Local government elections will be held across Victoria in October, 2020.
The decisions of councils affect the lives of everyone in our community. Becoming a councillor is a great hands-on way to serve your community and positively influence future directions and outcomes for your municipality.
Wodonga Council has seven councillors elected for a four-year term that work in a style that reflects a board of directors.
Councillors are responsible for setting policy and providing vision and strategic direction to the organisation. Councillors meet regularly through briefings and officially as the council at monthly scheduled meetings.
Standing for election provides a great opportunity to influence the future direction of the local community and help those who require support.
Wodonga is a vibrant and growing city with a population of more than 40,000 located between Melbourne and Sydney.
It is one of the fastest-growing cities in Victoria and is undergoing major redevelopment in the city following the realisation of significant projects that have been part of the city’s long-term vision including the revitalisation of the CBD, the library-gallery redevelopment, the development of Baranduda Fields and the growth of the Logic industrial precinct.
Wodonga Council plays a role in the economic and social outcomes of our community through the delivery of a range of services including preschools, health and safety, waste management, economic development, arts and culture, infrastructure and population planning.
Close of roll
People must be on the voters' roll by this date to be eligible to vote this election.
- Friday, August 28, 2020 from 4pm
Anyone wishing to stand as a candidate may submit their nomination between these dates.
- Thursday, September 17, 2020 from 9am; and,
- Tuesday, September 22, 2020 12pm.
Mailout of ballot packs
Ballot packs are distributed via post to every enrolled person in contested elections in a random order over three days.
- Tuesday, October 6, 2020; and,
- Thursday, October 8, 2020.
Close of voting
- Friday, October 23, 2020 at 6pm.
Deadline for inclusion of postal votes
The Election Manager can accept postal votes received up to this time into the count. Only votes posted before the close of voting can be accepted.
- Friday, October 30, 2020 at 12pm.
Results declaration complete
Latest date all results will be declared.
- Friday, November 13, 2020.
Candidate Information Sessions
The Victorian Electoral Commission candidate information video presentation provides comprehensive information for prospective candidates to find out more about the nomination process for the 2020 local council elections.
The recorded version will be complemented by three statewide interactive candidate seminars. The seminars will provide prospective candidates the opportunity to ask questions about the nomination process and the election.
The seminars will be held on the following days.
- Wednesday, September 9, 2020 at 7pm
- Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 1pm
- Tuesday, September 15, 2020 at 5pm.
Wodonga will host two online Municipal Association of Victoria community and candidate information sessions on:
- Monday, August 3 from 7pm to 9pm; and,
- Monday, August 31 from 7pm to 9pm.
These two-hour interactive online sessions will provide community members and prospective candidates with information about the role and purpose of local government; the role, responsibilities and expectations of a councillor, and the electoral process.
What participants will learn:
- The role and purpose of local government
- Details of the new Local Government Act 2020
- Introduction to your council and information on the municipal area
- Roles, responsibilities and expectations of a councillor
- The experience of being a councillor
- The electoral process and campaigning including key dates and information provided by the Victorian Electoral Commission.
These will be conducted via Zoom. The Zoom link and password will be sent to you once you register for the session. You will be able to register right up until the start of the event.
Register for a session here.
Mandatory Candidate Training
Under the new Local Government Act 2020, candidates will have to undertake mandatory candidate training to consider standing for council which will help candidates understand what is involved in becoming a councillor.
Mandatory Local Government Candidate Training for the 2020 Local Government elections will be delivered through a short online course. The link to access these resources is now available and you can access the course here.
Under the new requirements included in the Local Government Act 2020, candidates must complete the Victorian Government’s Local Government Candidate Training course to be eligible to nominate with the Victorian Electoral Commission. This includes all serving or former councillors intending to nominate.
Local Government Victoria has developed the online course in collaboration with the sector: it will take approximately an hour to complete.
More information including a FAQ is in our downloads section below.
Candidate training on the Local Government website
Victorian Electoral Commission office opens to the public Thursday, September 17, 2020 to Friday, October 23, 2020. It will be located at 170 High St, Wodonga.
Nomination period - Thursday, September 17, 2020 to 12pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020
Election Day - Saturday, October 24, 2020
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Victorian Electoral Commission’s recorded candidate information session will be able to be streamed online from Thursday 3 September and will be complemented by state-wide interactive candidate seminars based on the information session video. To watch the information session and find out how to join an online interactive seminar, candidates can visit the VEC website at vec.vic.gov.au.
Standing for council
Who qualifies to be a councillor?
The Local Government Act 2020 (the Act) lists the qualifications to be a councillor and the electoral provisions for being on the voters roll. An application for an owner ratepayer to enrol is in our downloads section below.
The VEC website includes short videos to explain the different entitlements that residents may hold. They can be found here: https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/enrolment/enrolling-for-local-council-elections
How can I nominate for council elections?
Candidates are required to nominate with the Victorian Electoral Commission. The nomination period is from Thursday, September 17, 2020, to 12pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
The Local Government Act 2020 requires candidates to nominate in person. Nominees must make an appointment with their local Election Office. They will need to follow strict physical distancing and hygiene measures when they go to the office.
Read the VEC's Becoming a council election candidate on their website here and see their candidate handbooks here
Candidates must make an appointment during business hours with the Election Manager to lodge their nomination forms and pay their $250 nomination fee. They must have completed the online candidate training, as this is required by law and will be shown on each candidate’s nomination form.
Candidates may make a nomination appointment with the Election Manager by calling 1300 142 705 from Wednesday 16 September. Candidates can also pre-fill a nomination form using the online Candidate Helper at candidatehelper.vec.vic.gov.au, available from Thursday 3 September.
Nominations must be lodged by 12 noon on Tuesday 22 September.
Late nominations cannot be accepted. It is an offence for a person to nominate as a candidate if they are not qualified to become a councillor.
Compulsory Candidate Training
Under the Act candidates will be required to complete compulsory candidate training. This training is presently being developed by Local Government Victoria. Once the training is finalised the council will widely advertise its availability including dates, times and venues. All candidates must complete the training by September 17, 2020.
Safe campaigning during COVID-19
Local Government Victoria has published the Campaigning for council elections in October 2020 - Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) to help candidates understand how to comply with the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer to stay safe while campaigning. This includes advice on permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, basic hygiene and physical distancing.
The guidelines are available at https://www.localgovernment.vic.gov.au/resilience-and-emergency-management/coronavirus-covid-19-information
Local Government Victoria will continually update the guidelines with the latest directions and restrictions. It is recommended you check the guidelines regularly throughout campaigning.
Always refer to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for specific information on current restrictions.
Campaign advertising in Wodonga
There are regulations around advertising in public places under the Local Law 1/2014 and the planning scheme. Please note, permits are not issued in Wodonga for any form of political advertising in municipal places.
Our local laws can be found here and the relevant section of the planning scheme here.
Advertising material should not be placed on private property - on fences, boundaries or otherwise - without the landowner's permission.
No advertising signs can be placed or allowed to be placed on any road or council land including facilities and venues.
The planning scheme (section 52.05-4) covers restrictions around advertising as well as provisions for signs not requiring a permit.
Under the planning scheme, a sign that does not require a permit should not exceed five square metres and only one sign may be displayed on the land. It must not be an animated or internally illuminated sign and it must not be displayed longer than 14 days after the event is held or for three months, whichever is sooner. A sign publicising a local political event may include information about a candidate for an election.
A person must not, without a permit, in a municipal place or road, distribute to any person any advertising or promotional items or any printed material. This does not apply to letterbox drops which must be conducted in line with the Safe Campaigning Guidelines
The placement of flyers or similar material on motor vehicles is prohibited under the Environmental Protection Act.
Mobile signs and billboards
The state Department of Transport is responsible for managing advertising on vehicles travelling on public roads. The council is responsible for other activities that occur at fixed locations within the municipality.
Under the council's local law, vehicle and trailers with mobile billboards affixed of any type, such as variable message boards or illuminated signs, are not permitted to be parked in public places except by way of a permit which are generally only issued for local events and vending activity at times, but not for any form of political advertising in municipal places.
The local law states a mobile billboard cannot be placed on a road, road-related area or council land or any other location likely to interfere with the vision of a pedestrian or driver.
Use of public spaces
Wodonga Council has received a preliminary enquiry about booking council land and facilities to support a candidate’s election campaign. The enquiry related to the use of Junction Square.
While no formal application has been received yet, council advises all candidates that council public spaces may not be used or hired for these purposes.
The Local Government Act 2020 and the Council’s Election Period Policy prohibits the council from allowing its resources to be used in a way that is intended to influence, or is likely to influence, voting at the election.
Therefore it is the council’s decision that candidates will not be permitted to book council public spaces for the purposes of the election campaign nor to place candidate signs on council land or property.
This does not rule out the use of private property, with the permission of the owner or manager, by candidates for the purposes of campaigning
In line with the Election Period policy this provides an equitable outcome, whereby all candidates are treated equally.
Candidates are reminded to refer to the Safer Campaigning Guidelines under COVID-19 for their election campaign activities.
Councillor Induction Project
An extensive Councillor Induction Program will be provided to successful candidates over the first few months following the election. This program is currently being developed, details will be provided over the coming months.
Where can I find out more?
The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is appointed to run the election on behalf of the council. They provide updated information on becoming a candidate. Visit the VEC website for further information. The VEC has candidate information here and the Wodonga Council profile page can be found here.
The peak organisation for Victorian local government is the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV). Find out more about standing for and becoming a councillor at their VicCouncils site.
The Know Your Council website provides an opportunity for you to access consistent information in regard to the performance of local councils across Victoria. It also has information on council elections.
Support from existing councillors
You may wish to discuss your interest with one of the current councillors so as to better understand the role of a councillor. Visit the councillors page on our website.