How councils work
A council is a democratically elected body that provides local government for a specific geographic area within a State. Local councils comprise a third tier of government, in addition to Federal and State governments, and are generally regarded as closest to the people.
A council exercises a wide range of government functions and powers for the “peace, order and good government” of its municipal district. There are 79 local councils in Victoria. Each has between 5 and 12 elected councillors as well as council staff who implement council decisions and provide services.
How councils operate
Each council comprises the elected council that meets on a regular basis to make decisions that are in the interests of their community, plus the administrative organisation that delivers services and ensures that council decisions are implemented.
Since 2008, all councillors are elected for a four-year term, following elections in all municipalities on the last Saturday in November. They receive an allowance to assist them to exercise their responsibilities on a part time basis and are expected to behave in accordance with the council’s code of conduct.
Council administration and staff
Council administrations comprise a Chief Executive Officer and the staff employed and managed by the Chief Executive Officer.
The system of government
Local government is considered to be a separate tier of government. A local government is similar to a Federal or State government in many ways, except that it performs government activities relevant to a smaller, “local” area.
The legal basis
In Victoria, councils are established and operate under various State Government laws, including the Constitution Act 1975 and the Local Government Act 1989.