About local government

In Victoria, local government is made up of 79 councils representing more than 6 million people. Councils are area-based, representative governments with a legislative and electoral mandate to manage local issues and plan for the community's needs.

Local government is recognised in the Victorian Constitution 1975 as a:

‘distinct and essential tier of government consisting of democratically elected councils having the functions and powers that the Parliament considers are necessary to ensure peace, order and good government of each municipal district’.

Councils operate within a legislative framework established by the Victorian Parliament through the Local Government Act 1989, which specifies local government powers, duties, roles, responsibilities and functions.

Councillor census data

The MAV councillor census profiles the elected membership of Victorian local government.

A variety of data about councillors are accumulated throughout the census including gender, political preference, annual earnings, education, employment status and marital status.

Local government facts

Snapshot of local government in Victoria

  • Victoria has 79 municipalities:
    • 31 metropolitan (including 10 interface councils)
    • 48 rural and regional (including 10 regional cities)
    • Populations range from fewer than 3,000 to more than 340,000
    • Land area varies from 10.8 sq km to 22,000 sq km
    • Each also varies in rate base, needs, infrastructure and resources.
  • Each municipality manages significantly different budgets:
    • Rural council budgets average $67 million (smallest is approximately $10.3 million)
    • Metropolitan council budgets average $219 million (largest is approximately $705 million)
  • Governed by 641 democratically elected councillors:
    • 400 male councillors
    • 240 female councillors
  • Employs 43,469 people
    • 26,283 female employees
    • 17,106 male employees
    • 7 gender neutral employees
  • Annual revenue of $10 billion
  • Responsible for more than $102 billion in community infrastructure and assets such as roads, bridges, town halls, recreation and leisure facilities, drains, libraries and parks.