Back in June this year, we wrote about The Power of Elections & Civic Democracy reflecting on the Federal Election in May and the Victorian State Election later in November 2022. We talked about election voting being a classic example of public participation at the EMPOWER level (as defined by the International Association for Public Participation).
For those of us involved in State Government projects, it’s important to know about the upcoming ‘caretaker period’. The ‘caretaker period’ spans the time the Legislative Assembly expires, until the election result is clear or a new government is commissioned. In Victoria this will commence at 6.00 pm on Tuesday 1 November 2022.
Normal government business and service delivery continues but as there is the possibility of a change of government, the current government should avoid:
- Implementing major policy decisions
- Making significant appointments
- Entering major contracts or undertakings
If you are working with State Government officers on a project, they are reminded to advise and act in an apolitical manner. They may defer some project decisions or engagement activities until after the election.
Why is it important?
- Some government projects will need to be completed before 1 November – you may be asked to finalise a project engagement report earlier than expected, or be asked to complete your engagement activities by 31 October.
- Departments or agencies may decide to change or cease community engagement activities during the caretaker period, which means there will be a long break leading up to Christmas.
- State government procurement will slow down or cease – if you are involved in preparing a proposal for a major project, the procurement timelines may be affected.
- State government communications (including content on government websites) is closely monitored prior to elections and may be restricted to only essential information during the caretaker period.
Have a contentious project?
By now most of the candidates running for election will have publicly declared their intentions. However there will be other potential candidates out in the community still deciding their policy platforms and key promises.
It is worth checking on the local political landscape for any of your contentious (or major) projects as election candidates may be adding their perspectives to ongoing community discussions or, suggesting changes to the project direction.
After the election
No matter what the result of the election – a change of government or not – there will be changes made to the organisational structure from the Ministerial level down. Ministers may not retain their seat, portfolios will be reassigned and senior bureaucrats may move on. Some of these organisational changes may affect your State Government project, resulting in delays to decision making or a complete change of approach to a project or issue.
- Caretaker period for the 2022 Victorian election – Tuesday 1 November (Melbourne Cup Day) at 6.00 pm
- Victorian State Election – Saturday 26 November 2022
For further information:
- Victorian Electoral Commission https://www.vec.vic.gov.au/
- IAP2 Australasia https://iap2.org.au/resources/spectrum/
About Jenny Grogan
Jenny, our Social Research Lead, is an experienced social researcher and research analyst with 30 years of work experience in the health and community services sector. Her approach is focused on understanding the needs of clients, what information they “need to know” and what is “nice to know”. With this understanding, she creates and delivers the research program so that decision makers can extract practical insights to inform the decision, or gain a better understanding of the project or topic.