Urgent changes needed around council meeting laws

The Liberal Nationals are calling on the State Government to recall Parliament to deal with a number of urgent issues, including legislation to enable Victorian councils to continue to meet and make decisions throughout the unfolding COVID-19 crisis.

Current legislation does not allow for any local government meetings to take place electronically and decisions can only be made at formal in-person meetings.

The New South Wales Parliament met this week and made emergency changes to a number of Acts of Parliament, including its Local Government Act, that will enable councils to hold formal meetings remotely via electronic means.

Comments attributable to Shadow Minister for Local Government, Tim Smith:

“We believe that there is an important role for councils during these uncertain times and they should be able to meet and make the necessary decisions for their communities remotely during the restrictions put in place due to COVID-19.

“New South Wales has done it and we are proposing the same legislation be enacted for Victorian councils.

“There are so many complicated issues that will need to be resolved in coming months. I am particularly concerned about Victorians’ ability to pay council rates. They must be helped with this significant yearly bill, but during this crisis councils must not have diminished revenues.”

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