Welcome to CNAV

The Community Newspaper Association of Victoria (CNAV) is the peak body representing not-for-profit community newspapers across Victoria.

CNAV works actively with its members to enhance the capacity and standing of community newspapers, to enable them to fully realise their vital role in communities.

CNAV Roundabout header

Roundabout is CNAV’s in-house publication. 





The 2020 Local Council Election will proceed, as planned, on October 24, 2020.
For the first time in Victorian electoral history, the 2020 local election will be entirely conducted as a postal vote.
In 2016, 72 of the 78 participating councils conducted a postal vote.
Geelong did not participate in 2016, as it was in administration, and in 2020, the Councils of Casey, Whittlesea and South Gippsland are excepted for the same reason.
As well as restrictions put in place by the Coronavirus Pandemic, the 2020 elections also take place under new legislation; the Local Government Act 2020 (The Act).
Between Coronavirus and The Act, there are new rules that newspapers and newsletters need to be aware of, to ensure the content they print is in line with The Act and to be aware of the ways in which candidates will be allowed to campaign, and the statutory rights around election advertising.
With limits around gatherings in place, print media may have increased pressure to produce electoral content, so it is in everyone interest to understand the statutory requirements, as the penalties for breaches are severe.

Know your Council/Ward/Candidate

A combination of the VEC Representation Review, which concluded in 2019 and the changes to ward structure imposed by the Minister for Local Government, following the ascension of The Act, the ward your readers reside in, and how that ward/municipality is represented at council, may have changed since the 2016 election.
The VEC Website has a dedicated Know Your Council section (see link at bottom of article), providing maps of the bureaucratic structure of a given municipality, as well as information about who has nominated to run as a candidate in 2020.
The VEC is stressing the importance of making sure voters are aware of which ward they reside in and who the candidates are.
Maps illustrating Ward Structure for all municipalities are available on the VEC website, and when used in conjunction with editorial material relating to the 2020 Local Elections may be downloaded and printed in your publication — at the VEC Media Briefing in late August, CNAV specifically put this question to the VEC and they confirmed we had to right to reproduce these maps, in our publications, when used to support election articles.
From September 17, the VEC will also begin to publish details about nominated candidates, which will include contact details.
The nomination period runs from September 17 to 12pm, September 23.
At the end of each day, between these dates, a list of candidates will be available from the municipality’s Election Office and the VEC website, at midday on September 23, the nomination period will have closed, and the list will no longer be amended.
Each candidate will be given the opportunity to provide a 300-word statement as part of the ballot packs.

Election period

The Election Period runs from 12pm on September 23 to 6pm on October 24.
All ballot papers are mailed out to voters in early October must be returned to the VEC by 6pm on October 23, these can be delivered to the Election Office or posted via Australia Post.
Note: all posted ballot papers must be postmarked before 6pm, October 23.
The VEC have allowed until 12pm on October 30 for the return of “late returns”, this allows Australia Post time to deliver all ballots posted prior to the close of voting.
The final date to declare elections is Friday, November 13.

Statements and articles

The Act has rules around “electoral matter” which editorial teams need to ensure are met, failure to meet these requirements can result in a fine.
Statements from Candidates and articles that may influence how someone votes must carry an authorisation statement, this statement must contain the name and address of the person who authorised the statement along with the words “authorised by” or a phrase to that effect.
Note if the same material is when used on a website or on social media must also carry an authorisation statement — this can also be a link to a place where the statement is displayed.
Articles about the mechanics of an election, or to report on a meeting or another event which is related to the election but is not intended to influence the outcome of the election do not require authorisation statements.


All candidate advertisements relating to the election must carry the word “Advertisement” in at least 10pt, in the headline.
Local Councils have a statutory requirement to advertise in print media about the forthcoming election.
If there is no “local paper”, the VEC will display their advert on its website (on the Know Your Council page) as a method of meeting this requirement.
CNAV publications are encouraged to contact their local councils to inform them that running their local council election advertisement in their publication, meets council’s statutory requirements.
This requirement was highlighted to media by the VEC, in the wake of the shrinking of commercial local newspapers.

For more information about elections in your local municipality, visit www.vec.vic.gov.au/voting/2020-local-council-election/elections

CNAV papers continue to support local communities

It is with sadness we witness the closure of so many local newspapers across the country today, however it is not the end of local news.

The Community Newspaper Association of Victoria (CNAV) is the peak body for community-based print journalism in Victoria.

President of CNAV, Mary Farrow said, “it is sad that so many good journalists are set to lose their jobs.

“There is a place for local news in Australia, and these stories must continue to be told.

“From Moonambel to Mallacoota, our members have been reporting on local issues that are important to our communities across Victoria, some for over 100 years.  

“We are still here, and we will continue to tell the stories of our towns into the future”.

“Our not-for-profit newsrooms have been at the forefront of hyper-local news, producing quality journalism that comes from the community, for the community”.

The community newspaper sector is a training ground for young journalists, and an outlet for writers, photographers, cartoonists and columnists.

The community sector, while fuelled by volunteers, also creates hundreds of jobs across the state, employing editors, graphic designers, journalists, photographers, administrators and printers.

Community newspapers also provide a way for local businesses to connect with their communities through advertising.

“The COVID19 pandemic has affected us all, but community newspapers have shown resilience and a ‘can-do’ attitude that will see them continue to be an important part of their communities for years to come,” Ms Farrow said.

If you would like to connect with your local CNAV member newspaper, visit www.cnav.org.au

For more information or interview requests contact:

Sandra Miller

0429 121 969

Archived news items are available here.


Managing government advertising

The Victorian State Government has recently appointed Mediacom as their advertising agent. Mediacom have asked the committee to let our members know that they are keen to work with community newspapers, but they have had some difficulty managing the timelines that some volunteer run papers work to. Here are a few steps that will facilitate the government advertising process.

  • When Bill Penrose from PAS sends you a booking order, please respond to it, either affirmatively or negatively.
  • Once the ad is available, if you are uncomfortable printing it, please let Bill know immediately that you won’t be running it.
  • Once the advertisement has been published, please make sure you get your invoice to PAS/Bill Penrose within 2 weeks. We appreciate that some papers invoice less frequently than others, but it is certainly possible to issue a single invoice to meet the government advertising timelines rather than waiting to send out a whole batch. Lack of prompt invoicing is a major headache for Mediacom as they need to report back to government on place- ment of ads and costs within a tight timeline.
  • Always send a tear sheet with your invoice. Once upon a time, a tear sheet was the page of the news- paper on which the ad was placed torn out and posted with the hard copy invoice. If you invoice electronically, please send a pdf or jpg of the page. If you aren’t comfortable with converting the file, just take a photo of the page on your phone and send that through. At the very least, send a torn- out page of your newspaper by post and make a note of this on the email your invoice is attached to.
  • To make sure your invoice is found and processed in time, make sure your email header starts with ‘CNAV’ and your paper name.
  • Make sure your order number is included in your invoice.

Electoral advertisements

All electoral advertisements (not just at election time) at Federal, State and Local government levels must include the name and address of the person who authorised the advertisement.  The address must be a full street address and suburb or locality.

Note:      See sub-section 328 (1) of the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 and sub-section 83(1) of the Victorian Electoral Act 2002).  Under sub-section 328(5) of the Commonwealth Act, the address of a person means an address, including a full street address and suburb or locality, at which the person can usually be contacted during the day. It does not include a post office box.  Under section 3 of the Victorian Act, address does not include a post-office box.

Useful Links

Our Community

Our Community is Australia’s Centre for Excellence for the nation’s 600,000 not-for-profits & schools, providing advice, tools, resources and training.   https://www.ourcommunity.com.au/

The Citizen

The Citizen is an online publication of the Centre for Advancing Journalism