WA toughens council laws

The Western Australian Government has announced new legislation that will toughen consequences for council members who impede the function of local government bodies.

The government’s Local Government Amendment (Suspension and Dismissal) Bill 2018 enables the Minister for Local Government to suspend or dismiss an individual council member, resulting in suspension of their pay.

Previously, the Minister could only take action against an entire council, which has impeded the local government's ability to get on with the job of providing good governance to their community due to the actions of an individual.

"I continue to acknowledge the overwhelming numbers of elected members across the State who are working very hard to deliver quality services to their communities. From time to time, the actions of an individual serving on council can greatly impact the effectiveness of the overall local government,” State Minister for Local Government David Templeman said.

The new laws will also enable a local government to recover any fees or allowances paid in advance to the member, for the period of suspension, ensuring they are held accountable for their actions.

Under the legislation, the Minister will also be able to provide an order for remedial action, with or without suspension, and suspend an individual councillor during a local government inquiry if it is likely the inquiry would be seriously prejudiced otherwise.

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