Local Government Areas in Australia

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Local government in Australia is the lowest tier of government in Australian administered under the states and territories which in turn are beneath the federal tier.

While local government is not mentioned in the Constitution of Australia, every state government recognises local government in their respective constitutions.[1]

There are 13 types of LGAs. These are:

  1. Boroughs
  2. Cities
  3. Councils
  4. District Councils
  5. Municipalities
  6. Regional Councils
  7. Rural Cities
  8. Shires
  9. Towns
  10. Community government councils
  11. Aboriginal shires
  12. Island councils
  13. Unincorporated.

The local governing body is generally referred to as a council (thus "Burwood Council" or "Casey City Council"), and the territories governed are collectively referred to as "local government areas"; however, terms such as "city" or "shire" also have a geographic interpretation. There are currently 565 local councils in Australia.[2]

Despite the single level of local government in Australia, there exist a number of quite extensive areas with relatively low populations which are not a part of any local government area. Powers of local governments in these areas may be exercised by special purpose bodies established outside of the general legislation, as with Victoria's alpine resorts, or directly by state governments.

The area covered by local councils in Australia ranges from as small as 4km2 for the "Town of Walkerville" in central Adelaide to the "Shire of East Pilbara" in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, which covers 380000km2.

State controlled

Local government in Australia is an exclusive "power of the states or territories" and therefore the precise nature of councils referred to as local government can differ between each state or territory. Despite this, they occupy a similar role in each state.