- McGowan Government passes priority legislation to deal with individual council members
- Expanded powers for the Minister for Local Government to suspend or dismiss a council member, resulting in suspension of pay
- Amendments are supported by the local government sector and reflect community expectations
Council members who are failing to appropriately perform their duties and are affecting the local government’s ability to function effectively will face tougher consequences under legislation passed in State Parliament.
The McGowan Government’s Local Government Amendment (Suspension and Dismissal) Bill 2018 enables the Minister for Local Government to suspend or dismiss an individual council member, resulting in suspension of their pay.
Previously, the Minister could only take action against an entire council, which has impeded the local government’s ability to get on with the job of providing good governance to their community due to the actions of an individual.
The new laws will also enable a local government to recover any fees or allowances paid in advance to the member, for the period of suspension, ensuring they are held accountable for their actions.
Under the legislation, the Minister will also be able to provide an order for remedial action, with or without suspension, and suspend an individual councillor during a local government inquiry if it is likely the inquiry would be seriously prejudiced otherwise.
As noted by Local Government Minister David Templeman:
“The McGowan Government is committed to implementing reforms to empower local governments to deliver for the Western Australian community.
“I continue to acknowledge the overwhelming numbers of elected members across the State who are working very hard to deliver quality services to their communities. From time to time, the actions of an individual serving on council can greatly impact the effectiveness of the overall local government.
“This legislation allows the Minister to take decisive action to enable a council to get back to business without punishing the other members of council who are doing the right thing.
“I am pleased that the McGowan Government with the support of both Houses of Parliament has been able to deliver this reform which will result in better outcomes for the WA community.”