Councillors are elected by eligible residents and ratepayers within the community and hold office for four years. Ordinary elections of Councillors are held in September in every fourth year.
Councillors are accountable to the local community for the performance of the Council, and together the comprise the governing body of the Council.
Councillors comprise the governing body of a council in the same way that a Board of Directors is the governing body of a corporation. The Local Government Act 1993 prescribes the collective role of a Council's governing body as follows:
- To direct and control the affairs of the Council in accordance with the Act;
- To provide effective civic leadership to the local community;
- To ensure as far as possible the financial sustainability of the Council;
- To ensure as far as possible that the Council acts in accordance with the principles for local government and the plans, programs, strategies and polices of the Council;
- To develop and endorse the Community Strategic Plan, Delivery Program and other strategic plans, programs, strategies and policies of the Council;
- To determine and adopt a rating and revenue policy and operational plans that support the optimal allocation of the Council’s resources to implement the strategic plans (including the Community Strategic Plan) of the Council and for the benefit of the local area;
- To keep under review the performance of the Council, including service delivery;
- To make decisions necessary for the proper exercise of the council’s regulatory functions;
- To determine the process for appointment of the General Manager by the Council and to monitor the General Manager’s performance;
- To determine the senior staff positions within the organisation structure of the Council;
- To consult regularly with community organisations and other key stakeholders and keep them informed of the Council’s decisions and activities; and
- To be responsible for ensuring that the council acts honestly, efficiently and appropriately.
Councillors are individually accountable to the local community for the performance of the Council.
Under section 232 of the Local Government Act 1993, the role of a Councillor is to:
- Be an active and contributing member of the governing body;
- Make considered and well informed decisions as a member of the governing body;
- Participate in the development of the Integrated Planning and Reporting framework;
- Represent the collective interests of residents, ratepayers and the local community;
- Facilitate communication between the local community and the governing body;
- Uphold and represent accurately the policies and decisions of the governing body; and
- Make all reasonable efforts to acquire and maintain the skills necessary to perform the role of a Councillor.
The Mayor is one of the nine Councillors and is elected, as Mayor, by the Council. The Mayor continues to have the role of a Councillor and, in addition, has the additional responsibilities set out in the Local Government Act 1993.
Under section 226 of the Local Government Act 1993, the role of the Mayor is to:
- Be the leader of the Council and a leader in the local community;
- Advance community cohesion and promote civic awareness;
- Be the principal member and spokesperson of the governing body, including representing the views of the Council as to its local priorities;
- Exercise, in cases of necessity, the policy-making functions of the governing body of the Council between meetings of the council;
- Preside at meetings of the Council;
- Ensure that meetings of the Council are conducted efficiently, effectively and in accordance with this Act;
- Ensure the timely development and adoption of the strategic plans, programs and policies of the Council;
- Promote the effective and consistent implementation of the strategic plans, programs and policies of the Council;
- Promote partnerships between the Council and key stakeholders;
- Advise, consult with and provide strategic direction to the General Manager in relation to the implementation of the strategic plans and policies of the Council;
- In conjunction with the General Manager, to ensure adequate opportunities and mechanisms for engagement between the Council and the local community;
- Carry out the civic and ceremonial functions of the Mayoral office;
- Represent the Council on regional organisations and at inter-governmental forums at regional, State and Commonwealth level;
- In consultation with the Councillors, to lead performance appraisals of the General Manager; and
- Exercise any other functions of the council that the Council determines.