Our governance

Here we explain how we make sure we manage our finances and the organisation properly. And follow the rules for local governments.

arrow down graphic

Our Audit and Risk Committee is a key part of our governance. It ensures we keep improving how we work. Read more about the committee, its members and what it does

At this link you can also find out more about all the issues discussed on this page.

Your privacy

Responsible handling of personal information is a key part of good governance. We are committed to protecting every individual’s right to privacy.

We started a review of our privacy policy in June 2020. We are ensuring it is in keeping with community and legislative expectations.

You can request we correct inaccurate, incomplete or out of date personal information. Our Privacy Officer manages complaints about how we handle personal information. We will investigate your complaint and provide you with a response.

You can also complain to the Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner (OVIC). During 2019-20, there were no complaints referred to us by OVIC.

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 1982 gives you a legal right to access certain council documents. Read more about how you can access information through Freedom of Information (FOI).

In 2019-20, we received 31 FOI applications (down from 45 in 2018-19). Other requests for information did not become FOI applications. This is because we were able to provide the information outside of the FOI process.

New standards for FOI came into effect on 1 December 2019. There was no significant change to the way we approach FOI requests under the new standards.

Whistleblower legislation

The Public Interest Disclosures Act 2012 (the ‘Act’) replaced the Protected Disclosure Act 2012 on 1 January 2020. This followed a review of Victoria’s integrity regime.

The Act has strengthened support for people making disclosures which are in the public interest. Its purpose remains to encourage and facilitate disclosures of improper conduct.

There was 1 disclosure notified to the Independent Broad-based Anticorruption Commission (IBAC) in 2019-20. Whistleblowers can contact our Public Interest Disclosures Coordinator on 9240 1111.

Governance and management checklist

This lists all the policies and guidelines that help us with the governance of the organisation. The checklist says what the policies and guidelines do and when they were last reviewed. Download our governance and management checklist for 2019-20

Statutory information

We were not the subject of any Victorian or Federal Government investigations during 2019-20.

We are committed to open and transparent governance. You can inspect the following documents at the Coburg Civic Centre, 90 Bell Street, Coburg*:

  • details of councillor or staff travel
  • agendas and minutes of ordinary and special meetings held during the year 
  • register of delegations
  • details of all leases involving land which were entered into by Merri-bek Council as lessor
  • a register of authorised officers
  • donations and grants made by Merri-bek Council in the previous 12 months.

*May be closed due to public health restrictions. Contact us to find out more

Legislative environment

There are over 80 different pieces of Victorian legislation that govern our work. The key legislation affecting all councils is the Local Government Act.

The Local Government Act 1989 is being replaced by the Local Government Act 2020 (the new ‘Act’). This is taking place through a staged implementation that started on 1 May 2020.

The new Act reforms local government. It aims to improve democracy, accountability and service delivery. It introduced:

  • a principles-based approach to ensuring good governance
  • strong community engagement
  • transparency.

We have mapped all the requirements of the new Act with their deadlines. This is to ensure we have a planned and considered approach to their implementation.

Commitment to human rights

We are committed to upholding the basic rights and freedoms of all Victorians. These are set out in the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act 2006.

It requires governments, councils and other public authorities consider human rights when they:

  • make laws
  • develop policies
  • provide services.

We conducted human rights charter assessments for key policies during the year. We also have a disability access and inclusion plan to help us make Merri-bek a more accessible city.

Infrastructure and development contributions

We must report to the Minister for Planning on development contributions. You can download the report of the full development contributions for 2019-20



Freedom of Information applications in 2019-20



Freedom of Information applications in 2018-19


government investigations during 2019-20



disclosure notified to IBAC

Check out the next section:

Download sections or the full report:

Download centre