Why this council election plays a crucial role in rebuilding the music and arts sectors

Why this council election plays a crucial role in rebuilding the music and arts sectors

Image by Adrian Vittorio/Wikimedia Commons
By Kate Streader

Held every four years on the fourth Saturday in October, local elections decide who will lead decisions around things like building, planning, roads, parking, recreation, culture and more.

In Australia, there are three tiers of government: local, state and federal. Local government, or councils, provide a wide variety of services within their municipalities and make decisions around things like planning, building, roads and parking, health services, community services, local laws, emergency management, recreation and culture.

This means your local council leads decisions around libraries, museums, parks, gardens, arts facilities, local festivals and celebrations, recreation facilities, public buildings and much more.

Local elections are the biggest government elections run in Victoria, featuring approximately 2,000 candidates gunning for over 250 seats in 79 councils.

The upcoming local election is particularly important because the councillors elected will be in charge of how each area rebuilds post-COVID which will play a considerable role in how small businesses and industries such as hospitality, live music and the arts are able to get back on their feet after lockdown is lifted.

This year’s local election will be held by postal vote. If you’re on the Electoral Commissioner’s List – meaning you are a state-enrolled voter – you should receive a ballot pack via post this week.

If you live in Victoria, whether you’re a homeowner or renter, you must vote in the council election.

Those who are not state-enrolled voters but who pay rates to a council are also eligible to vote in the local election, but unlike those on the Electoral Commissioner’s List, voting is not compulsory for this group. This is known as the ‘CEO’s List’ and comprises non-resident property owners, directors or company secretaries of corporations which pay rates in a council area other than that where they reside, shop tenants who receive rates notices from the council and non-Australian citizens who live and pay rates in a council area.

The CEO’s List will also receive a ballot pack for the local election.

The pack contains a ballot paper, statements and photographs lodged by the candidates in your council, a ballot paper envelope, voting instructions and a reply-paid envelope.

Votes must be in the mail before 6pm on Friday October 23 in order to be counted, so be sure to send it back as soon as possible to account for postage delays.

It’s important to use your vote wisely, so make sure you know who you’re voting for and what they stand for. Utilise resources such as Rainbow Votes, which shows where each member stands on LGBTQIA+ issues, read the statements lodged in your ballot pack and do your own research.

To help make the voting process a little easier for you, we’ve outlined seven inner-city municipalities which are hotbeds for the music and arts sectors and caught up with council candidates from each to find out how they plan to rebuild and support these industries post-lockdown, as well as their priorities as prospective councillors.

We are highlighting issues that we feel are important to Beat readers who, like us, are passionate about music, the arts and climate action. We aren’t telling you how you should vote, but we hope that this inspires you to seek out information about the council candidates in your ward and where they stand on issues that matter to you.