Introduction. This Chapter sets out the mechanisms by which a council is made accountable for its actions.
Each local government area must have a community strategic plan developed by the council for the future of the local community covering a period of at least 10 years. To support the community strategic plan, a council must have a long-term resourcing strategy that includes long-term financial planning, workforce management planning and asset management planning.
Councils have a custodial role in developing and monitoring the community strategic plan for the local government area on behalf of their communities. Achieving the strategic objectives in the community strategic plan may involve other partners including State government agencies, non-government organisations and other community groups and individuals.
A council must have a delivery program that details the principal activities to be undertaken by the council in order to achieve the objectives established by the community strategic plan that it is responsible for. A council must establish a new delivery program after each ordinary election.
Before the beginning of each year a council must adopt an operational plan that includes a statement of the council’s revenue policy and the activities to be engaged in by the council during the year. Public notice is to be given by the council of its operational plan.
A council is required to have 2 funds (a consolidated fund and a trust fund). It must keep proper accounts, which are to be audited annually.
Each year a council is required to prepare an annual report to its community on its work and activities.
Councils are directly accountable to the residents and ratepayers in their local government area. The Minister has a supervisory role in relation to councils. The Minister and the Director-General are able to request further information from councils, and the Director-General is able to authorise persons to investigate and report on matters connected with a council’s work and activities and to direct a council to act on any recommendations contained in such a report.
Members of the general public are entitled to inspect a wide range of council documents (see section 12). Members of the general public are also entitled, under the Government Information (Public Access) Act 2009, to be given access to certain other documents held by a council. They are also entitled, under the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998, to require the correction of certain kinds of information in the event that the information is incomplete, incorrect, out of date or misleading.