The Local Government Bill, which proposes changes to the current LG Act (1989), has been introduced into the Victorian Parliament today – see today’s media release.
The key themes aim to improve the performance of Victoria’s 79 councils in deliberative local democracy, accountability and service delivery areas. There two streams of major changes (Mirage News, 2019): :
- It retains the LG Bill 2018 reforms that were designed to empower councils to improve service delivery, by focusing on deliberative engagement and long-term financial management that
- require councils to involve their community in developing policy and long-term planning
- align CEO employment and renumeration to public sector entities
- enable joint meetings of councils and greater council collaboration and innovation
- empower community members to set the agenda for their municipality through a Community Vision.
- It introduces new reforms that foster:
- higher standards through mandatory training for council election candidates and councillors
- more transparent complaint handling
- electoral reform including more closely aligning the voters roll with the state
- defining standards of conduct to guide councillor behaviour and make dealing with councillor conduct issues faster and easier
- introducing a preference for single member wards to make councils more accountable.
For more information, visit the Local Government Bill 2019 website.
Ratepayers Australia will be supporting Ratepayers Victoria to ensure there is formal recognition of a LG Consumer Peak Body in the new LG environment, ensuring the community financiers and service recipients are also effective and value adding stakeholders in the sector, playing an important role in helping to future-proof good governance that the reforms ultimately will deliver.