As one of Australia's three spheres of government (Federal, State, Local) Local Government is the sphere that most closely affects the daily lives of citizens. It is also referred to as elected Councils, Shires, Local Councils or Local Government Authorities (LGA's).
Strength in diversity
One of the strengths of Local Government is its diversity. In Western Australia the population and geographic size of Councils differ greatly. The largest council by area in the whole of Australia is the Shire of East Pilbara, covering 372,000 square kilometres (population 10,500).
Local Government Roles and Responsibilities
The work of Local Government is varied, but it touches almost all areas of our day to day life as citizens – whether we live in cities, towns or country areas.
The roles and responsibilities of Local Government differs from state to state, but generally include:
- infrastructure and property services, including local roads, bridges, footpaths, drainage, waste collection and management
- provision of recreation facilities, such as parks, sports fields and stadiums, golf courses, swimming pools, sport centres, halls, camping grounds and caravan parks
- health services such as water and food inspection, immunisation services, toilet facilities, noise control and meat inspection and animal control
- community services, such as child-care, aged care and accommodation, community care and welfare services
- building services, including inspections, licensing, certification and enforcement
- planning and development approval
- administration of facilities, such as airports and aerodromes, ports and marinas, cemeteries, parking facilities and street parking;
- cultural facilities and services, such as libraries, art galleries and museums
- water and sewerage services in some states
- other services, such as abattoirs, sale-yards and group purchasing schemes
Where does the money come from to fund Local Government?
Local Government revenue comes from three main sources:
- Taxes in the form of Rates
- Charges for sale of goods and services
- Grants from Federal and State/Territory Governments.