The video below is a recording of the Webinar that ran on Thursday, 15 August 2019.

Ever thought about nominating to become a Councillor, but you aren't sure if the role is for you?
This webinar focuses on the following key areas:

  • Parliament’s role in creating legislation for Local Government
  • how to read the Local Government Act 1995 and Regulations
  • who does what at a Local Government
  • a Councillor’s personal responsibilities, and
  • consequences of improper conduct.

Video Recording

If the video does not appear above then your current internet connection could be blocking YouTube. Please view the site from a different internet connection or download the video for offline play below.

Video Download

To download the webinar video for offline playback click here

Presentation Download

To download the PowerPoint presentation from this webinar please click here

Question and Answer Session

The following are a range of questions asked during and after the Communications and Social Media webinar:

Question 
If I don't live in the electorate but own property in the electorate can I nominate?

Answer 
Yes you can… but only in specific circumstances.
If you own or occupy property in your own right, then you may claim Electoral Eligibility on the Owners and Occupiers Electoral Roll and if your claim is accepted, then you will be eligible to nominate for election.

If however, your right to vote in the Local Government Election is because you are a nominee of a body corporate for a rateable property owned or occupied by that body corporate, you will not be eligible to nominate for election.

Question 
What happens if I don’t finish my training in 12 months?

Answer 
The Minister for Local Government has indicated that in this initial phase of implementation compliance with universal training will be monitored before the State Government considers whether or not formal sanctions may be necessary to improve compliance rates.

Local Governments will however have to prepare a report at the end of each financial year detailing Elected Member compliance with the universal training requirements and publish the report on the Local Government’s website, so that the community is informed of participation rates. 

In support of universal training, it is WALGA’s observation that a number of Elected Members found by the Local Government Standards Panel to have breached the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations, have undergone limited or no training and consequently failed to navigate their behavioural responsibilities appropriately. Participation in the ‘Elected Member Essentials’ training has potential to safeguard Councillors against this prospect. 

Question 
Who pays for the mandatory training and do I get paid for my time attending training?

Answer 
WALGA has strongly advocated for State Government to fund universal training for the whole sector. However, in the absence of a commitment from State Government to provide this funding, the training will need to be funded from each Local Government’s budget allocations.

Under the current Local Government Act arrangements, Elected Members are not able to claim reimbursement for their time committed in attending professional development training. The Act only currently provides for Elected Members to be reimbursed for travel and child care costs incurred.  
 
Additionally the Elected Member Meeting Fees, whether paid per meeting or as an annual allowance, have been calculated by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, to include consideration of the broad scope of Elected Member activity outside of formal Council and Committee meetings to which the fees are specified.

Question 
I have a full time job. On average, how much time will I need to devote a week to being an Elected Member and is my employer required to give me time off?

Answer 
The level of Elected Member time commitment will vary substantially between Local Governments and specifically Elected Members. Many Elected Members say they allocate up to 30 hours a week, however time commitments may be best understood by looking at:

  • How often Council and Committee meetings are scheduled and how long these meetings usually last.
  • Does your Local Government also hold Agenda Briefing sessions before each Council meeting and regular Concept or Strategic Forums for Council Members and Executive Staff.
  • How detailed are the agenda, how many pages do they contain – this is how much pre-reading will be required before each meeting.
  • Consider too, when your Local Government’s meetings are scheduled. Some Local Governments schedule Council and Committee meetings during the 9am-5pm business hours, others schedule their meetings after business hours.  Regardless of when the Local Government currently has meetings scheduled, it will be up to the newly formed Council following each election to determine when it chooses to schedule meetings, at a time that is convenient for the majority of Council Members.
  • You may also wish to put yourself forward to represent the Local Government on other community groups, boards and committees.  These are optional, but can be an important contribution for connecting with and advocating on behalf of your community.

In the end, you can expect that being a Council Member will have an impact on your available time and personal commitments.  Make sure you are well informed about the extent of this impact before you nominate, as making sufficient time is important for you to be a successful community representative.

Question 
If I am a real estate agent is there any benefit to me becoming an elected member? 

Answer 
First and foremost, the purpose of nominating for election to Council is to serve your community.  If you are successfully elected you will be required to make a Declaration of Office in which you will “declare that I take this office upon myself and will duly, faithfully, honestly and with integrity, fulfil the duties of the office for the people in the District according to the best of my judgement and ability and will observe the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007”.

The role of an Elected Member cannot be used, in any way, for personal benefit.  Misuse of the office of Elected Member may constitute serious misconduct under the Corruption, Crime and Misconduct Act 2003.

The Local Government Act 1995 does not prohibit a real estate agent or property developer from becoming a Council Member however if you work in, own or derive income from a real estate or property development business that works within the Local Government district for which you nominate for election, you will need to carefully consider how this may impact your professional work and your effectiveness in an Elected Member role as you will have complex obligations for disclosure of interest.

For example – As a real estate agent you or the real estate company you work for may be engaged in managing the marketing, leasing, rental or sale of properties throughout the Local Government district. Should any of these properties require a Local Government determination
(i.e. development approval, building permit, licence, lease etc) you will be required to consider and disclose your interests under the Local Government Act, which may include:

  • A direct financial interest where a matter relates to any property that you or the agency you work for is providing services in regard to that property; or
  • An indirect financial interest if the matter relates to your employer’s / business partner’s property interests  
  • A proximity interest, where a matter relates to a property that has an adjoining boundary to, or across the road from, any property that you or the agency you work for is providing services.

Given the broad scope for a real estate agency to touch many properties within the Local Government district that it operates, it presents a high level of complexity for ensuring that you maintain awareness of any current properties interests and then making appropriate disclosures.

Question 
Thinking about ‘qualified privilege’, what if I make a statement in a Council Meeting that I subsequently find out is wrong?

Answer 
We are all human and are therefore prone to making mistakes. The key to managing the risk of making such mistakes is to ensure that you are well prepared before you attend any meeting.  

Make sure you have read and understood the information provided in the meeting agenda and if required, that you have sought more information or checked your facts and assumptions with the CEO before the meeting.

If however, you do make a statement in your elected member that you subsequently find out is wrong, you can correct the record by seeking permission from the President or Mayor to make a statement at the next Council meeting, or if the statement was made at an informal council meeting or at a community event, you may need to consult with your CEO regarding the best method of correcting the information. By taking corrective action, rather than ignoring your mistakes, you will be demonstrating community leadership and will likely be well respected for your positive approach.

Mistakes aside, Elected Members are responsible for ensuring their behaviour and statements are not defamatory, libellous, discriminatory, offensive, abusive, constitute bullying or harassment or breach any written law. An Elected Member who behaves in any way that contravenes any legal obligations can be held personally liable, with the risk of foregoing the protection from liability provided under Section 9.56 of the Local Government Act.

Question 
Is an Elected Member permitted to abstain from voting?

Answer 
No. 

Section 5.21 of the Local Government Act 1995 , prescribes that if an Elected Member is in attendance at the meeting, then they must vote, with the only exception being where the Council Member is prohibited from participating in debate or voting because they have disclosed either a Direct Financial Interest, an Indirect Financial Interest or a Proximity Interest.

Question 
Election campaign material that is printed, published or distributed is required to include the name and address (not being a post office box) of the person who authorised the electoral material and if printed otherwise than in a newspaper, it must also include the name and business address of the printer.

I would rather not share my home address or my work address… Do I really need to include an address on the ‘authorised by’ statement?

Answer 
YES, it is a requirement of section 4.87 of the Local Government Act 1995 and non-compliance may be subject to a penalty of $2000.

Question 
If I have to make sure my Local Government election materials are compliant with the ‘authorised by’ requirements… how do I make my social media publications compliant? 

Answer 
The Western Australian Electoral Commission (WAEC) confirms that social media used to publish electoral material is required to comply with the ‘authorised by’ requirements.

The WAEC advises:
Any advertising on the Internet (e.g. banner ads) must also be authorised. A website or Facebook site created for electioneering purposes needs to be authorised (on the home or landing page), however individual comments on social media (e.g. such as Twitter or Facebook) do not.

It is recommended that a separate social media profile is created and used specifically for your candidacy.  This will enable you to separate out your compliance obligations for monitoring and moderating your social media from your personal profiles.  It will also assist you in transitioning your candidate social media into your elected member social media, if you are successfully elected.

Question 
How do I find out which Band my Local Government is in for Elected Member and President / Mayor Allowances and also CEO Remuneration? 

Answer 
The Bands to which Local Governments are allocated are reviewed and determined each year by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal, with their determination available on the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal website in April each year.

This link will take you to the 2019 Salaries and Allowances Tribunal ‘Local Government CEOs and Elected Member Determination’ where you can look up the 2019 Band allocation for your Local Government.
The Local Government CEOs and Elected Member Determination details the matters considered by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal when making its determination as well as the maximum levels of

  • remuneration for Local Government CEOs and allowances and fees for Elected Members.
  • allowances and fees for Elected Members.

Question 
I receive a Centrelink payment / pension.  Will receiving payment of the Elected Member Allowance affect my Centrelink payment / pension? 

Answer 
The Elected Member Allowances and Fees are determined as income by the Australian Tax Office. It is recommended that you find out what level of payment you would be entitled to from your Local Government, if you are successfully elected, and then seek advice from Centrelink regarding what impact, if any, this will have for your Centrelink payments.

Question 
I have young children. What support are councillors eligible to receive for babysitters? Does the babysitter have to have an ABN? 

Answer 
Section 5.98(2)(a) of the Local Government Act 1995 and Administration Regulation 31, provide that all Local Governments are required to reimburse child care and travel costs incurred by a Council Member because of the Member’s attendance at a Council meeting or Committee Meeting of which they are a member.

Each Local Government will determine how Elected Members make claims for reimbursement of expenses incurred, but in any case, Elected Members will be required to provide evidence of the payment they made (incurred) for that expense.
 
At this time there is no guidance for how the evidence of payment for child care services is to be provided. Evidence of a payment made is most often through a receipt provided by the person or entity which received the payment. Some Local Governments accept a hand-written receipt that includes sufficient identifying information for the person that provided the child care and received the payment, other Local Governments require a receipt from an organisation with an ABN. 

I recommend that you contact your Local Government to understand what Council policies have been adopted regarding child care reimbursement practices. Please note too, that the 2019 Salaries and Allowances Tribunal ‘Local Government CEOs and Elected Member Determination’ establishes the maximum child care cost reimbursement as the actual cost incurred or $30 per hour, whichever is the lesser amount.

Question 
What happens if I am elected and then move out of the electorate during my term of office? Will I have to resign from the office of Councillor?

Answer 
Section 2.27 of the Local Government Act 1995 provides that a Council Member will be disqualified from office if they no longer qualify to be an elector of the district.

This means that if your only qualification for election to Council was on the basis of residential elector status, then you would be disqualified from holding office on the Council if you move your residential address to outside the District.

If however, you also have entitlement to be an Elector of the District because you personally own or have a right (by legal instrument) to occupy rateable land in the District, then you would need to make, and have accepted, an Enrolment Eligibility Claim for the Owner / Occupier Electoral Roll.  You should ensure that this claim has been accepted concurrent with the transfer of your WAEC Electoral registration to your new residential address outside the District.

Question 
Can I run for election for 2 separate Councils at the same time? 

Answer 
There is no prohibition on running as a candidate in separate Local Government elections, with the eligibility requirements under Section 4.48 of the Local Government Act 1995 applying. Successful candidacy in both elections will however, lead to a disqualification from one Council under Section 2.23, as a person cannot be a member of more than one Council. If you are successful in both elections, then the choice of which Local Government you represent will lead to the other Local Government having to conduct an extraordinary election, at a significant cost to that community.

Where a Local Government operates a Ward system for the purpose of the election, a person cannot nominate as a candidate in more than one ward – Section 4.48(1)(b) of the Local Government Act.

Question 
What happens at a Swearing in Ceremony? Do I have to swear on the Bible? 
Can I invite family and friends to the Swearing in Ceremony?

Answer 
Local Governments have many different approaches to how their Swearing in Ceremonies are conducted, but generally they are held very soon after the Election Day. Your Local Government will be able to provide guidance on the date of this event.

The Ceremony may be presided over by the CEO or by a notable or prominent local citizen, provided that person is an authorised to perform the requirements of the declarations of office in accordance with the Oaths, Affidavits and Statutory Declarations Act 2005. The Declaration is not required to be taken as an Oath and therefore does not require you to swear on the Bible.

In any case your Local Government is likely to have long held traditions for how the Swearing in Ceremony is conducted and it should be acknowledged by each person who makes a Declaration of Office as being an important legal undertaking on their part as they commit to serve their community and perform their office; duly, faithfully, honestly and with integrity, in accordance to the best of their judgement and ability, observing the Local Government (Rules of Conduct) Regulations 2007.

Question 
My name on the electoral roll has not been updated since I got married.  What name do I use when nominating? 

Answer 
At the time or writing, there is opportunity to update the WAEC electoral roll so that your current name aligns with the name under which you will nominate and have recorded on the ballot paper.

Your Returning Officer will be guided by the following statement which is included in the statutory Form 8 ‘Nomination for Election by Candidate’: 
‘The name to be printed on the ballot paper must be your surname and one or more of your given names (or an initial or a commonly accepted variation). You must use the same name on your candidate profile. To ensure fairness between candidates the Returning Officer may rule that a name is inappropriate for inclusion on the ballot paper. If so he or she may ask you to nominate another name or choose one he or she considers appropriate.’

Question 
If I am elected, how long will it take to complete the Elected Member Essentials Training? 
Can I do it online? Can I complete it before I’m elected? What is the cost of Elected Member Training and who pays for it?

Answer 
The training required to be undertaken by those who are elected on 19 th October are the five modules of the ‘Elected Member Essentials’ comprising:

  • Serving on Council
  • Understanding Local Government
  • Conflicts of Interest
  • Meeting Procedures
  • Understanding Financial Reports and Budgets
Local Governments will make the arrangements and pay for the training, which will be available as eLearning or in face to face format. WALGA, North Metropolitan TAFE and South Metropolitan TAFE are the service providers. The cost of training is yet to be determined by WALGA and we cannot comment on behalf of the other service providers. The training will not be available until after 19 th October.    

Question 
If I’m elected to Council, can I continue to be an office bearer or on the executive committee of the community groups that I currently participate in? For example – the local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Resident and Ratepayer Association, the local Progress Association and local Sporting and Social Clubs.

Answer 
It is common, particularly in smaller communities, for Council Members to have long-standing, positive and productive leadership roles within the community. In these circumstances it is important for a Council Member who is also an office bearer or executive committee member in a community group to manage any conflict of interest that may arise in an open and accountable manner, in accordance with the Local Government Act 1995

For example – if you are an office bearer with the Progress Association and the Progress Association is proposing to advocate to the Local Government on any other matter, then you may be required to declare your conflict of interest at the Progress Association meeting, as you would be required to deliberate on the Progress Association’s proposal in your Council Member role.  You should therefore not participate in or contribute to preparing the Progress Association’s advocacy to the Local Government. 

When the Progress Association’s matter is subsequently brought before the Council you would be required to disclose an impartiality interest (kinship, friendship, membership of an association) and may then participate in the Council’s debate and vote on the matter. The key is that you should avoid the perception that your role as an Elected Member gives advantage to the community group in its advocacy to the Council. 

You may however provide advice to the Community Group about how the Council processes work and where they may go to get additional information i.e. connect the community group with the relevant Local Government employee that can assist the community group.  This is your Elected Member role and you will be called upon to provide this information to many groups and individuals in your community.

Council Members who choose to continue to fulfil their community group leadership roles must be consistent in managing their conflicts of interest where their community leadership role may come into conflict with their Elected Member role and responsibilities.

Question 
If I’m elected as a Councillor and I’m still a Ratepayer, what provision in the Local Government Act, allows Councillors to vote on setting the rates? 
Won’t Councillors have a financial interest and therefore be prohibited from participating in debate and voting?

Answer 
The Local Government Act 1995 acknowledges that as Council Members are also residents, land owners or occupiers, that they are also likely to have a range of interest that are ‘in common’ with a significant number of  electors or ratepayers within the District.  Therefore, section 5.63 of the Act provides some specific exclusion for when a conflict of interest does not have to be disclosed, including:
  • an interest in the imposition of any rate, charge or fee by the Local Government;
  • an interest relating to determining Elected Member Allowances, reimbursements or gifts for departing Elected Members.
  • An interest arising only because the relevant person is, or intends to become a member or office bearer of a not for profit body;
An interest arising only because the person is, or intends to become a member, office bearer, officer or employee of a department of the Public Service of the Sate or Commonwealth or a body established under an Act or other written law.

Question 
What personal information do I need to declare publicly, if I am elected to Council?

Answer 
Elected Members must complete a Primary Return within 3 months of election to Council, and complete an Annual Return that updates the Primary Return up to 30th June each year. Both Returns collect the following information: 
  • Real property
  • Source of income
  • Trusts
  • Gifts
  • Contributions to travel
  • Interests and positions in corporations
  • Debts
  • Dispositions of property
  • Discretionary disclosures
Additionally, when making a declaration of interest at a meeting, the nature and extent of the interest is to be disclosed and this may reveal additional personal information, such as your relationships with others. The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries has produced Operational Guideline 20 and 21 to assist you declare interests at meetings and in returns.

Question 
The Webinar stated that the Local Government Act prohibits Council Members from being involved in the Administration of the Local Government. What can a Council Member do if they have concerns about what the CEO or Local Government employees are doing or not doing?

Answer 
As the employing authority of the CEO, it is the Council’s responsibility (and not that of an individual Elected Member) to manage the performance of their one employee. Therefore any concerns regarding the CEO’s fulfilment of their role, particularly those that are guided by key performance indicators, must be managed collectively and in accordance with the Local Government’s legal obligations under the CEO’s employment contract and industrial law. The Mayor / President may use their liaison role (Section 2.8(1)(f) of the Local Government Act) to communicate the views of the Council to the CEO.

The CEO, under s.5.41(g) of the Local Government Act is solely responsible for the management of the Local Government’s employees – the Council and Council members have no role to play in the management of the Local Government’s employees – therefore the CEO may not be able to provide advice to the Elected Member as to the specific actions taken with an individual employee, particularly if the actions are disciplinary in nature (confidentiality applies here as it applies in any employment situation).  The CEO will however be able to advise if the substantive issue has been resolved.

Question 
The Webinar outlined the CEO’s duties under s.5.41(c), requiring the CEO to implement the Council’s decisions. What can a Council Member do if the CEO has not implemented a Council decision?

Answer 
Bearing in mind the response to the previous question, each Council will have a method of monitoring the Administration’s progress toward implementing Council’s decisions, which may be in the form of a monthly or quarterly report.  

Where the Council is not satisfied with the reasonable progress toward implementing a particular decision then, in the first instance, the Council may request the CEO to provide information, as the Council should first seek to understand the circumstances impacting the ability of the Administration to progress the Council’s decision. For example, unintended consequences or lack of appropriate financial or human resources may hinder the Administration’s implementation of a decision, and Council needs to consider the potential for it to make further resolutions that might alleviate such hindrances.  

If Council’s reasonable expectations have not been met, the President / Mayor may liaise with the CEO to communicate Council’s collective view and performance expectations.  

Question 
What happens if I am elected and I have already planned a 3-month overseas holiday that will prevent me from attending Council meetings during that time?
I have business commitments that require me to travel internationally at least four times a year, which may mean I cannot attend Council or Committee meetings during those times.  Will this mean I cannot be a Councillor?

Answer 
If you are elected then it will be important for you to seek a Council resolution to approve a Leave of Absence for the period of time that you will be unable to attend Council meetings. Council cannot however grant approval for more than 6 consecutive ordinary council meetings without the approval of the Minister for Local Government.

Leave of Absence provisions are under s.2.25 of the Local Government Act 1995 , also provides that if a Council Member is absent without an approved Leave of Absence for
3 consecutive ordinary meetings of the Council then that Member is disqualified from membership of the Council (unless the 3 ordinary meetings occur within a 2-month period).

An apology provided for non-attendance at a Council Meeting does not change the Leave of Absence requirements; for example, if a Council Member has only submitted their apologies for 3 consecutive Ordinary Council Meetings and did not seek a Council resolution to approve a Leave of Absence under Section 2.25 for this period, or at least part of this period, then the Council Member would be disqualified from office.

Council Members must ensure that they attend meetings as a priority and monitor their personal requirements for Leave of Absence to avoid disqualification.

Question 
Can I participate in Council or Committee meetings by phone or video link?

Answer 
Yes, a Council Member can participate in a Council or Committee meeting by phone or video link, however Regulation 14A of the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 , requires:
  • That Council must first approve of the arrangement by absolute majority*; and
  • Council cannot give approval, if to do so would mean that more than half the meetings of the Council, or committee, in that financial year the person was not physically present at the meeting.
An arrangement for attendance by telephone or other electronic means can only be approved by Council if it can be confirmed that the person will be in a suitable place, which only includes a townsite or other residential area (within Western Australia) and which is further than 150kms from the location at which the meeting is to be held.

* Absolute majority means a vote that can only been passed if the number of votes for the matter is greater than the total number of offices on the Council. For example: if the total number of offices on the Council is 13 then there must be at least 7 votes for the matter for it to pass under an absolute majority, regardless of if any member is absent or an apology.

Question 
I am very interested in Planning matters and changes to Planning Schemes. I run a business…could my interest or advocacy on planning matters be seen as having a financial conflict? Can I be effective on Council on these matters or am I better remaining as a community member who shares my position at Council meetings?

Answer 
This question echoes our presentation comments regarding conflict of interests, personal responsibilities and the impact on your personal and professional life. Should you have an interest in a matter before Council that requires declaration of a financial, indirect financial or proximity interest, then you cannot participate in this matter through your presence during debate on the item, voting on the item or any other manner of involvement in the item, whether or not it is at a formal or informal Council meeting. Candidates are encouraged to consider the impact of the immutable conflict of interest legislative requirements when determining whether or not to stand for Council.

Question 
I want to nominate for election, however my Council currently meets during the day and I have a full-time day job. Can the Council meeting day / time be changed to suit me?

Answer 
Whilst a Local Government’s current meeting schedule may have been in place for many years, the Council may change the meeting schedule from year to year, or amend its adopted schedule during the year. 

Administration Regulation 12 requires the Local Government to determine and publicise the annual meeting schedule at least once each year. The Local Government can, at any time during the year, decide to change the adopted meeting schedule for one particular meeting or the meeting schedule for the remainder of the year, provided the changes are publicised through a Public Notice.

The meetings schedule, particularly the Ordinary Council Meeting schedule, is usually determined to suit the availability of the majority of Elected Members. If a proposal to change the Meetings schedule is not acceptable to the majority of the members on the Council, then it may require you to ask your employer to change or modify your work commitments so you can be available to attend Council meeting. 

If you were elected and you were unable to attend Council meetings then you may have to make a decision between your Elected Member obligations and your work obligations. 

Question 
My spouse works at the Local Government in a senior Administration position (not the CEO). Will this be a problem if I am elected as a councillor of the same Local Government?

Answer 
There is no prohibition in the Local Government Act 1995  that prevents a person running for Council under this circumstance. A number of significant factors would apply should you become an Elected Member; for example, the conflict of interest provisions would apply should a matter affecting Local Government employees come before Council; you have a duty not to divulge confidential information provided to you in your role as a Councillor; you cannot become involved, formally or informally, in any matter relating to the employment of your spouse.  

Question 
Is it an offence under the Local Government Act if I criticise the State or Federal government regarding a policy or bill they passed and which I disagree with?

Answer 
Elected Members continue to have a right to express their personal opinions and participate in public discourse on broad political matters under the implied Constitutional freedom of political communication. 

If you wish to comment about State or Federal Government matters, then it is suggested that you first ensure that your intended comments are not adverse to any previously adopted position of your Local Government – the CEO will be able to advise you in this regard. 

If you do decide to make comments publicly, make sure that you also include in your statement that the comments are personal opinion only and do not reflect the views of your Local Government.

Question 
If the Local Government is unfair in how it is applying the Local Laws to whom should one make a complaint? Is there some form of natural justice, or intervention that can be applied for?

Answer 
In our system of laws, there will be recourse to some form of administrative or judicial objection, review or appeal. There is a general provision under Part 9 of the Local Government Act 1995 for objections and review of decisions and authorisations made under Local Laws. However, without understanding the specifics of this question, it is difficult to comment on other jurisdictional opportunities to object or appeal the application of a Local Law i.e. whether or not the State Administrative Tribunal or the courts would have jurisdiction in a particular matter.

Question 
What are the rules on community petitions presented to Councils?

Answer 
The ‘rules’ for community petitions presented to a Council are usually included in each Local Government’s Meeting Procedures/Standing Orders Local Law. Local Law may set out:
  • the form that a petition is to be presented in;
  • the method of presenting a petition to Council; and
  • the way that the Council can deal with a petition, for example the Local Law may provide several options including, that the petition be received and noted or that the petition be received and referred for consideration by Committee.
Usually Council will receive a petition and, depending on the subject matter, may also refer the matter to the Administration and request that a report be prepared for future Council consideration.

Question 
Should the public Question Time at a Council meeting be held at the beginning or at the end of the Council meeting?

Answer 
Section 5.24 of the Local Government Act 1995 stipulates that at least 15 minutes must be set aside for Public Question Time (PQT) at Council meetings, and Committee Meetings with delegated authority. It is traditional that PQT operate at the commencement of meetings (and is often prescribed as such in Standing Orders / Meeting Procedures Local Laws) in recognition that engagement with community members is a priority and should come before any other business of the meeting. Councils habitually extend PQT if there are more questions than the allotted 15 minutes permits

Question 
Can a Local Government staff member be elected to Council?

Answer 
Section 5.51 of the Local Government Act 1995 , requires an employee who nominates for election to Council to take leave from their employment from that day that their nomination is accepted until the day of the declaration of the poll (or the cancellation of their nomination, if applicable). The employee is entitled to be paid their leave entitlements during this period, in accordance with their employment contract.
Section 2.26 of the Act provides that if an employee of a Local Government is declared elected as a member of that Local Government’s Council, then the person’s employment with the Local Government ends when the person begins their Term of Office.

Question 
Is there some further reading on Local Government Budgets and Financial Management obligations

Answer 
The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries provides a Local Government Accounting Manual.
Whilst this Manual is primarily directed toward the Local Government’s Administration, it may be a useful resource for Elected Members wishing to gain insight into Local Government accounting practices.

Question 
Where do I find the Candidate Induction and when do I have to complete this? 

Answer 
The Candidate Induction is facilitated by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries and is available on the Department’s website, the URL is provided below:
https://dlgsc.wa.gov.au/local-government/local-governments/council-elections/local-government-candidate-induction