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COVID-19: Update for Local Government
4 November 2022

In this issue..

WA’s State of Emergency Over 
After 964 days, Western Australia’s State of Emergency, declared on
15 March 2020, has ended.
Based on advice from the Chief Health Officer, the State of Emergency, declared under the Emergency Management Act 2005, and the Public Health State of Emergency, under the Public Health Act 2016 came to an end at 12:01am today.

Under the Emergency Management Amendment (Temporary COVID-19 Provisions) Act 2022, the State Emergency Coordinator, after receiving and considering advice from the Chief Health Officer, can make a ‘Temporary COVID-19 Declaration’ if satisfied that COVID-19 poses a risk to the safety of the community and a co-ordinated response is required to prevent loss of life or harm.

There is no Temporary COVID-19 Declaration currently in place.
Implications for Local Governments
Amendments to the Local Government Act 1995 and Regulations are being urgently progressed to reference the Temporary COVID-19 Declaration. This includes a consequential amendment to Part 10 of the Act to include a reference to a COVID-19 Declaration.
An immediate impact on Local Governments arising from the end of the State of the Emergency is that the emergency provisions allowing electronic Council meetings and electronic attendance at meetings cease to have effect.
However the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC) has advised that amendments to the Local Government (Administration) Regulations 1996 are being progressed that will:
  • Enable Councils to hold up to half of all Council meetings by electronic means.
  • Provide for Council members to, with the approval of the Mayor, Shire President, or majority of the council, attend a council meeting by electronic means.
    • There will be a cap on the number of Council meetings that a Councillor can attend by electronic means, which will not apply to councillors living with a disability (as defined in the Disability Services Act 1993).
DLGSC has indicated that these new changes should be in effect from Wednesday, 9 November 2022. Further advice will be provided confirming when the new Regulations are in effect and additional guidance materials.

The Local Government COVID-19 Response Order 2022 will be automatically revoked three months after the end of the State of Emergency. This will mean that the financial hardship provision in the Order will cease unless a new Order is made under the Temporary COVID-19 Declaration. For more information visit the DLGSC website
Changes to Long Service Leave Access 
With WA’s State of Emergency coming to an end on Friday 4 November 2022, Local Government employees will no longer be able to take long service leave (LSL) in advance. Under r.7A of the Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations (WA) (LSL Regulations), an employee may take advance LSL by agreement with the employer if:
  • the employee has not completed the whole of the accrual period in respect of an entitlement to LSL but has completed at least 7 years of continuous service of the accrual period, and
  • when the advance leave is granted there is in force a state of emergency declaration under the Emergency Management Act 2005 (section 56) applying to the district or part of the district of the employer.
If a state of emergency declaration is made in the future which applies to the district of the employer, employees will again be able to make a request for LSL in advance under r.7A of the LSL Regulations.

If you have any questions, please email WALGA Employee Relations or call 1300 366 956.
ONE70, LV1, 170 Railway Parade,
West Leederville, WA 6007
PO Box 1544, West Perth, WA 6872
Tel: (08) 9213 2000 | Fax: (08) 9213 2077
© Copyright Western Australian Local Government Association 2014

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WALGA · ONE70, Level 1, Railway Parade · West Leederville, WA 6007 · Australia