Councils, developers and the community should welcome changes that have now been assented to in the Local Government Amendment Bill 2019 (NSW). The amendments will enable councils to conduct meaningful consultation with their communities, remove some of the current limits on local government procurement and provide more opportunities for councils to share regulatory services and staff across existing boundaries. The changes to the Local Government Act 1993 include:
- Where council enters into a contract without inviting tenders it will increase the threshold for the value of a contract from $150,000 to $250,000.
- An exemption from the requirement to invite tenders before entering into a contract with a disability employment organization.
- The delegation of regulatory functions of councils can be shared with neighbouring councils. This could be in areas relating to water supply, sewerage and drainage work, waste management, community land and other matters.
- Establishment of a scheme for mutual recognition by councils of approvals and for appeals from decisions about the approvals.
- For amalgamated councils the Minister for Local Government may maintain the existing rate path for a period of 4 years instead of 3 years.
The legislation will also amend the Land and Environment Court Act 1979 to require appeals relating to recognised approvals to be dealt with by the Land and Environment Court within its class 2 jurisdiction, in line with local government approval appeals.
If you have any questions or enquiries as to how the changes may affect your business or interactions with Council, PDC Lawyers & Planners can help you navigate the new laws.