Local Government Elections to go ahead in October

On advice from the Victorian Chief Health Officer, Professor Brett Sutton, local government elections will go ahead as scheduled for Saturday, 24 October 2020.

The Minister for Local Government, Shaun Lane MP, sought advice from the Victorian Government Solicitor’s Office and Chief Health Officer as to how best to proceed while Victoria is in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Chief Health Officer has advised that October represents a period when risk is likely to be substantially lower than at present, and there are no compelling public health grounds for the elections to be delayed. Health experts are also working closely with the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) and is satisfied that appropriate physical distancing, cleaning and hygiene and workforce planning have all been considered and integrated into the VEC’s COVIDSafe plans. The VEC have advised that election preparations are already well underway and that there are no administrative or procedural barriers to the election being held on 24 October 2020.

Local government is extremely important for our community and does crucial work that may go unnoticed. Running for council is great way to stand up and serve your community. The City of Boroondara Council does remarkable work in our community from waste to environment, sports grants, skills education and sustainable development. You can run for council and have a huge positive impact on our community.

A set of Safe Campaigning Guidelines have been developed in consultation with the Department of Health and Human Services to help candidates follow the Chief Health Officer’s directions and health advice during the campaign. These guidelines include advice on how to safely conduct permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, hygiene and physical distancing.

The Government has also launched its candidate training course online, which all prospective candidates will need to complete. It covers how councils are run, support available to councillors, the councillor code of conduct, conflict of interest guidelines and election donation rules. This training course is one of a suite of reforms introduced through the new Local Government Act designed to enhance integrity and build community confidence in councils. All candidates will also be able to provide voters with a 300 word statement in their ballot packs to be sent to voters. In a first for Victoria, councils will be elected by state-wide postal voting.

I wish prospective candidates all the best for the upcoming campaign period, and encourage all Victorians to make their vote count.

Local Government Elections – Information and Resources

City of Boroondara Council election information is available at: www.boroondara.vic.gov.au/about-council/councillors-and-meetings/council-elections

Ward boundaries, voting enrolment and other key information all available from the VEC website at: www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election

Safe campaigning guidelines have been updated and cover both Stage 3 and Stage 4 restrictions and will be updated if restrictions are altered by the Chief Health Officer. Candidates should check regularly for updates: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/resilience-and-emergency-management/coronavirus-covid-19-information

The mandatory Local Government Candidate Training course for the 2020 elections is now available online. The course can be found at: www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/council-governance/candidate-training

Local government elections – key dates

18 August 2020 – Mandatory Candidate Training program available online
28 August 2020 – Close of electoral rolls
17 September 2020 – Opening of nominations
22 September 2020 – Close of nominations
6 October 2020 – Mail out of ballot packs
23 October 2020 – Voting closes at 6.00 pm
24 October 2020 – Election Day
13 November 2020 – Final declaration of successful candidates