VICTORIAN Local Government Minister Marlene Kairouz last week released the draft Local Government Bill 2018, which would repeal and replace the Local Government Act 1989.
The draft Bill implements consistent representation structures and voting methods for council elections across Victoria, and requires councils to adopt long-term plans and budgets backed by their local communities.
It also provides the State Government with stronger powers to deal with individual councillors who are not performing, and requires most council meetings to be open to the public.
The objectives of the proposed legislation are to ensure that:
- Local government continues to be constituted as a democratically elected tier of Government in Victoria;
- Councils are constituted as representative bodies that are accountable, transparent, collaborative, efficient and engaged with their communities; and
- Councils have the functions and powers necessary to enable Councils to perform their role.
The Bill is one of several election commitments from the State Government to improve the accountability and transparency of councils, including the introduction of Fair Go Rate Capping and the Know Your Council website.
The release of the draft exposure Bill follows a two-year assessment of the current Act that took feedback from councils, ratepayers, the wider community and industry stakeholders.
The exposure draft is open for public comment until 23 February 2018. More information is available from the Victorian Government's 'Your Council Your Community' website at <http://www.yourcouncilyourcommunity.vic.gov.au/>.