The first three points of the 2015 Ministerial 17-point action plan aim to improve integrity and good governance.
Local Government Victoria's guide for councils includes chapters on these electoral reforms.
The strategic areas for action in the Ministerial Statement are supported by a 17-point action plan.
Local government reform actions 1-3: integrity and governance
Action 1: A Modern Local Government Act
Since the creation of the Local Government Act 1989, over 90 amending Acts have introduced hundreds of individual changes. As a result, the Act has become unclear and even contradictory in some places. Historic and redundant clauses remain in the Act, obscuring meaning and creating obstacles to efficient administration.
The Local Government Act Review is underway to modernise the Act and make it more logical and coherent.
The review aims to update and clarify the relationship between the state and local governments, and their respective roles and responsibilities.
The new Act will give councils greater authority to engage, challenge, innovate and deliver.
Action 2: Improve council governance
The government has enacted legislation to improve councillor conduct and governance.
Local Government Victoria has released a guide for councils on the councillor conduct and governance reforms.
Action 3: Improve conditions for the 2016 council elections
Complaints about the electoral process increased at the 2012 council general elections.
The State Government has responded to improve the integrity, participation rates and efficient conduct of future elections:
The government has enacted legislation to:
- ensure the Victorian Electoral Commission is the statutory provider of election services;
- clarify caretaker requirements;
- consistently enforce the penalties for failure to vote throughout Victoria; and
- give returning officers greater powers to reject nominations by candidates who are not enrolled.