Local Government Act 1989
The Local Government Act 1989 provides a framework for the establishment and operation of councils.
The Act is the main legislative instrument for Victoria's 79 councils.
The Act’s preamble restates the constitutional recognition of local government as a distinct and essential tier of government. Part 1A of the Act contains the Local Government Charter, which describes the purpose, objectives and functions of councils.
The Local Government Act also includes provisions for:
- entitlements for residents and ratepayers to vote in council elections
- the conduct of local council elections, including nominations and vote counting
- independent electoral representation reviews by an electoral commission
- council governance requirements, including codes of conduct and disclosure of conflicts of interest
- council decision making, including records of meetings, confidentiality and limits on decisions during election periods
- levying and payment of council rates and charges
- preparation of council plans, budgets and annual reports
- councils' powers to make and enforce local laws.
The Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate
Until 2009, breaches of the Local Government Act 1989 were investigated by Local Government Victoria (LGV). LGV Legislation reports from 2000 to 2009 are available at How we regulate councils.
In 2009, the Victorian Government established the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate as a separate administrative office. The Inspectorate is headed by a Chief Municipal Inspector.
Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2014
The regulations set out:
- the content and preparation of the financial statements of a council
- the performance indicators and measures to be included in the budget, revised budget and annual report of a council
- the information to be included in a council plan, strategic resource plan, budget, revised budget and annual report.
Other relevant legislation and regulations
Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2016
Provides detailed regulations on the conduct of elections held under the Local Government Act 1989, including the enrolment of voters, the nomination of candidates and voting requirements.
Local Government (General) Regulations 2015
Provides detailed regulations for miscellaneous parts of the Local Government Act 1989, including registers of interests, rate and charge notices and documents which must be provided for public inspection.
Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012
Regulates long service leave entitlements for council employees.
Download Long Service Leave regulations and impact statement:
Local Government (Rural City of Wangaratta) Act 2013
This Act dismissed the Wangaratta Rural City Council and provided for the appointment of a panel of administrators until a new council was elected at the October 2016 elections.
Local Government (Brimbank City Council) Act 2009
This Act dismissed the Brimbank City Council and provided for the appointment of a panel of administrators until a new council was elected at the October 2016 elections.
City of Melbourne Act 2001
Provides for electoral arrangements of the City of Melbourne and provides for greater coordination between the State Government and the Council in relation to matters of significance to Victoria.
City of Greater Geelong Act 1993
Restructures certain councils in the Geelong region, constitutes the City of Greater Geelong, and abolishes the Geelong Regional Commission. Part 5 is administered by the Minister for Planning.
Libraries Act 1988
The operation of Mechanics' Institutes in Victoria, particularly in relation to the sale or transfer of land, comes under Section 4 of the Libraries Act 1988, which is the responsibility of the Minister for Local Government.
Victoria Grants Commission Act 1976
The governing legislation for the Victoria Grants Commission (VGC).
The Minister for Local Government is responsible for the VGC, an independent statutory body that allocates Federal Government revenue to municipal councils in Victoria.
Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1995
This Act sets out many of the provisions through which the Federal Government provides grants to local government.
The term "Financial Assistance grants" describes both general purpose grants and identified local road grants.
Constitution Act 1975
Local government is recognised in Part 2A of the Constitution Act 1975 to be:
'a distinct and essential tier of government consisting of democratically elected councils having the powers that the Parliament considers necessary to ensure the peace, order and good government of each municipal district'
Part 2 of the Constitution Act gives the Victorian Parliament the power to make laws it considers necessary for local government, including laws relating to the constitution of councils, council elections and the powers and duties of councillors and council staff.
The status of local government in the constitution is protected. Amendments to the Constitution Act in 2003 prevent Part 2A from being repealed or amended unless the change is approved by a majority of Victorian electors voting in a referendum.
Municipalities Assistance Act 1973
Provides financial assistance to municipalities in respect of rates deferred or excused under Section 298 of the Local Government Act 1958.
Municipal Association Act 1907
Incorporates an association called the Municipal Association of Victoria.
Prahran Mechanics' Institute Act 1899
Provides for the incorporation and governmence of the Prahran Mechanics' Institute.