The Victorian Government has given the green light for local council elections to go ahead on Saturday, October 24.
On Friday Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek announced that safe and secure postal votes would be used for the elections.
“Victorians have the right to a democratic say on who represents them at all levels of government,” Mr Somyurek said.
“By making every vote a postal vote, we’re ensuring this vital democratic process is conducted in a safe manner that also allows for the participation of more voters.
“We’re supporting more women to run for local government and be successful in the 2020 elections as we take another step towards the goal of gender equality by 2025.”
This will be the first time postal voting has been used across all Victorian councils, following changes introduced to the Local Government Act 2020 that requires a statewide and uniform approach to voting.
The Chief Health Officer has advised it is safe for the postal election to proceed this year.
To support the Labor Government’s goal of gender equality on councils by 2025 an additional $50 000 is being invested to encourage women to run for council at the 2020 election.
This is in addition to $87 000 already invested to increase overall diversity among councillors at the 2020 elections.
The minister has also sought advice to inform ministerial guidelines to ensure councils provide more flexibility to support and encourage more women and carers to serve as councillors.
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.
Former Mayor and candidate for Benalla Rural City Council Justin King said he was looking forward to reaching out to the community with a further focus on what was needed to support those affected by COVID 19 and post COVID19, the clean up.
“My focus is on growing Benalla and moving us forward, my platforms are the same and my focus direct on how we can make Benalla the best place to call home,” Mr King said.
“Lots to be done and looking forward to campaigning.”
The 2020 council elections are expected to be Victoria’s biggest election ever, with more than 4.5 million voters enrolled and more than 2000 candidates expected to contest.
The Victorian Electoral Commission is responsible for conducting all council elections and will outline the relevant matters for candidates and voters.