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Complaints about Councils

If you are concerned about a council action or decision, want to provide feedback on your experience, or you believe that the council or its employees are not acting in accordance with council policies, procedures or legislative requirements, contact the council office or your local elected council member to make your complaint and ask to discuss the matter.

Feedback, Concerns or complaints about Councils

Contact details for all councils in the state are available here.

Many issues can be resolved relatively quickly by approaching the council or a council member in the first instance and finding out the reasons for an action or decision.

Internal review of actions or decisions made by a council
If your complaint remains unresolved, you may ask the council, in writing, for an internal review. Under section 270 of the Local Government Act 1999, all councils must have a policy and procedures for reviewing their decisions and actions for decisions. The council is required to provide you with information about how this review works and what it means for you. A copy of the council’s policy and procedure for an internal review of a decision is available from the council.

Actions or decisions made under other legislation
Councils make decisions under a wide range of legislation and each piece of legislation may have its own separate processes for seeking redress.  These include, for example, the Development Act (for planning and development related complaints), the Dog and Cat Management Act (for dog or cat related complaints) and the Expiation of Offences Act (for complaints about parking and other fines). The council can assist you with how to make complaints under these other Acts.

Access to all South Australian legislation is available here.

If you are dissatisfied with the council's response, you can contact the South Australian Ombudsman, whose role is to investigate complaints about councils and state government agencies. Details on how to make a complaint can be found on the Ombudsman SA website .

If you have a complaint about the behaviour of an individual council member or council employee, you can make a complaint under the relevant codes of conduct for council members or employees.  Copies of these codes of conduct are available on this web page under the heading Codes & Guidelines.

All members of a Development Assessment Panel, including independent members, are bound by a code of conduct under the Development Act.  A copy of the code is available here.  Complaints about a Development Assessment Panel should be referred to the public officer appointed by the Council.   

If you have evidence of corruption or maladministration on the part of a council and/or its staff, you should contact the Office for Public Integrity (OPI). OPI manages complaints and reports about public administration and ensures they are dealt with by the relevant body, and is responsible to the Independent Commissioner Against Corruption (ICAC). Information about how and when to contact OPI is available on the ICAC website.

Complaints about Councils - The Role of the LGA

The LGA is a membership organisation which represents the interests of councils and assists councils with guidance materials and other support.  The LGA does not have any regulatory or compliance role in relation to councils.  It does not carry out investigations or become involved in the merits of complaints against individual councils.

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