Local Government

Useful sections of the NSW Local Government Act 1993.  The website link for the document is: http://www3.austlii.edu.au/au/legis/nsw/consol_act/lga1993182/


8. The council’s charter

(1) A council has the following charter:

• to provide directly or on behalf of other levels of government, after due consultation, adequate, equitable and appropriate services and facilities for the community and to ensure that those services and facilities are managed efficiently and effectively

• to exercise community leadership

• to exercise its functions in a manner that is consistent with and actively promotes the multicultural principles

• to promote and to provide and plan for the needs of children

• to properly manage, develop, protect, restore, enhance and conserve the environment of the area for which it is responsible, in a manner that is consistent with and promotes the principles of ecologically sustainable development

• to have regard to the long term and cumulative effects of its decisions

• to bear in mind that it is the custodian and trustee of public assets and to effectively plan for, account for and manage the assets for which it is responsible

• to engage in long-term strategic planning on behalf of the local community

• to exercise its functions in a manner that is consistent with and promotes social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights

• to facilitate the involvement of councillors, members of the public, users of facilities and services and council staff in the development, improvement and co-ordination of local government

• to raise funds for local purposes by the fair imposition of rates, charges and fees, by income earned from investments and, when appropriate, by borrowings and grants

• to keep the local community and the State government (and through it, the wider community) informed about its activities

• to ensure that, in the exercise of its regulatory functions, it acts consistently and without bias, particularly where an activity of the council is affected

• to be a responsible employer.

(2) A council, in the exercise of its functions, must pursue its charter but nothing in the charter or this section gives rise to, or can be taken into account in, any civil cause of action.


14. Council polls

A council may take a poll of electors for its information and guidance on any matter.


232. What is the role of a councillor?

(1) The role of a councillor is, as a member of the governing body of the council:

• to provide a civic leadership role in guiding the development of the community strategic plan for the area and to be responsible for monitoring the implementation of the council’s delivery program

• to direct and control the affairs of the council in accordance with this Act

• to participate in the optimum allocation of the council’s resources for the benefit of the area

• to play a key role in the creation and review of the council’s policies and objectives and criteria relating to the exercise of the council’s regulatory functions

• to review the performance of the council and its delivery of services, and the delivery program and revenue policies of the council.

(2) The role of a councillor is, as an elected person:

• to represent the interests of the residents and ratepayers

• to provide leadership and guidance to the community

• to facilitate communication between the community and the council.


402. Community strategic plan

(1) Each local government area must have a community strategic plan that has been developed and endorsed by the council. A community strategic plan is a plan that identifies the main priorities and aspirations for the future of the local government area covering a period of at least 10 years from when the plan is endorsed.

(2) A community strategic plan is to establish strategic objectives together with strategies for achieving those objectives.

(3) The council must ensure that the community strategic plan:
(a) addresses civic leadership, social, environmental and economic issues in an integrated manner, and
(b) is based on social justice principles of equity, access, participation and rights, and
(c) is adequately informed by relevant information relating to civic leadership, social, environmental and economic issues, and
(d) is developed having due regard to the State government’s State Plan and other relevant State and regional plans of the State government.

(4) The council must establish and implement a strategy (its “community engagement strategy”), based on social justice principles, for engagement with the local community when developing the community strategic plan.

(5) Following an ordinary election of councillors, the council must review the community strategic plan before 30 June following the election. The council may endorse the existing plan, endorse amendments to the existing plan or develop and endorse a new community strategic plan, as appropriate to ensure that the area has a community strategic plan covering at least the next 10 years.

(6) A draft community strategic plan or amendment of a community strategic plan must be placed on public exhibition for a period of at least 28 days and submissions received by the council must be considered by the council before the plan or amendment is endorsed by the council.

(7) Within 28 days after a community strategic plan is endorsed, the council must post a copy of the plan on the council’s website and provide a copy to the Director-General. A copy of a community strategic plan may be provided to the Director-General by notifying the Minister of the appropriate URL link to access the plan on the council’s website.

Information relating to Council conduct that appears on the website of the NSW Office of Local Government.  Link:  http://www.olg.nsw.gov.au/public/my-home/resolving-development-or-rezoning-issues


Your local council is responsible for planning and development matters, including zoning and re-zoning, within the local government area.

Rezoning decisions are also subject to a final decision by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure, on the recommendation of Planning and Infrastructure. Further information is available from Planning and Environment.

If you are dissatisfied with council’s handling of your development application, you may have a number of options. You may: amend your application and reapply for development consent; apply for a review of the council’s decision; or make an appeal to the Land and Environment Court.

If you have a concern about a proposed development you should raise this with your local council or elected councillors. Many councils invite public comment on certain types of development – if so, this is an opportunity to have your say about the proposal.

Unless the development is a ‘designated development’, you cannot appeal against a decision to grant development consent unless you believe that there are serious legal issues or the development poses a serious threat to the environment. For more information, contact the Land and Environment Court or the Environmental Defender’s Office.

If you have a concern about the conduct of a private certifier you should speak to the certifier in the first instance. If you remain concerned, contact the Building Professionals Board, the Ombudsman or ICAC.


At the end of each year, councils are required to report on the numbers of code of conduct complaints made about councillors and the general manager, how they were dealt with and how much it cost the council to deal with them. This will ensure that councillors are individually and collectively accountable to their communities for their conduct and performance.

OLG-Model-Code-of-Conduct-Your-Obligations-As-A-CouncillorNSW Office of Local Government: 
Your obligations as a councillor
Download the PDF:

NSW Office of Local Government:
A guide to code of conduct processes for complainants
Download the PDF:

One thought on “Local Government

  1. sherlockmosman says:

    The LG charter in the LG Act is pretty good – and of course under threat from amalgamation. Maybe you could put a link to Save Our Councils up top? I can send you the logo if that would help..

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