LEGISLATION to provide the Minister for Local Government the power to suspend or dismiss an individual councillor was introduced into State Parliament today.
Under the legislation, the Minister will be able to use the suspension powers in the event that.
– A council member is charged with an offence that, if convicted, will disqualify them from being a council member;
– An allegation of a serious breach of the Local Government Act 1995 has been referred to the State Administrative Tribunal;
– A council member is failing to perform their role, functions or duties as defined in the Act and the Minister is satisfied that the seriousness or duration of the suspected failure requires intervention; and
– A council member’s conduct is affecting the ability of the local government to function effectively.
“This is an important and overdue reform that will increase the State’s powers for the benefit of the community,” Minister for Local Government David Templeman said.
“Currently, action can only be taken against an entire council and these restrictions have frustrated the Western Australian community.
“This is a mechanism I think is well overdue, it appears in other jurisdictions and it’s been carefully discussed.
“I’m hopeful the bill will get support through the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council.
“I want to make sure WA has robust, modern and agile legislation.
“This is a reminder that overwhelmingly so many of our local governments are doing a great job.”
Mr Templeman said it was speculative to suggest the laws would have been used at the embattled City of Perth, which was suspended in its entirety on March 2.
“The issues at the City of Perth have been going on for some time,” he said.
“This provision exists in other jurisdictions in Australia and is formed under the template of the existing provisions.
“This is an important priority for us in the local government area and I hope the bill is debated as soon as practicable.”