A very important issue for Local Governments to deal with
following an amalgamation will be managing, administering and
consolidating the local laws.
Local Governments that are involved in amalgamation will find
themselves on the day of Commencement of the new Local Government
having two or more sets of local laws.
The term Commencement in this paper means the day of
commencement of any amalgamation order made by the Governor on the
recommendation of the Minister pursuant to section 2.1 of the
Local Government Act 1995 (WA) (the
The Immediate Legal Position
The immediate legal position of how and what local laws will
apply is relatively straight forward.
Pursuant to Regulation 7 of the Local Government
(Constitution) Regulations 1998 (WA) (the Constitution
Regulations) whatever local law applied to a particular
area prior to Commencement will continue to apply to that area
As such there will fortunately be immediate certainty as to what
local law will apply to what area from the date of
Problems with two or more sets of Local Laws
Whilst the immediate position as to application will be clear
the administrative burden to Council and confusion for ratepayers
will no doubt ensue until the multiple sets of local laws can be
Consolidating the Local Laws
Local Governments will want to begin the process of
consolidation as soon as possible. Essentially the process will
involve reviewing the different local laws on a particular matter
or subject area with a view to creating or having only one local
law on a particular subject matter that will apply to the whole of
the new or modified District.
The options open will be to either repeal all existing sets of
local laws and create one new set of local laws or alternatively
repeal all but one set and make amendments to that remaining
For example, the new Local Government may find itself with three
sets of local laws applying to Parking. A review may find one set
as a preferred model which can be amended by taking into account
the differences from the other sets. Alternatively, if the
amendments look like being too extensive it may be better to create
a complete new set and repeal all of the old local laws.
There will likely be consequential effects on the newly formed
Council's documentation and infrastructure.
For example in the case of 'Parking', parking tickets
and associated documentation, parking signs and ticket machines etc
will all need to be taken into account during the review
The legal process
The legislative procedure for creating a new local law is set
out in Section 3.12 of the Act and involves State wide public
notice, the provision and consideration of public submissions and
ultimately the publishing of the new local law in the Government
Pursuant to Section 3.12(8) of the Act the repeal and/or
amendment of any of the old local laws must go through the same
process. As such any process to create a new local law should at
the same time clearly deal with the repealing and / or amending of
the new proposed local law it seeks to replace.
It is recommended that any new draft local laws be reviewed by
Local Government lawyers to ensure they are compliant and
consistent with their enabling legislation and further to ensure
that they clearly set out the objects and intentions desired by the
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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