Advice on maintaining business systems and governance of Local Government given the impacts of COVID-19.

Financial Hardship Policy 

WALGA has updated the template Financial Hardship Policy to reflect the Local Government (COVID-19 Response) Ministerial Order 2020, which was Gazetted on Friday, 8 May.

The following supporting documents have been created to assist with the implementation of the Financial Hardship Policy.

 

Local Government (Functions and General) Amendment Regulations 

Amendments to the Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996 commenced on Friday, 10 April. An up to date version of the regulations is available here.

WALGA’s Template Purchasing Policy has been reviewed and comprehensively updated to address these changes.

New Template Delegations are also now available for the renewal or extension of contracts and tender exemption during a State of Emergency under the new Regulations 11(2)(ja) and 11(2)(aa).

The WALGA Governance Advice and Support Team will be remain available to respond to all enquiries relating to the amended Regulations and any other Governance issue that you may have. Please contact us on  governance@walga.asn.au.


Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Amendment Regulations 2020

The Minister for Planning has prepared a Notice exempting the need for compliance with one or more requirements of a local planning scheme.

The Notice outlines a range of exemptions, and the conditions for their application, prepared for the purpose of facilitating a response to, or recovery from, the emergency occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Broadly the changes identify other matters which no longer require planning approval across a number of essential local community services, including:  

  • medical or health-related facilities required in response to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • truck and logistic companies needing to deliver goods but currently with restricted loading and unloading times
  • businesses seeking to adapt by changing their current approved use
  • restaurants and cafes required to sell takeaway in contravention of current planning conditions;
  • people operating their businesses from residential zones
  • parking commercial vehicles on residential properties
  • businesses needing to change signs 
  • temporary workers accommodation, and 
  • a blanket two-year extension has been granted for all current development approvals.

These exemptions are for temporary situations only, so brick-and-mortar applications are not included and the usual approvals will need to be sought in most instances within 90 days of the lifting of the State of Emergency. Improvements to Local Government’s community consultation requirements have also been included. 

The Notice is also accompanied by a communications package, templates that Local Governments can use and a set of FAQs, view here.  


Regional Travel Restriction Exemptions Template Letter: Contractors

WALGA has developed a template Regional Movement Confirmation letter, which Members may provide to those contractors who need to travel through the regions to supply the Local Government with goods and service under existing contracts.
 
This template will provide consistent and reliable evidence that contractors, businesses operators and consultants have reason to travel for employment purposes and comply with Item 4(b) of the Directions Notice ‘Prohibition on Regional Travel Directions’ that commenced on Tuesday, 31 March:

4. A person must not enter a region from another region except to the extent that:
                (b) it is necessary for the person to do so for the purpose of attending the person's place  of employment or fulfilling the duties of the person's employment, office or  occupation;

The template is available here


Local Government (Administration) Amendment Regulations 

Amendments to the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 commenced on Thursday, 26 March. An up-to-date version of the regulations is available here.

WALGA’s Electronic Council Meeting (eMeeting) Guideline, has been developed to assist Local Governments understanding of the new Regulations and how they interact with existing meeting procedures.  WALGA has also provided on its link some additional guidance of efficient decision-making through the judicious application of delegated authority.

The WALGA Governance Advice and Support Team will be remain available to respond to all enquiries relating to the new Regulations, eMeeting procedures and any other Governance issue that you may have. Please contact us on  governance@walga.asn.au.

   

Delegation and Decision Making

WALGA has produced a Delegation and Decision Making Guide to assist Local Governments to identify and manage delegations, authorisations and policies that may be required to facilitate efficient decision making in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Local Government Essential Services

WALGA is currently assessing Local Governments’ response to the COVID-19 State of Emergency Direction Notices to understand decisions to continue providing ongoing delivery of essential services, and the discontinuance of non-essential services.
 
Local Government decisions regarding ongoing service provision will be tailored to meet the expectations and needs of each community, and from this perspective it will be difficult to succinctly categorise or define what is, and what is not an essential service.
 
WALGA is working to provide guidance to the Sector on common inclusions that relate to the majority of Local Governments, and additional determinations of ongoing service delivery.
 
Once completed, this information will be provided on this page.
 

Employee Advice

WALGA is able to offer advice relating to staff and leave entitlements to those members subscribing to its Employee Relations service. The Employee Relations Team can be contacted on 1300 366 956 or email employeerelations@walga.asn.au.
 

Progressing Local Planning Schemes and Amendments

The Department of Planning Lands and Heritage have advised that they are continuing to progress local planning schemes and amendments despite the Department also commencing alternative working arrangements. 

To assist in this process, the scheme and scheme amendment documents required by the Planning and Development (Local Planning Schemes) Regulations 2015 can now be submitted electronically. Electronic documents should be sent to schemes@dplh.wa.gov.au and large file transfer requests can also be sent to this email address.
 
Please note that two hardcopies of the final executed amendment documents are still required and these should be mailed to the Department, but these are the only hard copy documents that should be submitted.  

The Department’s mailing address is: 
Attention: Heather Brooks
Department of Planning Lands and Heritage
Locked Bag 2506
Perth WA 6001