LOCAL GOVERNMENT REFORM 

LATEST UPDATE

For the latest update on Metropolitan Local Government Reform - please click here to be taken to the Department's website.

The matter is currently under investigation by the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) and they are anticipating reporting to the Minister in July 2014.

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In December 2013 Council considered a further report in relation to local government reform and resolved as follows;

THAT Council;
1. Not support the Minister for Local Government’s single local government amalgamation proposal for the Councils of the western suburbs (G7).
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2. Reaffirm Council’s previously resolved position, including a preparedness to consider an amalgamation with the Towns of Claremont and Mosman Park and the Shire of Peppermint Grove (plus associated boundary adjustments) and subject to community endorsement.
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3. Authorise the Mayor and CEO to continue to discuss and explore amalgamation options with the Councils of the western suburbs.
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4. Provide in principle support for a “two Council” model for the western suburbs in preference to the Minister’s G7 model, should the proposal for a G4 (preferred) not be accepted.
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5. Notify the Minister for Local Government and Local Government Advisory Board of Council’s position.

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In July 2013 the State Government released its model for new local government boundaries in metropolitan Perth. The Minister for Local Government invited local governments to submit proposals to the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) by 4 October 2013. The Board received 21 proposals from local governments, two of which were received before the release of the State Government model. In November 2013, the Minister submitted 12 proposals of his own to the Board, proposing a reduction from 30 to 15 local governments in the Perth metropolitan area.  

The Board resolved on 3 December 2013 to conduct a formal inquiry into each of the proposals in accordance with the provisions of Schedule 2.1 of the Local Government Act 1995 (the Act). 

The Board has received four proposals which include Cottesloe. One is from the Minister (G7 – all western suburbs Councils plus parts of Stirling) and another from the Town of Claremont (G4+ - Cottesloe, Claremont, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove plus Swanbourne and Mount Claremont).  A proposal from Cambridge envisages “two Councils” covering the Western Suburbs, one of them being a G2 (Cambridge and Subiaco) and the other a G5. The Town of Mosman Park has also lodged a proposal to create a G5 (Cottesloe, Claremont, Mosman Park, Peppermint Grove and Nedlands).  

 

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PREVIOUS INFORMATION

In March 2013 the Town responded to the Minister for Local Government and lodged its submission in response to the final Report and Recommendations of the Metropolitan Local Govenment Review. To see a copy of the submission please click here

On Wednesday 24 October 2012 the Minister for Local Government and Premier for Western Australia invited all Metropolitan Mayors and Chief Executive Officers to a closed briefing session on the final report of the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel.

The Minister for Local Government tabled the report in Parliament on Thursday 25 October 2012 and the report was placed on the website of the Department of Local Government.  To see a copy of the report please click here.

The Final Report was available for public comment with all comments submitted through the Department via their website.  The report was available for public comment until  Friday 5 April 2013.

 

In June 2011 the Minister for Local Government announced a review of local government boundaries in the Perth metropolitan area and appointed a Panel to examine the social, economic and environmental challenges facing Perth.  The Metropolitan Local Government Review (MLGR) Panel members are:

  • Emeritus Professor Alan Robson AM CitWA, former Vice Chancellor of The University of Western Australia (Chairman)
  • Dr Peter Tannock, former Vice Chancellor of the University of Notre Dame Australia
  • Dr Sue van Leeuwen, Chief Executive Officer of Leadership WA.

The Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel’s Terms of Reference are:

·                Identify current and anticipated specific regional, social, environmental and economic issues affecting, or likely to affect, the growth of metropolitan Perth in the next 50 years;

·                Identify current and anticipated national and international factors likely to impact in the next 50 years;

·                Research improved local government structures, and governance models and structures for the Perth metropolitan area, drawing on national and international experience and examining key issues relating to community representation, engagement, accountability and State imperatives among other things the Panel may identify during the course of the review;

·                Identify new local government boundaries and a resultant reduction in the overall number of local governments to better meet the needs of the community;

·                Prepare options to establish the most effective local government structures and governance models that take into account matters identified through the review including, but not limited to, community engagement, patterns of demographic change, regional and State growth and international factors which are likely to impact; and

·                Present a limited list of achievable options together with a recommendation on the preferred option.

 

COUNCIL’S PREVIOUS POSITION

In May 2012, in response to the MLGR panel’s Draft Findings, Council resolved as follows:

 

THAT Council;

1.            Authorise the Mayor and CEO to prepare and finalise a submission to the Panel and provide feedback to WALGA, which is reflective of Council’s previously resolved position, including a preparedness to consider an amalgamation with the Towns of Claremont and Mosman Park and the Shire of Peppermint Grove (plus associated boundary adjustments) and inclusive of the need to ensure that the requirements of the Poll Provisions be maintained if any proposed amalgamations are initiated by the State Government.

 

2.            Authorise the Mayor and CEO to write to the current Premier of WA and member for Cottesloe requesting that he:

(a)     Commit to any new council proposed by the State government for the present district of Cottesloe to be no greater in size than the combined districts of Cottesloe, Claremont, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove with possible boundary adjustments to include Swanbourne and North Fremantle

(b)     Allow the constituents of Cottesloe to decide for themselves whether or not to proceed with any new council as may be proposed by the State Government.

(c)     Immediately enact the Regional Subsidiaries Bill or similar to allow local government reform to now proceed

3.            Support the establishment of a metropolitan-wide authority to coordinate city-wide planning, waste and other common services, with the metropolitan-wide authority to co-exist with the retention of current local government structures.

A copy of the full report can be viewed by clicking the following link – Click Here

You may also click the following link to view submissions made by the Town of Cottesloe, WESROC and WALGA 

 

 

ROBSON PANEL

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In April 2012 the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel (Robson Panel) produced a Draft Findings report which was intended to be an indication of the Panel’s thoughts on the future of local government in metropolitan Perth and, the Report says, should be viewed as a progress report, not a final position. However it is anticipated that the final report will reflect of the findings.

Submissions on the Panel’s Draft Findings closed on 25 May 2012 and the Panel is required to deliver its Final Report by 30 June 2012. 

 The Draft Findings are as follows:-

 

  1. Enhanced strategic thinking and leadership across the State and local government sector and the wider community will be required to manage the extraordinary growth of metropolitan Perth over the next 50 years.

 

  1. The current local government arrangements will not provide the best outcomes for the community into the future.The status quo cannot and should not remain.

 

  1. There is a need for significant change in Perth’s local government, including changes in local government structures, boundaries and governance.

 

  1. The Panel envisages the outcome of the Review to be a stronger, more effective, more capable local government sector, with an enhanced role and greater authority.

 

  1. Uncertainty about the future needs to be addressed by prompt and decisive government decision making.

 

  1. A shared vision for the future of Perth should be developed by the State government, together with local government, stakeholder and community groups.

 

  1. A sense of place and local identity can be maintained through appropriate governance regardless of the size of a local government.

 

  1. The primary benefits to be achieved by the proposed reforms of Perth’s local government arrangements include:
    1. increased strategic capacity across the local government sector;
    2. a more equitable spread of resources across metropolitan Perth and more equitable delivery of services to all residents.;
    3. reduced duplication and better use of infrastructure;
    4. a streamlined regulatory environment with greater transparency, simplicity, consistency, and certainty with attendant costs savings for all sectors of the community;
    5. potential to achieve greater economies of scale;
    6. increased influence with State and Commonwealth governments reflected in improved funding for community projects;
    7. the achievement of metropolitan-wide social, economic and environmental goals.

 

  1. The structure and governance arrangements for local government in Perth cannot be considered in isolation from the role and function of local government, and from the relationship between State government and local governments.

 

  1. Some functions need to be managed from a metropolitan-wide perspective, including waste disposal and treatment, transport and planning. A shift in responsibility to the State government may be warranted.

 

  1. Consideration should be given to establishing a Local Government Commission, comprising an Independent chair and persons with significant State and local government experience, to manage the relationship between State and local government, and to oversee implementation of the reform process.

 

  1. A redefined local government would have its role enhanced including re-empowerment in local planning.

 

  1. The most appropriate options for local government in metropolitan Perth are:
    1. 10 to 12 councils centred on strategic activity centres
    2. five councils based on the central area and sub-regions.
    3. one single metropolitan council

 

  1. In any future model, the size of the City of Perth should be increased and its role enhanced.

 

  1. It is important to make significant change and create a new structure with robust boundaries to minimise the need for further debate and change in the short to medium term.

 

  1. Once a new structure is settled, there should be periodic boundary reviews undertaken by an independent body, to ensure the local government structure is optimal for meeting the changing needs of a growing metropolitan region.

 

  1. The creation of larger local governments alone will not address all the shortcomings of the present system.

 

  1. Local government’s ability to connect to the community is an important asset. In any new local government structure for metropolitan Perth, community engagement must be strengthened, to improve accountability and reduce the power of special interest groups.

 

  1. Local government must invest in mechanisms that encourage the whole community to participate. Consideration must be given to the development of formal community engagement networks, which may include the adoption of new institutional arrangements and structures to ensure adequate community engagement and access to council.

 

  1. If the new local government structure for metropolitan Perth comprises more than one local government, a Forum or Council of Perth Mayors should be created, chaired by the Lord Mayor.

 

  1. The role of elected members should be reshaped to enhance their capacity for strategic leadership and reduce their involvement in operational matters.

 

  1. The potential for council controlled organisations / local government enterprises should be further considered.

 

  1. Amendments to governance arrangements for local government in metropolitan Perth should include the following:
    1. Introduction of compulsory voting at local government elections
    2. Recognition of the leadership role of elected members
    3. Election of Mayors by community
    4. Increased remuneration of elected members
    5. Training for elected members
    6. Clarification of the role of CEO and elected members

 

BACKGROUND

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The Minister for Local Government, the Hon John Castrilli MLA, launched a wide-ranging local government structural reform agenda in February 2009.  The three principal strategies in the reform agenda were that each local government:

  1. take steps to ‘voluntarily’ amalgamate and form larger local governments
  2. reduce the total number of elected members to between six and nine; and
  3. form appropriate regional groupings of councils to assist with the efficient delivery of services.

 

Council advised the Minister of its intentions by way of a Reform Submission in September 2009. 

The assessment of all local government reform submissions was undertaken by the Local Government Reform Steering Committee and, based on those assessments, the Committee provided advice to the Minister on preferred options for reform. Some finalised proposals were referred to the Local Government Advisory Board for consideration and recommendation.  As a consequence of the reform submissions made by all local governments the Minister determined that the Town of Cottesloe should be considered as part of a Regional Transition Group (RTG) with other western suburbs local governments, and formally invited Council to become part of an RTG. 

Council’s resolution from September 2009, and reaffirmed in March 2010, was to conditionally support the amalgamation and RTG processes. Specifically it recommended that Council participate in the Regional Transition Group (RTG) process with a preference to have RTG partners from within the Western Suburbs, including the Towns of Claremont, Mosman Park and Shire of Peppermint Grove, and to use the Business Plan process to explore options and opportunities that will result in increased efficiency, value and service provision for its community, as well as preserving those matters that are important to Cottesloe.

As a consequence of decisions made by other Councils in relation to the Ministers request, in May 2010 Council resolved to notify the Minister that, in light of the positions adopted by The Town of Mosman Park and the Shire of Peppermint Grove, the Town of Cottesloe was unable to participate in a Regional Transition Group with suitable partners.

Council’s position was also formally communicated to the Premier by the Mayor who advised him that …he had independently liaised with my fellow Mayors and Shire President in the Western Suburbs and more specifically Claremont, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove. My view, as recently expressed to Council, is that Cottesloe has taken this matter as far as it can at present and that future local amalgamations were now contingent upon the Town of Mosman Park and Shire of Peppermint Grove voluntarily or otherwise joining the process.  My recommendation to you as both Premier and local member is to unite with the Minister for Local Government and take such matters up directly with the residents and ratepayers of the relevant districts, particularly in Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove, to clearly explain the benefits to them of such a reform proposal.  With a groundswell of resident support it would then be incumbent upon the elected members to respond to that community position.  In my view it would also be important that any such proposal is not forced upon Councils or ratepayers. 

In August 2010, after further requests to reconsider the RTG process, Council again reaffirmed its conditional support and resolved as follows;

That Council:

 1.                Note the letter from the Minister for Local Government inviting Cottesloe, Claremont, Mosman Park and Peppermint Grove councils to reconsider participating in a Regional Transition Group (“RTG”)

 2.                 Reaffirm Council’s willingness to join an RTG on terms as follow:

(a).         Council’s preference remains to join with the Towns of Claremont and Mosman Park and Shire of Peppermint Grove to form an RTG

(b).         In the event that any one of the Council’s does not wish to participate then the RTG be with remaining two local governments

(c).          The Town not formally entering into the RTG until the Council has undertaken prior community consultation confirming support for Cottesloe to enter into the RTG.

(d).         The participants in the RTG being entitled (if they so choose after stage 1) to not proceed to amalgamate and to instead adapt the Business Plan for use by a regional council.

(e).         The business plan being prepared on the basis that:

(i).           The Cottesloe Civic Centre, grounds and the War Memorial Town Hall, will be preserved as a community asset accessible to the general community; and

(ii).         An amalgamation will not cause any forced redundancies of Council’s staff.

(f).           That the Minister notify the Town of Cottesloe of the quantum of state funding for any Regional Transition Group development of a Regional Business Plan prior to entering into any agreement.

(g).         Request that the Minister for Local Government support and approve the boundary adjustments as resolved by Council in September 2009 as part of the RTG, to include the communities of Swanbourne in the north and North Fremantle in the south.

(h).         That the Regional Transition Group agreement incorporate the scope to include a Regional Business Plan with boundary adjustments.

(i).           That the Regional Transition Group agreement incorporate that election for any new local government take place prior to the commencement of the new Local Government.

 

In December 2011, in response to the MLGR panel’s Issues paper, Council resolved to;

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1.               Advise the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel of its previously resolved position in relation to Local Government reform as it impacts upon the Town of Cottesloe, specifically the investigation of a Regional Transition Group type process to establish a regional council involving the Town of Cottesloe and at least two of its neighbouring councils of the Towns of Claremont and Mosman Park and Shire of Peppermint Grove and provide the following documents/reports as support for this position and for consideration by the Panel in their review;

a)    Town of Cottesloe Report and Reform Submission – September  2009

b) Report to Council - September 2009

c) Report to Council - August 2010

d) Report to Council - June 2011

e) Town of Cottesloe Local Government Reform – Summary Resolutions – 2009 ~ 2011

 

2.                  Further advise the Metropolitan Local Government Review Panel that Council also supports the current Local Government Amendment (Regional Subsidiaries) Bill introduced to parliament by the Hon Max Trenorden MLC and currently before parliament as a preferred option for local governments to pursue models for regional resource sharing, service delivery and partnerships without sacrificing local identity, representation and decision making.