Council reforms are back on the media Agenda. But we need a wider suite of Council reforms.
The Local Government reforms being advocated however are too limited. They are restricted to one issue only, that being Candidates declaring prior to the elections any political ties. We therefore need a wider suite of council reforms
Such a narrow focus as this does not serve us well. Neither the reputation of local government, nor the opportunity for positive change.
I whole heartedly support such disclosures prior to running for election rather than after the dust has settled. If we want improved Local Government into the future however, we need to be discussing a much wider suite of Council reforms. Reform focused on elected members and more broadly focused industry reforms.
Yes. Reform of Local Government Reform is needed. It will come.
The Industry knows it and is advocating for it. The Government signalled prior to its election that it sees reform in the local government as essential.
The State Opposition prior to Christmas promoted its own reform agenda. And the Independents in the State Parliament are also for change.
Venturing down this road in 2019 (and we should) should see a focus on a wider suite of council reforms however. Wider than has been placed before the public thus far.
At the very least, the following bullet point list needs to included in any reform package.
- Election reform should include disclosure of where a candidate lives and prior to the election.
- Election reform should also allow all candidates to have digital copies of the electoral roll for their ward.
- Likewise, election reform should allow also for digital voting.
- Strengthening of the Elected Member Code of Conduct to give it some teeth and legal muscle.
- Develop guidelines, procedures and templates to allow the voluntary implementation of the Local Government (Boundary Adjustment) Amendment Act 2017.
- Improving performance of Councils and creating best practice by using a more understandable means of bench marking.
- Investigating other revenue opportunities to reduce the reliance on rates.
- Likewise, to reduce the reliance on rates, improving mandatory revenue options to achieve cost recovery-user pays.
- Streamlining the industrial relations processes into an industry standard.
- Clean up the auditing processes of Local Government.
I look forward to providing local leadership in the coming months to encouraging this wider suite of council reforms.