Western Australian councils call for reform
Western Australian councils have called for a state-wide governance review to revitalise the local government reform process.
The WA Local Government Association (WALGA) called on the State Government to reassess the current situation and redefine the reform agenda.
WALGA president Troy Pickard said many councils and shires were feeling “reform fatigue” following a two-year process of “exhaustive” sustainability reviews, community consultation and reporting.
Cr Pickard said the State Government’s reform process, which was “predominantly focused on amalgamations,” had proven unsuccessful.
“I believe we are now at a stage where a genuine opportunity exists for both the government and the sector to reassess the current situation and redefine the reform agenda,” he said.
“The model should both ensure that local identity in decision making is retained and facilitates greater service delivery at a regional level that provides the ability to explore opportunities above and beyond what may be seen as core Local Government business.”
Mayor Pickard said Local Government supported a State-wide governance review based upon the socio-geographic groupings found in metropolitan, regional and rural WA.
“In discussing reform of Local Government, we have maintained that WA’s diversity is reflected in our sector, and there is no one size fits all solution”, he said.
“The circumstances we currently face are quite different to those of two years ago, and differ significantly across metropolitan, rural or regional contexts; with different challenges including population increase or decreases, pressures resulting from economic growth, and the impact of environmental and dry season conditions.”
“We are proposing the State undertake a governance review that not only considers the structure of the sector, but also the empowerment of any refined structure with the capacity and capability to deliver the 21st Century outcomes expected of it by both the State and the community.
“And we are committed to working together with the State to discover, assess and ultimately implement the vision, structure and processes that will result in the greatest benefit for local communities.”
The WALGA State Council has resolved that the State Government be encouraged to:
- declare its vision for the local government sector;
- conduct a state-wide governance review;
- establish policies, processes and resources for local government reform based on the outcomes of the review; and
- engage with the local government sector in the suggested review process.