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Council's role

Stand for council iconThe central role of a democratically elected council is to advocate and lead on behalf of the community in the many spheres that affect community members' lives.

Councillors are accountable to their communities so decision-making and consultation processes must be transparent.

Elected councillors and operational staff

Local government consists of an elected arm of democratically elected councillors and an operational arm of council employees.

Elected councillors appoint the chief executive officer and mayor, set the strategic directions, decide on council policies and resources, and monitor council performance.

The operational arm is responsible for the day-to-day management of the organisation, implementing council decisions and providing advice to the elected arm.

Local government and the community

In Victoria, 79 municipalities represent about 5.9 million people.

Each Victorian municipality is different. Its community may be young or old, established or still developing, rural or urban. Its population may vary from fewer than 4,000 people to more than 200,000.

Local government:

  • enables new initiatives for the economic, social and cultural development of the community
  • supports individuals and groups
  • provides a wide range of services for community wellbeing
  • provides and maintains community assets and infrastructure.

It's responsible for implementing many diverse programs, policies and regulations set by the Australian and Victorian governments.

Councils also provide a range of services at their discretion in response to local community needs.

Additionally, councils have the power to make local laws to regulate activities within the municipality.

City of Melbourne

The City of Melbourne has its own additional laws through the City of Melbourne Act 2001. This Act includes extra objectives that recognise the unique role of Melbourne as Victoria's capital city and the special relationship between it and the Victorian and Australian governments. It also has a different electoral system.

More information