The Local Government Act 2020 (LG Act 2020) sets out the role of the Mayor within Part 2, division 3 -The Mayor and Deputy Mayor and division 4 - Election of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.

New requirements under the Local Government Act 2020

The following table provides the Parts of the Act that are new requirements or have changed. These are shown in bold.

Sets out the role of the Mayor in relation to chairing meetings, performing civic duties, as a spokesperson for council and assisting councillors understanding their role.

New provisions require to:

  • lead engagement with the municipal community on the development of the Council Plan; and
  • report to the municipal community, at least once each year, on the implementation of the Council Plan; and
  • promote behaviour among Councillors that meets the standards of conduct set out in the Councillor Code of Conduct; and
  • take a leadership role in ensuring the regular review of the performance of the Chief Executive Officer; and
  • provide advice to the Chief Executive Officer when the Chief Executive Officer is setting the agenda for Council meetings.

This provision makes clear that a Mayor may not simultaneously hold the office of Deputy Mayor.

Sets out the powers of the Mayor that support the role of the Mayor as the leader, chairperson and spokesperson of a Council decision.

New provision gives the Mayor three specific powers to:

  • appoint a Councillor to be the chair of a delegated committee; and
  • subject to any procedures or limitations specified in the Governance Rules, direct a Councillor, to leave a Council meeting if the behaviour of the Councillor is preventing the Council from conducting its business; and
  • require the Chief Executive Officer to report to the Council on the implementation of a Council decision.

Describes the circumstances and times when the office of the Mayor becomes vacant.

The new provisions include:

  • at the time and on the day of the election of the next Mayor; and
  • on the day the office of Mayor is declared vacant by the Council in accordance with section 23.

Provides for the appointment of an Acting Mayor to exercise the role and powers of the Mayor when the Mayor is unable for any reason to attend a Council meeting or incapable of performing the duties of office or the office of Mayor is vacant.

New provisions require:

  • The appointment must be for a period specified by the Council.

*If a council has not established an office of Deputy Mayor this section applies.

Describes the process for declaring the office of a 2 year term Mayor or Deputy Mayor vacant.

This declaration can only occur if—

  • a notice of motion is signed by an absolute majority of the Councillors and lodged with the CEO at least 14 days before the meeting; and
  • at least three-quarters of the Councillors vote in favour of the motion to vacate the office of Mayor or Deputy Mayor.

This clause does not apply to Mayors or Deputy Mayors elected to serve a one year term.

Describes the process for electing the Mayor.

The new provisions include:

  • Any Councillor is eligible for election or re-election to the office of Mayor unless prohibited from holding office as a result of a decision of a Councillor Conduct Panel under section 167
  • The election of the Mayor must be chaired by the Chief Executive Officer and be conducted in accordance with the Governance Rules.
  • If an absolute majority of the Councillors cannot be obtained at the meeting, the Council may resolve to conduct a new election at a later specified time and date.
  • If only one Councillor is a candidate for Mayor, the meeting must declare that Councillor to be duly elected as Mayor.
  • The definition of absolute majority

Specifies when a Mayor is to be elected and the term of office of the Mayor.

The new provisions outline:

  • A Mayor is to be elected no later than one month after the date of a general election
  • The Mayor of the Greater Geelong City Council must be elected for a 2 year term
  • Before the election of the Mayor, a Council, other than the Greater Geelong City Council, must determine by resolution whether the Mayor is to be elected for a 1 year or a 2 year term
  • The election of a Mayor is to be held on a day to be determined by the Council that is as near as practicable to the end of a one year or two year Mayoral term, as possible
  • A Mayor is to be elected within one month after any vacancy in the office of Mayor occurs.
  • A Councillor elected to fill a vacancy in the office of Mayor caused other than by the expiration of a one year or a 2 year term serves the remaining period of the previous Mayor's term.

Commencement Arrangements

24 October 2020

Local Government Act 2020 - Provisions Commence

Sections 18, 19, 20, 20B, 23, 25 and 26

24 October 2020

Local Government Act 1989 - Provisions repealed

Sections 71, 72 and 73

Transitional Arrangements

None

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Annette Waters

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