Elections to proceed


Jessica Micallef

Victorian local government elections will go ahead in October despite a Municipal Association of Victoria push to postpone elections until next year.

Residents will cast their votes for the October 24 elections via “safe and secure” postal votes.

The state’s chief health officer Brett Sutton has advised the state government that it is safe for postal elections to proceed.

To ensure local elections are safe and adhere to social 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.

Local Government Minister Adem Somyurek said 2020 marked the first year postal voting would be used across all Victorian councils.

“By making sure every vote is 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,” he said.

Earlier this month, MAV president Coral Ross called for the elections to be postponed for 12 months.

She said a deferral was necessary with COVID-19 restrictions in place.

“In the current climate, community health and safety must be the overriding consideration,” Cr Ross said.

“Given the economic implications of coronavirus for councils, it is also critical that councils say focused on organisational recovery and future planning rather than election campaigning.