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Western Australia Minister for Local Government John Castrilli

Report Says Local Government Reform Critical

Victor P Taffa

A Parliamentary Steering Committee Report released today reinforces the pressing need for Reform of Local Government in Western Australia.

Local Government Minister John Castrilli said the Local Government Reform Steering Committee report followed 12 months of research and analysis, including feedback from local governments and the findings of the committee’s four working groups.

“The report articulates the gaps and opportunities for the high-growth areas of the State through increased economies of scale and removal of duplication, inconsistencies and fragmented decision making.” Mr. Castrilli said.

“But change is not only needed in high-growth areas.”

“As a blueprint for fewer, stronger Local Governments in WA, the report provides an objective assessment of the status of the State’s Local Government Bodies.”

Key recommendations included:

  •  Consider options for targeted Government intervention, including through proposals to the Local Government Advisory Board for major boundary adjustments, and/or legislation to trigger reform activity in critical areas for reform;
  • To ensure ongoing reform of the Local Government Sector initiate legislation for the appointment of an independent panel of three specialist persons to review local government boundaries every eight years;
  • Initiate amendments to legislation to change the prescribed number of elected members to between six and nine.

Local Government in Western Australia is a $2 Billion Industry employing more than 13,600 people with a critical role in supporting the social and economic development of communities.

The Minister said even though the State Government’s reform program had facilitated some positive outcomes with 67 local governments responding positively to the reform process, further changes were required to achieve meaningful improvement.

“The report said that 61 of the State’s 139 Local Governments are unsustainable and that many of these have been unwilling to participate in the Reform Program.” Mr. Castrilli said.

“Without change, major capacity issues remain, resulting in lost opportunity for the State and communities.”

“While commending those local governments which are committed to reform, the steering committee found the voluntary reform process had not yielded the scope and scale of structural reform required State-wide.”

“I am hopeful that following the release of this report more Local Governments will embrace the reform process, and I thank the members of the steering committee for their time, knowledge and expertise in producing the report.”Mr. Castrilli said.

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