Governance Local Law Review

Consultation has concluded and the final Governance Local Law is available in the document library. Thank you for participating!

Darebin Council Chambers is located at 350 High Street Preston. It is where Council Meetings are held.

The Local Government Act 1989 (the Act), requires Councils to make a local law which regulates the use of the common seal, governs the conduct of meetings of Council and Special Committees and provides for the election of the Mayor.


Update 22 September 2017: At its Ordinary Council Meeting on 18 September 2017, Council adopted the Governance Local Law 2017. The Local Law will come into effect on the 28 September 2017, which is the date it will be published in the Government Gazette. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this submissions process.



The objectives of the Local Law are to:

  • Regulate proceedings at Council meetings, Committee meetings and other meetings conducted by or on behalf of Council where Council has resolved that the provisions of the Local Law are to apply.
  • Regulate proceedings for the election of the Mayor, and Chairpersons of various Committees.
  • Regulate the use of the common seal.
  • Prohibit unauthorised use of the common seal or any device resembling the common seal.
  • Make provision for related administrative procedures.
  • Provide for peace, order and good government of the municipal district.

Unless revoked earlier, a local law is, under section 122(1) revoked on the day which is 10 years after the day which is the earliest day on which any provision of the local law came into operation.

Historically, the Governance Local Law is updated each time a new Council has been elected.

Darebin City Council is committed to transparency and accountability; therefore the proposed changes encourage greater community participation by ensuring that the community has an ongoing voice to inform Councillors on decision making that affect them.

The proposed changes also aim to improve clarity and remove out of date requirements and terminology.

Below is a summary table of the proposed changes (the full draft document is in the document library in the right column of this page):

Section in proposed

Local Law

Proposed Change

Part 1 – Clause 1 Local Law
· Removed the wording ‘Part 5’.
Part 1 – Clause 5 Definitions
· Included definition of ‘Committee’ at clause 5(g).
· Included definition of ‘Majority of the votes’ at clause 5(l).
Part 2 – Clause 7 Common Seal
· Clause 7(4) is amended to allow for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to authorise another person to sign documents to which the common seal is attached. This will be of assistance where, for example, the common seal is being affixed to a document in which the CEO has an interest (such as a contract of employment).
Part 3 – Clause 8 Procedures for Election of Mayor
· Amendment to clause 8(3) so that the references to ‘absolute majority of the votes’ are replaced with references to ‘majority of the votes’ to reflect the requirements under the Act; and
· Removed the reference to ‘must vote’, since a Councillor can, under the Act, abstain from voting.
· Addition of a new clause 10 which separately provides for election of a Committee Chairperson. This provides greater clarity than the previous position, where it was addressed in conjunction with the election of the Deputy Mayor.
Part 4 – Clause 11 Councillor Briefing Arrangement
· Clause 11(4) has been amended to provide for the CEO to set the agenda for Councillor briefings ‘in consultation with the Mayor’. This ensures that the CEO retains primary responsibility for preparation of those agendas which, from an administrative perspective, is likely to be preferable.
Part 5 – Division 1 (Clause 12 – Notice of Meetings and Delivery of Agendas
· Added a new clause 12(2) which provides that the CEO is responsible for preparation and delivery of the agenda for Council meetings, including the determination of the order of business. This avoids Councillors attempting to direct the order of business for Council meetings.
· Reworded Clause 12(5) to make it clear and removal of requirement to provide notice of the any amendments to the ‘Confidentiality Policy: Handling of Confidential Information by Councillor’s’ is published in the Victoria Gazette in accordance with s112(2) of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 2 (Clause 17 – Time Limits of Meetings)
· Clause 17(4) has been amended to include the wording ‘unless it has been disposed of at a subsequent Special Meeting’.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 19 - Conflict of Interest)
· Clause 19 has been amended so that it refers to disclosure of conflicts of interest being ‘in accordance with section 79 of the Act’. This is because the Act provides for conflicts of interest to be disclosed either:
o 9.1 immediately before the relevant item is considered at a meeting (as contemplated by the draft Local Law); or
o 9.2 in writing to the CEO prior to the meeting, in which case fewer details are required at the meeting.
· The amendment ensures consistency with s 79 of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 20 – Business of Meetings)
· Clause 20 has been amended to remove reference to General Business as this no longer appears as a clause in the Governance Local Law.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 21 – Urgent Business)
· Clause 21 has been amended and split in two parts for clarity and consistency with the Act.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 23 - Notices of Motion)
· Reworded clause 23(7) to include the words ‘at which the notice of motion is to be considered’ for clarity.
· Reworded clause 23(14) so that it is consistent with clause 28(4) – i.e. an amendment must not be ‘directly opposite’ to the motion.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 38 – Time Limits for Debate)
· Time limits to clause 38(1) and 38(2) have been amended to align with current Council Meeting procedures and reflect- the change agreed to by Council resolution.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 41 – Chairperson’s ruling)
· Amendments to clause 41(2) of the draft Local Law to provide that any motion of dissent will be moved in accordance with what is now clause 52.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 43 – Webcasting and Recording of Proceedings)
· Added a new clause 43(6) which provides that clause 43 (recording and webcasting of meetings) does not apply to any part of a meeting that is closed to the public under s 89(2) of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 6 (Clause 52 – Dissent from Chairperson’s Ruling)
· Amended to what is now clause 52 to provide for motions of dissent from any ruling of the Chairperson, not only rulings with respect to points of order.
Part 5 – Division 7 (Clause 53 – Question Time)
· Renaming Division 7 from “Public Question Time” to “Question and Submission Time”.
· Clause 53 amended to be called “Question Time”. Question time was only reworded for clarity, otherwise remains unchanged.
Part 5 – Division 7 (Clause 54 – Submission and Comments)
· Inclusion of clause 54 “Submissions and Comments” outlining the new process of submissions and comments whereby the community can make a comment of submission on an agenda item at Council Meetings. This will ensure questions, comments and submission are at the forefront of community participation.
Part 5 – Division 8 (Clause 55 – Petitions)
· Added a new clause 55(13) which provides for a Councillor to present a petition that has been prepared online and excludes such petitions from the requirements of cl 55(4).
Schedule 1 – Penalties Fixed for Infringements
· Substantially changed the infringement penalties set out in Schedule 1. This reflects the ‘Attorney-General’s guidelines to the Infringements Act 2006’, which relevantly state:
· “An infringement penalty should generally be approximately no more than 20 – 25% of the maximum penalty for the offence and be demonstrated to be lower than the average of any related fines previously imposed by the Courts.”


How you can engage with us on this project:

1. If you are a new user, click here to register for Your Say Darebin or if you are a returning user click here to sign in and then ask me anything about the Governance Local Law Review in the Q&A section below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

2. Make a formal submission to Council and have the option to indicate if you would like to make a verbal presentation to the Hearing of Submissions Committee. Click here to open the form in a new window




The Local Government Act 1989 (the Act), requires Councils to make a local law which regulates the use of the common seal, governs the conduct of meetings of Council and Special Committees and provides for the election of the Mayor.


Update 22 September 2017: At its Ordinary Council Meeting on 18 September 2017, Council adopted the Governance Local Law 2017. The Local Law will come into effect on the 28 September 2017, which is the date it will be published in the Government Gazette. Thank you for taking the time to participate in this submissions process.



The objectives of the Local Law are to:

  • Regulate proceedings at Council meetings, Committee meetings and other meetings conducted by or on behalf of Council where Council has resolved that the provisions of the Local Law are to apply.
  • Regulate proceedings for the election of the Mayor, and Chairpersons of various Committees.
  • Regulate the use of the common seal.
  • Prohibit unauthorised use of the common seal or any device resembling the common seal.
  • Make provision for related administrative procedures.
  • Provide for peace, order and good government of the municipal district.

Unless revoked earlier, a local law is, under section 122(1) revoked on the day which is 10 years after the day which is the earliest day on which any provision of the local law came into operation.

Historically, the Governance Local Law is updated each time a new Council has been elected.

Darebin City Council is committed to transparency and accountability; therefore the proposed changes encourage greater community participation by ensuring that the community has an ongoing voice to inform Councillors on decision making that affect them.

The proposed changes also aim to improve clarity and remove out of date requirements and terminology.

Below is a summary table of the proposed changes (the full draft document is in the document library in the right column of this page):

Section in proposed

Local Law

Proposed Change

Part 1 – Clause 1 Local Law
· Removed the wording ‘Part 5’.
Part 1 – Clause 5 Definitions
· Included definition of ‘Committee’ at clause 5(g).
· Included definition of ‘Majority of the votes’ at clause 5(l).
Part 2 – Clause 7 Common Seal
· Clause 7(4) is amended to allow for the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) to authorise another person to sign documents to which the common seal is attached. This will be of assistance where, for example, the common seal is being affixed to a document in which the CEO has an interest (such as a contract of employment).
Part 3 – Clause 8 Procedures for Election of Mayor
· Amendment to clause 8(3) so that the references to ‘absolute majority of the votes’ are replaced with references to ‘majority of the votes’ to reflect the requirements under the Act; and
· Removed the reference to ‘must vote’, since a Councillor can, under the Act, abstain from voting.
· Addition of a new clause 10 which separately provides for election of a Committee Chairperson. This provides greater clarity than the previous position, where it was addressed in conjunction with the election of the Deputy Mayor.
Part 4 – Clause 11 Councillor Briefing Arrangement
· Clause 11(4) has been amended to provide for the CEO to set the agenda for Councillor briefings ‘in consultation with the Mayor’. This ensures that the CEO retains primary responsibility for preparation of those agendas which, from an administrative perspective, is likely to be preferable.
Part 5 – Division 1 (Clause 12 – Notice of Meetings and Delivery of Agendas
· Added a new clause 12(2) which provides that the CEO is responsible for preparation and delivery of the agenda for Council meetings, including the determination of the order of business. This avoids Councillors attempting to direct the order of business for Council meetings.
· Reworded Clause 12(5) to make it clear and removal of requirement to provide notice of the any amendments to the ‘Confidentiality Policy: Handling of Confidential Information by Councillor’s’ is published in the Victoria Gazette in accordance with s112(2) of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 2 (Clause 17 – Time Limits of Meetings)
· Clause 17(4) has been amended to include the wording ‘unless it has been disposed of at a subsequent Special Meeting’.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 19 - Conflict of Interest)
· Clause 19 has been amended so that it refers to disclosure of conflicts of interest being ‘in accordance with section 79 of the Act’. This is because the Act provides for conflicts of interest to be disclosed either:
o 9.1 immediately before the relevant item is considered at a meeting (as contemplated by the draft Local Law); or
o 9.2 in writing to the CEO prior to the meeting, in which case fewer details are required at the meeting.
· The amendment ensures consistency with s 79 of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 20 – Business of Meetings)
· Clause 20 has been amended to remove reference to General Business as this no longer appears as a clause in the Governance Local Law.
Part 5 – Division 3 (Clause 21 – Urgent Business)
· Clause 21 has been amended and split in two parts for clarity and consistency with the Act.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 23 - Notices of Motion)
· Reworded clause 23(7) to include the words ‘at which the notice of motion is to be considered’ for clarity.
· Reworded clause 23(14) so that it is consistent with clause 28(4) – i.e. an amendment must not be ‘directly opposite’ to the motion.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 38 – Time Limits for Debate)
· Time limits to clause 38(1) and 38(2) have been amended to align with current Council Meeting procedures and reflect- the change agreed to by Council resolution.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 41 – Chairperson’s ruling)
· Amendments to clause 41(2) of the draft Local Law to provide that any motion of dissent will be moved in accordance with what is now clause 52.
Part 5 – Division 4 (Clause 43 – Webcasting and Recording of Proceedings)
· Added a new clause 43(6) which provides that clause 43 (recording and webcasting of meetings) does not apply to any part of a meeting that is closed to the public under s 89(2) of the Act.
Part 5 – Division 6 (Clause 52 – Dissent from Chairperson’s Ruling)
· Amended to what is now clause 52 to provide for motions of dissent from any ruling of the Chairperson, not only rulings with respect to points of order.
Part 5 – Division 7 (Clause 53 – Question Time)
· Renaming Division 7 from “Public Question Time” to “Question and Submission Time”.
· Clause 53 amended to be called “Question Time”. Question time was only reworded for clarity, otherwise remains unchanged.
Part 5 – Division 7 (Clause 54 – Submission and Comments)
· Inclusion of clause 54 “Submissions and Comments” outlining the new process of submissions and comments whereby the community can make a comment of submission on an agenda item at Council Meetings. This will ensure questions, comments and submission are at the forefront of community participation.
Part 5 – Division 8 (Clause 55 – Petitions)
· Added a new clause 55(13) which provides for a Councillor to present a petition that has been prepared online and excludes such petitions from the requirements of cl 55(4).
Schedule 1 – Penalties Fixed for Infringements
· Substantially changed the infringement penalties set out in Schedule 1. This reflects the ‘Attorney-General’s guidelines to the Infringements Act 2006’, which relevantly state:
· “An infringement penalty should generally be approximately no more than 20 – 25% of the maximum penalty for the offence and be demonstrated to be lower than the average of any related fines previously imposed by the Courts.”


How you can engage with us on this project:

1. If you are a new user, click here to register for Your Say Darebin or if you are a returning user click here to sign in and then ask me anything about the Governance Local Law Review in the Q&A section below and I will respond to you as soon as possible.

2. Make a formal submission to Council and have the option to indicate if you would like to make a verbal presentation to the Hearing of Submissions Committee. Click here to open the form in a new window




CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.