Jan 16 / Emma Broomfield

Ultimate guide of resources to support aspiring candidates

Upcoming local government elections

In 2024, there will be three local government elections held across Australia:

Queensland

16 March 2024

New South Wales

14 September 2024

Victoria

October 2024
This article is a general guide to the resources that are available to candidates including current councillors who wish to return to civic office.  Each State has different rules and requirements and it is important for candidates to read and understand the rules in their specific jurisdiction. In some States, such as Queensland and Victoria, candidate training is mandatory. 

Knowing what is in store

Typically, candidates running for election are first and foremost focused on getting elected. At its core, this means executing a successful campaign and gaining enough votes to get elected. However, candidates should take some time to learn about the basics of local government and what life will be like if elected. From our experience, councillors who take the time do this are better prepared for civic office and start in the role with immediate impact.

Becoming a councillor also has unique pressures and demands. Whether this is the right decision for you at this point in your life is a very personal one. It is important that you take time to reflect on your motivations for standing for office and that you have clarity around what you want to achieve within the constraints of the role and the powers of local government. This avoids disappointment and frustration arising once you are in the hot seat.

Candidate resources 

Below is list of resources for candidates in each jurisdiction.  Many local councils also hold information sessions for candidates leading up to the election. These are a fantastic way to learn more about what your local council does and what life will be like if elected. Keep an eye our on your local council's website and social media feeds for details of these sessions.

Queensland

The Electoral Commission of Queensland website is the go to place for information on the election and the rules that apply to you as a candidate.  The Commission is the independent authority set up to ensure impartial and democratic elections. 

Further guidance for candidates on election requirements and obligations can be found at the Department of State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning.  In Queensland, all candidates must complete training within six months before nominating. You can also listen to a podcast series that shares insights into the realities of local government political life.

New South Wales

The NSW Electoral Commission website is the go to place for information on the election. You can download the Candidate Handbook, watch free webinars on managing campaign finances and find information about handling political donations.  Leading up to the election, the Commission also has a candidate helpdesk which you can call or email.

The Office of Local Government has several guides for those thinking of becoming a councillor. This includes the Stand for your community: Candidate guide and an online candidate information tool. These are helpful resources to understand more about the local government framework and how you will make decisions as a councillor.

With a view to increasing the diversity within councils, the Office of Local Government also has specific information for women and others from diverse backgrounds. This includes inspiring stories from women who have had successful careers as local councillors.

Victoria

The Victorian Electoral Commission website is the go to place for information about the local government election including advice on enrolment and voting in the elections. 

In Victoria, all candidates must complete local government candidate training before they can nominate. This is provided by the Victoria Government and can be accessed here. The training covers vital information you need to know about being a councillor, including understanding a conflict of interest, the code of conduct and what support is available to help you do the role. 

Other valuable candidate resources

There are a number of other great sources of information to support candidates, particularly those from diverse backgrounds. This includes:

  • Pathways for Politics Program which is a national, proudly non-partisan initiative that aims to change the face of politics by equipping women with the skills, knowledge, confidence and networks they need to run for elected office and thrive as political leaders.
    Women for Election who is a non-partisan organisation that provides support for women wanting to take the plunge into political life. Keep a look out on its website for events and training opportunities for candidates.
  • Politics in Colour who provides support for candidates from diverse backgrounds. Check out its website for upcoming webinars and candidate training opportunities.
  • Run for It who support young people who are leaders in their communities to run strategic and strong campaigns to get elected to local councils across Australia.

Check out our website for our comprehensive candidate resources.

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