Guide for councillors
Local Government Victoria’s (LGV) detailed guide for councils explains the changes made to the Local Government Act 1989 by the Local Government Amendment (Improved Governance) Act 2015.
The comprehensive reforms improved the standard of behaviour for councillors, provided a clearer process for dealing with misconduct, and empowered councils and the Minister for Local Government to take action to deal with councillor misconduct.
Declaration of Compliance for councillors, 2016 elections
The Local Government Amendment Act 2016 (the amending Act) made technical amendments to the Local Government Act 1989. The amendments ensured that those councillors found to have failed to comply with section 76C of the Local Government Act 1989 were not disqualified on 1 September 2016.
The amending Act did not affect any other aspect of the governance reforms.
Reforms arising from the Local Government Amendment (Improved Governance) Act 2015
Under the 2015 governance reforms to the Local Government Act 1989:
- councillors are required to sign a declaration that they will abide by their council's councillor code of conduct
- councils need to have procedures in place to deal with alleged breaches of these codes
- allegations of misconduct and serious misconduct are dealt with by independent Councillor Conduct Panels, which have the power to suspend councillors for up to six months
- the Minister for Local Government has stronger powers, including the option to recommend to the Governor in Council that a councillor be stood down from their role as councillor if:
- the councillor has been accused of serious or gross misconduct and a panel or VCAT hearing is pending
- the councillor's behaviour represents a threat to health and safety, is preventing council from performing its functions or is inconsistent with the role of councillor; and
- a municipal monitor recommends the minister stand the councillor down.
- the minister is empowered to appoint municipal monitors who can recommend that the minister issue governance directions to councils