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Local government and human rights

Every day, local councils across the state engage with the diverse range of people who make up their communities – including children, families, people with disability, older people, migrants and refugees.

As a result, local councils play an important role in protecting and promoting human rights.

The Charter of Human Rights and Responsibilities Act (the Charter) sets out the basic rights, freedoms and responsibilities of all Victorians.

The Charter protects 20 fundamental human rights, including the right to recognition and equality before the law. These basic rights form the foundation of a democratic and inclusive society that values human dignity, equality and freedom.

As public authorities, the Charter requires local councils to consider human rights when they make, interpret and apply laws, develop policies and provide day-to-day services.

Local councils must ensure that:

  • all council decisions give proper consideration to human rights
  • all actions, policies and services are compatible with human rights
  • local laws are interpreted and applied consistently with human rights
  • people who work on behalf of councils do so in a way that respects human rights.

By understanding and promoting human rights, local councils can help build a culture of human rights in the community.

The Commission is committed to helping local councils transform basic human rights into an everyday reality for all Victorians. You’ll find information on our website to support this work.

Read more about local government obligations under the Charter.

The Commission does not handle complaints under the Charter.

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