General

    What is the Local Government Act 2020 and does it replace the Local Government Act 1989?

    The Local Government Act 2020 (Vic) received royal assent on 24 March 2020. The objectives of the Act are to ensure that:

    1. local government continues to be constituted as a democratically elected tier of Government in Victoria; and
    2. Councils are constituted as representative bodies that are accountable, transparent, collaborative, efficient and engaged with their communities; and
    3. Councils have the functions and powers necessary to enable Councils to perform their role.

    The Act will be implemented in four stages. The first stage was proclaimed on 6 April 2020 and is to be implemented by 1 September 2020. 

    Currently, the Act operates together with the existing Local Government Act 1989 (Vic). As different stages of the Act come into operation, corresponding sections of the Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) will be repealed.

    Why is there a new Local Government Act?

    The Local Government Act 1989 (Vic) and associated regulations prescribed many details about different council processes. The new Local Government Act 2020 (Vic) introduces various reforms to local government processes and provides for a principles-based framework to facilitate local government democracy, accountability and council operations in  line with the community’s needs. You can find out more about the new Act and the changes made by visiting the Local Government Victoria website here: https://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/our-programs/local-government-act-2020

    Where can I find the Local Government Act 2020?

    The Local Government Act 2020 (Vic) is available here: https://www.legislation.vic.gov.au/as-made/acts/local-government-act-2020

    Where can I find copies of the Governance Rules and Public Transparency Policy?

    Copies of the Governance Rules and Public Transparency Policy are available for download on this Have Your Say Glen Eira page (navigate to the Document Library for all relevant documents), or on Council’s website on www.gleneira.vic.gov.au.

    Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, members of the community are currently unable to attend Council facilities. If you would like a hard copy of these documents you can request that they be mailed to you by contacting lga2020@gleneira.vic.gov.au with your request or calling (03) 9524 3333.

    How can I make a submission about the draft Governance Rules and Public Transparency Act?

    You can make a submission about the draft Governance Rules and Public Transparency Act by:

    1. completing the survey on Have Your Say Glen Eira;
    2. emailing lga2020@gleneira.vic.gov.au; or
    3. submitting your comments by mail, addressed to the Legal and Governance Coordinator, Glen Eira City Council, PO Box 42, Caulfield South 3162. 

    The consultation period will run from 18 June – 16 July 2020. All submissions are due by 5pm on Thursday 16 July 2020. Submissions are now closed and we are reviewing all feedback.

    What happens after I make a submission?

    All submissions will be considered and feedback from the consultation process incorporated into final drafts of the Public Transparency Policy and Governance Rules as appropriate. Council may contact you if further clarification is required on your submission. 

    The final versions of the documents will be submitted to Council for approval on or before 1 September 2020. 

    After the final drafts are submitted to Council, all submissions will be made publicly available unless you have requested that your submission not be made public. Council will redact names and contact details from any submissions made public. In limited circumstances, council may also determine that a submission, or sections of a submission, not be made public. This may occur if the submission contains information about a third party, or if it contains offensive, threatening, abusive, defamatory or otherwise inappropriate content.

    If I make a submission, how will my personal information be managed?

    Glen Eira City Council is collecting your personal information to facilitate community consultation in relation to the draft Governance Rules and draft Public Transparency Policy. 

    Your name and contact details are required so that Council can contact you if further clarification is required on your submission. If you make an anonymous submission, Council will not be able to contact you if clarification is required. 

    All submissions (including anonymous submissions) will be considered and feedback incorporated into final drafts as appropriate. When the final drafts are submitted to Council, all submissions will also be made publicly available unless you have requested that your submission not be made public. Council will redact names and contact details from any submissions made public. 

    Council is committed to ensuring that personal information is managed in line with the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014 (Vic). For more information about Council’s commitment to privacy, including your right to seek access to personal information you provide to Council, you can:

Governance Rules

    What are the Governance Rules?

    The Governance Rules are required under section 60 of the Local Government Act 2020 (Vic). They deal with the following matters:

    • the conduct of Council meetings;
    • the conduct of meetings of delegated committees;
    • the form and availability of meeting records;
    • the election of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor;
    • the appointment of an Acting Mayor;
    • an election period policy in accordance with section 69;
    • the procedures for the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a Councillor or a member of a delegated committee under section 130;
    • the procedure for the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a Councillor under section 131;
    • the disclosure of a conflict of interest by a member of Council staff when providing information in respect of a matter within the meaning of section 126(1);
    • any other matters prescribed by the regulations.

    They also provide for Council, when considering matters, to make decisions fairly and on the merits, and to institute decision-making processes to ensure that any person whose rights will be directly affected by a decision of the Council is entitled and able to communicate their views and have their interests considered.

    Didn’t Council develop a local law about Council meeting procedures last year?

    In 2019, Council reviewed and updated its local laws to make them easier to understand and more user-friendly for the local community. Council was required to update its 2009 local laws as they only had a 10-year lifespan.  Through this process, Council adopted two local law instruments: the Glen Eira City Council Community Local Law 2019 (Community Local Law) and the Glen Eira City Council Meeting Procedure Local Law 2019 (Council Meeting Procedure).

    A substantial amount of information under the Council Meeting Procedure will now be incorporated into the Governance Rules. The Community Local Law will not be affected by the development of the Governance Rules.

    Following the adoption of the Governance Rules, Council will comply with the Governance Rules in respect of Council meetings any other decision-making processes. The Council Meeting Procedure will continue to regulate issues which are not dealt with in the Governance Rules (such as the use of the common seal). 

    Why are there a number of different documents attached to the Governance Rules?

    The Governance Rules contain the following incorporated documents. These documents form part of the Governance Rules, and provide detailed guidance about Council processes.

    •            Written Public Questions to Council

    •            Councillor Questions 

    •            Public Participation at Ordinary Council Meetings

    •            Election Period Policy

    •            State and Federal Elections (Councillor Candidature) Policy

Public Transparency Policy

    What is the Public Transparency Policy?

    The public transparency policy is required under section 57 of the Local Government Act 2020 (Vic). In addition to any matters prescribed by the regulations, it:

    1. gives effect to public transparency principles established under the Act;
    2. describes the ways in which Council information is to be made publicly available;

    specifies which Council information must be publicly available (subject to any confidentiality or public interest considerations in the Act).

    What are the Public Transparency Principles?

    The public transparency principles are set out under section 58 of the Local Government Act 2020 (Vic), as follows:

    1.  Council decision making processes must be transparent except when the Council is dealing with information that is confidential; 
    2. Council information must be publicly available unless the information is confidential, or public availability of the information would be contrary to the public interest; 
    3. Council information must be understandable and accessible to members of the municipal community; and
    4. public awareness of the availability of Council information must be facilitated.

    Why does the Public Transparency Policy state that some information cannot be made available?

    The Public Transparency Policy expresses a commitment towards open and transparent decision-making, which includes making information available to the extent that it helps members of the community understand, and participate in, Council’s decision-making processes. This is consistent with Council’s values, as well as the public transparency principles in the Local Government Act 2020 (Vic) (Act). 

    However, the Act also envisions circumstances where information cannot be made available because it is confidential for the following reasons: 

    1. it would prejudice Council’s position in commercial negotiations if prematurely released; 
    2. it is likely to endanger the security of Council property or the safety of any person if released;
    3. it is likely to encourage speculation in land values if prematurely released;
    4. it would be reasonably likely to prejudice the investigation into an alleged breach of the law or the fair trial or hearing of any person if released;
    5. it is subject to legal professional privilege or client legal privilege;
    6. release would result in the unreasonable disclosure of information about any person or their personal affairs;
    7. it was provided by a business, commercial or financial undertaking and relates to trade secrets or would expose the undertaking to disadvantage if released;
    8. it is a record of meetings closed to the public under the Act;
    9. it is internal arbitration information;
    10. it is Councillor Conduct Panel confidential information;
    11. it is prescribed by the regulations to be confidential information; or
    12. it is confidential within the meaning of section 77 of the Local Government Act 1989. 

    The Act also envisions circumstances where information cannot be made available because it would be contrary to the public interest.