Foreign Arrangements Taskforce tips hat to local govt

The Foreign Arrangements Taskforce is thanking all councils for their engagement with the Foreign Arrangements Scheme over the past six months.

Efforts to ensure local governments meet their obligations under the Scheme are much appreciated, and the arrangements notified to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) demonstrate the breadth of Australia’s international engagement across all levels of government.

As of 10 June, the DFAT taskforce had received notification of 328 local government foreign arrangements.

These arrangements tell a great story about the diverse nature of Australia’s international engagement, encompassing economic, trade, cultural, and social connections.

The taskforce also looks forward to hearing of future arrangements as the Scheme progresses.

In the meantime, if a council identifies any pre-existing arrangements that missed the 10 June deadline, they should feel free to contact the taskforce for assistance.

Several councils reached out to ask when the Commonwealth will be approving local governments’ prospective foreign arrangements.

To confirm, arrangements between local governments and foreign entities are defined under the scheme as ‘‘non-core’’.

The Commonwealth does not have a role in either approving, or refusing to approve, the negotiation of or entry into non-core arrangements under the Scheme.

Rather, there is a two-step notification process for these arrangements.

The first step is to notify of a proposal to enter into an arrangement. Then, within 14 days after having entered into such an arrangement, local governments should also notify to advise that they have entered into that arrangement.

Whilst formal approval for entry into non-core arrangements is not required, DFAT would welcome the opportunity to discuss potential foreign arrangements with local governments during their development. You may wish to contact your local DFAT State or Territory Office with any inquiries. Alternatively, you are welcome to contact the taskforce.

If any council has further questions about the operation of the scheme, they should not hesitate to reach out to the Taskforce via email