Sustainable Rural Councils

Sustainable Rural Councils
17 December 2014

ACELG and Rural Councils Victoria (RCV) are partnering on research that explores the financial and operational sustainability of rural councils. Called the Rural Council Sustainability Project, the research seeks to answer how RCV can best support councils to build capacity and improve performance in the context of the wider local government reform agenda of the Victorian government.

The Project will also identify the best ways for RCV to support elected members and senior staff within rural councils to demonstrate their leadership on improving sustainability within local and across regional boundaries, manage the changing demands and expectations of stakeholders, and to maximise outcomes for communities. ACELG will develop a framework for strengthening sustainability, following agreement across the 38 Victorian RCV-member councils on the key issues and challenges they face. A second stage will be a framework for consideration by research partners and constituents.

Part of this work has been completed via five workshops conducted across the state in early October by RCV and ACELG, and as part of RCV’s Innovate & Educate Spring Tour. Work so far includes detailed portraits of the 38 rural Victorian councils - demographically, spatially and financially. A workshop with RCV member councils’ Mayors and CEOs also occurred in late October 2014. 

The workshops and forum aimed to address the findings in the project discussion paper which summarises existing empirical data on the following topics:

  • demographics and workforce data
  • financial profiles
  • spatial organisation
  • areas for building strategic capacity - shared service delivery, financial and asset management, strategic leadership, service reviews and reviewing levels of service.

ACELG and RCV are currently compiling responses and feedback from these events and a report will be available in the new year. 

ACELG is pleased to partner with RCV on this work as it will identify key areas for building strategic capacity and more effective local government, and the project complements a number of key resources published by the Centre in 2014 under its Rural-Remote and Indigenous Local Government Program: 

Download: Summary ACELG-RCV project discussion paper

Partner website:

Project Contact: Melissa Gibbs, ACELG Deputy Director, [email protected].

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