How councils work

Australia has three tiers of government: Federal, State and Local.

Councils provide essential services to their communities like roads, garbage collection, water, sewer, town planning and governance.  The powers and responsibilities of local councils are derived from the Local Government Act 1993 which is administered by the NSW Government.

Local councils are governed by democratically elected representatives, who are elected every four years.

Like all democratically elected governments in Australia, councils have the power to raise revenue (partly through council rates) to maintain infrastructure and services and to regulate activities like development.  Councils can also impose penalties if local regulations are broken.

The role that local councils provide has expanded over the years due to greater demand and expectation for services by their communities.  Local councils provide valuable economic, social and environmental support for communities.

Whether a service is a legislative requirement of councils, or is provided by local choice, the Local Government Act 1993 requires that councils are responsive to the needs, interests and aspirations of individuals and groups within their communities.