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Local Government in SA manages its finances conservatively under extreme constraints. It has access to one tax, Council Rates, has very low debt and receives an unfair share of State and Federal government funding.

In 2005 the LGA commissioned an Independent Inquiry into the Financial Sustainability of Local Government in SA.  The Inquiry's final report can be found - here.

More information on the Financial Sustainability of Local Government in SA -

Information to assist Councils in this area can be found below.

Financial Management

There is a continuing evolvement and reform of financial management practices occuring, both directly and indirectly, in Local Government. Recent and current changes and issues include:

  • increased scrutiny by the community;
  • an expectation to do more with less;
  • accrual accounting;
  • National Competition Policy;
  • performance measurement and benchmarking;
  • infrastructure asset management;
  • internal controls; and
  • Governance.

A range of resources have been developed to assist Councils apply good practices in financial management which can be found at

What's New

Costing Principles for Local Government (December 2013)

It's vitally important for a Council to know the full, true cost of any service, over its full life. However, it is not easy to calculate the full and complete life-cycle cost of a service.   Finance professionals must take into account all costs: 

  • direct and indirect;
  • fixed and variable;
  • controllable and noncontrollable;

Therefore, the LGA has produced an updated Guidance paper "Costing Principles for Local Government".  

Costing Principles for Local Government(854 kb)  (updated January 2015)


2012 Better Practice Model - Financial Internal Controls

The Better Practice Model - Financial Internal Controls has been prescribed, in Regulations, as the standard by which auditors must assess the internal financial controls of Local Government.

2012 Better Practice Model - Financial Internal Controls 2012%20Better%20Practice%20Model%20-%20Financial%20Internal%20Controls (791 kb)


2016 Model Financial Statements for SA

The 2016 Model Financial Statements were released on 26 May 2016 after being approved by the Minister for Local Government, the Hon. Geoff Brock.

As in recent years, the South Australian Local Government Financial Management Group (SALGFMG) worked with Coalface Software Solutions to develop the set of Model Financial Statements for South Australian Councils for 2016.

SA Local Government Model Financial Statements 2016 - approved(1780 kb)

Local Government Reform

In February 2010 the LGA, working collaboratively with the Department of Planning and Local Government, received funding approval from the Australian Government's Local Government Reform Fund towards a comprehensive  "Improving SA Councils' Asset and Financial Management Practices" project. The LGA has underpinned this initiative with organisational changes to showcase an ongoing Local Government Reform agenda.

More information about the LGA's Local Government Reform Program and the "Improving SA Councils' Asset and Financial Management Practices" project can be obtained via the following link:

Useful links


Economic and Finance Projects

Annual Revision of Model Financial Statements (2015.54)

Asset Management Guidance for small rural Councils (2016.18)

Developing a Regional Development Plan - Pilot Program (2013.22)

Fees and Charges set by Statute - Cost Recovery Model (2012.22

Financial Assistance Grants (FAGS) Review (2012.08)

Financial Sustainability & Rate Revenue (2016.07)

Local Government Finance and Economic Model to Manage Growth

Local Government Reform Fund - SA Application (2010.04)

Nation Building and Fiscal Stimulus Package (25.04.76)

Raising Awareness of Regional Contributions (2011.35

Regional Capacity Building Allocation (25.02.34)

Shared Services Analysis and Economic Modelling (2016.15)

Support for Councils to Address Rating Matters (25.03.29)

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