Emergency Management Committees and Advocacy Updates

WALGA has been participating in State Emergency Coordination Group meetings as the Association is legislated under the  Emergency Management Act 2005 to represent the sector.

WALGA staff are currently assisting at the State Health Incident Coordination Centre at the Department Health.   

WALGA staff are liaising with the Departments of Local Government and Premier and Cabinet on legislative changes, State directions and emerging issues as they relate to our sector to ensure our operations are able to respond to the need of our communities.

A COVID-19 Response Team has been created within WALGA to further assist with member queries, keep track and seek resolution of key and emerging issues and provide a regular flow of information to the Sector.

Activity arising from ongoing advocacy and Committee meetings are outlined below:

State Recovery Plan

The State Government has appointed a State Recovery Advisory Group to provide high level and strategic advice on the impacts of COVID-19 and help guide the development of the State Recovery Plan.

Cabinet has agreed to the five recovery areas of: health, economic and infrastructure, social, industry and regional WA; with a Draft Impact Statement released.

The Draft Impact Statement and overview of the recovery approach can be found on the State Government's Leading WA's Recovery webpage.

WALGA President Mayor Tracey Roberts has been appointed to the State Recovery Advisory Group along with 23 other representatives from business, industry, not-for-profit organisations, UnionsWA, the public sector, and the community.

In addition, a number of Ministerial Roundtables have been established across topic areas to provide further opportunities for engagement across business and community in WA.

Local Government leadership forms one Roundtable, with representation drawn from WALGA State Council, Local Government Professionals as well as State Government Agencies and the Ministers for Local Government and Emergency Management.

To date, WALGA has been invited to provide representation on four other Roundtables:
•    sport, recreation and volunteering
•    housing and construction
•    transport and logistics, and
•    older people and seniors

An overview of the Stakeholder Engagement for Recovery Planning can be found here.

Activation of State Emergency Welfare Plan

WA Emergency Coordinator Stephen Dawson has activated the State Emergency Welfare Plan which sees the Department of Communities take the primary responsibility for coordinating the provision across the State of “welfare services” (as defined in the Emergency Management Act 2005).
Welfare services for people affected by an emergency can include the provision of accommodation, food, clothing, and financial assistance, and may extend to other critical support services.
With the activation of the plan, the Director General of the Department of Communities, Michelle Andrews, becomes the State Welfare Coordinator.

A State Welfare Emergency Committee is being established, which will be chaired by Michelle and oversee the delivery of these services across the State. In addition, a State Welfare Incident Control Centre is being established to sit alongside and support the State Health Incident Control Centre.

An outline of the plan architecture and key provisions can be found here.

Local Governments are encouraged to consider their existing plans and committees in support of the State welfare efforts.
Under the Emergency Management Act 2005, Local Governments are required to establish and convene a Local Emergency Management Committee (LEMC). This committee is established to support the Local Government fulfill their legislated responsibilities under the Act.
The LEMC assists in the development of Local Emergency Management Arrangements, including a recovery plan. Many Local Governments have developed welfare plans as part of their arrangements.
WALGA will continue to liaise with the Department of Communities to understand what resources and support will be forthcoming with regards to the relevant considerations for ongoing support during COVID-19. 


JobKeeper Advocacy: Monday, 6 April

WALGA has been engaging in advocacy at both a national and State level to ensure Local Governments are eligible to apply for JobKeeper payments for those staff they have had to stand down as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

At a State level, WALGA is working with State Government on securing their support for this position and is sharing the implications should Councils not be eligible to join through media interviews and a recent media release.

WALGA has prepared a template letter for Local Government CEOs to send to their local Federal Member of Parliament urging them to advocate for Local Governments to be included in the JobKeeper scheme. Your support for WALGA’s advocacy on this issue is appreciated.

Through our national Association ALGA, we have provided aggregate data on workforce impacts with ALGA President Mayor David O’Loughlin today writing to the Prime Minister urging him include the sector in these payments so as to ensure continuity of employment for some 45,000 jobs currently at risk.
In the letter, Mayor O’Loughlin points to the significant role Local Government play as an employer and the essential services they provide, often as a result of lack of adequate services from private sector due to poor market conditions. 
He notes the impact of facility closures and consequent impact on fee for service revenue streams that go towards funding staff that work in them, and the further impact on revenue of Councils being asked to provide rates relief and freeze or lower rates in upcoming budgets.


Planning Minister's Correspondence:  Wednesday, 25 March
Planning Minister Rita Saffioti's Correspondence to WALGA President re: planning applications

Premier's Correspondence: Tuesday, 17 March
WA Premier's Correspondence to WALGA President re: Council Rates Tuesday, 17 March

Meeting with WA Premier: Tuesday, 24 March

At a meeting with WA Premier Mark McGowan this afternoon, the WALGA President was asked to share some key messages with the sector: 

The circumstances that are facing the State, and indeed the world are without precedent; and the State’s response to this is going to rely heavily on Local Government and the contribution the sector can make in supporting households and business.

The Premier reaffirmed his call for Local Governments to place an urgent and immediate freeze to all household and business fees and charges.  

Other initiatives discussed included: freeing up approvals processes; support for small businesses and relief for organisations that lease Local Government premises.

Given the impact to date of the COVID-19 virus on the WA workforce; the Premier urged the sector to focus on continuity of employment for their workforce and focusing on new ways in which to utiltise staff whose roles may have been impacted.
He further urged activity to bring about job creation, bringing forward projects currently planned or under consideration.

The Premier was emphatic in his statement that ‘we’re beyond talking about business as usual’ and he was looking to the sector to think outside the box on ways in which to support community and business during this time.