President’s comment – Mayor Angela Evans

Article image - President’s comment – Mayor Angela Evans

President Local Government Association of South Australia

Progressing sensible local government reform has been a priority for the LGASA and its member councils over the past few years, and we were thrilled to see the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 pass our State Parliament last month.

As an Association we have worked closely with all parties to ensure the changes included in this Bill are evidence-based and will support SA councils to deliver even better results for their communities.

Importantly, many of these reforms were either identified or shaped by councils themselves, with the goal of increasing transparency and reducing red tape.

Some of the key changes included in the Bill are:
A new behaviour management framework that will provide SA councils with the tools they need to deal with bad behaviour quickly and effectively.

The Essential Services Commission of South Australian (ESCOSA) will review councils’ annual business plans and long-term plans once every three years.  ESCOSA’s findings will be made public and councils will be required to demonstrate to the community how they are addressing ESCOSA’s recommendations.

CEO salary bands will be now set by the independent South Australian
Remuneration Tribunal.     

I would like to thank and acknowledge our State Government and Opposition – and the crossbench in both houses – for contributing to the development of the Bill, and its passage through the Parliament.

Now that the Bill has passed, our focus has shifted to supporting SA councils with a comprehensive implementation program.

Some of the minor changes will be phased in over the next few months, with reforms around council elections expected to be implemented in November, twelve months ahead of the 2022 council elections.

Other changes - such as the establishment of a new
Behavioural Standards Panel and introduction of a new Community Engagement Charter – will come into effect from next year.

These are the biggest changes to local government in South Australia in more than two decades, and I am pleased that we have been able to work collaboratively with the State Parliament and our communities to deliver sensible legislative change.

The LGASA is now rolling out a new LG Equip program, that will provide councils with all the training and resources they will need to implement these reforms, and further improve on the value they provide to their communities every day.