Local Government Policy

PRINCIPLES

1. Local government is a distinct and essential tier of government.

2. Local Government should be fully recognised and empowered in the Victorian and Australian Constitutions.

3. The principle of subsidiarity should apply when making public policy in Victoria. Local government should therefore be devolved significant responsibilities and powers, with adequate funding and the ability to raise funds to meet these responsibilities.

4. The Victorian Government must respect communities of interest and communities’ demonstrated preferred Local Government structures and boundaries.

5. Local government must be transparent, accountable and democratic.

6. Local council voter franchises must respect one resident, one vote, one value.

7. Local councils are well placed to contribute to meeting regional, national and global challenges (such as climate change), and are not merely administrative bodies.

8. Council decision-making must be free from private financial influence, particularly property development interests.

9. As the first Australians, Aboriginal people have a unique voice and history that must be recognised in local government.

AIMS

1. All councils to formally recognise and partner with Traditional Owner groups.

2. Retention of regular electoral representation reviews which respect the will of local communities, and which encompass common sense inter-council boundary review proposals where there is demonstrable community support to better align communities of interest.

3. Election franchises to maintain one vote, one value in all councils including the City of Melbourne, entitling all permanent residents to vote and removing the ability for corporations to vote.

4. Ward based proportional representation as the default representational model for Councils, so as to balance community of interest considerations with the principles of proportionality and voter enfranchisement.

5. Instatement of a rotation of candidates’ ballot paper positions so as to remove advantages currently created by the luck of the draw.

6. A requirement that candidates’ political party memberships, if any, appear on the ballot paper, in the interests of transparency.

7. The abolition of donations to Councillors and election candidates from property developers.

8. Restrictions on the dismissal of local councils by the Victorian Government to situations where it is demonstrably necessary to restore good governance in the local government area.

9. Local council amalgamations only where demonstrably supported by local communities and based in sound policy that transparently quantifies the environmental, financial and social benefit.

10. Replacement of State Government-appointed regional bodies that govern planning (such as the Victorian Planning Authority and Regional and Metropolitan Partnerships) with representative bodies that genuinely facilitate cross-government collaboration and are publicly accountable, including the instatement of an authoritative and democratic metropolitan-level governing body representing a coalition of metropolitan councils.

10. Planning and environment legislative reform to allow local councils to act more quickly and efficiently to facilitate climate resilient public and private development.

12 Retention of the ability of local government to advocate in the interests of the local community to other communities and governments.

13. Maximum community participation, including in deliberative processes, for the development of strategies, plans and budgets for municipalities.

14. Narrowing of provisions that allow local councils to consider matters in closed session to only those which are absolutely necessary to protect the privacy of individuals, or certain industrial, contractual or legal matters.

15. Local councils to provide policies and plans that affect communities in plain language, as well as multiple languages that reflect those communities.

16. A review of all local laws to ensure compliance with the Victorian Charter of Human Rights, particularly where laws seek to govern public behaviour.

17. An end to cost shifting from Victorian to local governments, and a memorandum of understanding between the Victorian Government and the local government sector delineating responsibilities, so as to provide certainty to all.

18. To broaden the scope of differential rates that local councils can apply.

19. Removal of arbitrary or unfair regressive service, municipal and special charges.

20. Revocation of rate capping so that communities through their council can decide the level of services and the level of rates they are prepared to pay.

21. A requirement for all councils to develop and publish 10-year financial and capital works plans.

22. Remuneration for Councillors that reflects the diverse demands on their time, thus removing current advantages given to independently wealthy candidates.

 

Local Government Policy as adopted by State Council on 17th May 2018