Better Governance

Better Governance

The 2024-25 Budget was an important opportunity to provide funding support for key legislative programs in this important area. The priority areas of funding sought in WALGA’s State Budget Submission were for the establishment of the Chief Inspector of Local Government and the Office of the Local Government Inspector, as well as the Child Safeguarding Independent Oversight Body.


In line with WALGA’s advocacy, funding was allocated for the establishment of the Office of the Inspector of Local Government. The Budget commits $702,000 to be spent in 2024-25 on activities to establish the Office within the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (DLGSC).

The Budget also contains $6.1 million from FY2023-24 to 2027-28 to enable the DLGSC to continue to meet the cost of maintaining and managing its child safety risks and the implementation of better child safe practices, including its obligations under the National Redress Scheme and leading the response to allegations of historic abuse of Western Australian Institute of Sport athletes. Disappointingly, the State Budget does not provide funding for the establishment of the Child Safeguarding Independent Oversight Body.

The Budget also contained funding to support other areas of its legislative reform agenda important to Local Governments, including:

  • The Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) has been approved to spend an additional $7.7 million over the forward estimates to continue implementing initiatives approved as part of Planning Reform Phase Two. This includes the centralised assessment of Development Contributions Plans, implementing Development Assessment Panel Reforms and the establishment of a permanent determination pathway for State and regionally significant developments.
  • $13.3 million was also provided over 2023-24 to 2027 to support the increased Aboriginal cultural heritage related service delivery under the amended Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972. This includes funding for the recently opened Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Survey Program.
  • $900,000 additional funding has been approved throughout 2024-25 and 2025-26 for a two-year pilot program in partnership with the Office of Digital Government to support five Local Government entities to address cyber security risks and deliver training and capacity building to enhance cyber security maturity.

WALGA Comment

While it is pleasing that the Government has provided funding for the implementation of its Local Government Reform agenda, WALGA would prefer the Chief Inspector of Local Government and the Office of the Local Government Inspector function to act as an independent office that reports directly to the Minister for Local Government. Once planning for the Inspectorate has been finalised, it is important that sufficient funding is provided in the forward estimates for the ongoing operating costs associated with this office.  

The creation of the Child Safeguarding Independent Oversight Body is needed to support capacity building for a consistent whole of community response to child safeguarding.

WALGA welcomes the acknowledgment and funding for the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage (DPLH) in response to increased demand on Aboriginal cultural services.

In the six months since the commencement of the amended Aboriginal Heritage Act 1972, WALGA has advocated for the State Government to provide guidance and practical implementation solutions to enable Local Government to comply with the legislation without prohibitive costs and time delays to critical community projects, which is yet to be forthcoming. WALGA will continue to advocate on this issue.

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