Background

The following Parts of the Act are proclaimed on 24 October 2020.

Part 7 Division 7 – Suspension of all councillors of a council

Sections 230 to 231 replace section 219 of the 1989 Act and are mostly the same. The following table provides the Parts of the Act that are new requirements. These are shown in bold.

Provides that on the recommendation of the Minister, the Governor in Council may suspend all councillors of a council by Order in Council.

The Minister may make the recommendation if reasonably satisfied of either of two grounds:

  • There has been a failure to provide good governance;
  • The council has repeatedly and substantially failed to comply with a general Order and any special Order.

The ground that the council has acted unlawfully in a serious respect has been removed.

Before recommending suspension for a failure to provide good governance, the Minister must consider what steps the council has taken to address and remedy the difficulties underlying the failure.

The Order in Council suspending the councillors must be laid before both Houses of Parliament within a specified timeframe, may be disallowed within a specified period and is limited to a period of no longer than 1 year. It has full effect even if it is not compliant with any preliminary matters required for the making of the Order under the section.

The suspended councillors are not councillors during the period of suspension. They resume office when the Order in Council expires unless the Minister has fixed a date for the next general election for the council or introduced a Bill to dismiss the council. The date for the next general election of the council / the dismissal of the council must occur within 100 days of the expiry of the Order in Council.

These provisions are the same as sections 219(3) and 219(3A) of the 1989 Act.

The section provides that an administrator appointed under section 230 constitutes the council. It also enables the administrator to be a member of or represent the council on any existing board, council, committee, commission or other body, or to be a trustee, or to be a member or director of a company. An administrator is restricted from engaging in paid employment outside of the duties of the office of administrator, unless with the Minister's consent, and the section specifies the circumstances under which the office of administrator becomes vacant.

Part 7 Division 8 – Temporary administration

Sections 232 to 233 replace section 69A of the 1989 Act and make some minor changes. The following table provides the Parts of the Act that are new requirements. These are shown in bold.

This section provides for the appointment of an administrator when at least half of the positions of councillor at a council are vacant and the Minister believes the council to be incapable of providing good governance. Under section 69A of the 1989 Act, suspension of councillors automatically applied and commenced immediately when half or more of the councillor positions became vacant.

The Order in Council appointing the administrator may specify that the period of administration ends on a date when a specified percentage of the offices of councillors are filled. Under the 1989 Act, the period of administration automatically ended when the number of existing councillors constituted more than 50 per cent of the offices of councillors of the council.

The period of administration automatically ends on the day a majority of the vacancies in the offices of councillors are filled.

Provides for the suspension of the remaining councillors should section 232 apply and an administrator is appointed. During this time, the remaining councillors may be requested to provide advice to the administrator, be a member of a delegated committee or represent the council on another body.

Commencement Arrangements

24 October 2020

Local Government Act 2020 – Provisions commence 24 October 2020

  • Sections 230 and 231
  • Sections 232 and 233

24 October 2020

Local Government Act 1989 - Provisions repealed 24 October 2020

  • Section 219
  • Section 69A
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