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Department of Premier and Cabinet

What is local government?

Local government in Tasmania

Functions and powers of local government in Tasmania

Local government division and professional organisations

Local Government in Tasmania

Local government is one of the three spheres of government in Australia - Australian (or Commonwealth) Government, State Government and local government.  While each sphere has separate responsibilities, there are areas of mutual interest, linking through funding arrangements and other cooperation. 

Councils have between 7 and 12 elected members, called Aldermen in the city councils and councillors in the other municipal areas. In all councils, elected members include a Mayor and a Deputy Mayor. Local government in Tasmania is made up of 29 councils, each responsible for a municipal area. This includes six city councils and 23 other councils. The city councils are: 

South  

North

North West 

Powers and functions of Local Government in Tasmania

The powers and functions of councils are set out in the Local Government Act 1993 which provides the legal basis for the existence of councils and sets out many of the requirements that must be met by councils.  Section 20 of the Act describes the functions and powers of councils to:

  • provide for the health, safety and welfare of the community;
  • represent and promote the interests of the community;
  • provide for the peace, order and good government of the municipal area.

In performing its functions a council is to consult, involve and be accountable to the community. 

Although services provided by councils vary - often depending on the size and population of the municipal area - they are involved in a wide range of services including planning and building matters, public health, local road construction and maintenance, rubbish collection, water and wastewater, traffic and parking, community facilities (such as halls, pools, parks), community services (such as child care, immunisation, services for youth and seniors), economic development, tourism and community arts and festivals.

Each council sets policies and objectives that are implemented by the General Manager and other council employees.

Local government division and professional organisations

The contact details for the local government professional organisations are available online. 

Local Government Division

The Department of Premier and Cabinet's Local Government Division contributes to the wellbeing of local communities through promoting a sustainable and vibrant Local Government sector and supporting the strong collaborative relationships between the State Government and Local Government

It does this by developing and maintaining a policy and legislative framework for matters relevant to Local Government, contributing to the effectiveness of the Premier's Local Government Council (PLGC), providing executive support to the Local Government Board, and ensuring regular contact between the State Government and Local Government at the local, regional and statewide level to explore opportunities and resolve issues.

Visit the Local Government Division's website find out more information on local government elections, reviews of current legislation, information provided for councils and councillors and  access to the local government directory which provides contact details for each council.

Specific details on the 2014 local government elections are available on the division's website.

Local Government Association of Tasmania

The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) is the voice of local government to other governments, interested stakeholders and the wider community. LGAT has been the peak body for Local Government in Tasmania for over 100 years (founded 1911) and is part of a national network of associations.

LGAT works to protect the interests and rights of councils,to promote the efficient operation of local government and to foster strategic and beneficial relationships.

LGAT provides:

  • specialist services to its member councils including policy and strategic support;
  • information and learning for Local Government elected members and officers; and
  • procurement of employee relations and insurance services.

LGAT also coordinates the Tasmanian Local Government Awards for Excellence and the annual Tasmanian Local Government conference.

Australian Local Government Women's Association

The Australian Local Government Women's Association (ALGWA) is the peak body representing the interests of women in local government around Australia.

The Association seeks to assist in furthering women's knowledge, understanding and participation in the function of local government. It encourages and supports women to become actively involved in their communities and in the key decision making processes of local government.

Contact the ALGWA Tasmania Branch for more information.

Australian Local Government Association

The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) is the national voice of local government representing 673 Councils across Australia.