Better Practice Local Laws Strategy

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Action 3 Amend the Local Government Act 1989 making provision for Credentialled Local Laws.
Proposed amendments to the Act will make provision for the Minister for Local Government to endorse local laws as Credentialled Local Laws once they have been through the regulatory assessment process. This Ministerial endorsement would then enable councils to adopt the local law without further processes, such as compliance with the Ministerial guidelines above.
Councils would be able to adopt the Credentialled Local Law with the confidence that it had been through an appropriate regulatory assessment process and is consistent across the State.
Action 4 Education and training of council officers.
The publication and distribution of the good practice manual and amendments to the Act would be supported by information and training for council officers.

Recommendation 2: Harmonise the regulatory environment for building and construction activities currently included in local laws.

Action 1 Prepare and develop options to harmonise the regulatory environment for building and construction activities currently included in local laws.
This action includes the preparation and development of options for harmonising building and construction issues currently included in local laws. This may include proposals to develop a Credentialled Local Law, code of practice, Ministerial guidelines or recommendations to amend state legislation. Various options may be recommended to address the range of issues currently included in the relevant local laws.
An Implementation Committee will be convened comprising LGV, MAV and other peak bodies, Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development (DIIRD), Building Commission Victoria and council officers.
LGV and MAV in consultation with the Implementation Committee will:

  • Consider and articulate the various aims of the regulation of building sites;

  • Clarify the role of local government, State Government and other agencies with responsibilities in the area of regulation of building and construction sites;

  • Identify matters not covered by other legislation;

  • Consider whether there are any significant differences in regulation as they relate to commercial and domestic building sites or between metropolitan, rural and interface councils; and

  • Develop options for harmonising the regulation of building and construction sites by councils, that are aimed at:

    • Reducing the regulatory burden to the building and construction industry by creating transparent, consistent and streamlined regulations;

    • Improving consistency, clarity, and certainty of role and enforcement responsibilities of each relevant level of government; and

    • Achieving consistency in the administration and enforcement by councils of the regulations and associated processes.

The Implementation Committee would consult stakeholders as necessary. These may include:

  • Australian Building Code Board;

  • Consumer Affairs Victoria;

  • Department of Treasury and Finance;

  • Environment Protection Authority;

  • Local Government Professionals Inc. (LGPro);

  • Victorian Local Governance Association;

  • Master Builders Association, Housing Industry Association, Urban Development Institute of Australia and other industry bodies and stakeholders; and

  • Councils that are representative of the different operating environments across Victoria.

Recommendation 3: Enhance the consistency, structure and accessibility of local laws and associated processes.

Action 1 Develop protocols for placing local laws on council websites.
A consistent protocol for providing and maintaining local law material on council websites will be developed to support the amendments to the Act requiring all local laws to be placed on council websites.
This will enable best practice publishing of local laws. A key consideration in relation to the publication of local law related material on a council website is that the material should provide all necessary compliance information to those who are doing or seeking to do business or undertake an activity within a municipality. Further, it will include ways to bring to the attention of the community any changes in local laws or related standards, policies or guidelines or proposed changes.
Action 2 Develop best practice local law data protocols.
This action includes the development of local law data protocols and associated actions by LGV, in partnership with the MAV and other key stakeholders. These protocols would include guidance as to:

  • Electronic access and search-ability of local laws;

  • The location of local laws on council websites;

  • Consistency in titling and structuring of local laws;

  • Linking local laws with associated policies and guidelines and any other incorporated material;

  • Use and content of electronic forms and application processes; and

  • Consistency with other whole of Victoria data application projects such as EasyBiz.

Action 3 Collaboration across government.
LGV will identify opportunities for collaboration with State departments or agencies on related or overlapping initiatives such as the Department of Innovation, Industry and Regional Development’s ‘Reducing the Regulatory Burden in Building and Construction’ project and the EasyBiz Phase II project.

7. Glossary

Credentialled Local Law A model local law, subjected to an impact assessment process akin to the RIS process required by the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994. The aim of this process would be to ensure the law was well structured, complemented relevant State government or national laws and regulations, and contained the most appropriate regulatory model to address the problem to which the model local law was directed. The model local law would be assessed using accepted best practice regulatory assessment methods such as those described in the Victorian Guide to Regulation.
Regulatory Impact Statement The Regulatory Impact Statement (RIS) process is mandated by the Subordinate Legislation Act 1994 for statutory rules, regulations and a range of other subordinate instruments made by State Government Ministers, departments and agencies under the authority of Acts of the Victorian Parliament.
Statement of Regulatory intent A detailed public statement that could accompany any proposal to make or amend a local law and inform the consultation process under section 223 of the Local Government Act 1989. The content of the statement would be set out in guidelines issued by the Minister for Local Government but would include a broad range of information such as council’s reasons for seeking to adopt the proposed local law, why council had adopted a particular regulatory approach and why other approaches had been rejected, an indication of the section of the community and business that may be impacted by the law and information about anticipated costs both to those potentially affected by the local law and to the council in administration and enforcement of the law.
Towards Best Practice in A discussion paper released in April 2008 by the

Regulatory Local Laws Department of Planning and Community Development is available on the Local Government Victoria website by following the links to ‘Partnerships and projects’ and then ‘Councils Reforming Business’.
Victorian Guide to The Victorian Guide to Regulation revised in April 2007 is

Regulation the guide to developing regulation in Victoria and is available on the Department of Treasury & Finance website by following the links to ‘Publications’ and then ‘Guidelines’.

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