Resolutions from the Special Council Meeting on Local Government Reform

Mayor's Diary 14 November 2014
The Council held a Special Meeting on 4 November to discuss the Local Government Reform Program.  Minutes of this Meeting are available on the City’s website, however I wanted to share some of the key decisions from the meeting with you, plus other information that people have been asking about.

Supreme Court Action

The Council resolved to continue to be a party in the legal challenge against the State Government as there remain serious concerns about the process followed by the State Government in implementing the reform.  Additionally in respect to comments made by the Premier and Minister for Local Government and the continuing lack of State Funding.

The hearing is currently scheduled for 25 November 2014 with the Supreme Court decision likely to be known in late January or February next year. I will endeavour to keep you informed using this blog throughout the process.

Advertisement of Minister’s Announcement - Poll Notice

The Council agreed to take an informative neutral role in communicating with residents through existing channels in the event of a poll being triggered.  In addition to information about the advantages and disadvantages of an amalgamation being provided by the Local Government Advisory Board (LGAB) in the event a poll is triggered, the Council requested that information be provided to the community by the City on the same topics.  To be included will be the fact that the State Government has not presented any compelling financial case to support an amalgamation. 

Amalgamation – WA Electoral Commission

The Council agreed in principle for the WA Electoral Commission (WAEC) to carry out a postal vote and authorised the City to write to the Electoral Commissioner seeking agreement to conduct a poll in the event one is triggered.

The LGAB published an advertisement on Wednesday 5 November in the West Australian, which advised electors that they have the right to request a poll.  The Local Government Act 1995 requires the request from electors will need to be put forward within one month of the notice, therefore the Minister must receive the request by 4pm on 5 December.

For a poll to be triggered the required form must be signed by 250 or 10 per cent (whichever is the lesser) of electors of one of the districts affected by the recommendation.  Only valid electors of the district can include their names on the request form and they have to provide their name, address, signature and the date.

The City will be advised by the Minister for Local Government after 5 December if a poll has been triggered in South Perth.

Stage One – Local Government Reform Toolkit

The Council endorsed the completion of Stage One of the Local Government Reform Toolkit (see below for more information about the Toolkit), which includes:

Development of a Governance Framework and Terms of Reference;
Establishment of a Reform Program Office;
Development of a Change Management Plan;
Development of a Program Management Plan;
Establishment of Joint Program Teams;
Development of Project Implementation Plans; and
Documentation of our current state and processes (Due Diligence).
Stages Two to Four – Local Government Reform Toolkit

The Council agreed to expenditure up to $685,000 to be spent on non-discretionary technology related reform works and authorised the City to commit expenditure for other purposes associated with the Local Government Reform Program, if they were consistent with the summary of anticipated amalgamations costs (and within budget). 

Council also authorised City Officers to continue work on Stage Two of the Local Government Toolkit, within budgetary constraints.  The Council requested a report be provided at the completion of Stage Two, prior to progressing to Stage Three.

Local Government Reform and role of elected members

To support the Local Government reform process, an online Local Government Reform Toolkit has been developed. The key objective of the Local Government Reform Toolkit is to enable the creation of stronger Local Governments that will provide the best possible services to residents with maximum efficiency – and modern, resilient Councils able to meet the needs of a rapidly growing city.  This Toolkit has been developed by the Department of Local Government and Communities (DLGC), Western Australian Local Government Association (WALGA) and the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA).

The City Officers have been using this Toolkit along with Officers from the Town of Victoria Park to assist Local Governments in navigating the numerous tasks that must be managed between now and 1 July 2015, and beyond.  The Toolkit aims to support and guide its users and:

Encourage constructive conversations and debate at a local level;
Provide a practical level of detail on the key elements of reform; and
Encourage and nurture innovation, continuous improvement and a better practice approach to how we do business.
I want to explain the significant role the Council and Elected Members have in the Local Government Reform process.  It includes community leadership and direction, critical oversight, monitoring the progress of the transition and implementation process, continuously communicating with the community and articulating a vision of an improved future.

To ensure the reform process is implemented successfully, the Council will need to:

Endorse a comprehensive change management strategy - consider and endorse a change management strategy that addresses the major organisational and strategic risks.
Establish accountability - ensure that the right people are given the authority to undertake the actions required to implement reform and are then held accountable for delivering the outcomes and strategic objectives.
Allocate resources - ensure management has access to the resources required to implement the reform process.
Define and monitor strategic deliverables - ensure a system is developed to effectively monitor the progress of the implementation.  A strategic deliverables template has been developed for this purpose and is contained in the Toolkit. 
Local Implementation Committee (LIC)

The Council voted against the re-establishment of the Local Implementation Committee (LIC). At the 27 May 2014 Ordinary Council Meeting, the Council resolved:

“That the City of South Perth suspend all participation with the State Government with respect to the ‘Local Government Reform Process’, until such time as it receives an undertaking from the government that the previous funding commitments are honoured. The City of South Perth will no longer remain part of the Metropolitan Reform Implementation Committee or participate in Local Implementation Committee in their current form.”

The day after the Council resolution, the Department of Local Government and Communities advised that for grant applications to be successful, the participating Local Governments must be a member of a Local Implementation Committee.  A further report is being prepared for Council to consider reversing this decision at the November Council Meeting to be held on 25 November 2014. Again, I will keep you informed on the outcome using this blog.

Interim name City of South Park 

Many people continue to contact me about “South Park” as a possible name for the proposed amalgamated local government.  I want to say again, that the City of South Perth Council submitted ‘City of South Park’ as the proposed name of the new local government entity to the LGAB – a combined City of South Perth and the Town of Victoria Park.  The Town of Victoria Park Council submitted ‘South Bank City Council’. The Minister announced the new district be named the ‘City of South Park’ and designated as a City.  Once the new Council is in place in October 2015, it can decide to consult the community on a new name.

Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.