16-35 – More Phase 1 amendments to the Local Government Act commenced by proclamation

What’s new or changing

  • As notified in Circular 16-30, the NSW Parliament passed amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (the LGA) in the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Act 2016. These reforms are known as the Phase 1 amendments.
  • Some Phase 1 amendments commenced on 30 August 2016 and were notified to councils in Circular 16-30.
  • Further Phase 1 amendments have now been commenced by proclamation, which was published on 23 September 2016 under the Notification-Gazette tab of the NSW Legislation website.
  • The remaining Phase 1 amendments will be put in place over time.

What this will mean for your council

The following Phase 1 amendments have been commenced by proclamation and are now in force:

  • new purposes and principles for local government;
  • new roles and responsibilities for mayors, councillors and governing bodies;
  • new functions of general managers;
  • a clarification of the role of administrators and temporary administrators;
  • an extension to the delegation power of a council to include the acceptance of tenders by the general manager for services, where those services are not currently provided by council staff; and
  • a clarification that a mayor elected by councillors does not continue to hold mayoral office if they cease to hold office as a councillor.

The Phase 1 reforms that appoint the Auditor-General as the auditor of all councils come into force on 1 October 2016. Transition arrangements, including for new councils, for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 financial periods are set out in Schedule 8 of the LGA and in the Local Government (General) Regulation.

Key points

  • Mayors, councillors and council staff will need to become familiar with the new roles and responsibilities that are set out in the LGA.
  • The NSW Audit Office will be in direct contact with all councils in connection with the Auditor-General’s new role and the proposed transitional arrangements.
  • Councils will need to notify the Auditor-General in writing of all council entities (including partnerships, trusts, corporations, joint ventures, syndicates or other bodies the council has formed or has a controlling interest in) in existence on 1 July 2016, by 31 December 2016.
  • Councils may now delegate to the general manager the function of accepting tenders for services, where those services are not currently provided by council staff.

Where to go for further information

In relation to auditing changes, please contact the Performance Team, and regarding other changes, please contact the Council Governance Team, at the Office of Local Government on 02 4428 4100.

Tim Hurst

Acting Chief Executive