New Local Government Act in force

The Local Government Act 2020 received Royal Assent on 24 March with the first and second tranches of legislation coming into operation on 6 April and 1 May.

The legislation delivers reforms including:

  • mandatory training for council election candidates and councillors
  • statewide code of conduct to guide councillor behaviour and allow for disqualification for councillors guilty of multiple breaches of serious misconduct rules
  • recognition of the need for collaboration between councils to deliver better services
  • mandatory transparency rules for handling complaints
  • deliberative engagement with communities to set each council’s Community Vision and Council Plan

The Inspectorate has formed an implementation working group and aims to develop resources for the sector.

In a bulletin sent to the sector last week, Local Government Victoria (LGV) announced a Project Control Board to oversee planning for the implementation of the new Act, with representatives from sector peak bodies including the MAV, VLGA, FinPro and LGPro working alongside LGV staff.

The bulletin stated:

“The implementation will include in-depth support through: guidance notes, guidelines, supporting material, online forums, online workshops, templates and publications. These will be available to all councils with some elements managed through co-design with the sector and communities.”

More information on the Act implementation timeline can be found on the LGV website.