Local government inquiry hearings underway

3 July 2024 Read the submissions

Watch: Witnesses give evidence about Victorian councils at the first public hearing for the inquiry into local government.

Victorian councils are in the spotlight as a cross-party inquiry investigates the adequacy of funding and service delivery.

The Legislative Council Economy and Infrastructure Committee heard from government agencies, peak bodies and independent organisations at the first public hearing in Melbourne.

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‘I’d like to thank the Committee for the opportunity to be able to talk to this really important inquiry,’ Victorian Local Governance Association CEO Kathryn Arndt said.

‘It recognises the importance of local democracy and the critical role that councils play in our democratic system.’

VLGA CEO Kathryn Arndt

‘It’s critically important that local government, state government and federal government work together to ensure councils are financially sustainable to deliver services for their communities now, but also into the future.’

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Council Watch President Dean Hurlston argued the 2020 Local Government Act expanded the role of councils to anything they decide.

‘It’s really easy to constantly claim you need more money, but if you don’t know what your role is and you don’t have that clearly well-defined you can ask for as much as you like because it will never end,’ he said.

‘What we would really like to see is an accommodation of a definition of what they (councils) need to do, what they could do, what they should do and what they shouldn’t do.’


Municipal Association of Victoria Director of Strategic Foresight and Partnerships Kat Panjari said local governments are pivotal in servicing the needs of their communities.

‘The key recommendation of the MAV today was to ensure that the Committee understand the broad remit of local government in meeting local, state and national priorities, and to recognise that councils need a seat at the table to shape policy and implement those,’ she said.

Department of Government Services, Rural Councils Victoria and FinPro – the peak body for local government finance professionals also appeared before Committee MPs at the hearing. 


The sustainability of local government’s current revenue structure is being examined and the appropriateness of alternative funding models is being explored.

Cost shifting from the state and federal governments to local councils is also a focus.

The eight-week period for making public submissions closed on Friday 28 June, with about 105 individuals and organisations taking the opportunity to have their say.

The Committee is travelling to suburban and regional areas as part of the probe.

Keep up to date with the public hearing schedules and full transcripts on the inquiry website.