Provide your feedback on the proposals in each of the four council reform areas

Read the Reforming Local Government in South Australia Discussion Paper and share your thoughts about the proposed solutions for each reform area. Click on the links below to watch a short video on each one of them:

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Allan Taylor

10 Oct 2019

What activities should Councils be restricted to be involved in??? I agree with the comments of Ian Morley, (and disagree with Chris Blaikie), that Councils should be restricted to the 3Rs, viz., Roads, Rubbish and Rates. Councillors do not have the background knowledge or skills to deal with complicated scientific matters such as climate change, global warming, and power production, also foreign policy and many other topics .. I object to Councils giving permission to wind farm companies to set up shop and so distort and complicate our Grid power supply and put supply at risk.

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Office of Local Government > Allan Taylor

16 Oct 2019

Hi Allan,

Thanks for your comments. You may be interested in a draft report released by the South Australian Productivity Commission (SAPC) on 30 August 2019, which looks closely at the services councils currently provide – both mandatory and discretionary – and the cost impact these have on councils.

The SAPC’s final report will be provided to the State Government at the end of November, and we expect that its recommendations will inform the Local Government reform proposals. The SAPC report is available at www.sapc.sa.gov.au/inquiries/inquiries/local-government-inquiry/draft-report

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Chris Blaikie

10 Oct 2019

'A damning report into the risk of corruption within local government in Victoria highlights the need for greater scrutiny of regional councils, a ratepayers advocacy group says.'
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-10-02/council-corruption-risk-prompts-push-for-greater-scrunity/11564152
We have the same issues here but very few investigations, little oversight or accountability and few sanctions. Councils here are not governing for all ratepayers and residents equally (including those too young to vote).
...too many decisions are apparently deferred to the State Government....or at least that is what our council claims.
Elected members rely too much on their voting being informed by administrative and non-elected council staff.
There are too many issues that they have little interest in or knowledge of.
Councils are too willing to lie and obfuscate rather than provide (or accept) genuine information on multiple issues. They base too many of their decisions on greed, theirs and others.
Our Minutes and Agendas of council are very light on information that is anyway useful and much discussion is 'in camera'. Local media reporting of council business is basically non-existent.
There is much more detailed reporting of council business in the 1800s if you read old newspapers on Trove....
Our council is a grant wasting machine. Our rates are some of the highest in the state, I believe.
You want an anecdote ?
A recent largish development near me went ahead without council input (supposedly) and was put in the hands of the State Government. The council claimed that they had some interest in it so could not govern responsibly (or something).
The developer was allowed to sort and process large amounts of soil onsite that created lots of dust and made the houses shake for a couple of weeks.
It was a former industrial site with a large amount of soil fill upon which an industrial building had stood.
This area has many historically seriously contaminated sites (many more than are registered with the EPA).
I complained that this would not be allowed other places near residences and asked whether any soil testing was done. They told me that I would have to make a FOI request to the State Government at my own expense.
This is in no way good enough and i can only assume that no testing was done or the council would surely be provided with it.
I have a work injury and have been left with no income and unable to work by our corrupt and dishonest Return to Work and medical systems. I have no money to spend on FOIs for information that probably does not exist.

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Office of Local Government > Chris Blaikie

16 Oct 2019

Hi Chris,

Thanks for your comments. The 72 reform proposals in the Reforming Local Government in South Australia Discussion Paper include a number of proposals to improve council reporting and accountability, particularly in regard to information that councils need to publish online. If you have feedback on these or any other proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Ken Pollock

08 Oct 2019

well here in Port Augusta I can tell you that we have 3 women on the council here,&they are getting bullied by the CEO, @ council meetings he is intimidating them & if someone speaks out from those women ,"he threatens them like suing them they are not allowed to speak to the public ,I attended a council informal meeting, back in July for memory &when he saw me he tried to intimidate me I told him it is an informal meeting ,& I have the right to voice my concerns, after all, it is called freedom of speech. they are in a lot of financial trouble well into the millions. our rates go up to from 3.6 to 2.5 this to help with the football oval which is costing this town a lot you have, wadlata tourist attraction in debt, & the arid lands is in debt as well, but the CEO has closed the Miriam Special school which he says is only got 2 to 3 students. something has to be done to get this city back to where it was ,we not getting much for our buck like getting our bins emptied ,we have a lack of footpaths in my street ,all the way from tassie st down to daniel tce, our rates should cover this but it is not, it is going into the bloody football oval which is going to be fixed up, but with sport &recreation money, it has cost this town well over $2.0million that 's why we are in debt, our next generation of young kids will have the burden in years to come. disgusted.

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Office of Local Government > Ken Pollock

16 Oct 2019

Hi Ken,

Thanks for your comments. Reform Area 1 includes a number of reform proposals about the employment and management of council chief executive officers, and Reform Area 2 includes proposals on how councils should inform communities about proposed rate increases when they are consulting on their draft annual business plan. If you have feedback on these or on any other proposals for reform, you may wish to complete the survey here on yourSAy.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Wayne Gibbs

30 Sep 2019

Voting election Procedure.
One vote = One value. This is true when electing one member for an area.
In Council voting, we are voting for many candidates so the one vote system is not as effective.
I should be able to vote for as many people as there are positions available. If there are 6 positions available and 9 candidates, my first 6 votes should count.
I believe the current system favours existing candidates
Executive salaries within the Councils are running way above what they are worth. There needs to be a completely independent body oversee wage increases as the Elected Members are not sufficiently trained to negotiate adequately. There is minimal accountability when the CEO controls the staff salaries.
Code of Conduct is totally ineffective. There is very limited avenues to bring a complaint against Elected Members or Council Executive and Staff. Even when there is a complaint, the method of investigation and recourse against the complaint are minimal.

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Office of Local Government > Wayne Gibbs

01 Oct 2019

Hi Wayne,

Thanks for your comments. The Discussion Paper includes a chapter on proposed changes to local government elections, that may be of interest to you (reform area 3).

In addition, reform area one also canvasses a number of proposals to reform the council member conduct management framework, and also regarding the appointment and management of council CEOs.

If you have feedback on any other local government proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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graham walkom

28 Sep 2019

Having been a rural councillor 2010-14 and currently 2018- I have experienced the enthusiasm and good intentions of CEO's (far too much actual authority), Mayors (far too much assumed authority), and council political groups. The problem is the extensive horse trading that develops around councillor interests, mayoral interests and CEO interests, rather than community interests. We are all well meaning but hopeless and poorly trained at staying on track for efficient and effective results.
The current code of conduct/OmbudsmanSA/ICAC process simply does not work.
What is needed is an authority (yes it could be OmbudsmanSA or ICAC) with experienced investigators to visit and ascertain the facts and make recommendations to the Minister who simply must have the authority to suspend or dismiss a council, mayor or CEO far more readily that at present. It is currently so obvious that so much distraction and resource is lost by councils messing with the present system. It is not the fault of Cllr X, it is the fault of the total council itself not being able to work objectively together.
If a council does not work together soon after elected, it is most unlikely to do so by being forced to work together and the community then has to support and fund the failed attempts to force them to work together. Investigate and act promptly. Dismiss and start over.
What is the council required to do? This is very poorly defined, so define clearly what the responsibilities of LG are and ensure emotional issues are not included but left to the state and federal levels and we have 90% of the solution.

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Office of Local Government > graham walkom

01 Oct 2019

Hi Graham,

Thanks for your comments. The Discussion Paper includes a range of proposals aimed at strengthening the current council member conduct framework, including some suggested models for a new framework. All feedback and ideas about this important area are very welcome.

If you have feedback on any other local government proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Felicity Martin

28 Sep 2019

I feel an independent commissioner is important, particularly in regional and rural areas, as there has been a demonstrated tendency to intimidate and coerce people raising concerns over decisions directly affecting their family and properties, in some cases targeting family businesses.

All councillors should be subject to alcohol and other drug testing.

If an ombudsman finds a conflict of interest which affected decisions surrounding development applications, that decision should be overturned.

Ombudsman's findings should not be hidden from rate payers under the guise of confidentiality. However, from experiences with the ERD Court, even Commissioners can be biased, and unfair.

Councillors should be required to report conflict of interest, as opposed to being allowed discretion, for instance businesses benefitting from supply deals with large developers, rentals, family members having interests in development approvals.

Counsellors should be held to account if they discriminate against people based on age, concessional allowances, socio-economic status, or residential status. For instance in a decision increasing rates for settlements/towns, a member stated, 'most of them are pensioners and get a concession, so they can have a rate rise', or one elderly lady raising concerns about water quality, who was short, laughingly being told to stand up.

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Office of Local Government > Felicity Martin

01 Oct 2019

Hi Felicity,

Thanks for your comments and feedback on the proposals that have been put forward.

If you have feedback on any other local government proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Ian Morley

27 Sep 2019

I Think it would be a wonderful idea if local councils did the 3 R"s correctly (Roads Rubbish and Rates) and left the other garbage like a climate emergency to the actual proper government. Read a the actual facts folks Australia is responsible for only 1.3% of the worlds carbon emissions.
And as our top scientist says we in Australia will make not a scrap of difference to the worlds temperature, we are spending 5 Billion dollars a year propping up windmills in subsidies and it's a joke.

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Office of Local Government > Ian Morley

01 Oct 2019

Hi Ian,

Thanks for your comments. You may be interested in the work of the SA Productivity Commission that has been tasked to undertake an inquiry into local government costs and efficiency to identify options to improve efficiency and financial accountability and reduce costs for ratepayers. It is expected that this work will inform future directions on proposed reforms within Reform Area 2 – Lower Costs and Enhanced Financial Accountability.

On 30 August 2019, the SAPC released its draft report, which includes its analysis, information requests, draft recommendations to the South Australian Government and draft advice to Councils. This draft report also looks at the services councils currently provide – both mandatory and discretionary – and the cost impact these have on councils.

If you have feedback on any other local government proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy, or make a submission to the SAPC on its draft report at - www.sapc.sa.gov.au/inquiries/inquiries/local-government-inquiry/draft-report.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

Chris Blaikie > Ian Morley

10 Oct 2019

Dear Ian,
The importance of reducing Australia's emissions is just as urgent as every other country's.
We have no choice and our actions are tied to our progress as a nation and the transformation of our economy.
There is now no doubt that Australia is one of the countries to be worst hit by the effects of Global Warming. The solutions and mitigating actions are mostly local so councils have a huge role to play in this. More than most of them probably realise.....
Did you see the article in the Australian Financial Review the other day ?
'Australia is rich, dumb and getting dumber' The Harvard Kennedy School's Center for International Development rates Australia as 93rd out of 133 economies.
We have been extremely poorly served for quite some time....
We have to do better than what previous generations have served us up and it starts with local government.

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Roo Boy

19 Sep 2019

I can't understand why "LG amalgamations" is not on the reform agenda? The elephant in the room for local government in SA is duplication of services, at some cost to ratepayers, in: middle and senior management, Chief Exec's, HR, Finance, Procurement, Planning, numbers of elected members, office overheads, vehicle fleets, etc due to the small size of many councils. Economies of scale is obvious to all ratepayers! Councils can't be trusted to self-regulate this due to vested interests, so someone with strategic overview needs to. State government must take the lead. Works in other states and other countries.

Government Agency

Office of Local Government > Roo Boy

20 Sep 2019

Thanks for your comments.

It is not the State Government’s intention to pursue forced amalgamation of councils. However, on 1 January 2019, the South Australian Local Government Boundaries Commission was formed as the independent body that assesses and investigates and make recommendations on proposals for boundary changes. This will create new opportunities for progressing boundary changes, including potential amalgamations that may benefit councils and their communities. Further information is available at— www.dpti.sa.gov.au/local_govt/boundary_changes

In addition, the State Government has directed the South Australian Productivity Commission (the SAPC) to undertake an inquiry into Local Government costs and efficiency to identify options to improve efficiency and financial accountability and reduce costs for ratepayers. The SAPC released its draft report on 30 August 2019, which includes its analyses, information requests, draft recommendations to the Government and draft advice to councils. Further information is available at—
www.sapc.sa.gov.au/inquiries/inquiries/local-government-inquiry/draft-report.

If you have feedback on any other proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

Roo Boy > Roo Boy

20 Sep 2019

Hi. Thanks for the reply. I have: completed the survey; read the SAPC Draft Report, read the Economic Analysis, worked for Local and State government; and seen every episode of Grass Roots (ABC TV) and Utopia (ABC TV) so I know how: "identify options" "improve efficiency", "recommend", "voluntary reform" etc works in practice.
Best of luck and thanks again for replying.

Kym Edwards > Roo Boy

20 Sep 2019

Have raised same issue of LG amalgamation for lower EP councils but always get the same self licking ice cream argument response from LG CEOs

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Gary McKernan

05 Sep 2019

Local government's responsibilities (amongst others) is to provide services and infrastructure for the community, and to look forward to and plan for the changing needs of their constituents. Politicization and corruption has become endemic in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane (notably Ipswich Council), and is yet to be fully exposed in Adelaide and broader regions, but a sharp focus needs to be placed on land and property developers, their associates and council proxies to eliminate their pervasive influence on planning decisions.

To eliminated entrenched corruption, cronyism and bias, a maximum of two terms should be introduced for Councillors as a means of minimizing the influence of vested interests.

Councils also need to keep their noses well away from social and political issues, especially racial matters, gender identification, altering commemorative dates, and adopt model litigant rules that would require an open admission of fault rather than trying to outspend ratepayers in venues such as the ERD Court.

Government Agency

Office of Local Government > Gary McKernan

20 Sep 2019

Thanks for your comments, Gary.

South Australian councils are subject to independent oversight by bodies such as the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC) and the SA Ombudsman.

If a person has reasonable suspicion of corruption, misconduct or maladministration in public administration on the part of a council and/or its staff, they may consider contacting the Office for Public Integrity (OPI). The OPI, which is responsible to the ICAC, is the central point of contact to receive and manage complaints and reports about public administration to ensure they are dealt with by the relevant body.

If you have feedback on any other proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Kym Edwards

28 Aug 2019

I note all councils provide private use of motor vehicles to executive members however there is no visability of the full cost to ratepayer of this arrangement. There is no policy covering types of vehicles, accessory fitted, operating costs, fbt arrangements, vehicle disposal returns, additional insurance costs etc. In this time of increasing rate I believe this is a cost ratepayers can no longer afford and is out of line with other sections of the Australian Public Service.

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Office of Local Government > Kym Edwards

20 Sep 2019

Thanks for your comments, Kym.

As outlined in the Discussion Paper, the South Australian Government has directed the South Australian Productivity Commission (the SAPC) to undertake an inquiry into local government costs and efficiency to identify options to improve efficiency and financial accountability and reduce costs for ratepayers. It is expected that this work will inform future directions on proposed reforms within Reform Area 2 – Lower Costs and Enhanced Financial Accountability. On 30 August 2019, the SAPC released its draft report, which includes its analyses, information requests, draft recommendations to the South Australian Government and draft advice to Councils.

If you have feedback on any other local government proposals for reform we encourage you to complete the survey here on yourSAy, or make a submission to the SAPC on its draft report at - www.sapc.sa.gov.au/inquiries/inquiries/local-government-inquiry/draft-report.

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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Dina Biz

06 Aug 2019

Please explain why Council Rates are so in Tea Tree Gully? Where is all the money going?

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Office of Local Government > Dina Biz

07 Aug 2019

Hi Dina

The City of Tea Tree Gully’s 2019–20 Annual Business Plan and Budget sets out its budget for the year. The Council has also prepared a summary of its budget and projects for the year. Links to these documents are below.

Currently, councils are required to consult with their communities on their draft annual business plan and budget. However, you may be interested in Reform Area 2 in our Discussion Paper that covers lower costs and enhanced financial accountability. There are also questions about what you like to see about your council’s budget and finance in our survey that you are encouraged to fill out.

Annual Business Plan: https://www.teatreegully.sa.gov.au/files/assets/public/documents/corp_documents/annual_business_plan_2019-2020/annual_business_plan_2019-2020_v14_-_26_june_2019_-_website.pdf

Summary of budget and projects: https://www.teatreegully.sa.gov.au/files/assets/public/documents/corp_documents/annual_business_plan_2019-2020/2019-2020_abp_summary_-_website_version.pdf

Regards
Local Government Reform Team.

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