City of Gosnells’ controversial Waste Local Law 2016 revoked by Legislative Council of WA

City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie
City of Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie

CITY of Gosnells’ controversial Waste Local Law 2016 has been revoked by the Legislative Council of WA.

A Joint Standing Committee on Delegated Legislation ruled the City had failed to obtain the consent of the relevant chief executive prior to making the law.

The City had initially acquired consent from the appropriate powers, but a last-minute amendment regarding the definition of a ‘nuisance’ had not been approved.

The committee concluded the City was not within power to pass the law without the appropriate consent and declared the law to be invalid.

Gosnells chief executive Ian Cowie said he was “extremely disappointed” conflicting advice from two different government departments resulted in the law being disallowed.

He said the City provided the Department of Water and Environment Regulation and the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries with copies of the law.

“They did not raise any significant concerns but suggested some minor amendments to the local law, which were completed. The City took that as the CEO’s consent to the local law,” he said.

“The Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries requested the inclusion of a definition of the term ‘nuisance’ in the local law, which was subsequently included in the local law.

“Unfortunately, the Department of Water and Environment Regulation did not support the inclusion of the definition.”

The City initially advertised the law for public comment in August 2016, and proposed fines of up to $400 for depositing non-collectable waste in a bin, exceeding bin weight capacity and failure to keep bins in good condition.

The proposed law received backlash from residents, with 26 objections filed as part of the public consultation stage, including a change.org petition with 509 signatures.

The council later passed the law and approved amendments, including the aforementioned definition of a ‘nuisance’ and lowered the penalty to a maximum $250, at a council meeting on November 22 2016.

Mr Cowie said the City was investigating whether to re-commence planning for another waste local law.

“Considerable time and effort goes into drafting local laws and the City is disappointed that effort has effectively been wasted simply because of conflicting advice provided by two separate departments,” he said.

“The City believes the Committee had other alternatives available to it, particularly if the only substantial concern related to the definition of the term nuisance.”

The Department of Water and Environment Regulation put the onus on the Department of Local Government, Sport and Cultural Industries to respond to Mr Cowie’s comments, but they were unable to do so before deadline.

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