Western Australia Passes Major Local Government Reforms with Legislative Assembly Bill 2023

It’s official – the Western Australian Legislative Assembly has finally passed the Local Government Amendment Bill 2023, which will introduce a range of major reforms to the state’s local government sector.

The Bill is the culmination of 25 years of inquiries, reports and reviews into the sector, and will bring with it tangible benefits for ratepayers, as well as increased transparency and accountability.

The changes include introducing optional preferential voting, public elections of mayors or presidents for larger councils, abolishing the use of wards for smaller councils, and aligning the size of councils with population size.

The Bill also introduces new requirements for the publication of performance indicators and results for all local government Chief Executive Officers, as well as mandated communications agreements between council members and the local government administration.

Local Government Minister John Carey was understandably pleased with the Legislative Assembly’s decision.

“Our reform agenda is clear – we are strengthening the transparency, accountability and efficiency of local governments, and this set of electoral reforms will enable stronger local democracy and community engagement,” Minister Carey said.

“Now is the time for action and real change across local government.”

The reforms are set to be implemented in time for the October 2023 Ordinary Elections, so it looks like local governments across the state will soon be getting a much-needed overhaul.