Finding Council Public Notice
Since the termination of Hawthorn’s local broadsheet the Progress Leader, the Glenferrie community looks to other sources to find information about the activities of their local government.
In Victoria, councils are legally obligated to publish public notices as part of the legal process required for a variety of local government acts, including but not limited to: making local laws; planning proposals and amendments to planning schemes; leasing, selling, or transferring council-owned land; declaring and amending special rates and charges; changes to land valuation; entering into certain contracts; and to invite public submissions on council proposals, laws, or actions.
A public notice is defined by the Local Government Act 2020 as “a notice published in a newspaper generally circulating in the municipal district of the council”.
Public notices are often found in the classifieds section of a newspaper, alongside other daily information relevant to locals such as births, deaths, and marriages. Industry professionals and companies are also legally required to publish public notices in a newspaper circulated in the relevant region for activities such as: liquor, gambling, and private security licensing; planning permits and proposals; telecommunications works; changes to rates by electricity and gas companies; and estate claims. According to the criteria outlined in the relevant legislation, a public notice is also often required to be directly delivered to the relevant parties and/or published in the Government Gazette and, in the case of local government, published on the council's website.
As of 29 June 2020, Newscorp ceased the printing of over 100 regional and community newspapers. One of these was the Progress Leader which serviced the Hawthorn community. As a direct result of the significant reduction in local newspapers, and to relieve the financial stress on councils due to COVID-19, in mid-2020 both New South Wales and Queensland amended their local government legislation so that councils would no longer be legally required to advertise their public notices in print newspapers.
Before the Progress Leader was discontinued, members of the local community could find public notices from the City of Boroondara in the classifieds section of the free weekly newspaper delivered to Boroondara residences. The Progress Leader also specifically featured articles covering significant and locally relevant news such as council decisions.
Public notices can still be found in the two daily newspapers circulated comprehensively across metropolitan Melbourne, The Age and the Herald Sun, which are also the government-recommended newspapers for publishing personal and legal notices. While the Herald Sun lists its public notices on their website for free to be viewed by the public, from observation, the City of Boroondara tends to publish public notices in The Age. These daily newspapers can be purchased from the Glenferrie Newsagency (660 Glenferrie Road), 7/11 (corner of Barkers Rd and Glenferrie Road and Shop 3/672 Glenferrie Road), and the major supermarkets. Otherwise, printed editions of The Age and the Herald Sun are available to view at the Hawthorn Library (584 Glenferrie Road) for one week after publication, and digital copies of The Age are accessible through the council website for free with a library card. As well as publishing in the newspaper and the online Government Gazette, the City of Boroondara also lists all of their public notices on the council website.