Delivering A New Local Government Act For Victoria

The Andrews Labor Government is seeking community feedback on its plan to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery in Victoria’s 79 Councils outlined in a proposed new Local Government Act.

Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek today announced the Labor Government’s intention to introduce the Local Government Bill 2019 into Parliament later this year with six new proposed reforms.

The 2019 Bill builds on from the Local Government Bill 2018, which was the result of a three-year consultation with councils, communities and sector bodies.

The Labor Government is delivering new reforms in the Bill, including:

  • Simplifying and clarify enrolments for voters in council elections
  • Introducing mandatory training for council election candidates and councillors
  • Capping electoral campaign donations and gifts
  • Allowing for the dismissal of a councillor after a community-initiated Commission of Inquiry
  • Defining standards of conduct to guide councillor behaviour and make dealing with councillor conduct issues faster and easier
  • Introducing a preference for single member wards to make councils more accountable.

The new Bill retains the reforms under the 2018 Bill that were designed to empower councils to improve service delivery, by focusing on deliberative engagement and long-term financial management. These reforms will:

  • Require councils to involve their community in developing policy and long-term planning
  • Align CEO employment and renumeration to public sector entities
  • Enable joint meetings of councils and greater council collaboration and innovation
  • Empower community members to set the agenda for their municipality through a Community Vision.

The rating provisions will remain in the Local Government Act 1989 until the rating system review finalises its recommendations to Government in May 2020. This will ensure that any changes made to the rating system address the findings of the review.

For more information on the Local Government Bill 2019 reforms and to find out how you can have your say, visit localgovernment.vic.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek

“The new laws will help councils be more accountable, democratic and responsive.”

“These changes boost consultation and engagement between councils, residents, ratepayers and businesses – as well as providing for ongoing accountability.”

“We need a modern Local Government Act that meets the changing needs and expectations of Victorians – these are important changes that will deliver better outcomes for local communities.”