- Major local government reform Bill passed by the Legislative Assembly
- The Bill continues delivery of the most significant changes to local government sector in more than 25 years
The Legislative Assembly has passed the Local Government Amendment Bill 2023, which will deliver a range of major reforms to the system of local government across Western Australia.
Tranche one of the reforms is progressing to allow for key changes to be implemented for the October 2023 Ordinary Elections.
The changes will deliver a range of major benefits for ratepayers, strengthen local democracy and provide greater transparency and accountability by:
- introducing optional preferential voting, bringing local government elections more in line with State and Federal elections;
- requiring public election of a Mayor or President for all larger councils;
- abolishing the use of wards for smaller local governments;
- aligning the size of councils with the size of the population of each local government area;
- enabling reforms to the owners and occupiers roll to prevent the use of 'sham leases', addressing critical findings of the City of Perth Inquiry;
- setting State-wide caretaker periods during ordinary council elections;
- setting standardised council meeting procedures;
- mandating live streaming and recording of council meetings;
- establishing mandated communications agreements between council members and the local government administration;
- enabling reforms to require all local governments to publish information through online registers, including registers that disclose information about local government leases, grants, and goods and services contracts; and
- introducing new requirements for the publication of performance indicators and results for all local government Chief Executive Officers, with provision for limited exemptions for sensitive matters.
Work on the second tranche of additional legislation to deliver further reforms is continuing in consultation with the local government sector.
This includes the establishment of the new Local Government Inspector and the introduction of local government monitors for early intervention.
The Local Government Amendment Bill 2023 will now be considered by the Legislative Council.
Comments attributed to Local Government Minister John Carey:
"Our reform agenda is clear - we are strengthening the transparency, accountability and efficiency of local governments, and this set of electoral reforms will enable stronger local democracy and community engagement.
"The passage of the Bill through the Legislative Assembly is the latest milestone in the continued delivery of the McGowan Government's significant local government reforms.
"We have had an extensive history of inquiries, reports and reviews into the sector and the consultation has been extensive with more than 200 submissions received over the three-month consultation period. Now is the time for action and real change across local government.
"Our Government is continuing to work with the sector to implement reforms, including election changes to be in effect for the upcoming October 2023 elections."
Minister's office - 6552 5300