Local Government is the third tier of Government in Australia (after State/Territory and Federal) and is the one closest to the people. Local Government is responsible for maintaining the amenity of the municipality, providing required infrastructure and community services and advocating on behalf of the community to the State and Federal Governments. It is also responsible for the provision and management of community facilities, family and health services, community safety, strategic and statutory planning, event management and building services, just to name a few.
Local Government is quite diverse, with the needs of communities varying not only across Councils, but also within municipalities. Councils, even within the same state, are structured in different ways but all are governed by a number of elected representatives from their community called Councillors.
The Local Government Act 1989 sets out the role of councils in Victoria. It states:
1. A council is elected to provide leadership for the good governance of the municipal district and the local community
2. The role of a council includes:
Acting as a representative government by taking into account the diverse needs of the local community in decision making
Providing leadership by establishing strategic objectives and monitoring their achievement
Maintaining the viability of the council by ensuring that resources are managed in a responsible and accountable manner
Advocating the interests of the local community to other communities and governments
Acting as a responsible partner in government by taking into account the needs of other communities
Fostering community cohesion and encouraging active participation in civic life
Bass Coast Shire Council performs this role by setting the strategic direction of the municipality, establishing and guiding policies, setting service delivery standards and monitoring the performance of the organisation
There are 79 Local Government areas across Victoria, with Bass Coast incorporating the following townships:
Almurta, Anderson, Archies Creek, Bass, Corinella, Coronet Bay, Cowes, Dalyston, Glen Alvie, Glen Forbes, Grantville, The Gurdies, Inverloch, Jam Jerrup, Kernot, Kilcunda, Kongwak, Krowera, Lance Creek, Pioneer Bay, Pound Creek, Ryanston, San Remo, Tenby Point, Wattle Bank, West Creek, Wonthaggi, Woodleigh and Woolamai.
Bass Coast is divided into seven wards and each ward is represented by a single Councillor. The ward boundaries are determined by population and are subject to review. Councillors are the spokespeople for their communities, working to improve the amenity and lifestyle opportunities for not only their own constituents, but all people living in, working in and visiting the municipality.
Council generates revenue from rates, fees and charges, and grants. Revenue often struggles to cover the ever increasing cost of the services Council delivers and the budgets set by Councillors each year are thoroughly considered.
For further information on local government, visit:
The Municipal Association of Victoria website at www.mav.asn.au
The Victorian Local Governance Association website at www.vlga.org.au
The Victorian Local Government website at www.dpcd.vic.gov.au/localgovernment
The Rural Council's Victoria website at www.ruralcouncilsvictoria.org.au