Skip to Content
Department of Premier and Cabinet

Local Government (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2013

The Tasmanian Parliament has passed the Local Government (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2013 which provides:.

  • an improvement in local government financial and asset management capacity and practices;
  • councils with the power to take action to rectify issues with dilapidated buildings;
  • councils with enhanced powers to deal with local nuisances;
  • minor changes to some of the electoral provisions of the Local Government Act 1993; and
  • clarity to a number of other provisions contained within the Local Government Act.

Financial and Asset Management

The Local Government Act 1993 has recently been amended to mandate councils to develop and implement several documents that underpin the councils financial and asset management framework. The documents now required under the Act are:

  • A long-term financial management plan (10 years);
  • Strategic asset management plans (10 years), for each of the council's major asset classes;
  • A financial management strategy;
  • An asset management strategy; and
  • An asset management policy.

The Act also requires councils to review their long-term financial management and strategic asset management plans, financial management and asset management strategies and asset management policy, at least every four years. Council general managers are also required to notify the Director of Local Government (as soon as practicable) when their respective plans, strategies and policies have been adopted by the council.

In addition to the development of the above documentation, the amendments to the Local Government Act now also require councils to:

  • report financial and asset management sustainability indicators in their financial statements;
  • develop their strategic plan every 10 years, as opposed to at least every five years; and
  • establish and maintain an audit panel.

A key aspect with respect to all the amendments is that they provide a power for the Minister for Local Government to make orders with respect to the aforementioned plans, strategies and policies, audit panels and sustainability indicators.

The Local Government (Content of Plans and Strategies) Order 2014 (S.R. 2014, No. 35) outlines the minimum requirements of a council's respective financial and asset management plans, strategies and policies, including the classes of assets for which council asset management plans and strategies must apply.

The Local Government (Audit Panels) Order 2014 (S.R. 2014, No. 34) details:

  • the constitution and membership of an audit panel, and the skills and experience required of audit panel members; and
  • the roles, functions and obligations of audit panels.;

The Local Government (Management Indicators) Order 2014 (S.R. 2014, No. 36) prescribes and defines the financial and asset management sustainability indicators that councils must now report on in their annual financial statements submitted to the Auditor-General.

The Local Government Audit Panels - A Practice Guide has been developed by the  Local Government Division, to assist councils in establishing and maintaining audit panels.. 

Dilapidated buildings

The legislation amends the Building Act 2000 to provide general managers with appropriate discretionary powers to order building owners to carry out building work (or other work) to remedy the adverse effects of dilapidated buildings on local communities. 

These powers are subject to building owner rights to make representations regarding building notices and to appeal against a building order.

Dilapidated buildings guidance material for general managers

Guidance material for general managers on the new legislative powers for councils to deal with dilapidated buildings is now available.  The guidance material is in the form of a Building Regulation Advisory Note issued to councils by the Director of Building Control, who is responsible for administering the Building Act 2000.

The Advisory Note is designed to assist general managers in navigating the dilapidated buildings process, and provide guidance on the types of buildings the provisions may apply to and when the legislative powers may be exercised.

The guidance material was developed as a joint effort by Building Standards and Occupational Licencing, Department of Justice, the Local Government Association of Tasmania and the Local Government Division, Department of Premier and Cabinet.

Nuisance

The legislation provides additional powers under the existing nuisance provisions of the Local Government Act to allow councils to issue infringement notices if a person fails to comply with a nuisance abatement notice and does not appeal against the notice to the Magistrates Court.

This is intended to enhance the ability of councils to deal with nuisances, such as junk or car-wrecks in front yards, by providing an incentive for people to comply with nuisance abatement notices. 

Electoral provisions

The changes to the electoral provisions of the Local Government Act include:

  • allowing the Tasmanian Electoral Commission (TEC) to establish procedures for voting by email for people who are outside Tasmania at the time of the election and who meet other circumstances approved by TEC;
  • strengthening the provisions around electoral advertising;
  • making it an offence for a candidate who has been provided with a copy of the list of electors to use the list, except for a purpose in connection with the election;
  • allowing TEC to publish candidate statements online;
  • transferring some of the Electoral Commissioner's more discretionary powers to the three member TEC;
  • clearly setting out the requirements for entitlement to enrol and vote in local government elections; and
  • removing provisions consequential to the recent introduction of all-in, all-out council elections every four years. 

For further information

Queries about the Local Government (Miscellaneous Amendments) Act 2013 can be directed to the Local Government Division either by email to lgd@dpac.tas.gov.au or by telephone on 6232 7022.