General Support for Review Report Thursday, August 06, 2020
It is anticipated WA Councils will generally support the majority of the recommendations released yesterday in the final report of the Local Government Review Panel.

Key recommendations including the creation of a Local Government Commission and providing the community with greater input to the sector are expected to be favoured by most Councils.

However, WA Local Government Association President, Mayor Tracey Roberts said the sector would be seeking greater clarification on other significant recommendations, including those in relation to Council mergers and amalgamations.

“For the most part I believe the Local Government sector in WA will support the vast majority of the recommendations that are clearly intended to modernise an Act that is now 25 years old,” Mayor Roberts said.

“Recommendations that recognise community participation and redress some of the challenges that have faced Elected Members and staff are positive steps forward.

“However, the sector would like clarity over sections that propose moving to a process of managing Council mergers that sets aside the will of the local community.”

The Local Government Review Panel commenced in November 2019 and included representatives of State and Local Government, members with governance and public policy expertise, and also considered submissions from a variety of sector and industry groups.

Mayor Roberts said the final report of more than 50 pages contained a myriad of recommendations across all aspects of Local Government and would require time to fully consider.

“The broad intent of the recommendations reflect the need to modernise the Act and provide greater clarity for the sector and the community,” Mayor Roberts said.

“There are some areas where clarification is required, including the removal of poll provisions for amalgamations and changes to the industrial relations landscape, however, the sector's view of these matters would not be new to the State Government.

“Similarly the government would be aware that other recommendations that retain the general competence principle for Local Governments and provide for the establishment of single or regional subsidiaries, would be welcomed by the sector.”