SOUTH Gippsland Shire chief executive officer Kerry Ellis is inviting community-minded, team-playing people to consider running for a council seat in the municipal elections to be held in South Gippsland on Saturday October 23, 2021.
“We’re just starting to get a few queries from the community about the return of an elected council in South Gippsland, and so, we’ve now prepared an information sheet especially for prospective candidates,” she said.
“The two-page Running for Council? information sheet gives a bit of an insight into local government in Victoria.
“Local government is the one of the three tiers of government in Australia that’s closest to the people, after state and territory governments, and the federal government.”
Ms Ellis said nominations for the shire’s nine councillor vacancies, three in each of the three wards of Coastal Promontory, Tarwin Valley and Strzelecki, will officially open in early August and close on Tuesday September 21, 2021.
To be eligible to stand in the elections, would-be councillors must be a resident or a ratepayer of the South Gippsland Shire, with their home address, as listed in the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) Roll, located within the municipality.
Potential candidates must also ensure they are on the voter roll for South Gippsland Shire.
The new council will replace the Victorian Government-appointed three-member administration panel currently leading the shire.
The panel was brought in by the State’s then-Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek following the sacking of the previous elected council for perceived poor governance and in-fighting in June 2019.
Ms Ellis said the Victorian Government passed special legislation entitled the Local Government (South Gippsland Shire Council) Act 2019, which gave the power to the Minister to dismiss the council.
“This Act also specified that the next round of local government elections to be held in South Gippsland Shire would be held on the fourth Saturday of October in 2021, so October 23 will be the date of the poll,” she said.
“Councillors in Victoria usually serve four-year terms, with elections held on the same day in the State’s 79 Local Government Areas (LGAs), with the most recent round conducted by postal vote in 2020.
“When the elected council is returned in South Gippsland Shire in 2021, the councillors will be serving a three-year term, not four years, in order to coincide with the next State-wide local government elections to be held in 2024,” Ms Ellis said.
“The VEC runs local government elections on behalf of all of the LGAs, and what will be a compulsory requirement for every council candidate is participating in the VEC’s pre-poll municipal information sessions,” she said.
“Candidates have to show they have taken part in the VEC information sessions before their nominations are deemed valid and can be accepted.”
South Gippsland Shire will also be holding its own candidate information sessions in the lead-up to the elections.
Ms Ellis said the shire’s Running for Council? information sheet includes a snapshot of local government and what it does, a short description of the role of a councillor, and what a typical week in the life of a councillor might be like.
“The information sheet lists the next steps possible councillors need to take once they have made the decision to seriously investigate nominating for a place on the council,” she said.
“These include making sure they’re eligible and have a realistic idea of what being a councillor means and identifying what local issues are important to them.
“The Victorian Local Government Act 2020 clearly sets out the requirements for and the duties of councillors, and there’s plenty of information available on the South Gippsland Shire Council’s website at www.south gippsland.vic.gov.au too,” Ms Ellis said.
“I’d like to say to all of those good, capable, local community-minded people who are looking at running for council, now is the time to decide and start looking into it!”
Find the South Gippsland Shire Council Running for Council? information sheet at www.south gippsland.vic.gov.au/runningforcouncil
For general information about local government and councils, see https://knowyourcouncil. vic.gov.au/guide-to-councils