Following the passage of the new Local Government Act 2020 into law earlier this year, Council has been incorporating the new Act’s many new procedures and regulations into its work. Among these were new procedures for introducing local laws. Council had already been working on a new local law to replace its existing laws, and had completed a draft law for presentation to Council at the December 2020 Ordinary Meeting. This draft was produced in line with the requirements set out in the 2020 Act.
Unfortunately, Council has learned that while many parts of the 2020 Act are in force, the provisions relating to the preparation of local laws will not be activated until mid-2021, and Council is required to prepare its new local law in accordance with the former Local Government Act 1989. Due to technical differences between the two acts, this means Council will have to repeat sections of the preparation of its new local law in line with the 1989 Act instead of the 2020 Act. The December 2020 meeting of Council on Wednesday will consider a pathway to achieve this. The pathway being recommended to Councillors for endorsement would see this process completed, and a new local law considered for adoption, in February 2021.
What does this mean for Council’s local laws?
Council’s current local laws will expire on 24 December 2020. While a new local law was anticipated to immediately replace it, this is now expected to occur in February. In the intervening period, Victorian legislation will apply to Council’s enforcement and regulatory powers.
What does this mean for consultation?
Council made a number of changes to its draft local law in response to community feedback. These changes will remain in place. A new round of consultation on the draft local law will commence in line with the provisions of the 1989 Act, and is open to participation by everyone, whether you participated in previous consultation or not.
What does this mean for our Local Laws Officers?
You’ll still see our Local Laws Officers out and about over summer. During the period between Christmas Day 2020 and the adoption of a new local law, enforcement powers are granted by Victorian legislation rather than Council’s local laws. This will apply to many activities currently undertaken by our local laws officers, including animal management and monitoring public safety. If you see our Local Laws team out and about over summer, please feel free to ask them any questions about local laws and regulations in the Borough of Queenscliffe.