Claims against Council

If you have sustained an injury, loss or damage because you believe there has been negligence by Council, you can submit a request for compensation.

For Council to be held liable, the evidence must show that:

  • Council owed a duty of care
  • Council breached that duty of care
  • the breach of duty of care resulted in injury, loss or damage.

Before submitting a claim, make sure you take the time to read through the information below.

Types of claims

Pedestrian and personal injury claims

If you’ve been injured, will Council compensate you?

Not necessarily. The courts have stated that councils are not legally responsible for incidents caused by a defect that could have been seen by an ordinary person keeping a proper lookout. If your incident involved an evident defect, Council will likely have no legal liability and your claim will be unsuccessful.

Roads and footpaths property damage claims

Will Council reimburse you because of an incident due to a defect in a road or footpath?

Not necessarily. While Council maintains approximately 1,500 kilometres of road network and conducts regular inspections, it’s impossible to keep all roads and footpaths in perfect condition all the time.

Council may be liable for damages arising from potholes and other hazards if Council:

  • was aware of the pothole
  • has been negligent in not addressing the risk within Council’s ability in terms of resources and Road Management Plan
  • property damage claimed is greater than $1,580.

Please note, under the Road Management Act 2004, individuals are responsible for paying the first $1,580 of any property damage caused by a defect in a public roadway regardless of liability. 

For more information on how the Council manages its roads, view the Council's Road Management Plan(PDF, 1MB).

You can report road repairs or maintenance in the shire by visiting our report an issue page.

Tree property damage claims

If you think a Council tree has caused you damage, will Council reimburse you?

Not always. Trees are natural assets that can behave unpredictably, especially in certain weather conditions.

To make a claim for tree impact damage from a Council street tree, it needs to be established that the loss was due to some form of negligence or lack of care on the part of Council.

Suppose you believe Council's tree has caused tree root or falling branch damage. In that case, you have a duty to provide evidence of the alleged impact on private infrastructure, along with the request for a compensation claim form.

On what grounds would Council accept your claim?

Council will accept claim requests and make payment if the information you provide and the information from our investigation determines that Council has a legal responsibility.

Note: Council is under no statutory obligation or common law duty to automatically pay compensation because an incident occurred on Council-owned or managed land, or an asset belongs to Council.

Does Council accept claims for reimbursement on compassionate grounds?

Council can only accept claims for reimbursement where the facts from our investigation demonstrate that Council has liability.

We have an obligation to ensure the ethical use of Council funds, including ratepayer contributions. As such, all claims are investigated before Council accepts any liability for payment.


How are claims considered?

Claims investigations

Complaints about liability of a council for injury or damage are considered against the requirements of relevant laws like the Civil Liability Act 2003, the Road Management Act 2004 and common law (law developed by judges using precedents).

For a council to be held liable for injury or property damage, it must be shown that the Council owed a duty of care, that it breached that duty of care and that this resulted in damage.

The Civil Liability Act contains principles that restrict liability claims against councils, including that:

  • the functions performed by councils are limited by financial and other resourcing considerations
  • allocation of financial or other resources is not open to challenge
  • the full range of Council's functions are to be considered
  • Council may rely on compliance with general procedures while carrying out its functions.

The Road Management Act 2004 requires an individual or company seeking compensation for property damage arising from the condition of the roadway to pay the first $1,580 of any claim regardless of liability (including motor vehicles, clothing, glasses, etc).

Making a claim

Lodging a claim

To lodge a claim, you must complete and submit a Compensation Claim Form, all of which require supporting documentation.

Once you have submitted your claim form, Council will acknowledge receipt of your claim via email. The email may outline relevant legislation that may directly impact your claim. Council may also require you to provide additional information.

Note: under Section 52 of the Wrongs Act 1958, the Claimant always bears the burden of proof. Therefore, neither Council nor Council's agents will be able to provide any assistance in the best way to prove a claim against them.

Information to include in your claim

The information in the completed Compensation Claim Form will have to be able to establish that an injury or property damage occurred due to Council’s negligence. You will also be required to provide clear evidence and supporting information to substantiate the amount of your claim.

Example evidence and supporting information includes:

  • contact details for the person reporting the damage. We may need to speak to you for further information and/or to arrange a site inspection
  • the precise location of the alleged damage
  • details of any past management works by Council
  • photographs of the alleged damage
  • photographs of the surrounding areas
  • Council reference numbers
  • receipts and quotes
  • doctors or other expert reports
  • witness statements, etc.

Submit your claim

Download and fill out the Compensation Claim Form.pdf(PDF, 243KB).

You can email, post or hand deliver it, along with supporting documentation to:

Mount Alexander Shire Council
Claims Department
PO Box 185
Castlemaine VIC 3450


After you submit your claim

Council will endeavour to respond to you as soon as possible. We will acknowledge receipt of your claim and may outline relevant legislation that can directly impact your claim.

Council will conduct a claim investigation which can take up to eight weeks. In this time Council may also require you to provide additional information. Note, time frames can be longer due to delays in obtaining information and other factors beyond Council’s control.

Claim outcome

What do you do if Council accepts your claim?

If your claim is successful, you must sign an Offer of Settlement and Deed of Release and provide your bank details. Once this has been completed, payment will be arranged for the agreed amount.

What can you do if Council doesn’t accept your claim request?

If your claim is denied, an email will be sent to you explaining the reasons why your claim was denied. You will be given the option to appeal the decision via an internal review process. Alternatively, you may refer your claim directly to your private insurer or lawyer, who can assist you further.

Can you engage a lawyer to represent you?

It is your right to engage legal support at any time during the claims process.

Council accepts no responsibility for legal costs you incur if a claim is denied. Legal costs and the risks associated with litigation should be discussed with your legal advisor.


Council is committed to protecting your privacy. We comply with all our obligations under the Privacy and Data Protection Act 2014.

The personal information requested on the Claim Form is collected as per our Privacy Policy to consider your claim or any other directly related purpose.