Thursday, 24 February 2022

City submits response to proposed local government reform changes

Late last year, the State Government announced a significant package of major reforms for Western Australian local government.
To inform implementation of the proposed reforms the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries invited comments from local governments and the wider community.

The City supported the local government sector in successfully seeking an extension for feedback, and yesterday, submitted its response.

Council resolved this week that the submission should be accompanied by the following statement:

Whilst the City of Subiaco's submission supports or does not object to the majority of the reforms, this should not be interpreted as tacit agreement that changes to the Local Government Act and related legislation are necessarily the best way to fix or improve local government. 

One could reasonably take the view that the majority of the reforms are unnecessary, overly prescriptive, and force local governments to conform to a one-size-fits-all oversight model administered by State Government bureaucrats. 

Some of the reforms also seek to achieve outcomes that are better left to the democratic process. 

The City cautions against legislating for solutions which in reality cannot satisfactorily be legislated. Cultural change, better understanding of governance at a practical level, and better real world understanding of statutory roles, are the means by which authentic success in local government should be achieved.

The proposed reforms are based on six themes:
  • earlier intervention, effective regulation and stronger penalties
  • reducing red tape, increasing consistency and simplicity
  • greater transparency and accountability
  • stronger local democracy and community engagement
  • clear roles and responsibilities
  • improved financial management and report.
View the City’s submission (opens as PDF)
extraMile by Dapth