Two-year reprieve for council staff

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson.
Local Government Minister Tony Simpson.

‘Under the Local Government Act, the workers are guaranteed a job for two years after July 1, 2015,’ Mr Simpson said.

Committees will be set up between the merging councils to work out the details, including how many staff they will need for new councils.

Superfluous staff can be paid out, with up to 12 months pay, depending on factors including length of service.

When asked if the reforms would affect the number of people putting their hands up for council elections, Mr Simpson said those elected would play a part in shaping the new councils.

Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) WA president Shayne Silcox said his group had industrial support and counselling services in place for members, which included chief executives, senior staff and officers. Dr Silcox said the provision guaranteeing continued employment during the two-year transition period would act as a buffer for employees who had to plan changes for their futures.

‘However, there is a lack of clarity about how that will work for chief executives and other senior employees, who are on contracts,’ he said. ‘If their contract expires during the two-year transition period, is their employment still guaranteed?

‘LGMA has written to the Minister for Local Government seeking clarification and is awaiting his response.

‘We will also ask the Minister to provide sufficient funding to the LGMA WA so we can develop tools and support mechanisms to help local government staff through the transition period in delivering the State Government’s objectives.’