The 2015 Improved Governance reforms to improve
the standard of behaviour for councillors, provide a clear process for dealing
with misconduct, and empower councils and the Minister for Local Government to
take action to deal with councillor misconduct.
Under the 2015 changes to the Local Government Act 1989:
- councillors are required to sign up to their council's councillor code of conduct
- councils need to have procedures in place to deal with alleged breaches of these codes
- allegations of misconduct and serious misconduct are dealt with by independent Councillor Conduct Panels, which have the power to suspend councillors for up to six months
- the Minister for Local Government has stronger powers, including the option to recommend to the Governor in Council that a councillor be stood down from their role as councillor if:
- the councillor has been accused of serious or gross misconduct and a panel or VCAT hearing is pending
- the councillor's behaviour represents a threat to health and safety, is preventing council from performing its functions or is inconsistent with the role of councillor; and
- a municipal monitor recommends the minister stand the councillor down.
- the minister is empowered to appoint municipal monitors who can recommend that the minister issue governance directions to councils
- discretionary / ward funding is prohibited.
Government Victoria has developed a detailed guide for councils explaining
Improved governance - guide for councils [PDF File - 1.3 MB]
Improved governance - guide for councils [MS Word Document - 267.4 KB]
The Local Government Amendment Act 2016 (the
amending Act) made technical amendments to the Local Government Act 1989 to ensure that those councillors found by
the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate to have failed
to comply with section 76C of the Local
Government Act 1989 were not disqualified on 1 September 2016.
means that all councillors named in the Local Government Investigations and
Compliance Inspectorate Report regarding non-compliance with section 76C of the
Local Government Act 1989 are able to
remain as councillors for the remainder of their term of office.
amending Act does not affect any other aspect of the governance reforms
introduced last year.
persons elected at this year's general council elections, to be held on 22
October 2016, will be required to read their council's existing code of conduct
and make a written declaration that they will abide by the code before they are
able to become a councillor. This
written declaration must be witnessed by the council's Chief Executive
Officer. This means elected persons must
make a compliant declaration and make an oath of office under section 63 of the
Local Government Act 1989 before
taking up the office of councillor. If they do not do so within 3 months of
being declared elected their office will become vacant.
four months of this year's general election (and subsequent general elections)
councils will also be required to review and adopt new codes as required under
section 76C. Within one month of this occurring all councillors will be
required to make a written declaration, witnessed by their council's Chief
Executive Officer, that they will abide by the code. Failure to do so will result in
disqualification of the councillor for the remainder of the council term.