The Act was developed in consultation with the Western Australian
Local Government Association and Local Government Professionals
Australia (WA) in response to requests from the sector.
amendments provide additional powers to the Minister for Local
Government enabling tailored assistance to be given to a council member
or council. The amendments are designed to protect the public interest
and the system of local government by facilitating a timely intervention
by the Minister.
Specifically, the Minister has 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
The triggers for an 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.
- 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.
fairness will be accorded the council member prior to the use of these
powers and any of the other new powers, through a Show Cause process.
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
Additionally, the powers of an Inquiry Panel are also
expanded. An Inquiry Panel can now 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 allows more targeted action to be
taken in lieu of the suspension or dismissal of an entire council. The
amendments mirror the current provisions that apply to a council.
amendments also remove the entitlement of a council member, mayor or
president to receive any sitting fee or allowance under the Local
Government Act 1995 while they are suspended.
when a council member is suspended by either the State Administrative
Tribunal, or by the Minister, and whether suspended as an individual or
as part of an entire council.
Regulations will be enacted
under section 5.102AB of the Local Government Act 1995 to provide for
the recovery of any fees or allowance paid in advance to the member for
the period of suspension.
Additionally, the Minister now has
the ability to recommend dismissal if 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
is in the best interests of the local government that the member be
dismissed, and the seriousness of the situation for the local government
The 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
The dismissed council member will not be prevented
from re-standing for a position on council. This will provide the
electors of the district with the opportunity to make an informed choice
on whether that person is an appropriate person to be their
A series of flow charts which provide an
overview of how these new powers will operate are available on the
Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries (the
Department) website alongside this circular.
information, please contact Mr Luke Stevens, Senior Legislation and
Strategy Officer at the Department, by telephone on (08) 9492 9846 or
via email to email@example.com.Hon David Templeman MLAMinister for Local Government; Heritage; Culture and the Arts