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.
Regulations made under the Local Government Act 1989
The Local Government (Planning and Reporting) Regulations 2014 provide the content and preparation of the financial statements of a council.
The regulations also provide the performance indicators and measures to be included in the budget, revised budget and annual report of a council, and the information to be included in a council plan, strategic resource plan, budget, revised budget and annual report.
The Local Government (Electoral) Regulations 2016 provide for the conduct of elections held under the Local Government Act 1989, including the enrolment of voters, the nomination of candidates and voting requirements.
The Local Government (General) Regulations 2015 provides 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.
The Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012 regulates long service leave entitlements for council employees.
The City of Greater Geelong Act 1993 provides for the constitution of the Greater Geelong City Council and the election of the mayor and deputy mayor.
The 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.
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.
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.
This Act dismissed the Central Goldfields Shire Council and provides for the appointment of a panel of administrators until a new council is elected at the October 2020 elections.
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.
The Municipal Association Act 1907 is the governing legislation for the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV).
The Municipalities Assistance Act 1973 provides financial assistance to municipalities in respect of rates deferred or excused under section 171(4) of the Local Government Act 1989.
The Prahran Mechanics' Institute Act 1899 provides for the incorporation and governance of the Prahran Mechanics' Institute.
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.