New Local Government Act To Improve Our Councils

The Andrews Labor Government will modernise Victoria’s local councils with new laws to lift standards of governance and make councillors more accountable to the ratepayers they represent.

Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz today introduced the Local Government Bill 2018 into Parliament, following three years of consultation with the community.

The bill repeals and replaces the Local Government Act 1989 and will usher in landmark reforms, including:

  • Giving the Minister for Local Government the power to suspend individual councillors who pose a significant threat to the governance of a council for up to a year
  • Clearly defining sexual harassment under the Councillor Code of Conduct and introducing the power to remove councillors for serious sexual harassment
  • Allowing mayors serving two-year terms to be ousted from their roles, following a motion moved by at least three-quarters of all councillors in office
  • New measures to ensure service charges levied by Councils do not exceed the cost of those services.

In an Australian-first, the new Act will require councils to develop four-year budgets and meet higher standards in strategic planning and financial management.

Mayors will be required to report annually to their communities on council’s progress in delivering these plans.

These changes will modernise the Act and provide greater flexibility in dealing with councillors who are doing the wrong thing.

It will also make councillors more accountable to ratepayers and their local communities.

The new Act is a key achievement of the Labor Government, which has also delivered rate-capping and the Know Your Council website.
Quotes attributable to Minister for Local Government Marlene Kairouz
“We are bringing this Act into the 21st century – helping make councils more accountable and focused on the needs of their communities.”
“Mayors and councillors who behave badly will be gone for a year – the days of them acting with impunity are over.”“We want councils focused on the long-term and these changes will help them do exactly that.”

 

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