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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

The public and interested parties are invited to provide submissions upon the draft amendment Bill. Submissions are to be made in writing to the Local Government Division and are due by 5.00 pm on the Friday 5 May 2017.

You can either send your submission by mail or email to the following addresses:

Attn: Targeted Review of the Local Government Act 1993

Local Government Division
Department of Premier and Cabinet
GPO Box 123
HOBART   TAS   7001

All submissions will be treated as public information and will be published on the Local Government Division of the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s website at www.dpac.tas.gov.au once consideration of the submissions has concluded.

Important information to note

If you wish for your submission to be treated as confidential, whether in whole or in part, please note this in writing at the time of making your submission, and clearly indicate which parts of your submission are confidential, and advise the reasons as to why.

Please note that your name, or the name of the organisation making a submission, will be disclosed unless you request otherwise. In the absence of a clear indication that a submission is intended to be treated as confidential (or parts of the submission), the Department will treat the submission as public.

Copyright in submissions remains with the author(s), not with the Tasmanian Government.

The Department will not publish submissions containing defamatory or offensive material.

The Right to Information Act 2009 and confidentiality

By law, information provided to the Government may be provided to an applicant under the provisions of the Right to Information Act 2009 (RTI). If you have indicated that you wish all or part of your submission to be treated as confidential, your statement detailing the reasons will be taken into account in determining whether or not to release the information in the event of an RTI application for assessed disclosure.

Accessibility

When seeking submissions from other organisations or members of the general public, the Department requests that they are provided in an accessible format. However, documents received from external parties may not be accessible to users with assistive technologies.

Further enquiries

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