Council Elections 2020

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Council general elections take place every four years on the fourth Saturday in October. The next local council general election day is nominated as Saturday 24 October 2020, however all Victorian council elections in 2020 will take place by postal vote, to be completed and mailed back in the lead up to election day.. 

Under the Local Government Act the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) is the statutory provider for all council elections.

Council elections provide enrolled voters with the opportunity to elect people to represent the local municipality. The number of councillors elected and the municipality's electoral structure are determined by the Minister for Local Government.

The Surf Coast Shire municipality is divided into four wards represented by nine councillors:

  • Anglesea Ward (two councillors)
  • Lorne Ward (one councillor)
  • Torquay Ward (four councillors)
  • Winchelsea Ward (two councillors)

Information about the Surf Coast Shire Council profile including ward boundaries is available from the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) website.

Information about the role and governance framework of local government is available from the Know Your Council website.  


The next election will be run as a postal vote, and ballot packs are expected to be mailed out by the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) between October 5 and 7.

Enrolment for this election closed at 4pm on Friday 28 August 2020. For more information on enrolling for local council elections please refer to the Enrolling for local council elections page of the VEC website.

If you are not currently enrolled on the electoral role for Surf Coast Shire, but are still eligible to vote in the council election due to property ownership or occupancy, you will need to enrol before you can vote.


Prospective candidates are encouraged to view information on the Stand for Council website, which has information about the requirements, roles and responsibilities in relation to becoming a candidate/councillor in local government. 

You can find more information on becoming a local council candidate on the VEC website.

VEC candidate information session

The Victorian Electoral Commission's recorded candidate information is now available to be streamed online and will be complemented by state-wide interactive candidate seminars based on the information session video.

The candidate information session video presentation can be viewed on the VEC website.

Registrations are available on VEC website for state-wide interactive candidate seminars to be held online on the following dates:

Nominating as a candidate

If you decide to enrol as a candidate, this process is managed by the VEC. You can read more on Becoming a council election candidate on the VEC's website.

Mandatory candidate online training session

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In accordance with the Local Government Act 2020, anyone wishing to nominate as a candidate must complete the separate mandatory Candidate Training Session provided by Local Government Victoria before being able to nominate. Prospective candidates can access the training direct via the Local Government Victoria Candidate Training page. This training must be completed by 5pm on 21 September 2020.

FAQs for candidates can be accessed here(DOCX, 2MB).

COVID-safe elections

The Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) has released a COVIDSafe plan to ensure that the conduct of the 2020 local government elections will:

  • be safe and accessible for all participants
  • enable the successful management of the consequences of a COVID-19 outbreak
  • comply with all State and Commonwealth directives to minimize or stop the spread of the disease

COVID-safe campaigning

Advice on safe campaigning for the October 2020 local government elections has been published by Local Government Victoria. Campaigning for council elections in October 2020 - Guidelines for coronavirus (COVID-19) will help candidates understand how to comply with the directions of the Victorian Chief Health Officer to stay safe while campaigning.

The guidelines include advice on permitted campaign activities, safety for campaign teams, basic hygiene and physical distancing and are available here.

Local Government Victoria will continually update the guidelines with the latest directions and restrictions. It is recommended candidates check the guidelines regularly throughout campaigning.

Always refer to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) for specific information on current restrictions.

Provision of information to candidates

For information that has been provided to nominated candidates in the 2020 Surf Coast Shire council elections during the election period (between 22 September and 24 October 2020) please click here.

Election policies

Council has policies specifically related to elections and the election period. Candidates and community members are encouraged to have a look at these policies to understand how Council operates during this time.

More information about council elections and how councils operate

The following websites have valuable information about council elections and how they are governed:

Election advertising in the Surf Coast Shire - council land

 Council has a policy which assists officers in applying a consistent approach to election advertising signage on Council land. The policy applies to Federal, State and Local Government elections. No election signage is allowed to be installed on Council land, including buildings and road reserves. By not allowing temporary election advertising signage on Council land, Council demonstrates its neutral position towards all candidates in government elections.

If officers see any election signage installed on Council land then it will be immediately removed.  Arrangements may be able to be made for candidates to retrieve this removed signage, however this will need to be confirmed through a COVID-safe work place risk assessment.

It is important to note that Council land does not include the face of a private boundary fence adjoining Council land.

This existing policy has had minor updates and the revised policy is expected to be adopted by Council at the upcoming (15 September) Council meeting.

Election advertising in the Surf Coast Shire - private land

Election advertising signs on private land must comply with Clause 52.05 of the Surf Coast Planning Scheme.  The scheme allows election advertising signs on private land without a permit as long as it is less than or equal to 5 square meters in size, is not animated or not internally illuminated.  Any election advertising signs that do not meet this description would need to apply for, and receive, a planning permit before the sign could be erected.  The summary detail of the Scheme is below for information – the full version can be found at this link.

Amongst other things, 52.05-10 of the Surf Coast Planning Scheme states that “... a permit is not required to construct or put up for display… a sign with a display area not exceeding 5 square meters publicising a local educational, cultural, political, religious, social or recreational event not held for commercial purposes.  Only one sign may be displayed on the land, it must not be an animated or internally illuminate sign and it must not be displayed longer than 14 days after the event is held or 3 months, whichever is sooner.  A sign publicising a local political event may include information about a candidate for an election.”

About the Surf Coast Shire

Information about the shire is available on the VEC website, the Know Your Council website and Council’s website.

Information about Council

Prospective candidates, nominated candidates and the community are encouraged to have a look at the following webpages to help gain a better understanding of the Surf Coast Shire Council. 

For further information please contact Customer Service on (03) 5261 0600.