26 September 2023

Council reforms come a step closer

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Important reforms to the operation of Victoria’s Local Government Councils are a step closer with a new Bill passed by the Legislative Council.

Minister for Local Government, Adem Somyurek said the Local Government Bill 2019 implemented wide-ranging reforms to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery across Victoria’s 79 Councils.

“This historic Bill is the result of four years’ work on the Local Government Act Review including extensive consultation with Councils, ratepayers, stakeholders and communities,” Mr Somyurek said.

“The Bill still needs to return to the Legislative Assembly and receive Royal Assent before it becomes law which is expected to occur in the sitting week starting Tuesday 17 March,” he said.

Mr Somyurek said reforms delivered by the Bill included mandatory training for councillors; a state-wide code of conduct; increased collaboration between Councils to deliver better services; and mandatory transparency rules for handling complaints.

He said the reforms would result in more accountable councillors through a preference for single-member wards while retaining the flexibility for un-subdivided and multi-member wards in some rural shires.

He said engagement with communities to set each Council’s Community Vision and Council Plan would be enforced under the reforms.

“The Government remains committed to reform of council donation laws and will continue to work on this matter,” Mr Somyurek said.

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