There are a number of current initiatives happening in the area of 'local government reform', lead by the Minister for Local Government with the support of local government representative bodies. The Destination 2036 Action Plan was finalised in June 2012 and will prompt a variety of review, reform and improvement activity across the sector, with two significant initiatives of the Minister planned to present reports and recommendations during 2013.
The Destination 2036 Action Plan was developed jointly by the Chief Executive of the Division of Local Government, and the Presidents of the NSW Local Government Association, the NSW Shires Association, and the Local Government Managers Australia (NSW). The Destination 2036 Action Plan is available here.
It sets a new direction for local government in NSW and sets out how councils will deliver services to their communities in the future. The Minister has said that the Destination 2036 Action Plan will give NSW residents, communities and Councils a clear explanation of how the local government sector will modernise, reform and improve how they function in the next five years, 10 years, and 25 years.
Visit the Destination 2036 Website here.
The initiatives identified in the Action Plan are based on five major strategic directions:
- Efficient and effective service delivery in local government,
- Quality governance and leadership in local government,
- Financial sustainability in local government,
- Appropriate, flexible structural models in local government, and
- Strong relationships within local government.
Local Government Review Panel
Supported by the Local Government & Shires Associations of NSW, the NSW Minister for Local Government has appointed a three member Local Government Review Panel to develop options to improve the strength and effectiveness of local government in NSW. The review will drive key strategic directions identified in the Destination 2036 initiative and support the broader objectives of the State as outlined in NSW 2021: A Plan to Make NSW Number One (State Plan).
The Panel will investigate and identify options for governance models, structural arrangements and boundary changes for local government in NSW, considering:
- Ability to support the current and future needs of local communities
- Ability to deliver services and infrastructure efficiently effectively and in a timely manner
- The financial sustainability of each local government area
- Ability for local representation and decision making; and
- Barriers and incentives to encourage voluntary boundary changes.
The Panel has released its first Paper titled Strengthening Your Community in July 2012 and a summary of submissions recieved by the Panel is available on their website.
The Independent Local Government Review Panel has now released a summary of submission, as a result of the Stage 1 consultation process. The Stage 1 Consultation Summary of Submissions can be found here (PDF 1.32 mb).
The Review Panel has also released its paper titled 'Better, Stronger Local Government - The Case for Sustainable Change' and is inviting responses. The Better, Stronger Local Government paper is available here.
Local Government Acts Taskforce
The Minister for Local Government has appointed the 'LGA' Taskforce - consisting of four members - to review the Local Government Act 1993 and the City of Sydney Act 1988, as an initiative from the Destination 2036 Action Plan. This important review will assist in ensuring that NSW has the right legislative framework for strong and sustainable local government into the future.
The Taskforce started work in September 2012 and will report back to the Minister by September 2013.