SOUTH Gippsland Shire Council has begun a second review of its General Local Law and is inviting community members to have their say before any alterations to the existing code are made.
This Shire’s current General Local Law was enacted in 2014.
As the Victorian Local Government Act 2020 requires municipalities to develop, and adopt, a new Local Law every 10 years, South Gippsland Shire must update its Local Law before the present one expires in 2024.
The Shire first attempted to reassess the Local Law in 2019 during the period of administration that followed the dismissal of the then council by the State Government.
However, the mooted changes were soundly rejected by the community, and about 300 formal submissions and thousands of petition signatures objecting to the amendments prompted the administration panel to abandon the process.
A release from the Shire states that “this time, Council is starting the process differently and is seeking feedback from the community on the existing Local Law – and any issues with the current document – before any changes to the current Law are proposed.”
South Gippsland Shire Council Acting CEO Renae Littlejohn said, “the last time a review of the General Local Law was undertaken Council did not consult with the community enough, prior to making proposed changes.
“We have learnt from that mistake. This time, we want to hear from our local community about what changes – if any – they think need to be made to the existing Local Law,” she said.
“This feedback will help to inform our General Local Law review and any proposed amendments. This time we are determined to get it right.”
The Shire says the Local Law “gives Council the ability to respond to local issues, protect private and public property, and ensure the health and safety of the community.”
To make the engagement process as easy as possible, the 2014 General Local Law has been broken down into categories so that community members can provide respond to any areas of particular interest or concern to them.
The feedback that is collected will be applied against the current Local Law to understand if it meets community expectations.
Before the new Local Law is drafted, the Shire wants to find out the community’s views on the existing Local Law, what is considered to be important, and what issues the Shire needs to consider during the review.
A Shire spokesperson said, “your feedback will help us to identify what needs to be changed and ensure that our new Local Law is relevant and meets community expectations.”
“After the consultation period ends, a revised Local Law will be drafted, and this too will be presented to the community to see if we’ve hit the mark.”
To make the review process as easy as possible, the Shire has broken the 2014 General Local Law into categories to help the community to understand what areas it covers and to simplify providing feedback.
The Local Law review categories include:
- Animals and livestock
- Behaviour and the use of public places
- Protection of council assets
- Land use
- Vehicle and road use
- Waste and environmental management
- Permit processes
- Enforcement, and
- Short-stay accommodation.
- This latter category is a new area that the Shire wants to learn the community’s opinions on, in the light of other Victorian municipalities introducing or considering regulations and fees specifically intended to control such use of rateable properties.
Feedback on South Gippsland Shire’s 2014 General Local Law can be provided at a series of pop-up engagement sessions.
The first session was held in Mirboo North on Saturday May 27, with others coming up at:
Loch Food and Wine Festival
- Sunday June 11 (10 am to 2 pm)
Korumburra – Southern Lights Festival (Coal Creek)
- Sunday June 11 (3 pm to 6 pm)
Tarwin Lower Market
- Monday June 12 (8 am to 12 noon)
Leongatha – Front of Memorial Hall
- Friday June 16 (9 am to 12 noon)
Welshpool – Rural Transaction Centre
- Friday June 16 (1.30 pm to 4.30 pm)
Foster – Pom Country Farmers Market
- Saturday June 17 (8 am to 12 noon)
- Tuesday June 20 (4.30 pm to 6.30 pm)
To complete the General Local Law survey online and to lodge a written submission by this review’s deadline of Monday June 26, 2023, visit: https://yoursay.southgippsland.vic.gov.au