The Commission continues to support and encourage local councils to understand and implement their obligations under the Charter. We do this in a number of ways, including:
- running local government forums
- launching the Everyday People Everyday Rights Toolkit
- reporting on the progress made by local councils
- reviewing local government programs and practices on request, to ensure they are compatible with the Charter
- providing tailored education and training to local councils.
Local government human rights forums
The Commission’s first local government forum was held in 2010. The forum highlighted the challenges, strategies and success stories associated with implementing the Charter for local councils.
In 2012, the Commission hosted four local government human rights forums in Melbourne (23 November), Wangaratta (28 November), Ararat (5 December) and Mildura (12 December). The forums brought local councils and peak bodies together to share ideas, identify good practice and discuss strategies to continue to progress human rights in local government.
Information and case studies from the forums will be available here soon.
Everyday People, Everyday Rights Toolkit
Following the success of the pilot project in the City of Hume in 2009 (funded by the Legal Services Board) and the City of Yarra in 2010 (funded by the Neighbourhood Justice Centre), the Commission has developed the Everyday People, Everyday Rights Toolkit.
The toolkit aims to equip local councils to engage with their communities on human rights through Everyday People, Everyday Rights-type projects without the need for intensive support from the Commission.
Each year the Commission prepares a report on the operation of the Charter, including an assessment of the steps taken by local councils to meet their responsibilities under the Charter. The report is presented to the Attorney-General and tabled in Parliament.
As part of its annual reporting on the Charter, the Commission undertakes an online survey in cooperation with local government. In 2011, all 79 local councils responded to the survey, demonstrating a strong commitment to human rights.
Our most recent local government report, Rights in focus: Local government and the Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities, analyses the results of the survey and highlights the progress local governments have made in incorporating a human rights-based approach into their operations.
The 2012 local government survey will be available in December 2012.
Reviewing programs and practices
At your request, the Commission can review your programs and practices to ensure they are compatible with the rights set out in the Charter.
For example, you may request a review to:
- assess whether a practice, policy or program is compatible with the Charter
- provide input at the time new policies or programs are being implemented or developed
- review existing human rights training or compliance strategies.
The Commission has a free telephone Enquiry Line that provides information on the Charter, discrimination, sexual harassment, victimisation, and racial or religious vilification.
You can also subscribe to the Commission's mailing list to receive regular eupdates and our monthly email newsletter, the ebulletin, to stay up to date with the Commission’s work, training workshops and new developments.