City of Wanneroo makes submission on Local Government Act review

Stock image.
Stock image.

WANNEROO councillors have endorsed the City’s submission on the review this month, but without discussion.

The submission supported giving local governments power to form independent corporations and to invest surplus funds.

“Local government should have the ability to create council-controlled organisations to provide any services to realise additional revenue streams and provide for more efficient service delivery,” it said.

“Local government need to diversify their revenue and income streams away from the heavy reliance on rates and local governments should be allowed to undertake commercial activities for this purpose.”

The submission was “very supportive” of removing the requirement to hold an annual electors meeting, saying there were other opportunities for the public to participate in council matters.

It also disagreed with a statement that voting should be compulsory in local government elections, saying it would increase costs.

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Instead it suggested postal and online voting could increase voter participation and strongly supported introducing electronic and online voting through a secure system.

The submission supported having state-wide regulations to cover various topics covered by local laws, including beekeeping, cemeteries, dogs, cats, fencing, bush fire brigades, pest plants, waste and urban environment and nuisance.

It did not support replacing local laws with state-wide regulations for activities on thoroughfares and trading, extractive industries, meeting procedures, public places and local government property, or parking.

The submission supported rating holiday houses, timeshare properties and AirBnB properties differently, while noting that would be difficult to enforce as legislation did not require those properties to be registered.

It supported making all land subject to rates, excluding Crown land used for a public purpose, schools, land used for charitable purposes, agricultural show purposes, aged care facilities, sports and surf life saving clubs, or land used in pursuit of the arts.

It said those should still be charged levies for waste and basic services.

The March council report said the Local Government Act provided some autonomy for local governments but was also quite prescriptive.

“It is complex and lengthy legislation that is further supported by 13 sets of regulations,” the report said.

“The regulatory framework is cumbersome and in certain areas provides for processes that provide little value or do not serve the intended purpose.

“The legislative restrictions on local government limit the ability to act with agility and to deliver services to meet the needs (and ever changing expectations) of the community efficiently and on a cost effective basis.”