HOME

TheInfoList




Local government is the third level of
government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Departmen ...

government
in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, administered with limited
autonomy In developmental psychology Developmental psychology is the scientific Science () is a systematic enterprise that Scientific method, builds and organizes knowledge in the form of Testability, testable explanations and predictions ...

autonomy
under the states and territories, and in turn beneath the
federal government A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective identity, who are organized by some form of Institutionalisation, institutionalized ...
. Local government is not mentioned in the
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it ...

Constitution of Australia
, and two
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a direct Direct may refer to: Mathematics * Directed set In mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity (number th ...

referendum
s in
1974 Major events in 1974 include the aftermath of the 1973 oil crisis and the resignation of United States President The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public ...
and
1988 1988 was a crucial year in the early history of the Internet—it was the year of the first well-known computer virus, the Morris worm, 1988 Internet worm. The first permanent intercontinental Internet link was made between the United States ...
to alter the Constitution relating to
local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government ...
were unsuccessful. Every state/territory government recognizes local government in its own respective constitution. Unlike the two-tier local government system in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...
or the
United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...
, there is only one tier of local government in each Australian state/territory, with no distinction between
counties A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposes Chambers Dictionary, L. Brookes (ed.), 2005, Chambers Harrap Publishers Ltd, Edinburgh in certain modern nations. The term is derived from the Old French ...

counties
and
cities A city is a large human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a small number of dwellings grouped to ...
. The Australian local government is generally run by a
council A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is t ...

council
, and its territory of
public administration Public administration is the implementation of government policy Public policy is a course of action created and/or enacted, typically by a government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, g ...
is referred to generically by the
Australian Bureau of Statistics The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the independent statutory agency of the Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Austra ...
as the local government area or LGA, each of which encompasses multiple suburbs or localities often of different postcodes; however, stylized terms such as "city", "
borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for ...
" and "
shire Shire is a traditional term for an administrative division of land in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the Britis ...

shire
" also have a geographic or historical interpretation. The council
board member A board of directors is a group of people who jointly supervise the activities of an organization, which can be either a for-profit or a nonprofit organization such as a business, nonprofit organization, or a government agency. The powers, dut ...
s are generally known as
councillor A councillor is a member of a local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of public policy, government policy and also an academic disciplin ...

councillor
s, and the head councillor is called the
mayor In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their ow ...

mayor
. As of August 2016, there were 547 local councils in Australia. Despite the single tier of local governance in Australia, there are a number of extensive regions with relatively low populations that are not a part of any established LGA. Powers of local governments in these
unincorporated area Sign at Heinola, an unincorporated community in Otter Tail County, Minnesota.">Minnesota.html" ;"title="Otter Tail County, Minnesota">Otter Tail County, Minnesota. An unincorporated area is a region not governed by a local municipal corporat ...
s may be exercised by special-purpose
governing bodies Governance comprises all of the processes of governing – whether undertaken by the government of a state (polity), state, by a market (economics), market, or by a social network, network – over a social system (family, tribe, formal organiza ...
established outside of the local legislation, as with
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
's
alpine resort A ski resort is a resort developed for skiing, snowboarding, and other winter sports. In Europe, most ski resorts are towns or villages in or adjacent to a ski area – a mountainous area with pistes (ski trails) and a ski lift system. In North A ...
s; or directly administered by state/territory governments, such as the entirety of the
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national ...
. The administrative area covered by local government councils in Australia ranges from as small as for the
Shire of Peppermint Grove The Shire of Peppermint Grove is a local government areas of Western Australia, local government area in Perth, Western Australia, southwest of the Perth central business district. At , it is the smallest local government area in Australia; i ...
in metropolitan
Perth Perth () is the list of Australian capital cities, capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is Australia's list of cities in Australia by population, fourth-most populous city, with a population of 2.1 mi ...

Perth
, to as big as for the
Shire of East Pilbara The Shire of East Pilbara is one of the four Local government areas of Western Australia, local government areas in the Pilbara region of Western Australia. With an area of , it is the largest local government region in Australia. The Shire's sea ...
in
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
's
Pilbara The Pilbara () is a large, dry, thinly populated regions of Western Australia, region in the north of Western Australia. It is known for its Indigenous Australians, Aboriginal peoples; its ancient landscapes; the red earth; and its vast miner ...
region, which covers a geographical area larger than
Germany ) , image_map = , map_caption = , map_width = 250px , capital = Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,769,495 inh ...

Germany
or
Japan Japan ( ja, 日本, or , and formally ) is an island country An island country or an island nation is a country A country is a distinct territory, territorial body or political entity. It is often referred to as the land of an in ...

Japan
.


Types of local government

Local governments are subdivisions of the six federated states as well as the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
. The
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national ...
has no separate local government, and municipal functions in
Canberra Canberra ( ) is the capital city A capital or capital city is the holding primary status in a , , , , or other , usually as its seat of the government. A capital is typically a that physically encompasses the government's offices an ...

Canberra
and the surrounding regions (normally performed by local governments in other states) are performed by the ACT territorial government. The
Australian Bureau of Statistics The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is the independent statutory agency of the Australian Government The Australian Government, also known as the Commonwealth Government, is the national government of Australia Austra ...
(ABS), however, considers the entire ACT as an "
unincorporated Unincorporated may refer to: * Unincorporated area Sign at Heinola, an unincorporated community in Otter Tail County, Minnesota.">Minnesota.html" ;"title="Otter Tail County, Minnesota">Otter Tail County, Minnesota. An unincorporated area is ...
" local government area, even though it is technically a state-level
administrative region Administration may refer to: Management of organizations * Management Management (or managing) is the administration of an organization, whether it is a business, a not-for-profit organization, or government body. Management includes th ...
. Although all essentially identical in functions and jurisdictions, Australian local governments have a variety of different titles. The term "local government area" (LGA) is used by the ABS to collectively refer to all local government administrative zones regardless of the varying designations, whilst the local governing
legislature A legislature is an deliberative assembly, assembly with the authority to make laws for a Polity, political entity such as a Sovereign state, country or city. They are often contrasted with the Executive (government), executive and Judiciary, ...
itself is generally known as a
council A council is a group of people who come together to consult, deliberate, or make decisions. A council may function as a legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is t ...

council
. In general, an
urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities. Urban may also refer to: General * Urban (name), a list of people ...
/
suburb A suburb (or suburban area or suburbia) is a commercial Commercial may refer to: * a dose of advertising conveyed through media (such as - for example - radio or television) ** Radio advertisement ** Television advertisement * (adjective ...
an LGA is called a "''
city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Science Encyclopedia''. 2nd edition. London: Routledge. It can be defined as a ...

city
''", as in the
City of Melbourne The City of Melbourne is a Local government in Australia, local government area in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Melbourne city centre, central city area of Melbourne. In 2018 the city has an area of and had a p ...

City of Melbourne
,
City of Canada Bay The City of Canada Bay is a local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first ...
and
City of Bunbury The City of Bunbury is a Local government areas of Western Australia, local government area in the South West (Western Australia), South West region of Western Australia, covering an area of along the coast about south of Perth, the capital of ...
; while an
exurb An exurb (alternately: exurban area) is an area outside the typically denser inner suburban area File:Husby Kista.jpg, The Swedish suburbs of Husby/Kista/Akalla are built according to the typical city planning of the Million Programme. A s ...
an/
rural In general, a rural area or a countryside is a geographic area that is located outside town A town is a . Towns are generally larger than s and smaller than , though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in differen ...

rural
LGA covering a larger
agricultural Agriculture is the practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise trends, Increases in sedentary behaviors such as watching tele ...

agricultural
/
natural area A nature reserve (also known as a natural reserve, wildlife refuge, wildlife sanctuary, biosphere reserve or bioreserve, natural or nature preserve, or nature conservation area) is a protected area of importance for flora, fauna, or features o ...
is usually called a "''
shire Shire is a traditional term for an administrative division of land in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the Britis ...

shire
''", as in
Shire of Mornington Peninsula The Shire of Mornington Peninsula is a Local government areas of Victoria, local government area in southeastern Metropolitan Melbourne, Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia. It is located to the south of the Melbourne City Centre. It has ...
,
Shire of Banana Shire is a traditional term for an administrative division of land in Great Britain Great Britain is an island in the North Atlantic Ocean off the northwest coast of continental Europe. With an area of , it is the largest of the Britis ...
and
Lachlan Shire Lachlan Shire is a local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subd ...
. Sometimes designations other than "city" or "shire" are used in the names of LGAs, and today the stylized titles of "
town A town is a human settlement. Towns are generally larger than villages and smaller than city, cities, though the criteria to distinguish between them vary considerably in different parts of the world. Origin and use The word "town" shares a ...

town
", "
borough A borough is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are generic names for ...
", "
municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, ...
", "
district A district is a type of administrative division that, in some countries, is managed by the local government. Across the world, areas known as "districts" vary greatly in size, spanning regions or County, counties, several Municipality, municipal ...

district
", "
region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia'', literally "earth description") is a field of science devoted to the study of the lands, features, inhabitants, and phenomena of the Earth and Solar System, planets. The ...

region
", "community government", "
Aboriginal Aborigine, aborigine or aboriginal may refer to: * Indigenous peoples, ethnic groups who are the original or earliest known inhabitants of an area **List of indigenous peoples, including: ***Aboriginal Australians ****Australian Aboriginal identity ...
council/shire" and "island" are used in addition. The word "municipality" occurs in some states with differing meanings: in
New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
it is typically used for older urban areas, and the word is used for some rural towns in
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
. Larger towns and small metropolitan exurban centres in
Queensland Queensland ( ) is a state situated in northeastern Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the ...

Queensland
and
Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
simply use the term "town", while in
Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
they are designated as "rural city". Historically, the word "borough" was common for small towns and suburban centers in Victoria, but nowadays only the
Borough of Queenscliffe The Borough of Queenscliffe is a local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, fir ...
remains as the one and only borough in the entire country. New South Wales and Queensland have also introduced a new term "region" for
outback The Outback is a remote, vast, sparsely populated area of Australia. The Outback is more remote than Australian bush, the bush, which includes any location outside the main urban areas. While often envisaged as being arid, the Outback regions ...

outback
LGAs formed by the
amalgamation Amalgamation is the process of combining or uniting multiple entities into one form. Amalgamation, amalgam, and other derivatives may refer to: Mathematics and science * Amalgam (chemistry) An amalgam is an alloy of mercury with another meta ...
of smaller shires and rural cities. In New South Wales, where the
Local Government ActLocal Government Act (with its variations) is a stock short titleIn certain jurisdictions, including the United Kingdom and other Westminster-influenced jurisdictions (such as Canada or Australia), as well as the United States and the Philippines, pr ...
does not mandate adopting a designation, some local government areas are legally known simply as "council", such as
Port Macquarie-Hastings Council Port Macquarie-Hastings Council is a Local government in Australia, local government area in the Mid North Coast region of New South Wales, Australia. The area is located adjacent to the Hastings River, the Pacific Highway (Australia), Pacific H ...
,
Inner West Council Inner West Council is a Local government areas of New South Wales, local government area located in the Inner West (Sydney), inner western region of Sydney in the state of New South Wales, Australia. The Council was formed on 12 May 2016 from th ...
and
Federation Council The Federation Council (russian: Сове́т Федера́ции; ''Soviet Federatsii'', common abbreviation: Совфед (''Sovfed'') or ru , Сенат , translit = Senat , translation = Senate) is the upper house of the Federal Assem ...
. Some rural areas in South Australia are known as "district council", and all the LGAs in
Tasmania Tasmania (), abbreviated as TAS, is an island An island (or isle) is an isolated piece of habitat that is surrounded by a dramatically different habitat, such as water. Very small islands such as emergent land features on atol ...
that were previously municipalities have been renamed "council". Almost all local councils have the same administrative functions and similar political structures, regardless of their naming, and retain a particular designation ("shire", "borough", "town", "city") for historical reasons only. They will typically have an elected council and usually a mayor or shire president responsible for chairing meetings of the council. In some councils, the mayor is a directly elected figure, but in most cases the mayor is elected by the
board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting board ** Sounding board, of a musical instrument * Cardboard (paper product) * Paperboard *Corrugated fiberboard *Fiberbo ...
of fellow
councillor A councillor is a member of a local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of public policy, government policy and also an academic disciplin ...

councillor
s. The powers of mayors vary as well; for example, mayors in Queensland have broad executive functions, whereas mayors in New South Wales are essentially ceremonial
figurehead In politics, a figurehead is a person who ''de jure In law and government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a State (polity), state. In the case of its broad associative ...

figurehead
s who can only exercise power at the discretion of the council. Most of the capital city LGAs administer only the
central business district A central business district (CBD) is the commercial and business center of a city. It contains commercial space and offices. In larger cities, it is often synonymous with the city's "financial district". Geographically, it often coincides with ...
s and nearby central suburbs. A notable exception is the
City of Brisbane The City of Brisbane is a local government area A local government area (LGA) is an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-le ...
, the most populous LGA in the country, which administers a significant part of the
Brisbane Brisbane ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...

Brisbane
metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated urban core Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the cul ...

metropolitan area
. In most cases, when a city's population statistics are used, it is the statistical division population rather than the local government area.


Local governments by type and state

The following table provides a summary of local government areas by states and territories by local government area types as of January 2017:


Classification

The Australian Classification of Local Governments (ACLG) categorises local governing authorities using the population, the
population density Population density (in agriculture Agriculture is the science, art and practice of cultivating plants and livestock. Agriculture was the key development in the rise of sedentary Image:Family watching television 1958.jpg, Exercise tr ...

population density
and the proportion of the population that is classified as being
urban Urban means "related to a city". In that sense, the term may refer to: * Urban area, geographical area distinct from rural areas * Urban culture, the culture of towns and cities. Urban may also refer to: General * Urban (name), a list of people ...
for the council. The classification, at the two-digit level, is: * RA Rural Agricultural * RS Rural Significant * RT Rural Remote * UC Urban Capital * UD Urban Developed * UF Urban Fringe * UR Urban Regional


Powers and functions

All local governments are approximately equal in their theoretical powers, although LGAs that encompass large cities such as
Brisbane Brisbane ( ) is the capital Capital most commonly refers to: * Capital letter Letter case (or just case) is the distinction between the letters that are in larger uppercase or capitals (or more formally ''majuscule'') and smaller low ...
and the Gold Coast command more resources due to their larger population base. Unlike local governments in many other countries, services such as police, fire protection and schools are provided by state or territory government rather than by local councils. The councils' chief responsibility in the first half of the 20th century was the provision of physical infrastructure such as roads, bridges and sewerage. From the 1970s the emphasis changed to community facilities such as libraries and parks, maintenance of local roads, town planning and development approvals, and local services such as waste disposal. Child care, tourism and urban renewal were also beginning to be part of local governments' role. These are financed by collection of local land taxes known as "rates," and grants from the state and Commonwealth governments. They are caricatured as being concerned only with the "three Rs": Rates, Roads and Rubbish. However, the roles of local government areas in Australia have recently expanded as higher levels of government have devolved activities to the third tier. Examples include the provision of community health services, regional airports and pollution control as well as community safety and accessible transport. The changes in services has been described as a shift from 'services to property' towards 'services to people'. Community expectations of local government in Australia has risen in the 21st century partly as a result of wider participation in
decision making In psychology Psychology is the science of mind and behavior. Psychology includes the study of consciousness, conscious and Unconscious mind, unconscious phenomena, as well as feeling and thought. It is an academic discipline of immense s ...

decision making
and
transparent Transparency, transparence or transparent most often refer to transparency and translucency, the physical property of allowing the transmission of light through a material. They may also refer to: Literal uses * Transparency (photography), a sti ...
management practices. Recent years have seen some State governments devolving additional powers onto LGAs. In Queensland and Western Australia LGAs have been granted the power to independently enact their own local
subsidiary legislation In parliamentary systems and presidential systems of government, primary legislation and secondary legislation, the latter also called delegated legislation or subordinate legislation, are two forms of law, created respectively by the legislature ...
, in contrast to the previous system of
by-lawsA by-law (bye-law, by(e)law, by(e) law) is a rule or law established by an organization or community to regulate itself, as allowed or provided for by some higher authority. The higher authority, generally a legislature or some other government body ...
. Councils also have organised their own representative structures such as Local Government Associations and Regional Organisations of Councils. Doctrines of
new public management New Public Management (NPM) is an approach to running public service organizations that is used in government and public service institutions and agencies, at both sub-national and national levels. The term was first introduced by academics in the ...
have shaped state government legislation towards increased freedoms aiming to allow greater flexibility on the part of local governments.


History

There is no mention of local government in the
Constitution of Australia The Constitution of Australia (or Australian Constitution) is a written constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles A principle is a proposition or value that is a guide for behavior or evaluation. In law, it ...

Constitution of Australia
, though it is mentioned several times in the
Annotate An annotation is extra information associated with a particular point in a document or other piece of information. It can be a note that includes a comment or explanation. Annotations are sometimes presented Marginalia, in the margin of book pages. ...

Annotate
d Constitution of Australia. "Municipal institutions and local government" appears in Annotation 447, and "Power of the Parliament of a Colony" appears under "Residuary Legislative Powers" on pages 935 and 936. The first official local government in Australia was the , established in 1838, only three years after British settlement. The Adelaide Corporation followed, created by the province of South Australia in October 1840. The
City of Melbourne The City of Melbourne is a Local government in Australia, local government area in Victoria (Australia), Victoria, Australia, located in the Melbourne city centre, central city area of Melbourne. In 2018 the city has an area of and had a p ...

City of Melbourne
and the followed, both in 1842. All of these early forms failed; it was not until the 1860s and 1870s that the various colonies established widespread stable forms of local government, mainly for the purpose of raising money to build roads in rural and outer-urban regions. Council representatives attended conventions before
Federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity A polity is an identifiable political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social group, groups, ...
, however local government was unquestionably regarded as outside the Constitutional realm. In the 1970s, the
Whitlam Government The Whitlam Government was the federal executive government of Australia led by Prime Minister Gough Whitlam Edward Gough Whitlam (; 11 July 191621 October 2014) was the 21st prime minister of Australia The prime minister of Australia ...
expanded the level of funding to local governments in Australia beyond grants for road construction. General purpose grants become available for the first time.


Reforms

Significant reforms took place in the 1980s and 1990s in which state governments used metrics and efficiency analysis developed within the private sector in the local government arena. Each state conducted an inquiry into the benefits of council amalgamations during the 1990s. In the early 1990s, Victoria saw the number of local councils reduced from 210 to 78. South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland saw some reductions in the number of local governments while Western Australia and New South Wales rejected compulsory mergers. New South Wales eventually forced the merging of some councils. The main purpose of amalgamating councils was for greater efficiency and to improve operations, but forced amalgamation of councils is sometimes seen as a dilution of
representative democracy Representative democracy, also known as indirect democracy, is a type of democracy where elected persons represent Represent may refer to: * Represent (Compton's Most Wanted album), ''Represent'' (Compton's Most Wanted album) or the title song ...
. An increase in the range of services offered by councils, but only minor cost savings of less than 10% have been noted by academics as outcomes after mergers. The council mergers have resulted in widespread job losses and lingering resentment from some whose roles have experienced a larger workload. The growth of the Regional Organisations of Councils has also been a factor in local government reform in Australia. In 1995, there were 50 such agreements across the country. A 2002 study identified 55 ROCs with the largest involving 18 councils.


Constitutional position

Local government powers are determined by state governments, and states have primary responsibility for funding and exclusive responsibility for supervision of local councils. Local government is mentioned in the annotated Australian constitution, as a department of the State Governments, and they are mentioned in the constitutions of each of the six states. Under the Constitution, the federal government cannot provide funding directly to local governments; a 1974 referendum sought to amend the Constitution to authorise the federal government to directly fund local governments, but it was defeated. A 1988 referendum sought to explicitly insert mention of local government in the federal constitution but this was comprehensively defeated. A further referendum was proposed in 2013, but was cancelled due to the change in the 2013 Australian federal election, election date. Federal government interaction with local councils happens regularly through the provision of federal grants to help fund local government managed projects.


State/territory control

Local government in Australia has very limited legislative powers and no judicial powers, and executive (government), executive-wise is subject to the exclusive jurisdiction of the state/territory it belongs to. The functions and practices of local councils are mostly centered around managing public services and land uses at the community level, and are similar throughout Australia, but can vary to some degree between jurisdictions. State departments oversee the activities of local councils and may intervene in their affairs when needed, subject to relevant legislation. For more details in each state and territory, see the following : * Local government areas of New South Wales * Local government areas of the Northern Territory * Local government in Queensland and Local government areas of Queensland (list) * Local government areas of South Australia * Local government areas of Tasmania * Local government in Victoria and Local government areas of Victoria (list) * Local government areas of Western Australia The
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national ...
is not divided into local government areas, although it is regarded as a single "unincorporated" local government area during census in Australia, censusing.


Unincorporated areas

Unlike many other countries, Australia has only one level of local government immediately beneath state and territorial governments. Aside from very sparsely populated areas and a few other special cases, almost all of Australia is part of a local government area. Unincorporated areas are often in remote locations, cover vast areas or have very small populations.


Australian Capital Territory

The
Australian Capital Territory The Australian Capital Territory (ACT), known as the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) until 1938, is a federal territory A federal territory is an area under the direct and usually exclusive jurisdiction of a federation's central or national ...
has no municipalities and is in some sense an unincorporated area. The Government of the Australian Capital Territory, ACT government is directly responsible for matters normally carried out by a local government. Many Canberra districts have community organisations called "community councils", but these are not part of the government (though they generally receive government funding). They do not have the power to change laws or policies, and their role is limited to advising government. They are effectively residents' associations.


New South Wales

New South Wales New South Wales (abbreviated as NSW) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...
has 2 unincorporated areas: * Unincorporated Far West Region, covering the western one third of the state (other than the City of Broken Hill). This area is sparsely populated. Local Government functions in this area are managed directly by the state government and its agencies. * Lord Howe Island.


Northern Territory

In the
Northern Territory The Northern Territory (NT; formally the Northern Territory of Australia) is an Australian territory in the central and central northern regions of Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, ...
, 1.45% of the total area and 4.0% of the population are in unincorporated areas, including ''Unincorporated Top End Region'' (Finniss-Mary, the largest), areas covered by the ''Darwin Rates Act''—Nhulunbuy, Northern Territory, Nhulunbuy, Alyangula on Groote Eylandt in the northern region, and Yulara, Northern Territory, Yulara in the southern region.


South Australia

In
South Australia South Australia (abbreviated as SA) is a States and territories of Australia, state in the southern central part of Australia. It covers some of the most arid parts of the country. With a total land area of , it is the fourth-largest of Austral ...

South Australia
, 60% of the state's area is unincorporated and communities located within receive municipal services provided by a state agency, the Outback Communities Authority.


Victoria

Victoria Victoria most commonly refers to: * Victoria (Australia), a state of the Commonwealth of Australia * Victoria, British Columbia, provincial capital of British Columbia, Canada * Victoria (mythology), Roman goddess of Victory * Victoria, Seychelles ...
has 10 unincorporated areas, which are either ski resorts or small islands: * Falls Creek, Victoria, Falls Creek Alpine Resort * French Island (Victoria), French Island and Sandstone Island * Elizabeth Island (Victoria), Elizabeth Island * Gabo Island * Lady Julia Percy Island * Lake Mountain (Victoria), Lake Mountain Alpine Resort * Mount Baw Baw, Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort * Mount Buller, Victoria, Mount Buller Alpine Resort * Mount Hotham, Mount Hotham Alpine Resort * Mount Stirling, Mount Stirling Alpine Resort


Western Australia

Western Australia Western Australia (abbreviated as WA) is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspape ...

Western Australia
has 3 unincorporated areas: * Houtman Abrolhos, Abrolhos Islands, which are officially uninhabited and controlled by the WA Department of Fisheries (Western Australia), Department of Fisheries. * A-class natural reserves either in, or close to, the Perth, Western Australia, Perth metropolitan area, namely: ** Rottnest Island (controlled by the Rottnest Island Authority) ** Kings Park, Perth, Kings Park (Botanic Gardens and Parks Authority)


See also

* Government of Australia * Australian Local Government Association * List of cities in Australia by population#50 largest local government areas by population, List of the 25 largest Local Government Areas by population * Australian Local Government Fossil Fuel Divestment


References


External links


July 2008 maps, Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC)

Australian Bureau of Statistics: Australian Standard Geographical Classification (ASGC) 2005
* – Spreadsheet of population data for local government areas in the 2006 and 2011 Australian census
Australian Government

australianpolitics.com

Local Government Focus (newspaper)

Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council

Local Government & Municipal Knowledge Base
{{Articles on second-level administrative divisions of Oceanian countries Local government in Australia, Politics of Australia Local government areas of Australia, Subdivisions of Australia Lists of subdivisions of Australia, Local Government Areas Administrative divisions in Oceania, Australia 2