Electoral structure reviews

The Victorian Government has committeed to electoral structure reviews which must be undertaken by Electoral Representation Advisory Panels (ERAPs) in accordance with the Local Government Act 2020 (the Act).

What is an ERAP?

Electoral Representation Advisory Panels (ERAPs) are established to conduct electoral structure reviews.

Reviews undertaken by ERAPs include consideration of the total number of councillors for each municipality; and the ward structure, including the number of wards (if subdivided), number of councillors per ward, ward boundaries and names.

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) provides the panels with all technical and administrative support.

ERAP members are selected based on their extensive experience and understanding of local government, relevant legislation and electoral systems.

An ERAP provides its recommendations to the Minister for Local Government.

Councils that are subject to electoral structure reviews are required to meet the reasonable costs of the reviews. This includes the cost of the ERAP.

Permissible electoral structures

The Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) includes three permissible electoral structures (single-member wards, uniform multi-member wards and unsubdivided).

Single member wards are the "default" electoral structure under the Act to enable residents to receive direct representation, and to ensure councillors are more accountable to local communities and are elected under the same system within their council.

All councils must have a single-member ward structure unless the Minister has gazetted a notice specifying that a council is permitted to have either of the other two types of structures. On 23 April 2020 a notice was gazette which provides that:

  • all metropolitan, interface and regional city councils must have a single-member ward structure, and
  • all rural councils (31 in total) are permitted to have any of the three permissible electoral structures. This is in recognition that in some cases it may be impractical to divide these councils into single-member wards, for example, councils with large geographical areas and small populations.

ERAPs established in 2022

As at October 2022, 39 Victorian councils have electoral structures which are not compliant with the current requirements in the Act. The Victorian Government has committed to reviewing these structures prior to the October 2024 local government general elections.

On 10 October 2022, the Minister for Local Government announced the establishment of two ERAPs to undertake reviews of these 39 councils. The electoral structure reviews commenced in early 2023 and will be completed by early 2024.

You can view the terms of reference for the ERAPs here:

ERAPs Terms of Reference - pdf version

ERAPS Terms of Reference - MS Word version

The Victorian Electoral Commissioner (or delegate) is a member of both ERAPs. Additional members are as follows:

  • The Honourable Frank Vincent AO KC (Chair of ERAP 1)
  • Ms Liz Williams (Member of ERAP 1)
  • Ms Julie Eisenbise (Chair of ERAP 2)
  • Mr Tim Presnell (Member of ERAP 2).
  • Ms Prue Digby (substitute member)
  • Ms Janet Dore (substitute member)
  • Ms Louise Martin (substitute member)
  • Mr Kelvin Spiller (substitute member)

The councils being reviewed are:

  • Ballarat City Council
  • Brimbank City Council
  • Buloke Shire Council
  • Campaspe Shire Council
  • Casey City Council
  • Central Goldfields Shire Council
  • Corangamite Shire Council
  • Frankston City Council
  • Gannawarra Shire Council
  • Glen Eira City Council
  • Greater Bendigo City Council
  • Greater Geelong City Council
  • Greater Shepparton City Council
  • Hepburn Shire Council
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Horsham Rural City Council
  • Hume City Council
  • Latrobe City Council
  • Maribyrnong City Council
  • Melton City Council
  • Mildura Rural City Council
  • Monash City Council
  • Moonee Valley City Council
  • Moorabool Shire Council
  • Moreland City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
  • Mount Alexander Shire Council
  • Northern Grampians Shire Council
  • Port Phillip City Council
  • Stonnington City Council
  • Strathbogie Shire Council
  • Surf Coast Shire Council
  • Wangaratta Rural City Council
  • Warrnambool City Council
  • Whittlesea City Council
  • Wodonga City Council
  • Wyndham City Council
  • Yarra City Council
  • Yarriambiack Shire Council

Final reports and next steps

In accordance with section 16 of the Act, the ERAPs are providing their final reports to the Minister for Local Government.

The Minister will consider the final reports, including any determination to make the reports publicly available on this web page.

Under the Act, the final council electoral structures will be set by an Order in Council which are published in the Government Gazette.

Further information will be available in due course.

Ward boundary reviews

Where a council is subdivided, the wards should have approximately an equal number of voters per Councillor. The number of voters per Councillor in a ward should not vary from the average number of voters per Councillor for all of the wards by more than 10 per cent before the next general election for the council.

Ten councils are expected to have one or more wards with councillor-voter ratios outside of the allowed ten per cent tolerance by the October 2024 elections.

In accordance with section 17 of the Act, the Minister for Local Government asked the VEC to conduct ward boundary reviews for these 10 councils:

  • Bass Coast Shire Council
  • Baw Baw Shire Council
  • Boroondara City Council
  • Cardinia Shire Council
  • Greater Dandenong City Council
  • Loddon Shire Council
  • Murrindindi Shire Council
  • Pyrenees Shire Council
  • South Gippsland Shire Council
  • Wellington Shire Council.

Further information about these reviews will be available on the VEC website in due course.