What is Local Government?
Just like people, communities have basic needs which must be met if they are to function properly.
We depend on governments to take care of these things.
Before Europeans arrived in Australia, Aboriginal communities had their own form of government where tribal elders took responsibility for community decisions.
Today, there are three spheres of government in Australia - Federal Government, State Government and Local Government.
The term "Local Government" refers to the system in which 68 local Councils operate in South Australia. The Local Government system is integral to the democratic system of government in Australia which provides vital economic, social and environmental support for communities.
The Constitution Act 1934 (SA), the Local Government Act 1999 (SA), and the Local Government (Elections) Act 1999 (SA), create the legal framework within which Local Government operates and the four-yearly election process which underpins the representative nature of Local Government Councils.
Democratically elected members make up Local Government Councils and with staff support and in partnership with their local communities they manage more than $8 billion worth of community infrastructure and invest about $1 billion a year in providing services to people who live, work, do business in, and visit the local Council area.
As with other democratically elected governments, ie the State and Federal Governments, Councils have powers to raise revenue (primarily through Council rates) to provide and maintain infrastructure and services, to regulate activities (such as building development) and to impose penalties if local regulations are breached (for example dangerous dog attacks).
Since the 1960s Councils' roles have steadily expanded. This is due to:
How do Councils operate?