The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) is calling on the State Government to defer the October 2020 council elections due to the ongoing threat of coronavirus.
In May the State Government announced the election will go ahead via mail, marking the first time postal voting has been used across all Victorian councils and follows advice from the Chief Health Officer.
According to the Andrews Government, to ensure the election is safe, and in an acknowledgement of physical distancing requirements, longer candidate statements will be allowed in the Victorian Electoral Commission Voter Information packs and guidance will be available on suitable and safe campaigning methods.
The VEC said it acknowledged the Minister for Local Government’s confirmation last week that the election would proceed as planned and that it is working towards the October date, including the possible impact of COVID-19 on election arrangements.
MAV president Coral Ross and CEO Kerry Thompson met with newly appointed Local Government Minister Shaun Leane earlier this month to raise concerns surrounding the go-ahead for the election.
Ms Ross said many councillors across the state have provided examples of the difficulties currently facing the local government sector and support the MAV’s push for a deferral of this year’s elections.
“Following a survey of all councils and CEOs earlier this year, the MAV called for a 12-month deferral of council elections, currently scheduled for October 2020,” she said.
The Central Goldfields Shire Council has established a dedicated 2020 council election page on its website to help keep residents informed, it has also stated that any inquiries should be directed to the VEC.
For more on this story see Page 4 of The Advertiser, Tuesday, July 21