01/08/2018 - 14:16

Green light for local govt reforms

01/08/2018 - 14:16

Bookmark

Save articles for future reference.

The state government has today announced a host of local government reforms, including provisions related to councillors and chief executives receiving gifts.

David Templeman says the reforms are an important step.

The state government has today announced a host of local government reforms, including provisions related to councillors and chief executives receiving gifts.

The reforms announced today, which will now be drafted as an amendment bill, form the first part of a major review in to the state’s local government legislation.

As part of the new changes, council members and chief executives will be prohibited from receiving gifts that are intended to influence decision making and those that may be perceived as a conflict of interest.

Gifts valued at more than $300 must be declared within 10 days of receipt and councillors will have to declare a conflict of interest if they have received a gift from someone who has a matter before council.

The reforms come as part of a two-stage review in to the Local Government Act, which is aimed at modernising the legislation and reducing red tape.

Other alterations include increased training for councillors, and the introduction of a mandatory code of conduct.

The reforms also aim to improve access to information and include: flexibility for public notice requirement allowing new technologies to be used; more information to be posted on local government websites; and the publishing of remuneration packages of councillors and chief executives in annual reports.

Local governments will also adopt minimum standards for chief executive recruitment and performance reviews.

A number of out-of-date provisions will also be removed to improve administrative efficiencies.

Local Government Minster David Templeman said the reforms were an important step in the review process.

"These reforms will build council member capacity, strengthen governance, improve efficiency and provide greater flexibility for local governments in determining the best ways to communicate with their communities,” he said.

"Local government is big business in Western Australia employing more than 20,000 people and managing more than $40 billion worth of assets.

"As the closest tier of government to the community, local government impacts every Western Australian.

“Phase two of the review is currently under way and I encourage everyone to get involved."

The reforms come after the City of Perth council was suspended in March following a number of incidents, including multiple changes among senior executive positions.

Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi stood down for four months last year after she was found to have seriously breached the Local Government Act 19 times by not disclosing third party-funded travel and accommodation.

STANDING BY BUSINESS. TRUSTED BY BUSINESS.

Subscription Options