COVID-19 – Restrictions on Local Governments Relaxed (15 April 2020)

On 15 April 2020 the WA Legislative Assembly has been rapidly progressing a Bill which amends the Local Government Act 1995 to relax restrictions on Local Governments during the COVID19 Pandemic. At the time of writing it is yet to be considered by the WA Legislative Council, however given the pace of the passage through the lower house, it is likely that the Bill will be introduced into the upper house very soon.

Some key measures of the Bill include;

  1. The ability of the Minister for Local Government to suspend the operation of sections of the Local Government Act 1995 (and/or regulations) whilst a COVID emergency declaration is in force and only if the Minister believes the suspension is necessary to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  2. The ability for Local Governments to make a resolution (whilst a COVID emergency declaration is in force) to suspend all of part of a Local Law, if the local government believes it is necessary to do so to deal with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Local Government (Functions and General) Regulations 1996 has also been amended to increase the threshold beyond which tenders must be called from $150,000 to $250,000 and so that tenders are not required for goods or services contracts are being entered into which are associated with a state of emergency.

For advice and assistance during this period of rapidly changing legislation that is relevant to local governments, contact Anne Wood, Kott Gunning Local Government Partner on or 9321 3755.

The information published in this paper is of a general nature and should not be construed as legal advice. Whilst we aim to provide timely, relevant and accurate information, the law may change and circumstances may differ. You should not therefore act in reliance on it without first obtaining specific legal advice.