LG Reform… or, Revolution?

19 June 2020

The Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 (‘the Bill’) was introduced to Parliament this week, on 17 June 2020 to be precise.

The Bill is a catalyst for proposed wide scale reform to Local Government operations. It is, however, just a Bill at this stage and what is ultimately enacted, if anything, might be substantially different from what is currently proposed. That is an issue upon which we will just have to ‘wait and see’!

Some of the proposed changes may, fairly, be considered to be overdue and will undoubtedly be welcomed by the sector. However, there are a number of other provisions which may reasonably be considered to be concerning and, if they were to be enacted, will significantly erode current levels of council autonomy. In our view, these provisions of concern, propose unrealistic and unacceptable constraints and will, likely, be counterproductive to that stated objective of the State Government to ‘reduce red tape’ and costs to households.

Consistent with our approach to the LG reform discussion papers in 2019, we do not see any value in simply advising what the proposed changes are – our readers can do that from a simple review of the copy of the tracked-change Bill that is available on the DPTI website. Rather, we consider it to be a better value proposition to provide considered and independent analysis of the impacts arising from the changes proposed by the Bill, should they be implemented in the form currently presented.

Accordingly, over the next few weeks, KelledyJones Lawyers will deliver a series of LG Alerts which contain our analysis of each of the substantive reform proposals including, but not limited to the implications for:

  • conflict of interest;
  • the constitution of councils;
  • behaviour standards for council members and employees;
  • council property;
  • meetings;
  • public consultation and notification obligations; and
  • business planning and internal controls.

Any amendments to the proposals set out in the Bill can now only occur through the Parliamentary process.  This means that the only way to avoid unrealistic and unacceptable constraints, as proposed, will most effectively occur through the lobbying Members of Parliament.

For further information contact: