Posted on August 28, 2012 by Lindsay Taylor

Local Government Legislation Taskforce Announced

The NSW Minister for Local Government has announced the establishment of the Local Government Acts (LGA) Taskforce.

Circular 12-32 dated 27 August 2012 issued by the Chief Executive of the Division of Local Government to NSW Councils states:

‘The Local Government Acts Taskforce will consider the provisions of the Local Government Act 1993 and the City of Sydney Act 1988, and their practical operation so as to:

  • Ensure that the legislation and statutory framework meet the current and future needs of the community, local government, and the local government sector.
  • Strengthen and streamline the legislation to enable local government to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently, effectively and in a timely manner.
  • Ensure that the legislation is progressive, easily understood and provides a comprehensive framework, while avoiding unnecessary red tape.
  • Recognise the diversity of local government in NSW.
  • Provide greater clarity on the role and responsibility of local government.
  • Adopt the decisions of the Government in relation to the recommendations of the Independent Local Government Review Panel.
  • Make recommendations to the Minister for Local Government for legislative changes considered necessary and appropriate for a new Local Government Act.
  • Identify and recommend to the Minister for Local Government, at any time during the review process, any legislative changes that need to be implemented prior to the completion of the review.’

The Circular also states:

‘In carrying out its work the Taskforce will:

  • Engage and consult with the wider NSW community and with local government stakeholders (including the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW, Local Government Managers Australia (NSW), local councils, village committees, county councils, regional organisations of councils, business, community, industrial and employee associations, relevant professional bodies, and government agencies) about the operation of the legislation.
  • Identify key principles to underpin local government legislation in NSW. In developing these principles the Taskforce will consider legislation and its application in other jurisdictions both in Australia and overseas.
  • Take account of the work, findings and government decisions, in relation to the NSW Planning System Review, the Destination 2036 Action Plan and the NSW State Plan “NSW 2021 – A Plan to make NSW number one”.
  • Conduct its work in a manner that recognises the terms of reference and approach being taken by the Independent Local Government Review Panel.’

The Taskforce comprises 4 members, including a former council mayor from the Northern Rivers, a former council general manager from the Southern Sydney metropolitan region, and a former Director-General of the Department of Planning.

It will commence work in September this year, and will report back to the Minister by September 2013.

There will be a webpage on the Division of Local Government website enabling people interested in the review to track its progress.

The Taskforce is described in the Circular as ‘an important initiative that will assist in ensuring that NSW has the right legislative framework for strong and sustainable local government into the future’.