NSW Minister for Local Government Paul Toole last week said financial controllers with powers to intervene in non-performing councils could be appointed to get those councils back on track under new laws introduced into Parliament.
The Local Government Amendment (Governance and Planning) Bill focuses on council governance and strategic planning to ensure they meet community needs.
"This legislation makes important changes to ensure councils are always putting the interests of local communities first," Mr Toole said.
"It will enable the Government to appoint a financial controller to councils that have a consistent record of poor financial performance and get those councils back on track.
"The legislation also complements the NSW Government's proposed new integrity measures for local government, and major reform initiatives such as the creation of new councils and Joint Organisations of regional councils.
"Together these changes will improve confidence in the ability of councils to deliver the services and infrastructure the community deserves."
Mr Toole said the legislation will also:
- Appoint the Auditor-General as the auditor of all councils;
- Clarify roles and responsibilities of councillors, mayors, administrators and general managers;
- Introduce new guiding principles for local government;
- Improve governance of councils and professional development for councillors;
- Consolidate the ethical conduct obligations of councillors;
- Establish the framework for strategic business planning and reporting; and
- Streamline council administrative processes.
"The reforms have been developed following four years of consultation with councils, business and community members," Mr Toole said.
"It is encouraging stakeholders made such a positive contribution to shaping a new, stronger local government sector. The NSW Government will continue to work with these stakeholders as we develop future reforms of the Local Government Act."