It is the role of the council to provide good governance and leadership for the local community through advocacy, decision making and action. The Local Government Act 2020 provides a number of measures to support councils to improve governance processes and integrity and address governance and conduct issues when they arise.
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Municipal monitors can be appointed by the Minister for Local Government to councils that have experienced governance issues. The role of a monitor is to:
- observe governance processes and report back on issues
- provide advice to councils that are experiencing governance issues
- make recommendations to the Minister for further action
At the end of their appointment, the monitor provides a final report to the Minister.
Two monitors, Jude Munro AO and Peter Dorling, were appointed to Greater Geelong City Council from November 2017 until October 2020. Jude Munro concluded her role as monitor in January 2020 and Peter Dorling concluded his role on 12 November 2020. The monitors were overseeing and assisting the council with its progress in implementing:
- The findings and recommendations of the Commission of Inquiry
- The findings of the Council’s Workplace Culture Review
- The good governance framework identified by the Commission of Inquiry
- Council’s ‘Transformation’ Program and ‘Our Future’ 30-year vision
- Council’s strategic and financial plans, planning framework and community grants programs
The municipal monitors at Greater Geelong City Council prepared quarterly updates with the council administration on the council's Transformation Program. These updates were provided to the council and the Minister for Local Government.
To view the latest Transformation Program reports including the December 2019 update, please see the council’s dedicated Transformation Program web page.
Prue Digby was appointed as Municipal Monitor at the council from December 2017 until 30 June 2019. She was then appointed as Municipal Monitor at the council from 1 July 2019 until 16 September 2019 which was the date the new permanent CEO commenced at the council.
Municipal Monitor Peter Stephenson was appointed to South Gippsland Shire Council on 18 June 2018 until 4 April 2019.
Mr Stephenson was responsible for monitoring and advising on South Gippsland Shire Council's governance processes and practices. He provided his final report to the Minister on 21 March 2019.
The Minister subsequently appointed a Commission of Inquiry which provided its report to the Minister on 13 June 2019. The council was subsequently dismissed on 22 June 2019 by the Local Government (South Gippsland Shire Council) Act 2019. Three administrators were appointed to act as the Council: Ms Julie Eisenbise (Chair), Mr Christian Zahra AM and Mr Rick Brown.
Municipal Monitor Janet Dore was appointed to Ararat Rural City Council in August 2017 until 2 May 2019. Ms Dore was responsible for providing support to the council in implementing the Commission of Inquiry’s recommendations and reporting on the council’s progress to the Minister.
Municipal Monitor Bill Jaboor was appointed to Central Goldfields Shire Council in October 2016. Mr Jaboor provided support during the council's caretaker period while an investigation by the Local Government Compliance and Investigations Inspectorate was underway.
Ms Laurinda Gardner was appointed as municipal monitor to Casey City Council from 27 November 2019 until 11 February 2020.
The monitor advised the Minister:
- if Councillors, individually or as a group, are behaving in a manner that does not accord with the role of Councillor; and
- of any impact on the integrity and/or functioning of council decision-making and the orderly governance of the City of Casey arising from Operation Sandon.
The monitor provided her report to the Minister on 11 February 2020. The Minister tabled the report in Parliament and the Government introduced a Bill to dismiss the council. The council was dismissed until October 2024 and Ms Noelene Duff was appointed as the administrator at the council from 20 February 2020 for a period of 90 days or until such time a panel of administrators is appointed, whichever occurs earlier.
A panel of administrators was appointed to perform the functions, powers and duties of the council from 20 May 2020 until the first meeting of the council following the general elections in October 2024. The panel comprises Ms Noelene Duff (Chairperson), Mr Cameron Boardman and Mr Miguel Belmar.
Following the Victorian Ombudsman's report into the Casey City Council's Special Charge Scheme in Market Lane in June 2016, the Bill Jaboor was appointed as Municipal Monitor to monitor the Council.
Mr Jaboor worked with and interviewed council staff and the Mayor, and talked to community groups and members. Mr Jaboor’s report outlines how the ombudsman’s recommendations and other concerns have been addressed by the council. It also assesses the actions taken aimed to ensure similar governance issues do not arise again.
Mark Madden and Bill Mountford were appointed as Special Inspectors on 25 June 2015 to assist Darebin City Council address the outstanding issues identified by Municipal Monitor Mr Peter Lewinsky during his term at the council. Their final report was released in November 2015.
Special Inspectors report on Darebin City Council (Mr Mark Madden and Mr Bill Mountford) - November 2015 (PDF, 5.4 MB)
Special Inspectors report on Darebin City Council (Mr Mark Madden and Mr Bill Mountford) - November 2015 (DOCX, 135.7 KB)
Municipal Monitor Peter Stephenson was appointed to monitor the activities and performance of Wangaratta Rural City Council on 8 May 2013. In September 2013 Mr Bill Scales reviewed the reports and investigations into Wangaratta Rural City Council following the October 2012 elections to provide advice as to whether the reports confirm that a case existed for the dismissal of the council.
Mr Yehudi Blacher was appointed as municipal monitor to Whittlesea City Council from 13 December 2019 until 18 March 2020. The appointment was in response to a recommendation from the Chief Municipal Inspector. The monitor was appointed to work with the Council to ensure sound and effective governance in light of the instability in senior management over the past three years and will help the Council make decisions in the best long-term interests of the City of Whittlesea, while providing the Minister with advice on how Councillors are doing their job.
In response to his concerns about collapsing governance at the Council, Mr Blacher provided his final report to the Minister on 11 March 2020.
The Minister tabled the monitor’s report in Parliament and the council was dismissed from 21 March 2020 until October 2024 and a panel of administrators was appointed to act as the council. The panel comprises Ms Lydia Wilson (Chair), Mr Bruce Billson and Ms Peita Duncan.
Commissions of inquiry
Where more serious governance failures are identified, the Minister for Local Government can, under section 209 of the Local Government Act 1989 and section 200 of the Local Government Act 2020, appoint a commissioner or commissioners to establish an inquiry into a council’s affairs.
Commissioners must conduct their inquiry in accordance with their terms of reference and provide a report to the Minister on their findings and recommendations.
A citizens’ jury is an innovative way to involve everyday people in decision making. This comprehensive, transparent engagement approach allows the community to be placed at the centre of the process.
Citizens’ juries bring together representative, random samples of citizens who are briefed in detail on the background and current thinking relating to a particular issue, asked to discuss possible approaches and/or solutions, and finally craft a set of recommendations to address the issues at hand.
There is no provision requiring citizens' juries under the Local Government Act 1989 or the Local Government Act 2020.
The Geelong Citizens’ Jury
The Victorian Government committed to consult the Geelong community about its local governance arrangements following the dismissal of the Greater Geelong City Council in April 2016.
A citizens' jury was established for this purpose and tasked with recommending how Greater Geelong should be democratically represented by their council.
The Geelong Citizens' Jury was overseen by the independent not-for-profit organisation the newDemocracy Foundation (nDF)
The nDF randomly selected the 100-member jury from 15,000 Geelong residents, who were invited to register their interest to be a jury member. Key stakeholders and interest groups as well as all members of the Geelong community had the opportunity to have their say in person and online, and have those views considered by the jury. This ensured the jury was fully informed about all views and perspectives when it deliberated.
The unedited final Geelong Citizens' Jury report and the Government response were tabled in Parliament on 9 May 2017. This coincided with the introduction of a Bill to implement the jury's practical recommendations.
Local government panels
The Minister for Local Government can appoint a local government panel to:
- review a proposal to form a new council or restructure an existing council
- advise the Minister on potential reforms to the local government sector
At the end of their appointment, the panel provides a final report to the Minister.
On 2 April 2015, former Supreme Court Judge the Hon Frank Vincent AO QC and Mr John Watson were appointed as a local government panel to carry out a review and provide independent advice into whether Sunbury should separate from the City of Hume and become a local government entity in its own right.
In 2013-14, a local government electoral review panel was established to carry out a comprehensive review of Victoria's local government electoral system. The panel was chaired by Mr Petro Georgiou AO and made up of panel members Ms Sally Davis and Ms Anne Murphy OAM.
The panel was tasked with examining the electoral system for councils and advising on how to increase meaningful participation in local government democracy and how to strengthen the integrity of council elections. The panel made 55 recommendations for reform.
The panel's stage 1 report examined the electoral process, participation and integrity.
The panel's stage 2 report looked at electoral representation.
On 17 February 2014, a local government panel was appointed to conduct a review and make recommendations on the creation of a new municipality out of Hume City Council.
Appendix A - Terms of Reference (PDF, 302.3 KB)
Appendix B - Community consultative committee report (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Appendix C - Listing of submissions received (PDF, 302.6 KB)
Appendix D - Summary of issues and concerns raised in submissions (PDF, 512.0 KB)
Appendix E - Community of interest and restructuring report (PDF, 1.8 MB)
Appendix F - Innovations in local government (PDF, 600.3 KB)
Appendix H - Victorian Auditor General's Office sustainability indicators (PDF, 312.7 KB)
Appendix I - Comparative councils (PDF, 451.6 KB)
Appendix J - Media release (PDF, 316.9 KB)
Appendix K - Bibliography (PDF, 588.2 KB)
The Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel was convened in 2008 to review councillor allowances. The panel also provided recommendations on appropriate reimbursement of expenses and provision of resources support for mayors and councillors.
Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report - completed in January 2008 (PDF, 273.8 KB)
Government's Response to recommendations of the Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report (PDF, 53.5 KB)
In April 2008 a new policy was announced to give effect to the recommendations.
The new package and policy took effect immediately after the 2008 council general elections.
On 10 July 2007, a local government panel was appointed to review and recommend whether exceptional circumstances exist that warrant an alteration of the municipal boundary between the City of Melbourne and the Moonee Valley City Council in the suburb of Kensington and that part of the suburb of North Melbourne that lies within Moonee Valley City Council.
On 12 March 2002, a local government panel was appointed to conduct a review of the feasibility and viability of the Delatite Shire Council becoming two separate municipalities, one being based in Benalla and one being based in Mansfield.
On 15 June 2000, a local government panel was appointed to conduct a review of the feasibility and viability of the Hume City Council becoming two separate municipalities.
Attachments 1 - 3 (PDF, 571.3 KB)
Attachment 4a Sunbury Residents Association Submission (PDF, 3.8 MB)
Attachment 4b Shire of Sunbury Indicative Board Budget (PDF, 2.7 MB)
Attachment 4c Terms of reference (PDF, 2.3 MB)
Attachment 5 - 7 (PDF, 2.2 MB)
Attachment 8 - 16 (PDF, 1.2 MB)
Page last updated: 19/11/20