Have you thought about being a Councillor?
Being a Councillor is a rewarding challenge – one which requires commitment, responsibility and accountability.
Many people in our local communities provide strong and strategic leadership. Local government can perform at its peak and make informed decisions when communities are represented by a diverse group of leaders. Diversity comes in many forms including backgrounds, experiences, culture, age and gender.
There are some eligibility requirements; you need to be an Australian citizen, at least 18 years of age on election day and enrolled to vote in the municipality you plan to stand in.
You also need to undertake Mandatory Training Information Sessions and provide this information to the VEC as evidence that you have undertaken the training prior to running for Council.
For more information on these and more requirements please visit the Local Government Act 2020 https://content.legislation.vic.gov.au/sites/default/files/2020-03/591055bs1_0.pdf
How do I stand as a candidate?
Visit the “Becoming a council candidate” page on the VEC website for further details here: https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/candidates-and-parties/becoming-a-local-council-candidate
The Victorian Electoral Commission are your key contact so in the first instance please contact them on the above number or via https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/
The VLGA have also released a ‘your campaign toolkit’ which is a candidate guide to the 2020 local government elections and can be viewed below.
Mandatory Candidate Training – Requirement under the Local Government Act 2020.
Anyone who is wants to nominate as a candidate in the 2020 Local Government Elections, must complete mandatory training before they nominate. This is required under the Local Government Act 2020.
The Local Government Act 2020 has a requirement for Mandatory Candidate Training.
S256 (7) of the Local Government act 2020 says a person cannot nominate as a candidate for an election as a Councillor unless the person has completed the prescribed training.
For candidates completing the training it will remain valid through the general election and any by-election.
Candidates will be able to attend any candidate training session in any location and will need to make a declaration of participation to the Victorian Electoral Commission.
Who is running the Mandatory Candidate training?
The 2020 Candidate Mandatory Training will be an eLearning module facilitated by Local Government Victoria (LGV).
Under the new requirements included in the Local Government Act 2020, candidates must complete mandatory Local Government Candidate Training to be eligible to nominate for the election with the Victorian Electoral Commission. It had been intended that all Victorian councils would hold face-to-face training, however, in the interests of community and council staff safety the Minister has taken the decision that training will be available online.
The training is now available at https://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/council-governance/candidate-training.
When is the election?
The 2020 General Elections will take place on 24 October 2020 this year.
The Victorian Electoral Office (VEC) manage the election process.
Snap shot of election time frames:
- Friday 28 August 2020 – close of the roll at 4.00pm
- Wednesday 16 September – office opens to the public
- Thursday 17 September – certification of the voter’s role and opening of nomination period
- Nomination period from 17 September – 22 September
- Close of nominations at 12pm noon
- Ballot draws to determine the ballot paper orders
- 23 September – early voting for each election
- Deadline for lodgement of personal statements and photographs for postal elections at 12pm & deadline for lodgement of candidate questionnaire at 12pm
- Friday 23 October – close of voting for all elections at 6pm
- Saturday 24 October – Extraction and counting activities commence
- Friday 30 October – postal vote receipt period closes at 12pm noon
- Saturday 25 October to Friday 13 November – Declaration and counting
For more information on Hepburn Shire Council 2020 General Election, including timetable and ward structure please visit https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election/elections/hepburn-shire-council
All general elections will be held via postal vote across the entire State.
Enrolled voters will be sent a ballot pack between 6-8 October 2020. If you do not get your ballot pack by Monday 12 October 2020 contact the Victorian Electoral Commission on 131 832.
Where is the Election Office?
The Election Office is located at 26 Vincent Street, Daylesford.
It will be open from Monday 16 September 2020 until Friday 23 October 2020.
Who can enrol and how?
Everyone who has enrolled to vote in the State elections is automatically enrolled to vote in Council elections. This typically applies to Australian citizens aged 18 and over who have lived at their current address for at least one month.
If you are a Hepburn Shire Council resident, you will need to be enrolled to vote on the State electoral roll. You can check your enrollment details with the Victorian Electoral Commission.
Who can be a candidate?
Candidates need to be:
- an Australian citizen; and
- enrolled as a voter for Hepburn Shire Council by 4pm Friday 28 August 2020; and
- complete mandatory candidate training.
Nominations for the Council election open 9am Thursday 17 September and close at 12 noon on Tuesday 22 September.
Nominations must be lodged in person with the Victorian Electoral Commission at 26 Vincent Street, Daylesford.
Is voting compulsory?
Yes – voting is compulsory for all State enrolled voters
Everyone enrolled to vote MUST lodge their Ballot Paper with Australia Post by 6.00pm on Friday 23 October 2020. If you do not vote you may receive a fine from the Victorian Electoral Commission
What is the current Electoral Structure of Hepburn Shire Council?
Even though an electoral representation review was undertaken in 2019, the Hepburn Shire Council’s electoral structure has not changed; continues to consist of seven councillors elected from five wards with adjustments to the current ward boundaries (two two-councillor wards and three single-councillor wards).
A Copy of the final report of the electoral representation review from 2019 can be found here https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/files/RepReviews/Hepburn%20Shire%20Council%20-%20Final%20Report%20-%20Representation%20Review%20-%2025%20March%202020.pdf
The election caretaker period begins on the last day that nominations can be received and ends at 6pm on election day. Our Election Period Policy ensures that Council business continues throughout this period in a responsible and transparent manner.
Council adopted a final Election Period Policy on Tuesday 25 August 2020 at a Special Council Meeting. It can be viewed HERE
COVIDSafe Election Arrangements
Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC)
The VEC is developing a COVIDSafe election plan, which describes adjustments necessary to ensure statutory election requirements are met, while ensuring the health and safety of all election staff and election participants. The COVIDSafe election plan will be made available to client councils and election participants as soon as possible.
The VEC is factoring the ever changing COVID-19 environment into its preparations.
All planning is based on the baseline of the Safe Work Australia and Government guidelines that were in place as of 31 May 2020. Additional restrictions or requirements will be immediately considered as they arise and added to the VEC’s baseline requirements. This will best position the VEC to withstand further outbreaks or tightening of arrangements in the future.
To support the VEC’s planning and management of the October 2020 local government general elections in the context of COVID-19, the Electoral Commissioner has established a reference group to contribute to analysis and decision-making as the VEC plans and implements the elections.
The Electoral Commissioner is chair of the group, which also comprises representatives from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, Local Government Victoria, an occupational physician and an enterprise risk management specialist. The group will provide subject matter expertise and advice on the VEC’s COVIDSafe plans, actions and responses. The group held its first meeting on 25 June and will continue to meet regularly until the end of November 2020.
Election activities that require further consideration as a result of COVID-19 are currently being reviewed and guidelines are being established for election service delivery. Updates will be provided as and when they become available.
At this point in time, the affected activities include:
- delivery of planned face-to-face training for Election Managers and Assistant Election Managers will now use digital collaborative learning tools
- candidate information sessions – no local, in-person sessions will be conducted. The information session will be recorded and streamed from the VEC website, complemented by three State-wide interactive candidate seminars based on the information session video
- ballot draws will be live-streamed and able to be viewed online
- ability for council staff to access election activities
- ballot paper extraction and counting activities, including possible shift work with smaller teams, over a longer period in larger space
- scrutineering arrangements, including potential restrictions on scrutineer activities or the numbers of scrutineers
- public declaration of results
Local Government Victoria (LGV)
Local Government Victoria has developed guidelines on how to campaign safely. These guidelines can be viewed HERE
The guidelines cover what campaign activities are permitted, how to ensure campaign teams are safe and tips on basic hygiene and physical distancing.
LGV will continually update the guidelines with the latest directions and restrictions. It is recommended candidates check the guidelines regularly throughout campaigning.
Always refer to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for specific information on current restrictions by visiting HERE
LGV is available to provide advice to councils on non-health related queries on 1300 764 373 or email LGV.Emergencies@delwp.vic.gov.au