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16-30 Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act

Date 7 September 2016

Circular Details

Circular No 16-30 / 2 September 2016 / A512827

Previous Circular

16-01 New Local Government Act Development Consultation

Who should read this

Councillors / General Managers / All council staff

Contact

Council Governance Team - 02 4428 4100

Action required

Information

PDF Version of Circular

16-30

 

What’s new or changing

  • The NSW Parliament has passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) known as the Phase 1 reforms, focussing mainly on improving council governance and strategic business planning. 
  • Some of the amendments are now in force.  Other amendments will be put in place over time.

 

What this will mean for your council

The following relevant amendments are now in force:

  • The term of office for a mayor elected by councillors will be increased to two years (section 230(1) LGA).
  • All councillors, including mayors, are required to take an oath or affirmation of office (section 233A LGA).
  • The organisational structure of a council is to be determined by:
    • The governing body of the council, in consultation with the general manager, for senior staff positions; and
    • The general manager, for the remainder of the positions in the organisation structure.
  • Expenses and facilities policies are to be adopted by a council within 12 months of the term of a new council, instead of annually (section 252 LGA).  Amendments to this policy are no longer required to be specifically notified to the Office of Local Government (section 253 LGA).
  • The commencement of countback provisions has been deferred until a date prescribed for that purpose (section 291A).  Any casual vacancies occurring in the office of a councillor following the 2016 ordinary elections will be required to be filled at a by-election held in accordance with section 291 of the LGA where otherwise required to be filled.

 

Key points

  • Mayors elected by councillors on or after 30 August 2016 will hold office for two years.
  • All mayors and councillors are required to take an oath or affirmation of office before they can perform their functions and duties.
  • Determination of the organisation structure of a council is by the governing body of the council, in consultation with the general manager for senior staff positions and by the general manager for the remainder of the structure.
  • Expenses and facilities policies are to be adopted by a council within 12 months of the term of a new council and policy amendments are no longer required to be specifically notified to the Office of Local Government.
  • Countback provisions will not be available to fill casual vacancies occurring in the office of a councillor following the 2016 ordinary elections.
  • Further Phase 1 amendments will be put in place over time and will be the subject of separate guidance.

 

Where to go for further information

  • Contact the Council Governance Team at the Office of Local Government on 02 4428 4100 if you would like any further information.

 

Tim Hurst

Acting Chief Executive

Office of Local Government

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