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Guide to Councils

Complaints

Do you have a complaint related to local government?  Follow these steps:

  • Step 1 - If you have a complaint about an elected council, council administration or a council service, try to resolve it with the council first. The council will have a complaints process you can use to resolve issues. You can check the contact details for your local council here.
  • Step 2 - If your complaint doesn’t involve a service issue or you haven’t been able to resolve it with the council, see below for organisations you can contact.

Breaches of the Local Government Act

For complaints about potential breaches of the Local Government Act, contact the Victorian Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate.

The Inspectorate accepts complaints about council operations and potential breaches of the Local Government Act, including:
  • misuse of position 
  • conflict of interest
  • disclosure of confidential information 
  • electoral offences. 
The Inspectorate does not investigate complaints relating to council decisions or democratic processes unless there is an allegation of a breach of the Act. 

You can find out how to make a complaint to the Local Government Inspectorate on their complaints page.

Breaches of other legislation

For breaches of other Victorian legislation, you may be able to take your case to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT )

For information about legislation that is relevant to councils, see Acts and regulations.

Administrative arrangements for responsibility of these Acts and regulations is outlined on the Department of Premier and Cabinet website 

Administrative actions of councils

If you have concerns about the administrative actions of a council,  you can make a complaint to the Victorian Ombudsman.

Corruption

For complaints about corruption, contact the Independent Broad-based Anti-corruption Commission (IBAC). 

IBAC accepts complaints about suspected corruption and misconduct in the public sector and Victoria Police, including:
  • taking or offering bribes
  • using a position of influence dishonestly
  • committing fraud or theft
  • misusing information from the work place.
You can report corruption to IBAC at any time by making a complaint.

Privacy and data protection

For complaints about privacy and data protection, contact the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner.

The Commissioner accepts complaints about anything a council does that may interfere with the privacy of individuals.

You can contact the Commissioner at any time to report privacy and data protection concerns. 

Human rights and equal opportunity

The Victorian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commissioner may be able to help you work out if your rights have been breached or provide dispute resolution and other services.

You can also raise human rights in complaints to other relevant complaint-handling bodies like the Disability Services Commissioner, the Health Complaints Commissioner or the Public Transport Ombudsman.

Complaints made under federal laws such as the Racial Discrimination Act 1975, the Sex Discrimination Act 1984 and the Disability Discrimination Act 2006 must be lodged with the Australian Human Rights Commission.

Protection of the environment

You may wish to contact the Environmental Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) with any concerns related to protection of the environment, such as:
  • Land, water, atmosphere or noise pollution
  • Climate
  • Odours
  • Tastes and aesthetics. 
You can report environmental concerns to the EPA 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Council elections

If you have a complaint or query about how your local council elections are run, the Returning Officer appointed by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) to run the election is the best starting point. The Returning Officer usually sets up an office in the municipality during the election and is able to respond to most enquiries.

If you have a concern about the way the Returning Officer runs the election, you can contact the VEC to make a complaint.

See Complaint Bodies for more information about the role of organisations mentioned on this page.

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