Making Local Government Work For You – The Guide to Local Government
This online guide answers many of the most common questions about councils – how they work, how they make and spend money and how they are elected. It also provides useful information about how you can engage with your local council and become involved.
Legitimacy of Local Government & Councils' Rating Powers
Feedback has been received from a number of municipalities that certain individuals and groups are seeking to challenge the power of Councils to impose rates and charges.
There appear to be two arguments being used: firstly, that local government is unconstitutional, and secondly, that local government does not have the legal power to declare rates and charges.
Local Government Victoria has produced a fact sheet setting out the key 'myths and facts' which provides guidance and information on these and related issues.
Ensuring Unbiased Democratic Council Decision Making
The decision of the Supreme Court of Victoria (Winky Pop Pty Ltd & Anor v Hobsons Bay City Council, 2007) has important ramifications to all councillors in highlighting their obligations to observe and comply with the common law rule of bias when making decisions affecting people’s rights, interests and legitimate expectations.
Local Government Victoria, with the assistance of the Municipal Association of Victoria, has produced a booklet to assist councillors in understanding the rule of bias as it relates to their role as decision makers. The guide also provides advice on how to ensure that councillors' actions are free from bias, and offers suggestions on steps to take if bias may be relevant to a proposed decision.
- Ensuring Unbiased Democratic Council Decision Making: Principles to Guide Good Practice (PDF 233 KB) and (Word 179 KB)
Good Governance Guide
Local Government Victoria in collaboration with the Municipal Association of Victoria, Victorian Local Governance Association and Local Government Professionals, have launched the revised Good Governance Guide on a dedicated website.
The Guide is designed as a resource for local governments, councillors and officers, to better understand, promote and enhance the practice of good governance. It can also be used as a resource for communities.
Conflict of Interest Guides
Councils are given a wide range of powers and duties so they can serve the best interests of their communities. Councillors, Council staff members and people who sit on Council committees are required to disclose all conflicts of interest so that it is clear to everyone that they are not using their positions to serve their own interests or the interests of people close to them.
Concise Conflict of Interest Guides have been published by Local Government Victoria for:
- Councillors (PDF 411 KB) or (Word 1.5 MB)
- Members of Councils Staff (PDF 482 KB) or (Word 383 KB)
- Members of Council Committees (PDF 212 KB) or (Word 214 KB)
Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012
The proposed Local Government (Long Service Leave) Regulations 2012 (PDF 76 KB) or (Word 112 KB) and accompanying Regulatory Impact Statement (PDF 434 KB) or (Word 380 KB) are now available.
Council Staff Codes of Conduct Framework
The Framework for the Development and Review of Council Staff Codes of Conduct (PDF 353 KB) or (Word 906 KB) has been produced by Local Government Victoria, in association with the Reference Group on Council (Staff and Others) Codes of Conduct.
This framework aims to support Council Chief Executive Officers in fulfilling their responsibilities to develop and implement staff codes of conduct under the Local Government Act 1989. It has been designed as a resource for those Council officers across Victoria involved in governance, human resources and risk management that have a lead role in assisting the CEO in developing the code.
Guide to Councillor Conduct Arrangements
The Guide to Councillor Conduct Arrangements (PDF 246 KB) or (Word 151 KB) outlines the standards of conduct expected of Councillors and provides a detailed description of the functions of Councillor Conduct Panels and VCAT in dealing with Councillor misconduct.
Mayor and Councillor Entitlements
The Mayor and Councillor Entitlements Information Guide (Word 138 KB) is to assist Councils, Council staff and community understand the entitlements of Mayors and Councillors with respect to expenses reimbursement and the provision of facilities and resources support. The guide contains information on supporting awareness, policy and legislative requirements, principles and approval arrangements.
Councillor Remuneration Review
The Victorian Government appointed a Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel to advise on remuneration of Victoria’s locally elected leaders through a review of current allowances and to provide advice and recommendations to the Minister on allowances and guidelines on the appropriate reimbursement of expenses and provision of resources support for the mayoral and councillor role.
In April 2008 a new policy was announced
Local Government (Councillor Remuneration Review) Panel Report (PDF 273 KB) was completed on 25 January 2008.
The new package and policy took effect immediately after the November 2008 Local Government general elections.
Moving On: Women and Retirement from Local Government (October 2004)
The Victorian Local Governance Association and the Municipal Association of Victoria were funded by the Office of Women’s Policy, Department of Planning and Community Development, to undertake a research project Attrition Among Women Councillors in Victoria. Moving On sets out the qualitative findings of this research project.
Glossary of Terms
The glossary of terms relates to local government functions and roles. This page is an extract from the Local Government Act 1989; more terms and information are contained in the Act.