Commonwealth Local Government Forum


Key facts:

POPULATION (Census 2014): 21,504,066
AREA: 7,692,024 sq km
CAPITAL: Canberra
CURRENCY: Australian dollar (AUD)
HEAD OF STATE: HM Queen Elizabeth 
GOVERNOR GENERAL: Sir Peter Cosgrove
HEAD OF GOVERNMENT: PM Hon Malcolm Turnbull
FORM OF GOVERNMENT: constitutional monarchy
LANGUAGES: English  (official)
NATIONAL ELECTIONS: last: September 2013, turnout: 93.2%; next: 2016
LOCAL ELECTIONS: vary from state to state
LOCAL GOVERNMENT EXPENDITURE (as percentage of total governemnt budget): 6.0% (2013-14)


Australia is a constitutional monarchy with a federal division of power comprising six states and two territories. Local government is under the jurisdiction of each state and territory government. There is no constitutional provision or protection. The Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development is responsible for local government. There are 564 local government areas in Australia, all of which are single-tiered. Local authorities raise about 90% of their own funds; however this proportion varies considerably between larger urban and smaller rural authorities. Although there are variations between the states and territories, councils typically have statutory responsibility for local infrastructure, health, water and sewerage amenities, community services including childcare, aged care, and recreation, cultural and educational establishments, and commercial establishments including parking, aerodromes, cemeteries and quarries.

At national level, state and territory local governemnt associations have combined to form the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) which has its headquarters in the capital Canberra. ALGA is recognsied as the national body for local governemnt representing local governemnt on a range of federal/state ministerial councils, intergovernmental committees and advisory bodies. Most of the states have state local governemnt associations; membership is voluntary but almost all councils have chosen to be members of their state or territory association.

Read country profile of local government system in Australia.

CLGF activities in Australia

CLGF has worked with the responsible ministries, local government associations and individual councils in Australia both internationally and through the CLGF Pacific Office.  AusAID has contributed to funding programmes such as the pacific Good Practice Scheme which linked councils in Papua New Guinea with their countreparts in Australia to look at specific aspects of management and service delivery..

CLGF members in Australia have been actively involved in many programmes and initiatives, including teh establishment of the CLGF research colloquiuma and the Commonwealth Journal of Local Governance, now published through University fo Technology, Sydney.

CLGF members in Australia

Knowledge hub

Knowledge hub

Search the Pacific section of the knowledge hub



Pacific regional office

Regional office

Contact the CLGF Pacific office.



Board Members for the Pacific region

Board Members

Mayor Lawrence Yule
Mayor Troy Pickard
Hon Atarake Nataara



Latest news from CLGF Pacific

Pacific News

Local government news and information from the Pacific region.


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