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Local Government Bill: Third Reading Speech


20/12/2002

Third reading: Local Government and Local Electoral Amendment Bill

Hon Chris Carter

Mr Speaker, I move that the Local Government Bill and the Local Electoral Amendment Bill be now read a third time.

We have delivered new local government legislation that is modern and flexible.

It provides a framework for local decision-making by the elected representatives of communities with accountability to those communities.

It includes measures designed to give communities improved information about the activities of their local councils, and enhanced opportunities to influence their decision-making.

And at its core, the Bill reinforces the concept of local government as democracy at the local level - with a broad concern for the well being of its communities.

The 1999 Labour Party election policy made a commitment to the modernisation of local government legislation.

My predecessor as Minister of Local Government, Hon Sandra Lee saw through the passage of two key measures - the Local Electoral Act 2001, and the Local Government (Rating) Act 2002 - and the introduction of this Bill, in December 2001.

I pay tribute to her huge contribution to these reforms.

The Bill was the subject of extensive scrutiny by the Local Government and Environment Select Committees in both the previous and the present Parliament.

I would like to thank the members of both Committees for their work on the Bill, and in particular acknowledge the key contribution of Jeanette Fitzsimons who has chaired that Committee throughout this process.

I would also like to thank all of the officials who worked so hard on the processing of the Bill.

I would like to highlight one particularly important provision added by the Select committee. This is clause 22KA that requires the Local Government Commission to review the effectiveness of the new Local Government Act by 2007.

This will give local government the opportunity to demonstrate that it is performing in the interests of its communities, and in an accountable and responsible manner - just as this Government intended.

The Local Electoral Amendment Bill 2002 completes the review of local electoral legislation and brings all such provisions together into one enactment, by inserting new representation provisions into the Local Electoral Act.

This Government is committed to the successful implementation of local government legislation and we are working to ensure that people know what these Bills are about and what their opportunities and responsibilities will be.

Mr Speaker, I commend these Bills to the House.

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