New rules for coun­cils

Comment News (Armadale) - - Front Page - Jes­sica Nico

GIFTS, be­hav­iour, train­ing and ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion have all been tar­geted as the State Gov­ern­ment rolls out the first phase of changes to the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act.

In what is the first ma­jor re­view of the Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Act in two decades, the changes aim to mod­ernise the Act, re­duce red tape and cre­ate the ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive coun­cils res­i­dents ex­pect.

Draft­ing of an amend­ment Bill has be­gun. Lo­cal Gov­ern­ment Min­is­ter David Tem­ple­man said it was “an im­por­tant step for­ward”.

“We have lis­tened to the com­mu­nity and we know that their ex­pec­ta­tions of lo­cal gov­ern­ments have changed and the leg­isla­tive frame­work un­der which they op­er­ate needs to re­flect this,” he said.

“These re­forms will build coun­cil mem­ber ca­pac­ity, strengthen gov­er­nance, im­prove ef­fi­ciency and pro­vide greater flex­i­bil­ity for lo­cal gov­ern­ments in de­ter­min­ing the best ways to com­mu­ni­cate with their com­mu­ni­ties.”

City of Ar­madale chief ex­ec­u­tive Ray Tame said the City sup­ported changes to gifts, stan­dards of be­hav­iour and im­proved ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion, but said manda­tory train­ing was un­nec­es­sary.

“The City has al­ways en­cour­aged train­ing for its coun­cil­lors; how­ever, it does not sup­port manda­tory train­ing,” he said.

“The role of coun­cil­lor is dif­fi­cult enough in the mod­ern era. We have to make it sim­pler, not so com­plex that no mem­ber of the public will seek of­fice.”

City of Gos­nells chief ex­ec­u­tive Ian Cowie said the City wel­comed the re­view, which was “well over­due”.

“The City is op­ti­mistic that the re­view will lead to re­forms that mod­ernise lo­cal gov­ern­ment and re­move leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions that lead to in­ef­fi­cien­cies and un­nec­es­sary costs,” he said.

“The City is cur­rently as­sess­ing how closely the leg­isla­tive pro­vi­sions match the City’s po­si­tions on the con­sul­ta­tion doc­u­ment.

“The in­tent be­hind a num­ber of the key changes is sup­ported.”

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