In 2019, the Local Government Amendment Act 2019 (“the Amendment Act”) introduced a number of important amendments to the Local Government Act 1993 (“LG Act”).
Some key amendments are summarised below.
Government Procurement Limit
The LG Act previously required councils to hold a competitive tender process for contracts with an estimate value of greater than $100,000.00.
The Amendment Act increases the tender threshold to $250,000.00 in recognition of the increasing costs of procurements and the delays to councils and businesses wishing to tender for local government work associated with the previous threshold.
The Amendment Act also exempts councils from the requirement to invite tenders before entering into a contract with a disability employment organisation approved under the Public Works and Procurement Act 1912, or a contract with a person or body prequalified as a supplier under the National Prequalification System for Civil (Road and Bridge) Construction Contracts.
Rating Path Freeze
Councils amalgamated in 2016 have been subject to a 3-year rating path freeze ahead of a rates harmonisation process scheduled to occur next year pursuant to the provisions of the LG Act.
The Amendment Act extends the rating freeze for a further 12 months, taking into account the upcoming local government elections and thereby facilitating the making of rating decisions by councils elected in 2020, rather than outgoing councils.
However, Councils that are prepared to move ahead into the new rating framework on schedule have the option to not utilise the rating freeze extension.
Mutual Recognition of Approvals and Delegation of Functions
The Amendment Act proposes the introduction of regulations implementing a scheme for the mutual recognition of approvals issued by councils under section 68 of the LG Act.
Once established, the mutual recognition scheme will streamline conditions and requirements of approvals across different local government areas, thereby easing the regulatory burden upon mobile businesses making separate applications for approval across their areas of operation.
The Amendment Act also makes provision for councils to delegate their regulatory functions, such as in relation to water supply, sewerage and drainage work, waste management and community land, to other councils and, by extension, their committees, general managers and employees, where accepted the other council.
The reforms relating to the mutual recognition scheme and delegation of functions between councils have not yet commenced and are set to commence on a day to be appointed by proclamation.
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The contents of this publication are for reference purposes only. This publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Specific legal advice should always be sought separately before taking any action based on this publication.