Local Governments in regional Western Australia will shortly be able to deliver services jointly following the passage of a Bill through the Legislative Council to allow the formation of regional subsidiaries.
The regional subsidiary model, which has been operating in South Australia since 1999 and was first proposed for WA by former National Party MLC Max Trenorden, will allow two or more local governments to share a service delivery or to engage in an activity collectively.
Nationals Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge MLC said the reforms meant local governments are now able to form legally recognised entities to deliver a range of functions to the benefit of their communities.
“Small local governments in the Agricultural region can often have difficulty providing certain services efficiently,” Mr Aldridge said.
“The beauty of the regional subsidiary model is that the subsidiary is its own legal entity, meaning local governments can share the legal and financial responsibility in the delivery of services such as waste and environmental management, tourism and marketing opportunities, infrastructure delivery, resource sharing and in seeking grants for regionally significant projects.”
Mr Aldridge praised former Nationals leader Hon Max Trenorden, whose 2010 Private Members Bill first proposed the idea of regional subsidiaries in Western Australia.
“Max undertook an enormous amount of work to bring the best collaborative model for regional local governments to the Parliament, resulting in his Private Members’ Bill in 2010,” he said.
“He recognised that the ‘big is better’ mantra does not ring true in regional WA and a different model was needed to improve the sustainability of the sector.
“While it has taken six years and four iterations of this Bill in Parliament, the model Max brought to the table will allow local government more flexibility in service delivery.”
Mr Aldridge highlighted the position of The Nationals which opposed forced amalgamation of Local Governments in preference for voluntary reforms such as regional subsidiaries.
“Regional subsidiaries do not prevent local governments from continuing down the voluntary amalgamation path, but provide an alternative for those who prefer to remain as is,” he said.
“The Nationals WA have long supported regional subsidiaries and opposed forced amalgamation, and the passage of this Bill is evidence of that.”
For media enquiries please contact Martin Aldridge MLC on (08) 9324 3155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org