Electoral structure reviews

In April 2020, the Victorian Government committed to electoral structure reviews for 39 councils conducted by Electoral Representation Advisory Panels (ERAPs) in accordance with the Act.

The ERAPs have provided their final reports to the Minister for Local Government. The Minister has considered these reports and accepted the recommendations to alter the electoral structures of all 39 councils.

Under the Act, the final council electoral structures have been set by Orders in Council which are published in the Government Gazette and can be accessed here: Victorian Government Gazette.

Changes to 39 council electoral structures

The following councils will alter their electoral structures before the October 2024 local government general elections.

Four councils will change to a multi-member ward structure: Buloke Shire Council , Northern Grampians Shire Council, Surf Coast Shire Council and Yarriambiack Shire Council.

Five councils will change to an unsubdivided structure: Campaspe Shire Council , Gannawarra Shire Council, Hepburn Shire Council, Moorabool Shire Council and Strathbogie Shire Council.

The remaining 30 councils will change to a single-member ward structure:

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Review process and ERAP members

On 10 October 2022, the Minister for Local Government announced the establishment of two ERAPs to undertake reviews of 39 councils whose electoral structures were not compliant with the requirements of the Local Government Act 2020.

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

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

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

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)

Permissible electoral structures

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 gazetted 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.

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. These councils are:

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.

The VEC provided the Minister with all final reports for the ward boundary reviews by 24 April 2024.

The Minister accepted the recommendations in the reports for adjustments to ward boundaries for each of the 10 councils to apply for the 2024 general elections.