Local Government Act Review

In 2017 the State Government announced a review of the Local Government Act 1995.

A montage of images with the words, Local Government Act Review: Delivering for the Community
Local Government Act Review logo

In 2017 the State Government announced a review of the Local Government Act 1995. This is the most significant and comprehensive reform of local government legislation conducted in more than two decades. The objective is for Western Australia to have a new, modern Act that empowers local governments to better deliver for the community. Our vision is for local governments to be agile, smart and inclusive.

About the Local Government Act Review

Currently, the Local Government Act 1995 establishes the system of local government in Western Australia. It covers a wide range of features of local government and describes:

  • the functions of local government
  • the election of councillors
  • the roles of the council and local government administration
  • the framework for the administration and financial management of local government.  

In 2017, the McGowan Government announced a review of the Local Government Act. The review is being undertaken by the department.

The intention of the review is to identify areas of reform that either:

  • should be introduced as a priority into the current Local Government Act (now completed); or  
  • should be incorporated into a new Local Government Act.

How the review is being conducted

Given the breadth of matters covered by the Local Government Act, a staged approach to the review has been adopted:

  • Stage one: Priority reforms
  • Stage two: Wide ranging reforms

The following process has been undertaken in both stage one and stage two of the review:

  1. Topic identification: identification of topics within the Act that should be reviewed.
  2. Community consultation: seeking feedback from the community and key stakeholders on the key topics under review.
  3. Analysis of submissions: compiling and analysing the feedback from community and key stakeholders.
  4. Consideration and decision by Government: a decision by Government as to how the Act should be amended.
  5. Changing the Act: amending the Act to reflect decisions of Government. Changes to the Act are being progressed either: 
  • immediately as a priority (please refer to the Reforms Introduced page for more information); or
  • when an entirely new Local Government Act is drafted (information on the new Act is available below).

Local Government Act Review Reference Group

In 2017, the department formed a reference group of key industry stakeholders to provide feedback and advice on:

  • topics to be reviewed
  • materials prepared for consultation
  • the analysis of the community’s feedback.

The Reference Group met throughout the process to provide invaluable insights and guidance.  It completed its role in October 2019.

A new Local Government Act

It is intended that a new Local Government Act will be drafted to incorporate reforms identified in the review.

Work on a new Local Government Act is being undertaken by the department.

Following the extensive consultation, the process for developing a new Local Government Act is as follows:

  1. Policy development: identification of what will be included in the new Act, including incorporating reforms identified in the review.  The Review Panel will be making recommendations on this taking into consideration the feedback received.
  2. Approval of Government to draft a new Act.
  3. Consultation with the community on the draft of the new Act.
  4. Analysis of feedback.
  5. Local Government Review Panel consideration of feedback and recommendations to Government.
  6. Decision by Government to adopt a new Act.
  7. Consideration and approval of Act by Parliament.
  8. Implementation of the new Act.

Local Government Review Panel

In November 2019 a panel of experts was formed to progress the development of a new Local Government Act for Western Australia.

The Local Government Review Panel was established to consider and recommend high-level direction and guiding principles for the new Act.

The panel met from November 2019 to May 2020 and looked at best practice models in Australia and overseas as well as the recent consultation on WA’s Local Government Act 1995.

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Local Government Review Panel final report

Recommendations for a new Local Government Act for Western Australia

Timeline of the Local Government Act Review  

  • July 2017 State Government makes an election commitment to review the LG Act 1995.
  • November 2017 Consultation on priority reforms begins.
  • August 2018 Policy positions for priority reforms are announced.
  • September 2018 Consultation on second stage of reforms begins.
  • March 2019 Priority reforms are introduced to Parliament.
  • March 2019 Submissions to the second stage closed on 31 March 2019.
  • June 2019 Local Government Legislation Amendment Act 2019 passed.
  • July 2019 to current time Priority reforms progressively implemented.
  • November 2019 Review Panel established.
  • August 2020 Review Panel report released.

Journey towards a new Local Government Act. Timeline shown that is decribed in the list directly below this image.

Sector consultation — Stage one priority reforms

Sector consultation took place in December 2020, covering regulations to introduce mandatory minimum standards covering the recruitment, selection, performance review and early termination of local government Chief Executive Officers (CEO Standards).

The department also sought feedback on a mandatory code of conduct for council members, committee members and candidates, and an employee code of conduct.

The regulations were gazetted and took effect on Wednesday, 3 February 2021.

​More information

Email actreview@dlgsc.wa.gov.au

Page reviewed 09 June 2021