New standards for local government

May 16, 2024 BY

Changes: The State Government, led by Premier Jacinta Allen, have introduced reforms to local government. Photo: EDWINA WILLIAMS

THE State Government has introduced new legislation which aims to improve council governance and integrity standards within local governments.

The reform of the Local Government Act 2020 was introduced into parliament earlier this month and will begin from the new council term of Victoria’s 79 Local Government Areas starting in October.

Since 2020, 56 councillors have resigned and 11 councils have had municipal monitors assigned to them.

One council has been suspended and another has been dismissed due to issues with governance.

Councils will now have a code of conduct which aims to create uniform standards of behaviour.

A training program will be introduced with yearly professional development and there will be stronger sanctions for councillor misconduct.

The Minister for Local Government will also have greater powers to deal with poor behaviour.

“Victorians deserve councils that represent them and meet their needs,” said Minister for local government, Melissa Horne.

“Our reforms will enhance governance and accountability across all our councils.

“Our reforms will create a uniform code of conduct across all councillors and introduce mandatory training, supporting councils to best represent the communities they serve.”

The reforms were developed with input from the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission and the chief municipal inspector, as well as consultation from councils and peak bodies.