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Second chance for Victorian councillors

AAP logoAAP 16/08/2016 By Luke Costin

More than 100 local councillors who faced the sack after a code of conduct mix-up will be given a second chance.

Recent changes to the local government laws meant 107 councillors - including 13 entire councils - were set to be dumped on September 1 over a technicality that meant they had not agreed to abide by their own code of conduct.

Errors in the way many of the councillors had signed documents agreeing to the code, made the documents void.

With elections due in October, administrators would have taken over for just seven weeks.

The government will now amend the Local Government Act for the second time in 12 months and the councillors will keep their positions.

"Our ultimate consideration here is ensuring residents don't have to pay for the administrative mistakes made by their local councils," acting local government minister Richard Wynne said on Tuesday.

Many of the councils in question argue councillors signed the code but not exactly as the Inspectorate wished.

Greater Shepparton City Council said it was still yet to receive formal notification but suspects its councillors faced the chop for signing the code of conduct together, instead of on separate sheets of paper.

"GSCC only became aware of any concerns via a media release issued publicly by the Local Government Investigations and Compliance Inspectorate on Monday," the council said in a statement.

"In reviewing the Act, there is no stipulation that a separate document is required to be individually signed by each Councillor."

The state opposition called the whole situation 'absurd'.

"If Daniel Andrews can't get the basics right, Victorians are right to question how his government will deliver on more complex projects like Metro Rail," David Davis said.

The requirement for a new code of conduct was part of new laws to strengthen council governance and punish misconduct.

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