In The News: Local government regional plan

THE WA Local Government Association has released a draft plan for restructuring of the sector, with a focus on a regional system of service delivery but no forced amalgamations of local councils. More than 250 industry representatives attended last week’s launch of the 10- year plan, which rejects the amalgamation of council in favor of voluntary participation in the proposed restructuring. The draft report, entitled ‘The Journey – Sustainability into the Future’, is a result of almost four years of consultation and analysis by the WA Local Government Association. The plan recommends the creation of a regional system of service delivery that leverages the economies of collective groupings of local councils while retaining their ability to represent the specific interests of their communities. Key measures include the capacity to create trading entities; best practice models for rate setting; setting of fees and charges and setting development charges. WALGA president Bill Mitchell said the plan would be a draft to enable the sector a further six weeks to provide feedback and comments. Research underpinning the review found that 58 per cent of local governments in WA were currently unsustainable on their own source revenue, however Cr Mitchell said it did not follow that amalgamations were the solution. “If you have two small problems and you combine them there is the real risk you will just end up with one big problem and nothing would have changed in terms of delivery of value to the community,” Cr Mitchell said. Rashelle Predovnik

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