Australia has three tiers of Government – Federal, State and Local.

Federal Government covers the functions of defence, immigration, economic development and trade, taxation, some aspects of transport (such as the national highway) and some social services.

State Government manage education, policing, public health, social welfare, community housing, environmental protection, employment, state development, emergency services and some aspects of transport (such as the state road network and rail).

Local Government is not recognised in the nation’s constitution and owes its existence to State Government legislation (Local Government Act 2009). Therefore the role, functions and boundaries of Local Governments are subject to the discretion of the State Government of the day.

Some key functions of Local Government include:

  • planning for the current and future needs of the community and effectively managing shire resources
  • providing and maintaining community infrastructure such as local roads, water supply, sewerage disposal, waste management, parks and recreational facilities, libraries and halls
  • community planning including town planning, building control, local law control and some environmental protection responsibilities
  • community services including supporting cultural, sporting and recreational development, and some aspects of public health