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Guide to Councils

Electoral structures and boundaries

Electoral structures and boundaries aims to provide fair and equitable representation for voters. Considerations generally include the following types of matters:

  • the ‘one vote, one value’ principle
  • communities of interest
  • demographics
  • geography
  • growth potential.

In all cases, voter numbers for each councillor should not vary by more than 10% from the councillor-to-voter ratio across a whole council.

A review may not commence more than two years before an election and must be completed at least six months before the election day.

The Victorian Electoral Commission website contains further details about all reviews conducted and currently scheduled.

Review process

The process of conducting an electoral representation review involves two stages of public consultation.

In the first stage, preliminary written submissions are invited from the public and from the council. After considering these submissions, the electoral commission prepares a preliminary report that includes a preferred option as to the number of councillors, the electoral structure and any required ward boundaries. The preliminary report may also include alternative options.

The second stage involves public consultation on the preliminary report and the preparation of a final report. Written public submissions are again invited. However, in this stage, submitters may also speak to their submissions.

The final report, when completed, is submitted to the Minister and a copy is provided to the council to be available for public inspection. 

Subdivision reviews

If uneven growth in voter numbers means the balance of councillor-voter representation from ward to ward varies by more than a 10% margin, a ‘subdivision’ review may be conducted to ensure the number of voters per councillor does not vary by more than 10% between wards.

A subdivision review only considers the location of ward boundaries. It does not consider the number of councillors or the council’s overall electoral structure.