Local Government and Regional Development Minister John Bowler today announced Cabinet approval for the Local Government Advisory Board to conduct a review into structural and electoral reform of local government in Western Australia.
The review will look at a variety of issues to enhance and secure the future economic, environmental and social sustainability of communities in WA.
“My duty as Minister for Local Government is to ensure local governments are able to provide the best possible services to the State’s communities,” Mr Bowler said.
Having met with the elected members and administration staff while travelling throughout the State, the Minister said he had been regularly approached on the issues."
The matters were also raised during Local Government Week.
“Councils are champions of the communities they serve and these communities are continually calling for local governments to operate at the highest level,” Mr Bowler said.
“Local governments are the most immediate and accessible form of government across the State and this review aims to ensure that the structures allow for the best possible provision of services to ratepayers.”
The review will identify approaches that councils can adopt in achieving structural reform, ranging from local government amalgamation through to resource sharing, while recognising issues particular to the future sustainability of rural and remote communities.
The LGAB will also be asked to address the eligibility to vote, the case for retaining voluntary voting, the method of voting either in person or by post, the system of election for the mayor or president, plus the frequency and methods of election.
Mr Bowler said an overriding view expressed to him by local government had been the need for structural and electoral reform to ensure the future viability of local governments with consequent improvement in service delivery, better performance and greater involvement by community members.
“Issues that face communities in regional and remote areas need to be addressed differently by local governments relative to those in urban areas and as such there is no one uniform measure that can or should be accepted as a preferred structural reform approach,” the Minister said.
The LGAB is due to report by February 10, 2006.
Minister's office: 9213 6500