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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Targeted review of the Local Government Act 1993

Background

The Local Government Division is overseeing a targeted review of the Local Government Act 1993 (the Act), at the request of the Minister for Planning and Local Government, Hon Peter Gutwein MP.

The Minister originally announced the review at the Local Government Association of Tasmania’s annual conference in July 2015. The Premier’s Local Government Council endorsed the final Terms of Reference in December 2015.  The Terms of Reference for the targeted review are provided for your information.

The targeted review of the Act is aimed at improving governance arrangements within our councils in line with increasing community expectations for transparency and accountability. The review will ensure the legislative framework for local government is effective and efficient.

A Steering Committee was established, chaired by Department of Premier and Cabinet's Deputy Secretary and included the Director of the Local Government Division, representatives from the Department’s Local Government Division, the Local Government Association of Tasmania and the Local Government Professionals Australia (Tasmania).

Discussion Paper

In April 2016 the Minister for Planning and Local Government, Hon Peter Gutwein MP, released the Targeted review of the Local Government Act Discussion Paper for consultation. The Discussion Paper outlined a range of ideas on how the Act can be improved to help ensure good governance and the Minister sought feedback on these ideas from local government and members of the community.

The following matters are being considered as part of the review and were addressed in the Discussion Paper:

  • the functions of mayors, deputy mayors and elected members;
  • the appointment, functions and powers of the general manager;
  • financial management and reporting;
  • the functions and powers of the Director of Local Government;
  • the functions, powers and procedures of the Local Government Board;
  • the functions, powers and procedures of a Board of Inquiry;
  • local government elections – electoral rolls, funding and advertising;
  • the recognition, structure and role of regional bodies; and
  • the reduction of unnecessary administrative requirements.

Opportunities to provide feedback on the Discussion Paper closed on 10 June 2016. Thank you to all those who provided feedback. These responses are now being considered by the Steering Committee.

Consultation Feedback Report

The Steering Committee prepared a summary of the consultation feedback that was received in June 2016.

The Consultation Feedback Report for the targeted review of the Local Government Act 1993 is available for you to download.

The Steering Committee considered the consultation feedback and provided a suite of recommendations to the Minister in late-September 2016.

Public Consultation - Draft Amendment Bill

The Minister considered the recommendations of the Steering Committee and endorsed the majority of the recommendations to be included in a draft amendment Bill. In December 2016, the Government approved a draft amendment Bill to be made in early 2017.

A version of the draft Local Government (Targeted Review) Amendment Bill 2017 has now been released for public consultation by the Minister on 24 March 2017.

The public consultation version of the Local Government (Targeted Review) Bill 2017 is available for you to download.

In summary the key amendments of the Bill include:

  • providing the Minister with the ability to issue Ministerial Orders in relation to such matters as the role of mayors, functions of elected members and general managers;
  • a greater focus and commitment from elected members to engage in ongoing professional development and abide by the principles of good governance.
  • implementing Performance Improvement Directions as a more expedient option to  address issues in a council that may prevent the need for a Board of Inquiry or Local Government Board review;
  • improving the outcomes for Boards of Inquiry in terms of recommendations that can be made following an inquiry that provide greater efficiencies and flexibility; and
  • requiring general managers to maintain a gifts and donations register for the purpose of mandatory disclosure of gifts and campaign donations by local government elected members.

A summary table of all the amendments is available for you to download.

It is expected that the draft amendment Bill will be introduced to Parliament in the autumn session before the winter recess.

Submissions

Submissions on the draft amendment Bill closed on the Friday 5 May 2017.  Thank you to all those who made submissions on the Bill. There were no requests for any submissions to be treated as confidental.

The submissions are available for you to download.

For further enquiries about the review, please contact the Local Government Division on 03 6232 7022 or email lgd@dpac.tas.gov.au.