The Local Government Act review was the first comprehensive review of the Local Government Act 1989 since it was introduced. The review has been informed by extensive and deep engagement with councils, ratepayers, the wider community, experts and stakeholders.
The review resulted in the Local Government Bill 2018 being introduced into Parliament on 23 May 2018.
All parliamentary proceedings have since come to an end in the lead up to the State election. This means that the Bill has lapsed, and the Local Government Act 1989 continues to form the basis of the legal framework for the constitution, role and governance of Victorian councils.
The Bill and the explanatory memorandum can still be accessed on the Victorian Parliament website.
An overview of the consultation process carried out as part of the review of the Local Government Act 1989 is set out below.
Exposure draft – stage 4
On 12 December 2017, an exposure draft of the Local Government Bill was released, giving community members, councils, and peak bodies the opportunity to provide feedback before the Bill was introduced into Parliament.
Implementation challenges – stage 3
Throughout 2017, targeted consultation was undertaken. This comprised of:
- Seven technical working groups of senior sector experts to resolve implementation challenges, analyse timing and staging issues, identify areas where further guidance material will be required to underpin the reforms. Topics included: council operations, representative structures, community engagement and strategic planning, council finances, rates and charges, council probity and local laws.
- Meetings with peak ratepayer groups.
- Meetings with key stakeholders on issue specific reforms.
- Meetings with council peak organisations and newly elected councillors.
Directions paper – stage 2
The directions paper, Act for the Future - Directions for a new Local Government Act, was released in June 2016. The directions paper outlined the key reforms proposed to develop the legislative framework for Victorian local government for the future.
Councils and their communities were invited to have their say on these proposed reforms and contribute their ideas for a contemporary, clear and comprehensive Local Government Act which supports councils as they meet future challenges and better serves a new generation of Victorians.
333 submissions were received online, by email and in hard copy form.
Responses to the reform directions were also provided at 18 community forums with Mayors, Council CEOs and community members between July and September 2016 at: Frankston, Traralgon, Ararat, Kyneton, Benalla, Werribee, Angelsea, Mildura and Melbourne CBD.
Discussion paper and reform ideas – stage 1
The discussion paper, released in September 2015, was the beginning of the Local Government Act review, and the beginning of a conversation with the sector and the community, about the legislative framework that governs local government in Victoria.
The discussion paper identified the issues in the current Local Government Act 1989 and invited ideas on options to reform all aspects of the legislative framework.
348 submissions were received responding to the discussion paper.
Reform ideas were also developed through:
- 10 community forums between February and March 2016 at: Wangaratta, Swan Hill, Shepparton, Warrnambool, Horsham, Dandenong, Sale, Melbourne CBD, Sunshine and Maryborough.
- six technical working groups of senior council specialists on: council operations; consultation and engagement; council role and responsibilities; rates and charges; financial decision-making and accountability; and offences and breaches.
- meetings with peak council and ratepayer associations.
- the development of background papers on the local government legislative framework.
if you would like more information on the Local Government Act review, please contact:
Local Government Review Secretariat
Municipal Association Act review
The review of the Municipal Association Act 1907 is the first comprehensive review since its enactment in 1907.
On 17 May 2017, Local Government Victoria (LGV) circulated to councils a paper outlining the key reforms proposed for comments and feedback from the local government sector.