Forcing Amalgamations – How real is the threat – Update 2


On 30 October 2013 the WA Government introduced a Bill to amend the provisions of the Local Government Act 1995 which deal with boundary reforms (amongst other things). The changes proposed for boundary reforms can be summarised as follows:

1.  The membership of the Local Government Advisory Board will expand to include two people to represent the community, nominated by the Minister. This will change the membership of the Board from:

  1. a)  5 members of whom:
  • 2 are appointed and nominated by the Minister;
  • 2 are appointed by the Minister from a list of nominations from WALGA; and
  • 1 is appointed by the Minister from a list of nominations from LGMA;

to

  1. b)  7 members of whom:
  • 4 are appointed and nominated by the Minister;
  • 2 are appointed by the Minister from a list of nominations from WALGA; and
  • 1 is appointed by the Minister from a list of nominations from LGMA.

The quorum for the meeting will change from 3 to 4.

This change, as it is currently drafted, will affect country and metropolitan proposals.

2.  There will be a new requirement for the Local Government Advisory Board to have regard to government policy and a new section will be inserted in the Act to enable the Minister to advise the Local Government Advisory Board in writing of relevant government policy. (This change, as it is currently drafted, will affect country and metropolitan proposals).

3.  There will be a new category of proposals to the Local Government Advisory Board which is will be known as a “metropolitan proposal”.

4.  The Local Government Advisory Board will be given a new power to hold a combined inquiry into one or more proposals and those proposals will be dealt with as one. (This change, as it is currently drafted, will affect country and metropolitan proposals).

5.  In relation to metropolitan proposals only, the current requirement to allow a minimum of 6 weeks for submissions to be made by affected local governments, affected electors and electors of other districts directly affected by the proposal will be removed enabling (for metropolitan proposals where a notice and report has been given after these amendments come into effect and before 31 December 2016 (or such later date as set by the Governor) only) the Local Government Advisory Board to:

  • revise the scope of the inquiry and not advise that submissions on the revised scope of the inquiry can be made; and
  • not call for submissions about the proposal, or the scope, or the revised scope.

6.  There will be a removal of the current prohibition on the Local Government Advisory Board on making a recommendation to the Minister of an order that is significantly different from the proposal that it inquired into without providing an opportunity for submissions on the new proposal. (This change applies to metropolitan proposals where a notice and report are given between the date these amendments come into force and the 16 December 2016 (or such later date as set by the Governor) only.) This means that an inquiry on a particular proposal could be made and a recommendation to the Minister made to implement a different proposal made by the Local Government Advisory Board without any opportunity for the affected local governments or electors to make submissions about the new proposal.

7.  The Local Government Advisory Board will be given a new power to defer consideration of a proposal if it knows or reasonably suspects that another proposal has or will be submitted to the Board and that deferral is necessary or desirable to be considered as part of one combined inquiry. (This change, as it is currently drafted, will affect country and metropolitan proposals).

8.  There is no limit on the time for which consideration of a proposal can be deferred for and the Local Government Advisory Board may chose to vary or rescind that deferral at any time. (This change, as it is currently drafted, will affect country and metropolitan proposals).

9.  A new clause 11(5A) would be inserted in Schedule 2.1 that limits compensation:

  • for a CEO or Senior Employee whose contract is terminated to that figure or the maximum amount their contract would have allowed them to obtain in any event; and
  • for any other local government employee to the value of 12 months of remuneration of that employee – note that the calculation of this figure is to be in accordance with Regulations which are not yet publically available.

* This information is correct as at 07/11/13

For further information on Local Government boundary reform, or legal advice for other Local Government matters, please contact Laurie James or Anne Wood at Kott Gunning on (08) 9321 3755 orawood@kottgunn.com.au.

The information published on this website 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.