COUNCILS around Victoria operate effectively but continue to face challenges, re-elected Municipal Association of Victoria president Bill McArthur said.
The Golden Plains Shire councillor will continue to act as a voice for local government around Victoria, after being re-elected for his third consecutive term in the role.
Cr McArthur said he was excited and humbled to be returned to the position at a time when the sector was facing both significant challenges and opportunities.
He said increasing responsibilities were being imposed on councils by other levels of government.
Negotiations around library funding, maternal child health and kindergarten infrastructure were recent examples of the MAV seeking to secure fairer cost agreements for councils.
“We’ve seen funding from both state and federal governments shrinking in the past and more and more responsibility has been left in the hands of local government,” Cr McArthur said.
“Councils in Victoria are operating efficiently and effectively, but there are certainly challenges around finances, particularly for small, rural councils.
“All councils are looking to improve their efficiencies in a number of ways.
“We try to be a very transparent sector. We consult with our communities.”
Cr McArthur said the coming two years were a critical time for the sector to improve its financial sustainability and deliver self-reforms that could boost performance, efficiency and cost savings.
He said the MAV would also advocate to the state government to consult more closly with local councils, rather than impose changes from above.
“There is a strong reform agenda, a tough economic climate and we must resist more responsibilities being imposed on councils from other governments,” he said.
Victorian councils also voted to elect 12 regional MAV Board members. Pyrenees Shire councillor David Clark was returned to the board.