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Responsibilities of local governments

Local governments have a responsibility to provide particular services to the community. Other services are the responsibility of the state and federal governments. Both the federal and state governments fund local governments to provide services. Councils may also gain revenue from rates and charges.

The responsibilities of the federal government are established under the Australian Constitution.

Services the federal government is responsible for include:

  • defence
  • immigration
  • foreign affairs and trade
  • postal services
  • taxes including income taxes and the federal goods and services tax.

State governments have responsibilities for areas not covered by the federal government. These include:

  • hospitals
  • schools
  • police
  • housing
  • state-controlled main roads
  • rail transport.

State governments set out the responsibilities of local governments in Acts of Parliament.

In Queensland the responsibilities of local government include:

  • town and land planning
  • building approvals
  • provision of local roads
  • water and sewerage services
  • animal control services.

Local government legislation

Councils operate under many pieces of legislation. The primary legislation is the Local Government Act 2009 (LGA) and the Local Government Regulation 2012 (LGR). Brisbane City Council operates under the City of Brisbane Act 2010 (CBA) and the City of Brisbane Regulation 2012 (CBR).

Last updated: 23 Jun 2023