The Local Government Bill is the result of 4 years’ work on the Local Government Act Review. The review featured extensive engagement with councils, ratepayers, stakeholders and communities to develop the new Bill. Find out more about the review stages.

Reform proposal – stage 5

A Policy Reform Proposal Paper, on 6 key reforms, was released publicly for feedback in June 2019. The Government received 429 responses during the feedback period.

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:

  • 7 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 PDF, 3180.06 KB, 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 PDF, 2055.07 KB, 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
  • 6 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