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Local Government Reform

We want your comments on local government reform

The Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government is undertaking a review of local government legislation that South Australian councils operate under and is seeking your comments on reform proposals.

Discussion Paper Released

The Reforming Local Government in South Australia Discussion Paper (PDF 2.2 MB) was released on 5 August 2019. The proposals for reform in the Discussion Paper are based on ideas for real improvements to the system of local government in our State that were received following a public call in early 2019, and discussions with councils and other bodies.

As outlined in the Discussion Paper, the South Australian Government has directed the South Australian Productivity Commission (the SAPC) to undertake an inquiry into local government costs and efficiency to identify options to improve efficiency and financial accountability and reduce costs for ratepayers. It is expected that this work will inform future directions on proposed reforms within Reform Area 2 – Lower Costs and Enhanced Financial Accountability. On 30 August 2019, the SAPC released its draft report, which includes its analyses, information requests, draft recommendations to the South Australian Government and draft advice to Councils.

What reforms are proposed

The ideas received have been carefully considered, and are the basis of the reforms proposed in the Discussion Paper. The Discussion Paper contains over 70 major reforms to local government legislation, as well as a number of minor amendments.

Some of the key proposed reforms include a new conduct management framework for council members; an expanded role for council audit committees to provide expert, independent advice to councils on a range of critical financial and governance matters; and improvements to regulation to reduce councils’ costs.

The four reform areas included in the Discussion Paper recognise that there are areas in the local government legislative framework that currently aren’t working as well as they should, and need to be reviewed.

In summary, the proposals for reform are—

Reform Area 1 | Stronger Council Member Capacity and Better Conduct

Reform Area 2 | Lower Costs and Enhanced Financial Accountability

Reform Area 3 | Efficient and Transparent Local Government Representation

Reform Area 4 | Simpler Regulation

How to make your comments known

Prior to developing a draft Local Government Reform Bill for release in early 2020 we would like your comments on the proposed reforms.

To maximise the value of your contribution, we would appreciate your considered comments be submitted to the Office of Local Government at DPTI.LocalGovernmentReform@sa.gov.au by Friday 1 November 2019.

Information on the reform proposals is also available at YourSAy.sa.gov.au to assist the community to contribute to the local government reform conversation. You can also continue the conversation and complete our survey at YourSAy.sa.gov.au.

What ideas did we hear?

The discussion paper’s proposals for reform are based on Ideas for Local Government reform were submitted to the Office of Local Government, through direct channels, and YourSAy discussions and surveys, following a public call for ideas in early 2019.

In total, over 80 submissions with more than 700 ideas were received directly. Approximately 170 surveys were completed, along with the discussion on the YourSAy local government reform page.

All of the ideas received through submissions have been summarised and compiled—

Please note that a number of the ideas put forward reference material submitted by the Local Government Association (LGA). Information on the LGA’s contribution to local government reform is available here.

What happens next?

Following the consideration of the comments on the reform proposals, the Government will develop a draft Local Government Reform Bill for release in early 2020.