1997 will require the following in relation to the enrolment claim of a non-resident occupier: 

  • have continuously occupied property in that local government under a lease or other legal instrument for at least 12 months prior to the claim
  • not be seeking to claim eligibility based upon occupying a place of residence
  • exclusively occupy at least 10 m2 of eligible space
  • pay at least the minimum amount of rent prescribed for that local government
  • be able to secure that property from intruders
  • genuinely use that property for their business.

The Regulations also:

  • clarify in relation to corporate nominees – that the nomination must come from a director of the board (or equivalent), the CEO (or equivalent) or the company secretary (or equivalent)
  • include requirements relating to the forms of enrolment claims with template forms to be determined by the Director General of the DLGSC.

Further guidance materials, including new enrolment forms for the owners and occupiers roll, will be released by DLGSC later in the year ahead of the 1 January 2024 commencement date.

Caretaker period

Commencement: 1 July 2024.

In State and Federal Government the government enters what is called a caretaker period when a general election is held. This period means that crucial decisions that would bind a new government are not made while the electors are deciding who the new government should be. Many local governments currently also carry out a caretaker period for their ordinary elections, however this is decided on a case by case basis.

Why it's being introduced for local government level

Just like State and Federal Governments, local governments should not be making significant decisions while an election is underway, particularly decisions that would bind a future council to a particular course of action. Many local governments already implement caretaker periods through their own council policies and decisions.

While the administration of a local government is not changed by an election, an administration is subject to the direction of the council chosen by the electors. As such, entering major contracts, changing the CEO and similar significant decisions should not be made until after the local government election concludes. This allows a potential new council to choose the course of action that best reflects the electors they represent.

This reform intends to standardise a caretaker period across all local governments in Western Australia.

When does the caretaker period apply?

The caretaker period will apply to all ordinary local government elections from 2025 onwards.

The caretaker period runs from the close of nominations to declaration of the poll.

It will also apply to any election to elect a council after it has been declared vacant or dismissed.

It will not apply to extraordinary local government elections.

What will the caretaker period mean for local government decision making?

During a caretaker period a local government must not do a significant act unless an exception applies.

The first exception relates to decisions which were made prior to the caretaker period but not yet actioned. In this circumstance a local government can implement a decision made prior to the caretaker period, such as signing a major contract, but it must first give local public notice of the details of the:

  1. significant act and the date it will occur; and
  2. the decision made prior to the caretaker period and the date it was made.

This local public notice must also be provided to the Director General of the DLGSC.

The second exception provides that a local government may do a significant act to comply with the law, an order of a court of tribunal or a contractual obligation arising from a contract entered into by a local government before the caretaker period. This ensures that a local government’s legal obligations can be met (s.3.73(5)).

The third and final exception allows a local government to undertake a significant act in an emergency with the approval of the Director General of the DLGSC. This ensures that emergency responses can be undertaken during this period.

What is a significant act?

The Act and Functions and General Regulations set out several matters which constitute a significant act. It is a significant act to both make the decision to undertake a significant act and to undertake that significant act. For example, both the decision of the council to enter into a major contract and the CEO signing the contract are significant acts.

The list below may assist in understanding the what are the significant acts not permitted during the caretaker period.

Prescribed significant act and example:

  1. Making a local law (including making a local law to amend or repeal a local law).
     The making of a waste local law.
  2. Entering into, or renewing or terminating, the contract of employment of the CEO or of a senior employee.
     Resolving to appoint a person as CEO or signing the contract for that person’s appointment.
  3. Entering into a major land transaction.
     Resolving to undertake a major land transaction or signing the contract of sale for the land transaction.
  4. Entering into a land transaction that is preparatory to entry into a major land transaction.
     The CEO using delegated authority to purchase a portion of adjoining land for a major land transaction and signing the associated contract for purchase.
  5. Commencing a major trading undertaking.
     Resolving to commence the operation of a golf course for profit or opening the golf course for the first time.
  6. Entering into a contract, or other agreement or arrangement worth, or expected to be worth more than $250,000 (this includes contracts for good and services or the disposal or acquisition of property or entering into 2 or more contracts to avoid this requirement.)
     Resolving to accept the tender for a major works contract or signing the contract with the successful tenderer.
  7. Inviting tenders worth more or expected to be worth more than $250,000.
     The CEO determining to go to tender for some works or giving actual notice of the opening of the tender.
  8. Deciding to do anything referred to in paragraphs (a) to (g).
     The decision by council or delegated authority to do any of the above.
  9. An act done under a written law or otherwise that is a prescribed act. Refer to regulation 3A of the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996.
     The prescribed matters include:
    • establishment or changes to a regional local government or regional subsidiary
    • commencing the adoption, amendment or repeal of a local planning strategy, scheme, or policy
    • commencing procurement of a panel of pre-qualified suppliers.

Setting standardised council meeting procedures

Current procedures

Currently each local government makes its own meeting procedures or standing orders, typically through a local law. This means each local government can have different processes for how motions are to be moved or for the public to ask questions or make statements. 

What is being proposed

A uniform set of regulations would be made to ensure that local governments meetings all operate in a comparable way. This means that when you attend a council meeting at a different local government there would not be a different process for you to have your say.

How these changes help

This change is intended to simplify how local government meetings are conducted, improve the transparency and public involvement in some local governments and promote a uniformity throughout the sector.

Mandating live streaming and recording of council meetings

What has changed

Class 1 and 2 local governments are required to livestream meetings of council.  

Class 3 and 4 local governments are required to record their meetings and publish that recording on their website. 

This change is intended to make local government meetings more transparent and improve the accountability of council members by ensuring records are available of what council members said at meetings of council on items for debate. 

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

These new requirements will be in effect from 1 January 2025. 

An explanatory paper Livestreaming and Recording of Council Meetings has been prepared to provide local governments with an more detail of the requirements for live streaming and recording of council meetings.

Payments to Independent Committee Members

What has changed

The Local Government Amendment Act 2023 provides for independent committee members to receive meeting fees. An independent committee member is a committee member who is not an elected member or an employee of the local government.

On 3 November 2023, the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal (SAT) made a variation to the Local Government Chief Executive Officers and Elected Members Determination, issued on 6 April 2023.

The variation sets the thresholds for the payment of meeting fees for independent committee members.

Thresholds for payment
 Elected membersIndependent committee members
All regional local governments$50$125$0$125

Local Government Chief Executive Officers and Elected Members Determination No 1 of 2023

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

From 1 January 2024, local governments can make payments to independent committee members for attendance at meetings in accordance with the SAT’s determination. This is the date that section 80 of the Local Government Amendment Act 2023 comes into effect.

Western Australian Government Gazette — No 145 — 3 November 2023 (PDF 581 KB)

Communications agreement

A communications agreement in the State Government is the agreement between a Minister and the agency assisting them with their responsibilities. This agreement sets out how the Minister and agency will communicate with each other, how requests for information can be made and who in the agency a Minister and their staff may contact. 

What's being proposed

Each council would be required to enter into a communications agreement with their CEO. If the council and CEO cannot agree they would be placed onto a default agreement determined by the Minister. 

This agreement must address how the council members may seek information and assistance from the local government administration in carrying out their role. This could include councillors seeking a briefing about an ongoing community issue, speech notes for a civic function or assistance with their statutory obligations. This communications agreement would set out how this assistance would be provided and timelines for when the local government would respond.  

It is intended that any default agreements will reflect the size and scale of local governments with differing agreements based upon the local government's salaries and allowances tribunal band. 

How these changes help

Local governments currently have inconsistent approaches as to how information is to be sought. In some local governments this information may only be sought through a specific inbox. In other local governments council members can call most of the staff to seek information.  

It is intended by standardising this matter we can promote the appropriate separation of the council and administration while also ensuring that local government administrations are responsive and professional in the provision of advice.

Online registers

What's being proposed

Local governments currently enter into many agreements that involve the expenditure of ratepayer funding or use of local government property. To ensure good record keeping and public visibility of these decisions it is proposed local governments keep public registers on matters such as leases, grants, sponsorship and goods and services contracts.

How these changes help

This change is intended to make local governments more transparent and provide public information about what local governments are doing with their leases, grants, sponsorship and contracts for goods and services.

Council plans

A council plan would replace some of the existing key plans of your local government. Instead, a council plan adopted by the council will set the high level priorities of the local government for the future.

How these changes help

The existing integrated planning and reporting framework is quite complex and is requiring significant resourcing by local governments. By simplifying the framework local governments can better focus their resources towards service delivery instead of extensive planning.

Performance indicators

What's being proposed

The employment of a CEO is a very important decision by a local government. The community should have confidence in their performance. Consistent with previous reforms regarding the introduction of the CEO Standards for recruitment, performance review and termination, the State Government is proposing to introduce requirements to publish:

  • the CEO’s performance criteria
  • the report on the CEO’s performance against that criteria
  • the CEO’s response to that report on their performance.

Approval can be obtained to restrict certain matters from publication that may be sensitive.

How these changes help

This change is intended to make local governments more transparent and provide public information about the performance of the local governments CEO and wider administration.

Changes to special electors' meetings

Commencement: immediately

What has changed

The number of signatures required to call a special electors’ meeting has increased to 300 from 100 and allow a mayor or president to direct that a special electors’ meeting not be held on the same subject more than once in a 12-month period. However, if there is a refusal, the local government is still required to refer the matter to be included on the agenda of the next council meeting.

The new meeting procedures regulations will also apply to electors' meetings, including the annual electors meeting. This will enable the presiding member to maintain order while ensuring members of the public have a clear right to ask questions.

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

Local governments are required to review all internal documents, including procedures and any public facing information, to reflect the changes.

Parental leave for council members

Commencement: 1 July 2023

What has changed

Council members are now entitled to parental leave when themselves, or their spouse or de facto partner, either:

  • gives birth
  • adopts a person under 16 years of age
  • becomes the guardian or foster parent of a person under 16 years of age.

A council member is entitled to 6 months of parental leave beginning on the day on which the council member, or their spouse or de facto partner, gives birth, adopts or becomes a guardian or foster parent.

The Act does not allow for the period of parental leave to be deferred to a later date.

The period of parental leave can be less than 6 months if desired.

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

A council member does not need to apply for a leave of absence for their entitlement to take effect.

As the Act automatically provides for the entitlement, there is nothing required from a local government to implement the change.

Local governments do need to be aware that while a council member is on parental leave, their office on council is not to be counted when determining quorum for a meeting. For example, if a council comprises of 9 council members and 1 is on parental leave, at least 50% of the number of offices of the council is to be counted as 4, making the quorum for a council meeting 4 council members.

Recording votes in minutes of council meetings

Commencement: 1 July 2023

What has changed

Local governments are now required to record voting information against each motion voted on at a council or committee meeting. This information includes the:

  • total votes cast for a motion
  • total votes cast against a motion
  • individual vote of each member of the council or committee for each motion.

It is the responsibility of the person presiding at the meeting to ensure that the information is recorded.

An example of how this might look is included below.

Council resolution

Moved: Cr Pink 

Seconded: Cr Orange 

That Council adopts [insert motion here].

If carried– Carried (7-2) or if lost– Lost (7-2) 

For: Cr Pink, Cr Orange, Cr Purple, Cr Grey, Cr Red, Cr Yellow and Mayor Violet 

Against: Cr Blue and Cr Green 

This change does not apply for situations where voting is conducted by secret ballot, such as when a council elects a mayor, president, deputy mayor or deputy president.

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

From 1 July 2023, voting information should be included against each motion voted on at a council or committee meeting. This includes procedural motions, amendment motions and alternative motions, but does not include those situations already mentioned where voting is conducted by secret ballot.

If the required information isn’t already captured, local governments should update templates and systems used for the purposes of taking minutes to allow for it to easily occur.

Persons presiding at council or committee meetings should also be made aware of the new requirement so they can support minute takers by presiding over meetings at a pace and using a method that allows for information to be captured.

Compliance exemptions from the Act

Commencement: immediately

What has changed

The Act now allows for local governments to make applications to the Minister to grant exemptions to not comply with provisions in the Act, under limited circumstances.

These limited circumstances include:

  • to enable the local government to respond urgently to an emergency; or
  • to enable the local government to respond, on a temporary basis, to unusual circumstances.

The term 'emergency' is defined by the Act to include:

  1. the occurrence, or imminent occurrence, of an event, situation or condition that is a hazard under the definition of that term in the Emergency Management Act 2005 section 3; or
  2. a public health emergency as defined in the Public Health Act 2016 section 4(1).

A local government cannot be granted an exemption if the matter relates to the following, or any related orders or regulations:

  • Part 2 — Constitution of local government
  • Schedule 2.1 — Provisions about creating, changing the boundaries of, and abolishing districts
  • Schedule 2.2 — Provision about names, wards and representation
  • Schedule 2.3 — When and how mayors, presidents, deputy mayors and deputy presidents are elected by the council
  • Schedule 2.4 — Provisions about commissioners
  • Schedule 2.5 — Provisions about the Local Government Advisory Board
  • Part 3 Division 2 — Legislative functions of local governments
  • Part 4 — Elections and other polls
  • Schedule 4.1A — Filling extraordinary vacancy without extraordinary election
  • Schedule 4.1B — Filling office of councillor who is elected elector mayor or president
  • Schedule 4.1 — How to count votes and ascertain the result of an election
  • Schedule 4.2 — Order of retirement from office of councillors

To have an exemption considered, a local government may apply to the Minister. On receipt of an application, the Minister may grant the exemption, for a specified period only, if the Minister is satisfied that:

  • it would not exempt a local government from an excluded provision
  • it is reasonably necessary to respond to an emergency or unusual circumstances
  • that the application was made as soon as was reasonably practicable, in the case of an emergency
  • the exemption will not undermine the good governance of the local government
  • it is in the public interest.

If granted, an exemption may only apply for specified activities, conditions or any other type of limitation.

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

Applications for exemption should be directed to the Minister and should detail:

  • the provisions of the Act being requested for exemption
  • how it meets the limited circumstances
  • the reasons for the request
  • the period that the exemption is being requested for.

If an exemption is granted, the local government must give local public notice of the exemption unless specified by the Minister.

The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries is developing further support resources in relation to this issue and these policies will be available for public viewing once in place.

Restrictions on meeting participation due to gifts

Commencement: 1 July 2023

What has changed

Councils are no longer permitted to allow a council member, that has disclosed an interest under section 5.65 of the Act, to be present during any discussion or decision-making procedure, if the disclosure relates to:

  • an electoral gift; or
  • 1 or more gifts made by 1 person that exceed the prescribed amount.

What a local government needs to do to implement the change

Councils must ensure that they do not resolve to allow for a council member to be present when the situation above applies.

Chief executive officers can assist the council by making themselves aware of gift registers and interests disclosed at each meeting, to allow for advice to be provided if council consider allowing participation.

Council member training and development

  • Changes under the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 provide for the payment or reimbursement for council member professional development and training.
  • The payment or reimbursement of council member training must be made in accordance with the local government’s policy under section 5.129 of the Local Government Act 1995, as adopted by the local government.
  • The payment or reimbursement must be related to the role of council or the role of the council member.
Page reviewed 10 May 2024