Country Councils have been given a boost with the State Government extending funding for regional Local Government Elected Members.

The WA Local Government Association today welcomed the decision by the State Government to contribute an additional $420,000 to ensuring regional Councillors have fair access to training.

The funding extension will deliver 48 training days in country areas which is expected to provide courses for about 450 regional Elected Members.

WALGA President Cr Lynne Craigie said the new training allocation followed the $1.3 million program by the State Government which had delivered training to almost 1400 participants over four years.

Cr Craigie said the decision by the State Government to extend the program demonstrated a sensible approach to Elected Member training that recognised the challenges faced in regional communities.

“Most of our smaller Local Governments in WA are located in regional areas with limited funds to support Councillor training but also the greatest costs in having to travel to metropolitan based programs,” Cr Craigie said.

“The provision of additional funding to maintain the support for training programs to be delivered in regional areas is a sensible approach by the State Government to help increase capacity and competency.”

The core training that will be provided in regional areas as a result of the funding will be selected stage 1 courses from the WALGA Learning and Development Pathway program.

The units selected are designed to provide Elected Members with an understanding of Local Government and the requirements of serving on Council including accepted meeting procedures.    

In the four years of the previous funding allocation, there were 1397 participants from regional Councils attending the 157 training sessions offered.

“For each of the four years of the program the participation rates by regional Elected Members increased on the previous year which further supports the decision to extend the program,” Cr Craigie said.