Changes to WA’s Local Government Act have arrived 18 months after the Local Government Review Panel's findings and recommendations were tabled in state parliament.
The report proposed significant reforms to the Act which has been in place since the mid-1990s.
There are six key themes to the proposed changes including early intervention, reduced red tape, heightened transparency, strengthened community measures.
Other amendments include:
- Early invention powers will be greatly strengthened if the changes are enacted with the creation of a Chief Inspector’s office role to be given the power to handle complaints about elected members and delegate authorities to address matters such as financial management and dispute resolution;
- Replacement of the Local Government Standards Panel with a newly created Conduct Panel which will not feature any elected members and have the power to potentially suspend councillors;
- Use of preferential voting, as opposed to the first-past-the-post system currently used and no requirements for voters to participate in council elections;
- At the recommendation of the panel’s report, the State Government has proposed the removal of the WA Local Government Association (WALGA) from the Act;
- Other prominent proposals include increased resources sharing, simplified approvals for small businesses and the creation of regional subsidiaries instead of an amalgamation or merger like that of other Australian state governments.
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