THE CHAPMAN Valley Shire Council is seeking support of local government bodies throughout WA to enga

28 Sep, 2006 07:00 PM
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The big issue is increasing duty of care compliance across almost all services provided by local government and the tie up of staff resources to not only maintain records but also to receive proper training in accordance with government legislation.

Farm Weekly also has been told that many shires fear increasing duty of care compliance issues could see volunteer firefighters being told to stand down from fighting fires because they are not adequately trained or dressed to fight a fire.

Country shires also are expected - without any financial or other resource assistance - to maintain responsibility for, among other things, crime prevention and community safety, unexploded ordnance clearances, medical services (including salaries, vehicles, housing and clinics), child care services and emergency management.

According to Chapman Valley chief executive officer Maurice Battilana, cost shifting relates to increasing administrative burdens on local government by State and Federal governments.

"Our shire management staff is working 50 to 60 hours a week to keep ahead of the ever-increasing compliance requirements and do the normal duties required of their positions," he said.

"They are literally being buried in bureaucratic red tape.

"Our complaint is that we haven't got the resources to do it.

"They - State and Federal governments - pass all sorts of regulatory and non-regulatory functions and tasks then expect local government to meet the costs of compliance while they look good.

"It's an indirect tax on rate payers because that's where we have to get the money to pay for everything.

"And it's got to a stage where our resources, money and staff, are running thin.

"Roads are our priority, yet we're expected to drag funds away from that for other services that should not be our responsibility."

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