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Guide to Councils

Local Government in Victoria

Victoria has 79 councils. Each council plans and delivers services in health, planning and building control, business and economic development, waste and environmental management, and human and community services.

Councils have expanded as the needs of communities extend and interdependence with other levels of government continues to grow.

Councils are also a significant contributor to the Victorian economy, employing over 50,000 people, spending more than $7 billion on service delivery and $2 billion on infrastructure annually and managing over $70 billion in public assets.

It is of noted that some parts of Victoria are not incorporated into local government areas. This includes French Island and a number of Alpine Resort Management Boards.

For more information about each council area, find your council.

The system of local government

In Australia there are three tiers of elected government – local, state and federal. Statutory responsibility for local government lies with a State or Territory Government, and thus the roles and responsibilities of local councils vary from state to state. In Victoria, the legal basis for councils is established under the Constitution Act 1975 and the Local Government Act 1989 and Local Government Act 2020.

Minister for Local Government

The Minister for Local Government is the minister responsible for overseeing the system of local government in Victoria. The Minister acts as an advocate for local government issues within state government and supports and monitors the system of local government with the assistance of Local Government Victoria. The Minister is not directly involved in the detailed management of individual councils.

The Minister for Local Government is responsible for administering the following principal Acts: 

Local Government Victoria

Local Government Victoria is a division of the Victorian Government's Department of Jobs, Precincts and Regions (DJPR).

Local Government Victoria supports and advises the Minister for Local Government in administering the Local Government Act, and providing councils with advice about a range of matters including governance. Local Government Victoria also administers funding for some council activities. Local Government Victoria does not become involved in the detailed management of individual councils.

The administration of the Victoria Local Government Grants Commission is located within Local Government Victoria. The Commission allocates financial assistance grants provided by the Federal Government to councils.

Federal Government

The Australian Government, while not directly involved in the regulation or administration of local government, does support local government through a number of programs including the provision of funding through financial assistance grants as well as encouraging innovation in local government through the National Awards for Local Government.

Local Government Peak Bodies

Victorian councils have four main representative bodies:

Union services

For union services information visit the Australian Services Union.