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General Local Law - Frequently Asked Questions

Council is currently encouraging the community to have a say on a draft General Local Law to replace existing Local Laws No. 2 to 6. This pages includes the answers to some frequently asked questions about the draft law.

What is a Local Law?

Local laws are statutory instruments made by local governments to regulate a broad range of issues or needs within their communities.

The local laws complement Council’s responsibilities and powers under state and federal laws. Where appropriate, councils may introduce local laws, or by-laws to exercise these powers.

Local laws are often adopted to protect public health, safety and amenity in a shire. While they may be similar in other municipalities across the state they can be distinctive to a single municipality, and only apply within the municipality in which they are passed.

Councils are also required to make local laws governing the conduct of the council itself. However, this is not part of the current review of Council’s General Local Law.

What is the process to make to new law?

If a council wishes to make a new local law, it must advertise this publicly and consider any submissions it receives before implementing the law.

The General Local Law must meet the requirements under the Local Government Act 2020. It cannot duplicate or contradict a federal or state law.

Once passed by Council the law will have a 10-year life unless it is revoked sooner or renewed to remain valid.
Councils must make a copy of the draft General Local Law 2020 available on its public website and available for public inspection.

When were the existing local laws adopted?

The existing Local Laws were made in 2010. The Local Laws and its Local Law Procedures Manual are due to expire on Wednesday 24 November 2020.

Why is the review being undertaken?

We are reviewing our local laws to make them easier to understand and more user-friendly for the local community and to ensure they are consistent with best practice guidelines and state legislation where relevant.

As part of this process we have streamlined language, removed anomalies and brought the General Local Law up-to-date to address new and emerging issues relating to protecting public safety, amenity and the environment.

Better understanding of our laws that apply will help Council administer and enforce the local laws to increase the livability in our shire with regard to safety and amenity.

What are the main changes?

Council has undertaken a review of existing Local Laws No. 2 to 6 and consolidated them into a single draft General Local Law to take effect when the existing laws lapse, and once adopted.

The main changes to the specific clauses in the draft General Local Law are summarised in a separate document which outlines changes to an existing clauses in law, along with new clauses. This covers things like the powers of the law, and laws that related to amenity on private property and in public places, animal and waste management, the protection of infrastructure and assets, permits, administration and enforcement.

What does the draft local law include or exclude?

The local laws subject to review are:

  • Local Law 2 – Roads and Council Land
  • Local Law 3 – Environment
  • Local Law 4 – Animals
  • Local Law 5 – Trading
  • Local Law 6 – Fundraising and Events
  • Local Law Procedure Manual

Local Law No. 1 Meeting Procedures 2018, which govern the conduct of Council, is excluded from the review process.

How did Council decide which parts of the law to update?

Council officers have undertaken a review of the function and performance of existing Local Laws No. 2-6 and bench-marking with other councils to identify any local issues that need to be addressed, and any gaps in the existing framework.

They met with staff from business units across Council to consider improvements to existing laws and opportunities for new laws, and held a workshop with Councillors to discuss the preliminary directions and address any specific concerns.

The draft General Local Law was updated and presented to Council at its meeting in May 2020 to seek endorsement to start the public consultation process in June.

What consultation has occurred to date?

Council has undertaken internal consultation with staff and Councillors to get to this point and is now inviting the community to have a say on draft General Local Law.

The local law is currently on public exhibition on the Have your Say section of Council's website for a five (5) week period.
Community members are invited to make a submission until 5.00pm, Friday 31 July 2020.

Council published a public notice informing the community about the submission process in the Midland Express and on its website on Tuesday 23 June 2020.

Officers are available for more information or to respond to any questions about the General Local Law and process. Council will consider the need to conduct a public meeting online to respond to questions about Local Law if needed.

How can I provide feedback or comment on the local law?

Community members can provide feedback on the General Local Law by making a submission until 5.00pm, Friday 31 July 2020.
If you would like to provide a comment or submission please forward your feedback titled Local Law Review to Mr. Jeffry Amy, Coordinator Community Safety and Amenity, Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450 or by email to info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

If you would like to ask a question or find out more information about the review process, or specific changes please contact Mr. Amy on (03) 5471 1764.

In addition to written submissions, there will be an opportunity for submissions to be heard in person at a Council meeting.
Any person making a submission is entitled to request in the submission that the person wishes to appear in person or to be represented by a person specified in the submission at a meeting to be heard in support of the submission.

Submitters requesting to be heard will be advised of the day, time and place of the relevant Council meeting.

What will you do with my feedback?

Council will hold a Special Meeting of Council to hear submissions before the General Local Law is updated with consideration to community feedback and presented to Council for adoption later in the year.

What is the process for adopting the local law?

Once the local law is updated and reviewed by Councillors with consideration to community feedback, Council will seek legal advice to ensure the General Local Law 2020 is complies with the requirements of the Local Government Act before it is presented to Council for adoption at a Council Meeting. Once endorsed, the Local Law must be published in the Government Gazette before it comes into effect.

How long will the proposed local law remain in place?

Once the General Local Law comes into effect, it will have a 10-year life unless it is revoked sooner or renewed to remain valid.

How can I find out more information or seek help?

For more information or to ask a question contact Mr. Jeffry Amy, Coordinator Community Safety and Amenity, Mount Alexander Shire Council, on (03) 5471 1764 or email info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au.

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