Royal Commission

Local Government Caretaker Period Reminder

Andrew Sherman, Michael Dowling, Kate Bartlett, and Shaun Burmester

We all know that Council elections are to be held on 24 October 2020, and that the Caretaker Period is almost upon us, commencing 22 September 2020. Here are some last minute reminders for Councils.

Council elections are scheduled for 24 October 2020 (Election Day) (excluding South Gippsland, Casey, and Whittlesea), and the Caretaker Period (also known as the Election Period) will commence on 22 September 2020 and continue until 6pm on Election Day.

It is likely these matters are understood or obvious but it is surprising how often Councils become “unstuck”.

  1. Complying with your Election Period Policies, including restrictions on Major Policy Decisions: Council’s Election Period Policy forms part of its Governance Rules under the Local Government Act 2020. Make sure your Council is complying with this policy and not planning to make any “Major Policy Decisions”, including decisions:
    1. on the appointment or remuneration of a permanent chief executive officer (decisions on appointments or remuneration of acting chief executive officers remain permitted);
    2. committing Council to expenditure exceeding 1% of the Council’s income from general rates, municipal charges and service rates and charges in the preceding financial year;
    3. that the Council considers could be reasonable deferred until the next Council is in place; or
    4. that the Council considers should not be made during a Caretaker Period.

  2. Avoiding breaches of advertising or influence rules: Councillors and Council staff must not use Council resources:
    1. to intentionally or recklessly print, publish, or distribute (or cause to be printed, published or distributed) any electoral material on behalf or, or purporting to be on behalf of, a Council, unless it only contains information about the election process or other information required by law; or
    2. in a way that is intended or is likely to affect the result of an election.

Further information

To discuss any aspect of the Caretaker Period, including relevant Election Period Policies and your Council’s obligations, please contact Andrew Sherman, Michael Dowling, Kate Bartlett, or Shaun Burmester.

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