Council takes position on Local Government Bill

Thursday, 11 July 2019

Council has voted not to support the introduction of the Local Government Bill 2019, calling on the state government to allow more time for consultation before implementing its proposed reforms.

The decision was made following a Notice of Urgent Business raised by councillor Kylie Grzybek, the council’s Municipal Association of Victoria representative, during the 9 July meeting in Indented Head.

As a result, council has endorsed the 2018 Local Government Bill for adoption this year, and requested that the Minister for Local Government ‘allow for appropriate consultation with the Local Government Sector and the community before introducing further reforms.’

The state government announced six proposed reforms on 17 June this year, allowing 30 days for councils to gather feedback and provide a submission.

Cr Grzybek’s notice stated that, although the proposals were outlined in a discussion paper, the government has not provided an exposure draft of the 2019 Bill.

“The timeframe to provide a submission in relation to the proposed reforms, and the lack of detail about how the proposed reforms would operate, does not provide the council, the community or the sector the opportunity to provide considered feedback,” Cr Grzybek’s notice said.

“It would be appropriate for the Victorian Government to proceed with the 2018 Bill and allow adequate time for consideration of and consultation on the proposed reforms with a view to introducing them at a later date.”

The 2018 Bill lapsed in the Legislative Council last year whilst awaiting passage when the parliament was dissolved.

Councillors voted unanimously to support the notice.

At its previous meeting on 25 June, council asked CEO Martin Cutter to write a letter to the Local Government Minister requesting an extension until at least 30 August to provide its feedback on the proposed reforms.

The community is invited to provide its feedback until Friday 12 July.

Mayor Bruce Harwood:

It is appropriate that councils and the community be given complete information, and enough time to respond to it, before the reforms in the 2019 Local Government Bill are passed through Victorian parliament.

As such, the council unanimously supported Cr Grzybek’s notice of urgent business requesting a more thorough consultation process.

Councillor Kylie Grzybek:

The proposed changes are significant and we have not had the opportunity to properly consult our community to find out what they think of them.

Therefore, at this point in time we are supportive of the changes proposed in the lapsed 2018 Bill, which went through a comprehensive consultation process, but we can’t support the latest proposals until we’ve had more time to consider them and gather feedback.

The proposal to return to single councillor wards is of particular interest given we have only just moved to multiple councillor wards based on the recommendation of the Commission of Inquiry. It’s very important we find out from our community which system they feel gives them the best representation.

Page last updated: Thursday, 11 July 2019