Keeping you informed on council mergers No. 2: The 30 Recommendations of the Metro Local Govt Review

Time to get serious
Time to get serious (Photo credit: Librarian by Day) CC NC ShareAlike Flickr

Recommendations

The Panel recommends that:

1. The State Government give consideration to the inequities that exist in local government rating, including rate-equivalent payments and State Agreement Acts.

2. A collaborative process between State and local government be commenced to establish a new Partnership Agreement which will progress strategic issues and key result areas for both State Government and local government.

3. The State Government facilitate improved co-ordination between State Government agencies in the metropolitan area, including between State Government agencies and local government.

4. A full review of State and local government functions be undertaken by the proposed Local Government Commission as a second stage in the reform process.

5. In conjunction with the proposed structural and governance reforms, that local government planning approval powers be reinstated in metropolitan Perth by the State Government.

6. The State Government consider the management of waste treatment and disposal at a metropolitan-wide scale either be undertaken by a State authority or through a partnership with local government.

7. A shared vision for the future of Perth be developed by the State Government, in conjunction with local government, stakeholder and community groups.

8. A Forum of Mayors be formed to facilitate regional collaboration and effective lobbying for the needs of the metropolitan area and to provide a voice for Perth.

9. The Forum of Mayors be chaired by the Lord Mayor of the modified City of Perth in the first instance.

10. The newly created local governments should make the development and support of best practice community engagement a priority, including consideration of place management approaches and participatory governance modes, recognition of new and emerging social media channels and the use of open-government platforms.

11. The existing Regional Local Governments in the metropolitan area be dissolved, their provisions in the Local Government Act 1995 be repealed for the metropolitan area and a transitional plan for dissolving the existing bodies in the metropolitan area be developed.

12. The State Government give consideration to transferring oversight responsibility for developments at Perth’s airports, major hospitals and universities to the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.

13. Periodic local government boundary reviews are undertaken by an independent body every 15 years to ensure the city’s local government structure continues to be optimal as the metropolitan region develops.

14. The Local Government Advisory Board be dissolved and its operating and process provisions in the Local Government Act 1995 be rescinded, with the Local Government Commission taking over its roles, including consideration of representation reviews.

15. A new structure of local government in metropolitan Perth be created through specific legislation which:

a) incorporates all of the Swan and Canning Rivers within applicable local government areas

b) transfers Rottnest Island to the proposed local government centred around the City of Fremantle

c) reduces the number of local governments in metropolitan Perth to 12, with boundaries as detailed in Section 5 of this report.

16. Consideration be given to all local government elections being conducted by the Western Australian Electoral Commission.

17. Compulsory voting for local government elections be enacted.

18. All Mayors and Presidents be directly elected by the community.

19. Party and group nominations for local government electoral vacancies be permitted.

20. Elected members be limited to serving three consecutive terms as councillor and two consecutive terms as Mayor/President.

21. Elected members be provided with appropriate training to encourage strategic leadership and board-like behaviour.

22. A full review of the current legislation be conducted to address the issue of the property franchise and the most appropriate voting system (noting the Panel considers that first-past-the-post is inappropriate for the larger districts that it has recommended).

23. Implementation of the proposed setting of fees and allowances for elected members as set by the Salaries and Allowances Tribunal.

24. Payments made to elected members be reported to the community on a regular basis by each local government.

25. The Public Sector Commission provide advice and assistance to local governments in the appointment and performance management of local government Chief Executive Officers with consideration given to the Public Sector Commission being represented on relevant selection panels and committees.

26. A State Government decision on reform should be made as soon as possible, and if the decision is to proceed with structural reforms, the process of implementation should begin without delay.

27. Councils take on a leadership role in the reform debate and prepare their residents now for the possibility of changes in the future.

28. The State Government assist and support local governments by providing tools to cope with change and developing an overarching communication and change management strategy.

29. A Local Government Commission be established as an independent body to administer and implement the structural and governance reforms recommended by the Panel, and facilitate the ongoing relationship between State and local government.

30. The recommendations from the Panel should be considered as a complete reform package and be implemented in their entirety.

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