Local Government Amendment (Improved Governance) Bill 2015
The Local Government Amendment (Improved Governance) Bill 2015 (2015 Bill) was introduced into the Legislative Assembly on Thursday. The 2015 Bill builds on the Local Government Amendment (Governance and Conduct) Bill 2014 (2014 Bill) and proposes to make a number of amendments to the Local Government Act 1989 (Act), aimed at improving standards of governance and the conduct of Councillors across Victoria.
The 2015 Bill is in similar terms to the 2014 Bill, with some notable differences. Of particular note, the 2015 Bill differs from the 2014 Bill by:
- requiring Councillors to make a declaration that they will abide by the Councillor Code of Conduct – this requirement is in addition to the oath of office
- removing any proposal that Councillors should take part in mandatory induction programs following their election
- establishing a process for the investigation of complaints of Councillor misconduct by the ‘Municipal Monitor’
- removing any proposal that councils should establish a Chief Executive Officer Employment Matters Committee
- extensively altering the approach to elections
- adding a requirement that councils prepare and adopt an ‘Election Period Policy’.
It is expected that the 2015 Bill will be further debated by Parliament this month. We therefore eagerly await the progress of the 2015 Bill and will keep you informed of it. In the meantime, councils should familiarise themselves with the 2015 Bill and the proposed amendments.
We have also prepared a comparison between the 2014 Bill and the 2015 Bill, which can be accessed by clicking here.