Councils warned of Caretaker obligations before next election

The Office of Local Government has remined Councils that they are expected to assume a “caretaker” role during election periods to ensure that major decisions are not made which would limit the actions of an incoming council. The caretaker period for the September 2021 local government elections commences on Friday 6 August 2021 and ends on Saturday 4 September 2021. The final Council meeting of this term is on 27 July 2021. There are no meetings in August and September 2021 due to the Local Government election caretaker period.

The first Council meeting of the next term of councillors after the election is on 12 October 2021

The OLG says that Councils, general managers and other delegates of councils (other than a joint regional planning panel, a local planning panel or the Central Sydney Planning Committee) must not exercise the following functions during the caretaker period:

  • entering into any contract or undertaking involving an expenditure or receipt by the council of an amount equal to or greater than $150,000 or 1% of the council’s revenue from rates in the preceding financial year (whichever is the larger)

  • determining a “controversial development application”, except where a failure to make such a determination would give rise to a deemed refusal, or such a deemed refusal arose before the commencement of the caretaker period “Controversial development application” means a development application for designated development under section 4.10 of the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 for which at least 25 persons have made submissions during community consultation.

  • appointing or reappointing the council’s general manager (except for temporary appointments).

  • In certain circumstances, these functions may be exercised with the approval of the Minister.