Local Government planning overhauled

  • Chris Tremain
Local Government

Local Government Minister Chris Tremain today announced changes that will ensure councils undertake longer-term infrastructure planning, while streamlining other planning requirements.

“While many councils are managing their assets well, law changes are needed to ensure that all councils are taking the long term perspective needed,” says Mr Tremain.

“The Government will make it mandatory for local councils to undertake strategic asset management planning. This is fundamental good practice.

“We will also require councils to incorporate 30 year infrastructure strategies into long term plans. These plans currently only cover a 10 year horizon. Councils will need to plan for growth and investment over a longer period and provide this information to their communities.

“Local authorities own $96 billion in fixed assets and infrastructure such as stormwater, sewerage, roading and flood protection. These assets also have a very long life – water pipes last for 60 to 100 years. These assets need to be managed well in order to provide communities with essential services.

“Councils will now also need to disclose the value of the insurance cover they hold, any financial risk sharing arrangements, and any self-insurance schemes.

“At the same time, we will remove other requirements that increase the costs and compliance burden on councils. This includes:

  • Streamlining annual plans and removing the need to re-consult on matters that have already been consulted on;
  • Introducing streamlined, focused consultation documents rather than basing public consultation on technical and overly detailed documents;
  • Providing greater flexibility about methods and frequency of consultation. 

“These changes are part of our programme of reform since 2010 to reduce red tape for local councils. The changes will also improve transparency and the quality of information available to local communities.”