New Laws For Local Government

The Andrews Labor Government is improving democracy, accountability and service delivery in Victoria’s 79 Councils, with the new Local Government Bill 2019 introduced into parliament today.

The Bill builds on last year’s Local Government Bill 2018 – which was the result of a three-year consultation with councils, communities and sector bodies – and delivers a range of new reforms, including:

  • higher standards through mandatory training for council election candidates and councillors
  • more transparent complaint handling
  • electoral reform including more closely aligning the voters roll with the state
  • 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.

Current rating provisions will remain in the Local Government Act 1989 until the ongoing rating review finalises its recommendations to government in March next year.

The Government remains committed to reform of Council donation laws and will continue to work on this matter.

For more information on the Local Government Bill 2019 reforms, visit localgovernment.vic.gov.au.

Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Adem Somyurek

“Strong local councils are crucial to building strong communities – this Bill will make councils more accountable, democratic and help them deliver the services their communities rely on.”

“We’ve undertaken extensive consultation which have resulted in the reforms our local government sector needs to deliver better outcomes for local communities and businesses.”

“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.”