WA Govt handed road map for ‘more agile, inclusive councils’

A review of WA’s Local Government Act has recommended a renewed focus on integrity, self-regulation, and accountability.

The Local Government Review Panel’s final report, published this week, said this will give “local governments the tools to ensure good governance and continuous improvement”.

The report follows the 2017 announcement by the McGowan Government of a review of the Local Government Act 1995.

Because of the breadth of the matters covered by the Act, the review was divided into two stages: with consideration and implementation of priority reforms followed by wide-ranging reforms.

With most stage one reforms now in place, the panel (comprising David Michael MLA, Professor John Phillimore, Graham Sansom, Anne Wood, Henry Zelones, and Duncan Ord) canvassed wide-ranging reforms to “empower local governments to better deliver for the community”.

Their 65 recommendations are grouped under the headings of:

  • Smart planning and efficient service delivery;
  • Clear legislative intent;
  • An agile system;
  • Inclusive local democracy; and
  • Enhanced accountability, self-regulation and integrity;

The panel considered national and international best-practice models in its deliberations, and drew on feedback from consultations conducted by the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries.

Local Government Minister David Templeman said the Government will now consider the report and its recommendations before beginning the drafting of a new Local Government Act green bill.