Landmark local government reforms passed by State Parliament will bring councils into the 21st century as the first reforms resulting from the Local Government Act review.
These reforms target key priority areas identified by the community and local government sector to better prepare council members for their challenging role, strengthen governance, empower councils to communicate with residents using modern technology and expand the amount of information available to the public online.
Commencing at the 2019 ordinary local government elections in October, all candidates will be required to have completed an online induction. This free, online module will be available on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries’ website in July.
Building the capacity of council members further, all council members will be required to complete a training program following their election covering key areas such as conflicts of interest, understanding financial reports and budgets, and serving on council.
Reforms will also:
- Improve standards of behaviour through a mandatory code of conduct for council members and candidates;
- Introduce new standards for CEO recruitment and performance management to help elected members select a CEO and assess their performance;
- Provide clarity for elected members to manage real and perceived conflicts of interest related to gifts; and
- Require local governments to publish information on their website such as local laws, approved council policies and all documents contained within a meeting agenda allowing instant access to council information for everyone 24/7.
As stated by Local Government Minister David Templeman:
“The McGowan Government is committed to transforming local government by empowering local governments to better deliver for the community.
“This first set of reforms will ensure that all council members are equipped to take on their vital but challenging role, and that local government is able to leverage on modern technology to communicate with the public and ratepayers alike.
“The public has high expectations of government at all levels and these reforms represent an important step forward in making local government agile, smart and inclusive.
“The McGowan Government has achieved more reform in local government in two years than the Barnett Government did in eight and a half years.
“I am committed to delivering to Western Australians a modern, responsive and effective local government system.”