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Local government reform

Over the last few years, South Australia’s system of local government has been under review.

Statutes Amendment (Local Government) Review Bill 2020

The Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 was introduced into Parliament on 17 June 2020.

The major reforms are based on ideas submitted during the Local Government Reform Program consultation in early 2019 and submissions on the resulting Reforming Local Government in South Australia discussion paper.  

Key reforms

Some of the key proposed reforms include:

  • a new conduct management framework for council members
  • an expansion of expert, independent advice to councils on a range of critical financial and governance matters
  • a modern approach to public consultation
  • a range of improvements to regulation to reduce councils’ costs.

The following videos provide further explanation about each of the reform areas: 

  1. Stronger Council Member Capacity and Better Conduct
  2. Lower Costs and Enhanced Financial Accountability
  3. Efficient and Transparent Local Government Representation
  4. Simpler Regulation
More information

The following documents provide additional detail about what’s changed.

The marked-up versions of the Local Government Act 1999, City of Adelaide Act 1998 and Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 are provided for reference purposes only and should be read in conjunction with the Statutes Amendment (Local Government Review) Bill 2020 and may contain errors.

About the consultation process

The proposals for reform are based on ideas for real improvements to the system of local government that were received following a public call in early 2019, and discussions with councils and other bodies.

What ideas did we hear?

Ideas for local government reform were submitted to the Office of Local Government through direct channels and YourSAy discussions and surveys after a public call for ideas in early 2019.

In total, over 80 submissions with more than 700 ideas were received directly.

Approximately 170 surveys were completed, along with the discussion on the YourSAy local government reform page.

All of the ideas received through submissions have been summarised and compiled below:

A number of the ideas put forward reference material submitted by the Local Government Association (LGA). Visit the LGA website.

Discussion paper proposals for reform

The Reforming Local Government in South Australia Discussion Paper (PDF 2.2 MB) was released on 5 August 2019, with consultation closing on 1 November 2019.

The four reform areas included in the discussion paper recognise that there are areas in the local government legislative framework that currently aren’t working as well as they should, and need to be reviewed.

South Australian Productivity Commission report

The South Australian Government directed the South Australian Productivity Commission (SAPC) to undertake an inquiry into local government costs to identify options to improve efficiency and financial accountability and reduce costs for ratepayers.

On 30 August 2019, the SAPC released its draft report.

The final report was delivered to the Premier on 22 November 2019 and published on the SAPC website on 5 February 2020.

The government's response to the inquiry is available here.