Legal Insights

A New Local Government Act: A new agenda?

By Mark Hayes, Guy O'Connor

• 06 April 2020 • 2 min read

After a long gestation period and some marathon sittings of Victoria’s Upper House, the Local Government Bill 2019 has finally been passed. It is poised to soon receive Royal Assent and become law (in the form of the Local Government Act 2020).

Its Parliamentary passage resulted in some changes from the Bill introduced last year. In particular:

  • single member wards will not be forced on rural councils. In addition, it seems that some metropolitan councils will not be required to have single member wards until the 2024 Council elections
  • it will not be compulsory for every council to have a Deputy Mayor
  • the indemnity against liability will extend to members of Community Asset Committees (but interestingly not members of Audit and Risk Committees)
  • the Ministerial power to stand down a Councillor will no longer be dependent upon the making of an external complaint.

Some provisions will come into force on 1 July this year, with others becoming operative on 24 October (being the date of Council elections). For a period, the new Act will co-exist with a large number of the provisions in the existing Local Government Act 1989.

Training and seminars

We are pleased to be teaming with LG Pro to conduct some sessions on the new Act for LG Pro members. Separately, we will provide our own training and seminar series devoted to the new Act in the areas of governance, local laws and enforcement, procurement, property and employment.

In light of the coronavirus, we are exploring ways to deliver the training and seminars via various technologies. Further details, including dates and any registration arrangements, will be emailed to you soon.

We hope that over the next few months, you will join us to learn more about this important legislative reform and the agenda it sets for the Victorian local government sector.

Need help navigating the new Local Government Act?

Get in touch with the Local Government VIC team.

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