This Bill has been developed in consultation with the Western
Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) and Local Government
Professionals Australia (WA) in response to requests made by the sector,
and is consistent with the position of WALGA's State Council.
Bill will give the Minister the power to suspend and/or order an
individual council member to undertake remedial action when the Minister
is satisfied that it is inappropriate for the council member to
continue to act as a member of council without intervention.
The triggers for this intervention are:
- a council member is charged with an offence that, if convicted, will disqualify them from being a council member;
Departmental Chief Executive Officer has referred an allegation or
allegations of serious breach or recurrent breaches of the Act to the
State Administrative Tribunal;
- the council member is failing to
perform their role, functions or duties as defined in the Act and the
Minister is satisfied that the seriousness or duration of the suspected
failure requires intervention; or
- the council member's conduct
is adversely affecting the ability of another person, including
employees or the local government itself, to perform their functions or
duties and the Minister is satisfied that the seriousness or duration of
the suspected conduct requires intervention.
The purpose of
this reform is designed to protect the public interest and the system
of local government by facilitating a timely intervention by the
Minister. Existing methods of dealing with misbehaviour in the longer
term, such as through the courts or the State Administrative Tribunal,
will underpin the new suspension powers.
Procedural fairness will
be accorded the council member prior to the use of these powers and any
of the new powers contained within the Bill, through a Show Cause
process.The Show Cause Notice will outline the grounds for the proposed
use of the power and provide the council member with an opportunity to
respond. The Minister must consider the member's response prior to any
order being given.
This Bill will also extend the powers of an
Inquiry Panel, by enabling a Panel to recommend the dismissal of an
individual council member if the Inquiry Panel concludes:
- that the member has failed, or is failing, to perform their role, functions or duties under the Act; or
member's conduct has, or is, impeding the ability of another person to
perform their role, functions or duties under the Act; or
member's conduct has, or is, impeding the ability of the local
government to comply with the employment principles that apply to it
under section 5.40,
and the seriousness or duration of that
failure or conduct make it inappropriate for the council member to
remain a member of the council.
This will allow more targeted
recommendations to be made where appropriate. Additionally, this Bill
will provide the Minister with the power to recommend dismissal when the
Minister is satisfied that the council member is, or has:
- impeded the ability of the local government to perform its functions and duties under the Act; and/or
- it is in the best interests of the local government that the member be dismissed;
and the seriousness of the situation for the local government requires intervention.
recommendation and, more importantly, the basis of the recommendation
to dismiss by the Minister, will be open to public scrutiny through a
requirement imposed upon the Minister to release the report on the day
the order to dismiss takes effect.
The dismissed council member
will not be prevented from re-standing for a position on council. This
process will give voters the opportunity to make an informed choice on
whether that person is an appropriate person to be their representative.
The Bill and supporting materials will be available on Parliament's website.
further information, please contact Mr Luke Stevens, Senior Legislation
and Strategy Officer, Department of Local Government, Sport and
Cultural Industries on (08) 6552 1461 or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Hon David Templeman MLA
Minister for Local Government;
Heritage; Culture and the Arts