Posted on September 29, 2016 by Lindsay Taylor

Local Government Act Phase 1 Amendments in force

On 30 August 2016 the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016  (Amendment Act) was made and the majority of its provisions are now in force. This blog sets out which provisions are in force or will shortly commence operation, and which provisions have no set commencement date as yet.

On receiving Royal assent on 30 August 2016, some of the provisions of the Amendment Act commenced operation immediately.

On 21 September 2016 a proclamation was made with the effect that a significant number of further provisions were to commence operation on Friday 23 September 2016, and a further set of provisions are to commence operation on Saturday 1 October 2016.

The provisions which are currently in force and will be in force from this coming Saturday 1 October 2016 cover the following:

  • new purposes  of the LG Act and principles for local government (including guiding principles, integrated planning and reporting principles and financial management principles) (Chapter 3 LG Act);
  • new roles and responsibilities for the governing body, the mayor, councillors and governing bodies (Part 2 of Chapter 9 of the LG Act);
  • increase in the term of office for a mayor elected by councillors to two years (s230 LG Act);
  • taking of oaths and affirmations of office for all councillors, including mayors (s233A LG Act);
  • vacancies in the mayoral office on the mayor ceasing to be a councillor (s234 LG Act);
  • the adoption of expenses and facilities policies  (ss252 – 253 LG Act);
  • the role of administrators and temporary administrators (ss258, 438M and 438Y LG Act);
  • the determination of the organisational structure of a council i (s332 LG Act);
  • new functions of general managers (s335 LG Act);
  • amendment of a council’s power of delegation in respect of the acceptance of tenders and granting of financial assistance (s377 LG Act); and
  • provisions regarding auditing (s415 and Chapter 13, Part 3 of the LG Act).

The provisions which have not commenced operation are in respect of:

  • the model code of meeting practice, attendance at meetings and the number of meetings (Chapter 12, Part 2 of the LG Act);
  • amendments to Chapter 14 (Honesty and Disclosure of Interests) primarily directed at moving the pecuniary interest provisions in the LG Act into the Model Code of Conduct; and
  • provisions regarding strategic planning (Chapter 13, Part 3 of the LG Act).

There is currently no available information in respect of when these remaining provisions of the Amendment Act will commence operation.

One would expect that at least in respect of meetings procedures and pecuniary interests, the amendments to the LG Act will not commence until an updated model code of meeting practice and model code of  conduct have been prepared by the Office of Local Government.

Please see our earlier blogs in respect of the reforms contained in the Amendment Act here and here.

We will post further blogs in the near future in respect of the detail of the Amendment Act and as information comes to hand regarding the commencement of further provisions.

To discuss the Amendment Act or council governance issues more generally, please contact Dr Lindsay Taylor or on 8235 9701.