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Department of Premier and Cabinet

Role of Local Government Project

The aim of this project was to define the role of local government, the capabilities required of local government to carry out its role, and the opportunities and challenges facing local government. The project is being overseen by the Premier's Local Government Council.  

The project was carried out in three phases:

  1. The objective of the first phase was to define the role of local government and identify the core capabilities required to fulfill the role. Phase 1 was completed in December 2012. 
  2. The objective of the second phase was to consider the capabilities of Local Government in the context of the defined role and identify the capability gaps that prevent Local Government from providing optimum services and governance to communities and why the gaps exist.  Phase 2 was completed in December 2013.
  3. The third phase of the project was the development of a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) to build the capability of local government in key areas identified during phase 2. Phase 3 was completed in May 2015.

The SAP was endorsed by the Premier's Local Government Council at its May 2015 meeting and it is now in implementation.

Phase 1

A working group was established to guide the project with specific Terms of Reference for the working group (PDF). Consultation for phase 1 of the project was carried out from 10 October 2012 - 19 November 2012. The Role of Local Government Discussion Paper (PDF)  is available to download. 

The Role of Local Government Phase 1 Final Report December 2012 (PDF) provides a summary of the outcomes of phase 1 and outlines the process and governance arrangements for phase 2 of the project.  

Phase 2

Phase 2 of the project was launched at the 14 May 2013 meeting of the Premier's Local Government Council. A consultation period opened with the launch of the project and concluded on 28 June 2013.

You can download the discussion paper for phase 2 of the project (PDF), the project background paper (PDF) and an overview of phase 2 (PDF).

As a result of the feedback received during the consultation, the eight roles of local government defined in phase 1 of the project have been 'unpacked' into components.  To review the roles and their components refer to the local government roles and components paper (PDF).

During July and August 2013, a survey was released to gather a community perspective on the performance of local government in its eight roles. The Community Survey Report was endorsed by the  Premier's Local Government Council at its meeting on 27 August 2013.

In September 2013 a council self-assessment survey was undertaken by all 29 councils with the local government roles and component statements used as the basis for the survey. The survey assessed the extent to which councils are delivering each role, as well as their level of capability to deliver each role.  The capability assessment is based on pre-identified characteristics which are the same for each role. The Role of Local Government Capability Analysis Report (PDF) by Stenning & Associates was released in October 2013.

Interim Report

The Local Government Role Assessment Interim Report (PDF) provides a comprehensive assessment of the capacity of local government to deliver its key roles. The report was endorsed for release by the Premier's Local Government Council at its meeting on 10 December 2013. The Interim Report builds upon the council self-assessment survey and provides a thorough examination of detailed submissions, a community survey and a number of other authoritative reports to build a picture of council strengths and capability gaps.

Final Report

Feedback was sought from local government and Tasmanian Government agencies on the Interim Report's findings. This feedback was incorporated into the Local Government Role Assessment Final Report (PDF) which was approved by the Premier's Local Government Council at its meeting on 6 August 2014.

The Final Report provides an overview of the sector's performance across the eight roles of local government; describes some of the factors driving local government reform; and proposes a range of reform opportunities.

Phase 3

The Premier's Local Government Council also approved the Terms of Reference for four high-level working groups dedicated to the priority areas of: collaboration, economic development, governance and legislation. The Terms of Reference for each of the Working Groups can be downloaded below. 

The working groups comprised senior Tasmanian Government and local government officials. They were tasked with the development of a Strategic Action Plan (SAP) to build the capability of local government.

Local government elected members, Councils and Tasmanian Government Agencies were consulted on the draft SAP in March 2015. Information gathered through this process informed the finalization of the SAP, which was subsequently endorsed by Councils, State Government Agencies and the Premier's Local Government Council in May 2015. 

Further Information

For further information on the project contact the Local Government Division by phone on 6232 7022 or by email at

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